A former Gilroy councilman was charged with felony grand theft Thursday for allegedly stealing more than $8,000 from the city’s Memorial Day parade fund over a period of six years, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office. Craig Gartman, 53, is suspected of stealing the money from the privately run Memorial Day Parade Committee that he headed from 2002 to 2008, the district attorney’s office said. Gartman solicited donations from local businesses every spring, and told donors that the money would be used to finance Memorial Day festivities. Although the majority of this money was used for that purpose — including reimbursement of the committee members’ personal expenses in support of the event — Gartman allegedly took about $8,000 from the committee’s bank account for his own benefit, according to the district attorney’s office. Gartman was arrested Thursday and released from Santa Clara County Jail after posting $10,000 bail. First elected to the Gilroy City Council in 2001, Gartman was reelected in 2005 and served as a councilman until 2010. If convicted, he could face up to three years in state prison. Gartman could not immediately be reached for comment.
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