FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, October 18, 2011
Judge Sentences Wheeler to Two Years’ Probation
(DES MOINES, Iowa) A Polk County judge Tuesday sentenced former Iowa Film Office Director Thomas Wheeler to probation for two years.
Polk County District Judge Douglas Staskal sentenced Wheeler, 42, of Indianola, to a deferred judgment, including probation, and a $750 fine. Wheeler had faced a maximum prison sentence of five years and a $7,500 fine. Under a deferred judgment, a conviction is stricken from a defendant’s criminal record upon successfully completing probation.
On September 6, a Polk County jury convicted Wheeler of one count of Felonious Misconduct in Office for falsifying one or more public records, or delivering one or more falsified writings with knowledge that it was false, to become a public record. The charge was connected to the film projects of Polynation Pictures. The jury acquitted Wheeler of additional felonious misconduct and fraudulent practices charges.
“It’s the judge’s decision to make and we respect that,” said Thomas H. Miller, Deputy Attorney General, who prosecuted the case.
Remaining Iowa Film Office criminal cases:
Dennis Brouse, 60, of Plattsmouth, Nebraska, owner of Changing Horses Productions, is charged with Ongoing Criminal Conduct (Class B felony), Theft in the First Degree (Class C felony), and Fraudulent Practice in the First Degree (Class C felony). Brouse, who has pleaded not guilty, is scheduled for trial on March 5, 2012 in Polk County District Court.
Chad Witter, 38, of Bettendorf, a tax credit broker, is charged with Ongoing Criminal Conduct (Class B felony), two counts of Theft in the First Degree (Class C felony), and two counts of Fraudulent Practice in the First Degree (Class C felony). Witter, who has pleaded not guilty, is scheduled for trial on April 16, 2012 in Polk County District Court.
Harel Goldstein (A/K/A Harel Gold, A/K/A Kevin Ward), 50, of Calabasas, California, a movie distributor and producer of the film “Underground,” has been charged with Fraudulent Practice in the First Degree (Class C felony), Forgery (Class D felony), and Conspiracy (Class D felony). Goldstein has not made a court appearance in Iowa and his trial date has not been set.
A criminal charge is merely an accusation and defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.