Former Bel Air Town Commissioner Terry Hanley will serve one year of supervised probation after entering an Alford Plea to a theft charge in Cecil County court.
According to court records, Hanley entered the plea Dec. 1 to a charge of theft between $1,000 and $10,000 in connection with a used car deal. His plea was entered as an Alford Plea, a legal mechanism in which the accused does not admit guilt, but acknowledges that prosecutors likely have enough evidence to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Hanley was granted probation before judgment and sentenced to one year of supervised probation. He will also pay a supervision fee and court costs of $145. He did not return calls for comment Monday night.
A town commissioner for eight years, Hanley was ousted in last month’s election, finishing last in a field of five candidates for three seats.
According to charging documents, Hanley allegedly withheld $5,000 in cash from the sale of a vehicle made at his former employer, Ramsey Ford of Elkton.
The documents state that Hanley allegedly sold a Ford Focus vehicle for $14,500 in cash, but that he only turned over $9,500 to the dealership and recorded the trade-in value of the customer’s Chevrolet Lumina as $7,320.38, while police said it was worth approximately $2,000. Hanley allegedly intended to sell the vehicle to a wholesaler.
On June 15, a day after police began investigating the case, Hanley allegedly paid Ramsey Ford with a personal check in the amount of $3,500, and the dealership withheld a bonus check to Hanley worth approximately $1,600.
Hanley told police that his actions were “in the best interests of the customer,” and that the money was accounted for throughout the transactions. However, according to the documents, the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office officer investigating the case doubted Hanley’s explanation, saying he did not believe Hanley would have given the money back until he was confronted, and that he believed Hanley knew he had acted wrongly.
In an interview with The Dagger a week before the town’s elections, Hanley declined to discuss specifics of the case, but said he planned to lay the issue to rest in a hearing several days later. Instead, he requested a jury trial, which was set for early next year.