Monday, April 29, 2002

Former officer accused of theft

By Jennifer Edwards,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        INDIAN HILL — Police in this affluent Hamilton County suburb are accusing a retired lieutenant of stealing $11,391 from a benefit fund he ran as treasurer for more than 20 years.

        Former Lt. Tom Smith hasn't been formally charged. But police officials said Sunday that an investigation showed he misappropriated benefit funds in 1999 and 2000 meant for the community and fellow officers.

        Clermont County Prosecutor Don White said Sunday one of his assistant prosecutors is investigating the case.

        “The Indian Hill Police Department has a 100-year tradition of public service and professional law enforcement,” police said in a statement. “It is unfortunate that the actions of one former officer will tarnish that proud reputation. All members of the Indian Hill Police Department are extremely disappointed by the actions of that officer. This former officer's actions were inexcusable and left officers, as well as former officers of the department, with a feeling of betrayal.”

        The Indian Hill Rangers Benefit Fund is a private organization of active and former officers. Lt. Smith could not be reached for comment Sunday. He served as secretary/treasurer of the fund for more than 20 years. He also is a former president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 112, which serves Clermont, Brown and part of Hamilton counties, including Indian Hill.

        That FOP organization gave the prosecutor's office some information on the case about three weeks ago, Mr. White said, but he said his assistant would be seeking more facts on the case. He declined to say what additional information his assistant would seek.

        “What the FOP gave us wasn't really a complete investigation. It's still too early,” Mr. White said. “I'm not going to make a judgment on the case until we get everything.”

        Members of the organization elected a new secretary/treasurer in December 2001. A review of the books and internal audits revealed that $11,391 had been misappropriated by Mr. Smith in 1999 and 2000, according to Indian Hill Police.

        Further details weren't available Sunday.


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