LaPorte police officer charged with embezzling FOP money

2014-06-12T19:30:00Z 2014-06-13T08:16:07Z LaPorte police officer charged with embezzling FOP moneyStan Maddux Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
June 12, 2014 7:30 pm  • 

LAPORTE | A LaPorte police officer has been charged with embezzling $7,000 from the LaPorte Fraternal Order of Police for Chicago Cubs tickets and other personal expenses.

Mark Bishop, 32, is charged with Class D felony theft.

He is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday in LaPorte Circuit Court.

Bishop has resigned his position with the FOP and as an officer with the LaPorte Police Department.

Indiana State Police on April 24 were brought in to investigate after the bank balance for the LaPorte Fraternal Order of Police was discovered significantly lower than anticipated.

Bishop, as treasurer of the organization, was issued a bank card strictly to carry out FOP-related financial transactions on the account.

But, according to court documents, the investigation uncovered personal transactions by Bishop on the account mostly at local restaurants and bars from March 2013 to April of this year.

The card also was used to pay for hotel stays in Evansville and Louisville along with one visit each to Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City and Four Winds Casino outside New Buffalo, court records disclosed.

There were many alleged ATM withdrawals with the card along with a $456 purchase for Chicago Cubs tickets on April 17, 2013.

According to court documents, Bishop, when confronted by FOP President Robert Metcalf, said that he was having financial difficulties and after using the card a few times realized it was "easy and then started to use the card more frequently."

In a written apology to FOP members, Bishop called his alleged actions "stupid and very foolish."

"I used the card for personal use due to the fact that I wasn't in a good financial spot in my life," said Bishop, who in his letter used the words "stupidity and selfishness" to describe his alleged behavior.

Bishop also told investigators that he intended to pay back the entire sum with money from his Indiana Public Employees Retirement Fund account.

Charges were authorized June 3 by LaPorte Circuit Court Magistrate Nancy Gettinger after she reviewed the findings.

Bishop was issued a summons to appear for his initial court hearing scheduled for Wednesday.

LaPorte County Prosecutor Bob Szilagyi said he requested Bishop be issued a summons instead of having him arrested when told by investigators that he had the money to repay the FOP.

He said a summons being issued for a felony case doesn't happen often, but in this case discretion was exercised.

"Based on the fact he was paying it back, I didn't want to issue a warrant," said Szilagyi.

Bishop was on the department for almost three years. He could face anywhere from a six-month to three-year sentence.

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