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Press Release

Harrisburg Police Officer Charged With Theft Of Money That Was Evidence In A Criminal Case

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that a Harrisburg Police Officer was charged by way of a criminal complaint with theft of money that belonged to a federal agency and removing property to prevent its seizure.

According to United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, the criminal complaint alleges that Sean Cornick, age 44, of Harrisburg, a Corporal with the Harrisburg Bureau of Police, stole money from an evidence locker which he believed was property seized in a drug investigation.    Cornick was allegedly videotaped taking money out of the locker.  An inventory later confirmed money was missing from the locker.

The charges against Cornick resulted from an internal investigation by the Harrisburg Bureau of Police that was referred to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Pennsylvania State Police.  Assistant United States Attorney Eric Pfisterer, Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division, is prosecuting the case.

Cornick appeared before United States Magistrate Judge Susan E. Schwab yesterday and was released under conditions that he post a $10,000 signature bond, restrict his travel to the Middle District of Pennsylvania, surrender his passport, have no contact with potential witnesses, and not possess a firearm. 

United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler stated, “It is always a sad day when fellow law enforcement officers are alleged to have broken the laws they have sworn to uphold.  Our office takes these matters very seriously and we greatly appreciate the assistance and cooperation of the Harrisburg Police Department and Pennsylvania State Police in conducting this investigation.”

Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Philadelphia Division, Michael T. Harpster, said "When an officer who took an oath to protect and serve crosses the line, as alleged here, it's an affront to all those in law enforcement who carry out their sworn duties with integrity.  Public corruption is insidious, corroding people's faith in the system. For that reason, it continues to be a top FBI priority."

Major David E. Relph, Director, Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Pennsylvania State Police, said, “It is a sad day for law enforcement when an officer crosses the line into criminal conduct. It is crucial that a complete and thorough investigation is conducted to maintain the public confidence in law enforcement. Cooperation between agencies is critical in cases like this. We appreciate the hard work of our federal, state and local law enforcement partners in this investigation.”

Criminal complaints are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.

A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

The maximum penalty under federal law for removal of property to prevent seizure is five years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a $250,000 fine. Theft of Federal Funds under $1,000 is punishable by up to one-year imprisonment. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

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Updated October 28, 2016

Public Corruption