Nate Harper began the year as a proud, robust, and respected police chief running the Pittsburgh police department and earning more than $100,000 a year. On Friday, Harper — ousted from his post — stood quietly before a federal judge as an accused criminal, says the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. A federal grand jury indicted Harper on one count of conspiracy to use public funds for personal use and four counts of failing to file federal income tax returns.
Prosecutors said Harper and other unnamed people diverted more than $70,000 meant for the city to off-the-books accounts and tapped it with debit cards. The grand jury alleged he spent more than $30,000 over a four-year span on meals, booze, a satellite radio system for his car, movies from a porno shop, a 32-inch LCD television, perfume, and other personal expenses. “The allegations represent the worst kind of public corruption. These monies belong to the taxpayers, and they have been taken by theft,” U.S. Attorney David Hickton said. Harper intends to plead guilty. One of his attorneys said that based on the former chief’s history and reputation it is likely he would serve a 10-to-16 month term, possibly under house arrest.