Pittsburgh police credit union

A federal indictment against former Pittsburgh police Chief Nate Harper raised as many questions as it answered about $70, 629 siphoned into two secret police credit union accounts.

As mayoral candidates on Monday pointed fingers, Robert Del Greco, one of Harper's attorneys, said he doesn't know whether all the money was spent.

He said federal investigators likely scrutinized the spending and listed only transactions that benefited Harper personally in a grand jury report.

“My sense is that (investigators) went through that and said, ‘OK, this is for a seminar for police, yes. Dinner at the LeMont, no, ' ” Del Greco said.

Prosecutors accuse Harper, 60, of Stanton Heights of using two debit cards linked to the accounts to spend $31, 987 “for his own use” on meals, alcohol, movies, an LCD TV, perfume, gift cards, an oven upgrade and in 23 ATM cash withdrawals — an itemized list they released as a sample of his expenditures.

LeMont in Mt. Washington isn't among restaurants listed, though many other upscale restaurants are.

U.S. Attorney David Hickton declined Friday to explain what happened to the remaining $38, 642 in the slush fund Harper is accused of creating to siphon checks and cash payments from bars, restaurants, construction firms and other businesses that hire off-duty officers.

Hickton said the FBI investigation continues.

His office denied a Tribune-Review request for copies of receipts investigators used to make their case against Harper.

Deputy Chief Paul Donaldson ordered a credit union account to be closed early this year. He would not answer questions about it, citing the FBI investigation.

“They have the answers, ” Donaldson said.

Del Greco reiterated that Harper plans to plead guilty and likely would testify if the grand jury subpoenas him. The FBI interviewed Harper five times.

“Early on he said that he's the police chief and he's going to tell everything, and he did, ” Del Greco said. He said Harper could increase his odds of receiving a lighter sentence for cooperating, but “I don't want to say that's the only reason he did it.”

The five-count indictment, issued 30 days after Mayor Luke Ravenstahl forced Harper to resign, accuses Harper of failing to file tax returns on his six-figure salary for four years and diverting public money into the accounts at the Greater Pittsburgh Police Federal Credit Union.

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