Ex-Perrysburg Heights official loses another appeal

The former treasurer for the Perrysburg Heights Community Association has lost another appeal.

The 6th District Court of Appeals denied a request by Harold Craig to set aside his conviction.

Craig, 48, is serving seven years in the Richland Correctional Institution in Mansfield.

The appeals court issued its ruling Aug. 26.

On Sept. 20, 2018, Craig was indicted for six counts including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, aggravated theft and four counts on money laundering. The charges all stemmed from his tenure as treasurer of the Perrysburg Heights Community Association.

The criminal activity spanned from August 2012 to December 2015 and involved $200,000.

Craig was found guilty of using PHCA funds to purchase investment properties of which he claimed the profits would go back to the organization. The purchases were not authorized, and the organization received no benefit.

On the first day of trial in the courtroom of Wood County Common Pleas Judge Matt Reger, one count of money laundering was dismissed.

On April 3, 2020, Craig was sentenced to seven years in prison.

He appealed, claiming insufficient evidence and prosecutorial misconduct. The court reversed the convictions on the money laundering charges, but that didn’t affect the prison sentence.

On June 3, 2021, Craig again filed a petition to vacate his sentence, claiming ineffective counsel. The appeals court denied the request in November 2021.

In his most recent appeal, he argued that his attorney failed to interview and subpoena witnesses, thus failing to provide competent and effective assistance; his attorney failed to hire a forensic accountant; and he was deprived his right to confront his accusers.

The appeals court ruled each argument could have been raised on direct appeal during the trial.

The appeals court ruled that the common pleas court did not abuse its discretion in denying Craig’s petition to vacate the conviction. An abuse of discretion is found when a trial court’s attitude in reaching its judgment is found to be unreasonable, arbitrary or unconscionable.