St. Joseph Police Officer and His Wife Indicted for $99,000 Fraud Scheme Against Fraternal Order of Police
(STL.News) A St. Joseph, Mo., police officer and his wife were indicted by a federal grand jury today for a $99,000 wire fraud scheme in which they used debit cards from a local lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, where they served as officers, for spending on personal items.
Michael A. Hardin, 46, and his wife, Sarah J. Hardin, 42, were charged in a seven-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Kansas City, Mo.
Michael Hardin, an officer with the St. Joseph Police Department, was the president of the Fraternal Order of Police Northwest Missouri Lodge #3 for approximately 10 years. Sarah Hardin, formerly a deputy with the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Department, was the treasurer of the lodge for approximately 10 years. The lodge, headquartered in St. Joseph, is a fraternity of approximately 300 law enforcement officers from police departments in nine northwest Missouri counties.
Today’s indictment alleges the Hardins used debit cards linked to the bank accounts of the Fraternal Order of Police Northwest Missouri Lodge #3 to make $99,000 in purchases for their own personal gain over a four-year period from December 2015 to December 2019.
According to the indictment, Sarah Hardin used two debit cards to make purchases at Walmart, Menards, Party City, HyVee, and other businesses for personal items and expenses. Michael Hardin allegedly used one debit card to make purchases from various merchants, including Hampton Inn, for personal items and expenses.
The Hardins did not provide information about the fraudulent spending to the members of the lodge, the indictment says, nor did they seek approval to use lodge funds for personal items.
Today’s indictment charges Sarah Hardin with four counts of wire fraud and Michael Hardin with three counts of wire fraud.
The charges contained in this indictment are simply accusations, and not evidence of guilt. Evidence supporting the charges must be presented to a federal trial jury, whose duty is to determine guilt or innocence.
This case is being prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Courtney R. Pratten. It was investigated by the FBI.