The former president of the Somerton Civic Association, already awaiting trial on theft charges, was hit with a second set of charges Wednesday, accused of stealing $1,500 he solicited from the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 charitable fund.
Seth Kaplan, 31, had been charged in November with theft and receiving stolen property for allegedly stealing more than $19,000 from the civic association and from residents, saying he would use the money to put American flags along the streets of Somerton.
FOP Lodge 5 president John McNesby said Wednesday that he was among the people whom Kaplan called to ask for donations toward his flag project.
"It seemed like a worthy cause, so we gave him $1,500, and he picked up the check that day and took it to a check-cashing agency," McNesby said. "But he never used it for what he said he was going to do."
Kaplan once served as deputy chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Brendan Boyle when Boyle was a state representative.
McNesby said he had known Kaplan for years and always considered him a decent guy. But when he read about Kaplan's November arrest, McNesby said, he began to suspect that Kaplan's intentions might not have been as pure as they seemed.
"I said, 'I think he got us, too,' " McNesby said. "He could have furnished the whole entire city with flags from what he took."
When Kaplan was confronted about the thefts in October, he admitted taking the money and said he did so because he was going through a financial hardship because of a divorce, according to court documents.
In the case involving the FOP, Kaplan is charged with two counts of theft and one count of receiving stolen property. He was released on his own recognizance.