Two accused of stealing from police union

July 17, 2008 5:20:17 PM PDT
A Harris County grand jury today indicted a Houston Police Officer and a former Houston Police Officer on theft-related charges involving more than $100,000 in losses by the Houston Police Officers Union (HPOU).Ronny Martin, a former police officer, was indicted on two charges. They are the first-degree felony of Aggregate Theft by a Public Servant of $100,000 to $200,000, and the second-degree felony of Misapplication of Fiduciary Property of $100,000 to $200,000.

Officer Jeffrey Larson was indicted for the second-degree felony of Misapplication of Fiduciary Property of $100,000 to $200,000.

The defendants are accused of engaging in a criminal scheme that misappropriated cash, checks, credit cards, and vehicles totaling more than $100,000 from the HPOU organization and board of directors. The thefts allegedly occurred from December 2004 to January 2008.

Larson acted as treasurer for HPOU. In that capacity, he is accused of failing to document and account for transactions, transferring titles of vehicles without payment, and negotiating HPOU checks for cash payments.

Martin is accused of orchestrating the scheme and receiving benefits from the transactions. Martin served as the HPOU secretary and was a member of the union's board of directors.

The Public Integrity Division of the Harris County District Attorney's Office will be prosecuting the cases.

Acting Chief of Police M.W. Thaler released the following statement: "In response to the reports of the indictments of Officer Jeffrey Larson for Misapplication of Fiduciary Property and former Officer Ronald L. Martin for Misapplication of Fiduciary Property and Theft by Public Servant, I want to assure the citizens of Houston that the Houston Police Department is working closely with the Harris County District Attorney's office to complete this investigation. At the same time, the Internal Affairs Division is working diligently to complete the administrative investigation. At the conclusion of this process, the department will take whatever action is appropriate based on the facts determined by that investigation.

I want to assure the citizens of Houston that we take these issues very seriously. I share the concern and disappointment of all the members of the Houston Police Department when allegations such as these are raised against anyone placed in a position of trust. Integrity is the value held in the highest regard within our ranks. Any violation of the public trust will be dealt with in the manner befitting the expectations of our community."

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