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New Hampshire sheriff arrested for allegedly misusing public funds


Strafford County Sheriff Mark Courageous denies all wrongdoing and is claiming political persecution.

Strafford County Sheriff Mark Courageous was arrested Thursday on theft and perjury prices. New Hampshire Division of Justice

New Hampshire authorities arrested Strafford County Sheriff Mark Courageous on Thursday for his alleged misuse of county cash on private journeys and quite a few lies to a grand jury that investigated his alleged misconduct.

Courageous, who was first elected in 2020 and is believed to be the state’s first Black sheriff, denies any wrongdoing and mentioned he’ll combat the costs. On Thursday, he advised native information retailers he believes the costs are political persecution fueled by Strafford County’s commissioners.

“The choice to cost an elected constitutional officer was not made calmly,” New Hampshire Legal professional Common John Formella mentioned in a press launch Thursday. “Nonetheless, no individual is above the legislation, and the proof on this case required motion.”

Authorities charged the sheriff with one depend of theft by deception, two counts of falsifying bodily proof, and 5 counts of perjury.

The legal professional common’s workplace mentioned Thursday night that, to their information, Courageous remains to be serving as Strafford County Sheriff.

Mark Courageous smiles as he poses exterior the Strafford County Courthouse in Dover, New Hampshire, in 2020. – Charles Krupa/AP Photograph

The accusations in opposition to Sheriff Courageous

Courageous allegedly spent round $19,000 on private bills, together with airfare, lodge stays, and dinners throughout journeys to Boston, Florida, and different locations, the Legal professional Common’s workplace mentioned within the launch. Most of the journeys had been, allegedly, visits or excursions with a number of romantic companions.

The sheriff allegedly used fraudulent expense studies and altered receipts to be reimbursed for the journeys, the discharge mentioned. The false justifications ranged from attending conferences he by no means went to, to paying again organizations that didn’t exist.

Courageous then allegedly perjured himself repeatedly throughout his testimony to a Stafford County Grand Jury that was investigating his alleged misconduct, the discharge mentioned.

One perjury cost was associated to the sheriff’s declare {that a} feminine worker he’d traveled to Florida with had stayed with household, the discharge mentioned. The worker initially agreed together with his testimony, however later admitted that she’d stayed in his lodge room with him.

One other perjury cost stemmed from Courageous’s declare that he’d travelled to Maryland to satisfy with U.S. Rep. Chris Pappas, however that Pappas had cancelled the assembly and given him a flag from the U.S. Capitol as an apology present, the discharge mentioned. Data from Pappas’ workplace didn’t help any a part of Courageous’s story, and investigators found that he’d allegedly made the journey to satisfy with a romantic accomplice who lived within the space.

Two of the perjury prices involved a Boston lodge keep and cruise that the sheriff claimed was for himself and a male deputy to attend a charity occasion, the discharge mentioned. Investigators later found that the cruise and lodge keep had allegedly been a birthday current for an additional of the sheriff’s romantic companions.

Sheriff Courageous claims political persecution

The sheriff advised Foster’s Day by day Democrat he believes the costs in opposition to him are primarily based on “trumped-up allegations by the county commissioners” who “don’t like the way in which he runs his workplace.”

“I’ll combat this all the way in which. If I had completed something flawed, I’d personal it. However I, 100%, did nothing flawed,” he reportedly mentioned.

Courageous particularly denied any form of romantic relationship with the feminine worker talked about within the Florida journey perjury allegations, the Day by day Democrat reported.

“As for the journeys, it was strictly enterprise, and my price range contains $18,000 for journey bills. I misspent nothing. We ship deputies out on a regular basis to go to different departments, to realize recent concepts…That’s what this was,” he advised the newspaper.

As a result of the sheriff is an elected official, the county commissioners can not have him faraway from workplace. Throughout the investigation, which started earlier this summer time, he declined a request to go on paid go away, the Day by day Democrat reported.

“I cannot step down till I’m pressured to, till prices in opposition to me make it crucial,” he mentioned.

A Democrat who brazenly supported the Black Lives Matter motion, Courageous ran on a platform of police reform and transparency in 2020. He grew up in Massachusetts and labored within the sheriff’s workplace earlier than he was elected.

What’s subsequent

Courageous turned himself in to police Thursday, the Day by day Democrat reported. He has been launched on a private recognizance bond pending his arraignment, the discharge mentioned.

The sheriff advised the Day by day Democrat his arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 28 in Strafford County Superior Court docket in Dover. Strafford County judges are recusing themselves from the case and a Rockingham County choose will preside, the newspaper reported.

Courageous is going through 31 to 64 years in jail and fines as much as $32,000 if convicted on all counts.

Authorities are nonetheless investigating the sheriff. Anybody with data related to the investigation is requested to contact Allison Vachon at (603) 271-0102 or [email protected].

Reporting by the Related Press was used on this article.

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