Harper Indicted By Federal Grand Jury
PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Former Pittsburgh Police Chief Nate Harper has been indicted by a federal grand jury.
Harper is indicted on six counts including theft, income tax evasion and failure to pay income tax.
Investigators said Friday that Harper failed to pay income tax between 2008 and 2011, during which he made roughly $475,000.
The federal grand jury investigating the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police ended its term — it was speculated that an indictment would be possible today.
Arriving to testify this morning was Sandra Ganster — described by her attorney, William Difenderfer, as a whistleblower in the probe.
As head of the personal and finance section of the bureau, Ganster has told federal investigators that Harper directed her to deposit between $25,000 and $35,000 into a police credit union account. The use of those funds has been a central focus of the investigation.
Throughout the investigation, sources have indicated that the money in question had been used to pay for a trip to Washington D.C. to attend a police memorial, trips to police conventions, as well as a $22,000 car loan owed by a fallen officer.
When asked about whether there would be an indictment earlier today, Difenderfer replied:
“I’ve heard the same thing, I have no personal knowledge of that, but I heard the same thing.”
Sources have also alleged that money was spent on new police shields during the G-20 Summit when federal money did not come in soon enough, as well as for a party downtown to celebrate an officer’s promotion.
Harper is also being investigated in connection with the award of police equipment to a company called Alpha Outfitters. Harper’s friend Art Bedway pleaded guilty to fraud on charges stemming from that contract.
Harper stepped down as chief at the end of February, after he was asked to do so by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl after meeting with federal authorities and the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Assistant Chief Regina McDonald has since taken over as acting chief.
Ravenstahl has said that he is not a target of the investigation.
He announced March 1 that he would not be seeking re-election, indicating that the burdens associated with his job had become too great for him and his family.
Ravenstahl has said that his decision to drop out of the mayoral race was not related to the investigation into the police bureau.
“I have done nothing wrong,” he said when he made his announcement.