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Former Elks lodge secretary pleads guilty to felony

A former secretary for Saratoga-Wilton Elks Lodge 161 pleaded guilty Wednesday, Oct. 27, to felony falsifying business records in the first degree in Saratoga County Court, according to information from Saratoga County District attorney James Murphy's office.

Frank Mihalek is expected to receive six months in Saratoga County Jail and five years of probationary supervision, and he will be required to pay back more than $25,000 to the Elks Club, with a $5,000 lump sum at the time of sentencing on Feb. 3, 2011, according to information from Murphy's office.

Mihalek was charged for taking $25,000 from the Elks Club for personal use, without permission from the Elks Club, according to information from Murphy's office.

In a statement, Murphy said the case was particularly frustrating because Mihalek acknowledged to law enforcement that he falsified documents for his own personal gain, yet continued to portray himself as innocent to the Elks Club members, even going so far as to ask members to initiate a letter writing campaign to the district attorney focusing on his good character and purported innocence.

\The Elks Club members did not know that Mihalek had been falsifying the records of the Elks club and pocketing more than $25,000 for his personal use, for a lengthy period of time ... the State Police investigation brought to light those practices that Mr. Mihalek had performed in the shadows and kept from the membership at large, including his closest friends. He prepared false vouchers and made false entries in the official records of the Elks Club, and used former Exalted Ruler's names and identities. He had sole control over the books and received checks for reimbursement of the Elks while using Elks credit cards for his own personal use. Since he was delegated a large portion of responsibility with Elks' finances, he was able to keep this concealed for some time until finally credit card companies started making repeated inquiries to various Elks members, said Murphy in a statement.

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