Both these suspects are former police officers, so this is not a pretty picture.
Veteran Falls Township police officer Katherine Leese, the former treasurer of the Bucks County FOP, tried to hide her face today, even as she denies allegations she stole over 85,000 dollars from the police organization… transferring funds into her own checking account.
District Attorney Michelle Henry says the misappropriation of funds was found by CPA audit. Leese, a 9-year police veteran who makes over $70-thousand a year, is formally charged with ripping off Lodge 53 of the FOP to the tune of more than $87,500 beginning a month after she took office in the winter of 2006.
Henry says, "(Leese) was interviewed by the county detectives. She told them that she took this money to pay her mortgage, to pay her credit card bills."
Also charged in this scandal is Lodge 53's former president Gerald Conaway. He is charged with diverting a total of 5,500 dollars for his own personal use.
The D.A. says the former FOP leaders, elected by roughly 1,100 members, are starting to turn on each other.
A spokesman Lodge 53 said they've started monthly audits in the wake of the scandal:
"FOP Lodge 53 is aggressively pursuing all avenues to insure every cent is repaid. This will not happen again."
The money allegedly stolen came from a pot created for very specific purposes.
The district attorney tells us, "That kind of fund is used to help pay for funeral expenses – to help benefit the members of the family of the fallen officer. And that's the fund that these two individuals stole from."
Both suspects remain free on their own signatures. Conaway retired from the Upper Southampton force in 2006. Leese is now on paid leave from Falls Township pending the outcome of her trial.
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