State completes investigation into Pima County Sheriff’s Department money-laundering scheme

State completes investigation into Pima County Sheriff’s Department money-laundering scheme
Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier released a statement about the Arizona Attorney General's investigation into an internal money-laundering scheme on Friday, July 17, 2020. (Source: Pima County Sheriff's Department)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A state investigation into a money-laundering scheme within the Pima County Sheriff Department found no criminal acts by current employees.

Also, state charges will not be sought because the case has already been handled by the federal government.

Chief Deputy Chris Radtke, Chief of Staff Brad Gagnepain and others were accused of funneling almost $500,000 in RICO funds through the Sheriff’s Auxiliary Volunteers fund.

In May 2017, Radtke was sentenced in federal court and received probation for one year, a $3,000 fine and 100 hours of community service. Radtke also agreed not to seek a law enforcement job in the county.

He had been facing far more serious charges — conspiracy to commit money laundering and theft concerning programs receiving federal funds. Radtke accepted a deal and pleaded guilty to three misdemeanor counts of theft of public money.

Gagnepain died by suicide in June 2016 and the case against him ended.

Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier said he asked the state to look at the case because “there were still lingering concerns in the community and within the department that current/former members of the department may have escaped justice in this matter and/or that the federal investigation failed to address possible state corruption charges.”

Napier requested the investigation shortly after taking office in 2017. Napier defeated incumbent Chris Nanos in November 2016 and the two could face-off again this year.

Nanos was appointed sheriff in 2015 when Clarence Dupnik resigned after spending more than three decades as the county’s top cop.

In response to the investigation, Napier noted the report does place some responsibility Dupnik.

“Ultimately, the agency head is responsible for thoroughly reviewing and recommending approval of RICO expenditures with respect to both legality and appropriateness,” Napier wrote.

The orchestrators of the scheme used RICO money to fund “illegal or inappropriate expenditures to purchase personal items, support extravagant department ceremonies, and purchase items for a café,” Napier wrote in the release.

Radtke admitted to using a Sheriff’s Auxiliary Volunteers check in the amount of $926 to reimburse the Sheriff’s Department special awards fund. Part of that money was for a $250 restaurant bill and $109.09 for a microwave oven for the department in May 2011.

Radtke also admitted to spending nearly $600 on the SAV credit card for model airplanes.

Radtke said he used SAV funds, around $500, to hire an artist to design a menu for the department cafe. The cafe was owned and operated by Radtke’s niece.

“This dark chapter in the history of the Sheriff ‘s Department is now closed,” Napier wrote. “As is always the case, the bad actions of a few should not tarnish the honorable service of the many. We have been serving this county with honor since 1865 and will continue to do so.”

Read Napier’s full response HERE and below.

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