Former civic leader ordered to stand trial

The former president of the Somerton Civic Association has been ordered to stand trial for the theft of more than $19,000 from the organization.

Seth Kaplan, 31, waived his preliminary hearing before Municipal Court Judge William Austin Meehan Jr. on Tuesday morning. Meehan scheduled Kaplan’s Common Pleas Court arraignment for Nov. 29.

During a five-minute dialogue with the judge, Assistant District Attorney Lyana Melendez said that the city prosecutor’s office has not engaged in negotiations with the defendant regarding a potential guilty plea or offering an accelerated rehabilitative disposition (ARD) program for first-time, nonviolent offenders.

Kaplan is charged with theft by unlawful taking, theft by deception and receiving stolen property — all third-degree felonies — for allegedly draining about $11,000 from the checking account of the Somerton Civic Association between June and October. He is further accused of soliciting, accepting and misusing thousands more in donations to the civic group.

Kaplan has repaid more than $19,000 to the civic group. He is free on his own recognizance. Following his Oct. 27 arrest, members of the civic group voted to oust him from the board and revoke his membership. ••