East Haven School Board Member Facing Federal Fraud Charges

An East Haven Board of Education member is facing federal charges, accused in a scheme involving the theft of over $1.5 million from an Illinois company.

In federal court Friday, John Finkle pleaded not guilty to a series of charges alleging he defrauded an Illinois-based supplier of electronic parts out of more than $1.5 million.

Some in East Haven think given the circumstances, it’s time for him to resign.

Finkle is charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud and wire fraud.

“Resigning It would look better for everybody if he did,” said resident Allan Csuka.

An investigation by the U.S. Attorney and the FBI claims Finkle, while employed by that company, worked with two men in New York and Wisconsin to defraud the unnamed company through improper and undervalued purchases. The government says Finkle ultimately profited some $500,000 through the scheme which ran from early 2015 until last December.

There was no answer at Finkle’s East Haven home when NBC Connecticut tried to reach him for comment.

In town, residents were startled by the allegations.

“It certainly doesn’t send a good message to the children or to the adults either. You don’t know who to trust anymore,” Csuka said.

Finkle’s position on the Board of Education is elected, and he cannot be removed over the allegations, according to the board’s chair, who said the matter is “completely unrelated to the East Haven Public School District and Mr. Finkle’s role as a board member.”

Finkle was released on a $500,000 bond. Should he resign, it would be up to the mayor to appoint another person to his seat to serve the duration of his two-year term, which runs through the end of the year.

The mayor learned about the allegations through NBC Connecticut’s phone call to him this afternoon and says he’s consulting with the town attorney about the next steps.

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