Former Titusville police chief facing theft, fraud charges - Titusville Herald: News

Former Titusville police chief facing theft, fraud charges

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Posted: Thursday, June 6, 2019 5:00 am

SLIPPERY ROCK — Felony charges were filed against Michael Simmons, former Titusville police chief, for using a fake PayPal account to hide fraudulent activity during his tenure as Slippery Rock University’s Chief of Police.

The charges were filed in Butler County Magisterial District Court through Judge William S. O’Donnell’s office on Monday following the conclusion of an investigation conducted by the Pennsylvania State Police Special Investigations Division at the request of the university. Simmons is charged with four felony counts of the third degree for theft, theft by deception, access device fraud and receiving stolen property. After reviewing fraduelnt receipts, authorities concluded that Simmons had stolen $23,477.33.

According to the affidavit, Simmons left the SRU police department on Feb. 14 after a review of firearms qualifications revealed that he had not met requirements since September 2014, and had failed to produce documentation that proved he was qualified. Lieutenant Kevin Sharkey was appointed as interim police chief and conducted an audit of the departments recent purchases and equipment. Sharkey reportedly discovered several discrepancies between purchasing records and potentially missing police equipment, and reported the issue to the human resources department.

The university ran a report of Simmons’ transactions for approximately one year for his issued Master Card, and found that the majority of transactions were made to a vendor named “PayPal POLICESTUFF.” Sharkey reportedly was unable to locate any of the items that were said to have been purchased by Simmons, and also discovered that the email address used for the transactions, Policestuffonline@outlook.com, did not exist.

Simmons informed representatives from the university that “Policestuffonline” was all made up by him during a meeting on Feb. 25. Simmons reportedly said he was going through a divorce and was facing financial troubles, so he created the PayPal account and pocketed the money from the transactions. Analysis of the fraudulent receipts revealed the total loss to SRU to be $23,477.33.

Simmons served as a police officer in Titusville from Oct. 31, 2005, until he resigned as chief on March 13, 2009,  to seek other employment. He joined SRU’s police force in 2011.

Simmons will be arraigned on June 26, at 2 p.m., in front of Magisterial District Judge William S. O’Donnell. He is facing a maximum possible sentence of 28 years imprisonment and fines totaling $60,000.

Zook can be reached, by email, at news@titusvilleherald.com.

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Welcome to the discussion.

3 comments:

  • Noahs Bark posted at 10:01 pm on Wed, Jun 12, 2019.

    Noahs Bark Posts: 115

    I hope the TPD is reviewing the accounting records during the “Chiefs” stint here in Titusville. I’ve been real suspicious about how we could afford new cruisers when we can’t even pay our patrolmen adequately. Something doesn’t add up.


     
  • Maryjane16354 posted at 7:27 pm on Fri, Jun 7, 2019.

    Maryjane16354 Posts: 38

    Don’t give me that BS Jahoba! Everyone knows that white men are society’s incarnation of the devil here on earth. I guess you can’t blame the guy when we have a crook and a liar in the White House. If there was a women running the show we wouldn’t be in the mess we are in.


     
  • Jahoba posted at 7:06 am on Thu, Jun 6, 2019.

    Jahoba Posts: 232

    Oh boy. It is hard not to feel bad for the guy because his ex-wife made him resort to this.


     

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