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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Former Pittsburgh Chief Harper Sentenced To 18 Months In Prison

PITTSBURGH – Former Pittsburgh Police Chief Nathan E. Harper has been sentenced in federal court to 18 months imprisonment and one year of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $31,986 in restitution on his conviction of conspiracy and willful failure to file income tax returns, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

United States District Judge Cathy Bissoon imposed the sentence on Harper, 60, of Pittsburgh, Pa.

According to information presented to the court, Harper was the Chief of the City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. From 2009 to 2012, he caused checks received by the Special Events office of the Department to be diverted to two “off the books” accounts at the Greater Pittsburgh Police Federal Credit Union. Using Visa debit cards, Harper obtained over $31,000 in ATM withdrawals and debit purchases, all for his personal benefit. Harper also failed to file federal tax returns for the years 2008 to 2011.

“The vast majority of elected and appointed officials serve their constituents with integrity an honor,” stated U.S. Attorney Hickton. “But when those whom the public entrusts with authority place greed over good, they must be held accountable. It is our hope that through this prosecution we can shape the future of Pittsburgh by deterring other officials from stealing from taxpayers and by attracting honest public servants to office.”

Gary Douglas Perdue, Special Agent in Charge of the Pittsburgh Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said, “Stemming public corruption is the FBI’s top criminal investigative priority. It will not be tolerated in our community – no matter the level, the amount, or the individuals involved. We invite the public to report information concerning public corruption to the FBI through the public corruption hotline at (412) 432-4122.”

“No public official gets a free pass to ignore the tax laws,” added Asst. Special Agent in Charge Ed Wirth of the IRS-Criminal Investigation. “The IRS-Criminal Investigation Division, together with our partner agencies and the Department of Justice will investigate and prosecute those who violate our tax system to ensure that everyone pays their fair share.”

Assistant United States Attorneys Robert S. Cessar and Lee J. Karl prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

U.S. Attorney Hickton commended the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service - Criminal Investigation for the investigation leading to the successful prosecution of Harper.

Updated July 14, 2015