Archive for Sunday, September 18, 2005

Officer sentenced to prison for stealing drug-buy money

September 18, 2005


— A former Topeka police officer has been sentenced to 16 months in prison for stealing thousands of dollars intended for undercover drug buys and using the money to fund his gambling habit.

Thomas Pfortmiller, 41, also was ordered Friday to pay restitution, with the amount to be determined later.

The 14-year veteran was placed on leave and later resigned in 2004 after the department asked the Kansas Bureau of Investigation to look into cases he had handled.

Originally charged with 100 felonies and misdemeanors, Pfortmiller pleaded no contest in July to 50 felonies.

The prosecution said he took more than $20,000 from the department, claiming it would be used to buy drugs, and filed police reports claiming that drug buys had occurred.

That led to the issuance of false arrest warrants - and helped foster a contempt for the law, the judge who sentenced Pfortmiller said.

"Major cases have been dismissed, and most shocking, citizens of our community have been set up, accused and warrants issued for their arrest for crimes they did not commit," said Shawnee County District Judge Eric Rosen.

The normal sentence for Pfortmiller would have been probation. But Steve Karrer, a Shawnee County assistant district attorney, sought a stiffer sentence based on what he contended was Pfortmiller's breach of duty to the community.

Defense attorney Jerry Berger argued against prison time, noting that Pfortmiller is an active member of Gamblers Anonymous and, along with his wife, had started a group to aid spouses of gambling addicts.

Pfortmiller apologized at the sentencing hearing.

"I committed the crimes. I committed them on my own. You will never see me in front of this court again," he said. "I'm so sorry for being here."


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