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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Ohio

Friday, August 15, 2014

Former Columbus Police Officer Sentenced For Embezzling From Defense Department Surplus Program

CONTACT: Fred Alverson
Public Affairs Officer

COLUMBUS—Former Columbus Police Officer Steven Edward Dean, 50, of Columbus, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 30 months in prison for misappropriating and selling heavy equipment and other property the Columbus Division of Police received through a Department of Defense surplus program.

Carter M. Stewart, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; Kevin Cornelius, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Brian Reihms, Special Agent in Charge, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS); and Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs announced the sentence handed down today by U.S. District Judge Michael H. Watson.

According to court documents, an investigation by the Columbus Division of Police, the FBI and DCIS concluded that between October 1, 2005 and June 1, 2012, Dean diverted property with a fair market value of $251,570.94 the police department had received from the Defense Reutilization Marketing Office (DRMO) program.

The embezzled items included $133,554.59 of heavy equipment, construction equipment, and vehicles; restaurant equipment; $94,163.25 of materials sold for scrap; and $16,353.15 worth of items, including diesel generators, sold to private persons. This conclusion was based on records obtained from the U.S. Department of Defense DRMO program, the state of Ohio offices involved with the DRMO program, scrapyard receipts, Craigslist online point-of-sale website records, restaurant supply records of sold equipment, and by viewing the items of property themselves.

“This is a major theft and embezzlement case involving a uniformed police officer stealing from his own department and involving property which should have otherwise been used to assist law enforcement, and all the equipment and vehicles were originally purchased with taxpayer dollars,” Assistant U.S. Attorneys Doug Squires and Deborah Solove told the court prior to sentencing.

"Today's sentencing demonstrates the Defense Criminal Investigative Service's ongoing commitment to combating fraud and corruption that impacts the Department of Defense's vital programs and operations," said Brian Reihms, Special Agent in Charge, Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), "DCIS, with our partner agencies, will continue to work tirelessly to investigate fraud involving the DoD's DRMO Law Enforcement Support Office which transfers excess property to law enforcement organizations across the United States."

Dean pleaded guilty in February to one count of embezzlement from a program receiving federal funds and one count of theft of public property. Under terms of the plea agreement, Dean will forfeit $251,570.94 less the value of the recovered equipment. Dean was also sentenced to three years of supervised released following imprisonment.

U.S. Attorney Stewart commended the investigation by DCIS, the FBI, and CPD, as well as Assistant U.S. Attorneys Doug Squires and Deborah Solove, who prosecuted the case.

Updated July 23, 2015