Details on Spring Mill FOP Theft Case - Former Lawrence County Sheriff Deputy Accused of Crime
LAWRENCE COUNTY - (December 6, 2021) - The details of a Lawrence County Deputy Chris Roberts has been detailed in a probable cause affidavit released from the Lawrence County Prosecutor's office.
Witnesses' names have been omitted from this story.
According to Indiana State Police Sgt. Chris Fears, in March of 2020 the Indiana State Police Detective Brian Smith received information from Lawrence County Prosecutor Sam Arp that an investigation may be needed. The request did occur, but Smith retired from the Indiana State Police and Sgt. Fears then took over the case.
Chris Roberts who served as a deputy with Lawrence County Sheriff's Department, who since has resigned, also served as treasurer of the Spring Mill FOP Lodge was accused of stealing or misspent funds from the organization.
Roberts retired from the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department around March 27, 2020, rather than face disciplinary actions following an internal investigation.
The investigation into Roberts commenced by the Indiana State Police. The investigation included interviews of witnesses, examination of documents, and subpoena of financial documents. Roberts was offered to make a statement about the allegations and information collected.
According to witnesses Roberts was voted out as treasurer of the organization in December of 2019. Roberts was not attending meetings of the organization and questions about financials were going unanswered. According to witnesses after Roberts became treasurer other FOP members with financial authorization was removed, leaving Roberts with spending authority.
There was a written financial disclosure between Roberts and the FOP for repayment of the money.
Financial records showed that Roberts deposited $3,500 the day before he turned over the financial records to new treasurer of the organization. The records also showed unauthorized and non-binding spending by Roberts, which include credit card payments, Amazon payments, car washes, restraunt charges, and other personal charges.
The charges for FOP should only be made for utilities, and other state, and national FOP fees. According to a witness, the FOP money was spent by Roberts included non- FOP expenditures, which included liquor from Florida, and a veterinarian fee for Robert's girlfriends' dog,
Following an audit by the organization an interview with Roberts stated that the unauthorized purchases by Roberts exceeded $20,000. Roberts prior to his exit as treasurer, submitted a check for $18,069.61 and $3,500 Roberts deposit prior to his exit.
Later in 2020, Indiana State Police contacted Robert's attorney to inform him the status of the investigation, and an opportunity to make a statement which was declined.
Based on the totality of the evidence, circumstances, including the unusual and unauthorized spending by Roberts, which included the refunding of approximately $20,000 to the FOP, on his being voted out as treasurer of the organization A request for charges to made against Roberts was made for theft in excess of $750 was requested by Indiana State Police.
Roberts is expected to appear in Lawrence Superior Court I Tuesday morning at 10:30 a.m. to face Level- 6 Theft charges.