Former Bossier City Police Officer and President of Bossier City Police Union Pleads Guilty in Federal Court
SHREVEPORT, La. - United States Attorney Brandon B. Brown announced that Harold W. Sanford, Jr., 52, of Bossier City, Louisiana, appeared before United States District Judge Donald E. Walter today and pleaded guilty to charges related to his recent arrest and involvement in stealing funds from the Bossier City Police Union and obtaining controlled substances by fraud.
Sanford was arrested on August 26, 2022 as the result of a criminal complaint charging him with fraudulently obtaining prescriptions for a controlled substance. On September 13, 2022, Sanford was indicted by a federal grand jury, along with his co-defendant Mitchell Morehead, and charged with conspiracy to obtain controlled substances by fraud and distribution of a controlled substance. Subsequently, a bill of information was filed on October 20, 2022 charging Sanford with an additional count of conspiracy to commit fraud against the United States. He is pleading guilty today to one count of conspiracy to commit fraud against the United States and one count of obtaining controlled substances by fraud.
According to information presented in court, Sanford was a Sergeant with the Bossier City Police Department and the President of the Bossier City Police Local 645 of the International Union of Police Associations (Bossier Police Union). Sanford’s co-defendant, Morehead, was a fundraiser for the Bossier Police Union who directly reported to Sanford. An investigation by agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) revealed that Morehead would solicit money from area businesses and other individuals by telling them that he was raising money to support the charitable purposes of the Bossier Police Union. While acting in his capacity as President of the Bossier Police Union, Sanford agreed to pay Morehead 50% of all funds received as compensation.
Sanford would present checks payable to Morehead to tellers at the bank where the Bossier Police Union account was held and then pay Morehead in cash. The endorsement on the back of these checks were made in Morehead’s name but written by Sanford. On occasion, Sanford would keep all or some of the money from these checks. Employees at the bank eventually told Sanford that he could no longer cash checks payable to Morehead without Morehead being present. Thereafter, Sanford would write checks payable to Morehead for an inflated amount, have him endorse the checks, and take Morehead to the drive-through lane at the bank branch to cash them. Sanford would then keep some of the money for himself and provide the remainder to Morehead.
Once Sanford took over the payments of money to Morehead for the Bossier Police Union in July 2020, the financial records indicate the percentage of money paid to Morehead increased from about 50% to about 75% of the charitable contributions collected. The loss amount from this scheme is $31,740.
Agents with the FBI also learned through their investigation that Sanford fraudulently obtained prescription drugs, to include hydrocodone and oxycodone, with the assistance of Morehead. Specifically, on August 22, 2022, Sanford drove Morehead to the office of a Shreveport physician referred to in the indictment as Individual A. While at Individual A’s office, Morehead falsely represented that he needed a Schedule II controlled substance and obtained a prescription for Percocet 10-325 mg. Sanford paid for Morehead’s office visit with Individual A. Thereafter, Morehead filled the prescription and provided 23 of the Percocet tablets to Sanford.
Sanford faces a sentence of up to 5 years in prison, 3 years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000, for conspiracy to commit fraud against the United States. In addition, he faces up to 4 years in prison for obtaining controlled substances by fraud. Sentencing has been set for February 24, 2023 at 11:15 a.m.
The case was investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Alexander C. Van Hook, Special Counsel to the United States Attorney.
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