CORAL SPRINGS (CBSMiami) –Three Coral Springs police officers, including a married couple, are in trouble for allegedly taking money from a police union.
Those facing charges include Michael Hughes and Doug Williams — two former president and vice presidents of the city’s police union — the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 87.
Also charged is former union treasurer, Sherry Williams.
All three face charges of grand theft.Hughes and Sherry Williams each face a charge Organized Scheme to Defraud, which is a first-degree felony.
An attorney for the union wrote in a letter that the allegations came to light in 2012 when new union leadership discovered “suspicious business practices and transactions in the bank accounts.They also discovered that the lodge’s tax returns contained fictitious figures and were not accurate.”
The attorney says the new leaders hired a forensic accountant who uncovered that from “January 2006 through December 2011, there were excessive amounts of cash withdrawals, charges at restaurants/bars, retailers, grocery stores, and other miscellaneous stores that were not supported by receipts or invoices.”
Current union president Glenn Matonak said in a statement, “In the law enforcement community, we consider ourselves brothers and sisters of our fellow co-workers, and to discover that our leaders were stealing money from us is such a huge betrayal of trust.”
According to Broward County prosecutors, Doug Williams, 56, took more than $1,500 and used the money at a supermarket, home improvement stores and restaurants. Williams was released from jail on a $1,000 bond Thursday.
Coral Springs Police Lieutenant Joe McHugh says the officers are innocent until proven guilty and that the chief of police wants the community to still have faith in the police department.
“The community needs to know that these are allegations. They will have their time in court,” McHugh said. “Their performance as police officers had nothing to do with these allegations. These allegations are their positions on the executive board of our union. None of the funds that they’re accused of taking are police department funds at all.”
The money the trio is accused of stealing came from dues paid to the union by their fellow officers.
“I’m sure if they are found guilty, (officers) will be upset,” McHugh said. “These are monies that we donate every single paycheck. We put money to the union. We contribute to good causes.”
Coral Springs Police say they learned of this investigation by the Broward State Attorney’s Office last fall and, at that point, all three officers were suspended with pay.
Coral Springs Police said the Williams’ resigned on Thursday, while Hughes’ fate rests on a meeting he’ll soon have the Coral Springs City Manager.
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