Crime

Former Executive Director of Humane Society of El Paso set to appear in Ohio court

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Former Humane Society of El Paso executive director Luke Westerman is due in court in Ohio on Wednesday. 

Westerman is facing 19 counts of theft and unlawful securities practices. Westerman was in charge of a venture capital firm that he founded in Columbus prior to coming to El Paso to work with the Humane Society in Dec. 2017.

Westerman's court hearing at the Franklin County Courthouse was scheduled for 7 a.m. El Paso Time.

The Humane Society fired Westerman back in January after he was indicted.

Westerman pleaded not guilty to all 19 counts and court records show he posted bond in early January.

Some of the allegations against Westerman were made in 2013.

Prosecutors say Westerman solicited more than $700,000 from ten residents in Ohio and allegedly misrepresented the status of the investments in false account statements.  Authorities accuse him of using some of the funds - about $300,000 -  for personal expenses.

The charges against Westerman are first, second and third degree felonies. The two first-degree felonies against him carry a sentence of 3 to 11 years in prison if convicted.

In April, Westerman told ABC-7 he was ready to fight the allegations in court. 

He sent ABC-7 the following statement:

"I love the Humane Society of El Paso and treasured my time there saving animals.  The state of animal welfare in El Paso has never been stronger and thanks to continued collaboration among animal organizations and the community's dedication to adopting, that will only continue."


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