Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Suspects in Theft from Houston Police Union Granted Lower Bail

Officer Jeff Larson

Police officers take an oath to uphold the law and protect citizens from those who seek to do harm. I still remember attending school assemblies during which a local cop would share important safety tips and warn us of the dangers of wayward behavior. With an instilled belief that members of the police force just inherently do what is right, I suppose we are more readily disappointed when one of them ends up on the other side of the law.

Two former officials with the Houston Police Officer’s Union, one a former officer and the other still serving, have been accused of theft in excess of at least $100,000 from the union. The prosecutors in the case are alleging that the two men stole cash, cashed checks, used credit cards, and kept profits from vehicle sales. One of the officers, Jeff Larson, was the union’s treasurer during the time that the thefts occurred. That is certainly a convenient position for someone who may be inclined to do some financial harm! Larson is off-duty with pay while awaiting trial. The other officer involved, Ronald Martin, is Larson’s father-in-law. (Isn’t it nice to see family members working together?) Martin retired after being relieved of active duty back in January.

The defense won a small victory in court yesterday, as the bail was lowered from $250,000 to $150,000. The duo still will be required to wear monitoring devices and follow a strict curfew. And, the friendship of fellow officers that was lost after this four-year scheme cannot be replaced by any judge’s order. As Gary Blankinship, the current president of the Houston Police Officers Union, said, "Both of these guys, I felt like, were friends. They betrayed that trust."

The union has no obligation (and certainly no desire) to assist with the officers’ criminal defense when the union itself was the victim in the case. It is in such instances that top-notch private defense is needed. Bertolino LLP is available to help those looking for dedicated and experienced legal assistance. Please contact us if you have been accused of a crime … let’s discuss how we can help.

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