FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A veteran Ft. Lauderdale police officer with 20 years of service is expected to surrender Wednesday on federal fraud charges connected with his service in the Air Force Reserve, following 9/11.
Officer David McElligott, a member of the Ft. Lauderdale Police Department since 1991, faces federal charges that he falsified military orders to make it look like his service in the reserves was mandatory, not voluntary, so he could continue to collect special pay the city provided members of the military on active duty.
McElligott had been away from his job since 2001, serving in the US Air Force as a full-time reservist. An article in the South Florida Times, which had reported on the federal investigation, claims Officer McElligott had purchased a home near the base in Georgia where he was stationed, and moved his family there, raising questions about any plans to return to his job in Ft. Lauderdale.
Under a program for employees who served military duty after 9/11, the city of Ft. Lauderdale supplemented the pay of reservists on active duty, matching their full salary, but only for up to a total of 5 years. The program covered employees like McEllogott, who volunteered to serve.
However, under federal law, any time a member of the military is ordered to remain on duty involuntarily, the time of that service is not counted.
Federal investigators claim that between September 2003 and October 2011, Officer David McElligott falsified military documents and orders to show that he was under orders to continue mandatory service, when in fact his service was voluntary.
The feds also claim he falsified pay information submitted to the city, to make it look like his military pay was less than it actually was. Because of that, Officer McElligott apparently was able to get supplemental pay for years beyond his legal entitlement.
The federal information filed Wednesday did not specify how much money McElligott is alleged to have stolen from the city.
Officer David McElligott was charged with one count of mail fraud, and a $50 thousand bond was requested. Documents filed with the court say McElligott could face up to 20 years in prison and a $250 thousand fine.
He has been on leave with pay from the Ft. Lauderdale Police department.