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Law Enforcement Officer Accused of Embezzlement

Lieutenant Hovie Pope Jr., a former North Carolina police officer, was indicted last month on charges of embezzlement.

Pope had been a member of the North Carolina Internal Affairs Investigators Association, serving as its treasurer and even president for the 2002 – 2003 year, and it was discovered that more than $30,000 had been embezzled from the association during his membership.

Pope turned himself in to the New Hanover County Courthouse to confess to the embezzlement, receiving an unsecured $10,000 bond, and was served an Order for Arrest and indicted by a New Hanover County Grand Jury.

Because of a conflict of interest, Pope will face a prosecuting attorney from the District Attorney’s office in Raleigh, rather than in New Hanover County. Pope had been employed for more than 40 years with the Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach police department, serving most recently in the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office as a special deputy for 11 years.

Embezzlement is a fairly common white collar crime in which someone who has been entrusted with the management or monitoring of another person or organization’s money or property steals the money or property for personal gain. What makes the crime embezzlement, rather than stealing, is the violation of that unique trust established by the position of management.

Embezzlement most commonly occurs in organizations like banks, investment companies and law firms, or even in situations where a family member is in the position of providing care for a relative, but can also be perpetrated by individuals in a position of moral uprightness, such as police officers.

Penalties for embezzlement typically include fines and/or jail or prison sentences. The penalties vary depending on the nature and severity of the embezzlement, and by state. In Pennsylvania, fines can range up to $15,000 and can be ordered in tandem with a prison sentence of up to seven years for the embezzlement of money or property worth more than $2,000.

To learn more about the circumstances and penalties surrounding embezzlement and other white collar crimes in Pennsylvania, speak with Berks County criminal defense lawyer David R. Eshelman.

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