Detroit police chief, ex-aide accused of stealing funds


DETROIT -- This city's police chief and a former deputy chief who was a business partner of Mayor Coleman Young were indicted yesterday in a federal probe of the theft of nearly $2.6 million from a secret police fund.

A grand jury indicted Police Chief William Hart on seven counts and the former deputy chief, Kenneth Weiner, on five counts, said U.S. Attorney Stephen Markman.

The grand jury cleared Mr. Young of any wrongdoing, he added.

For 18 months, the grand jury has been investigating the alleged disappearance of money from a secret police department fund set up to pay informers, buy drugs and conduct undercover investigations.

Mr. Markman said 54 checks totaling $1.29 million were drawn from the secret fund from 1986 through 1988 and deposited in businesses controlled by Weiner. Chief Hart also was charged with stealing an additional $1.29 million from the fund by cashing 98 checks from 1982 through 1989.

Weiner reportedly channeled some of the police money to a dummy corporation in California. Documents show the company paid $72,000 in rent on a Beverly Hills home occupied by Chief Hart's daughter and son-in-law.

Charges against Chief Hart include embezzlement of public funds and obstruction of justice, both of which carry a maximum sentence of 10 years, conspiracy, which carries a five-year maximum, and income-tax evasion, which carries a top penalty of three years.

Weiner is charged with embezzlement, conspiracy and tax evasion.

A Detroit police spokeswoman, Allene Ray, said neither Chief Hart nor the department would comment on the indictments. In the past, Chief Hart has denied misusing the fund and has accused Weiner of embezzling from it.

Mr. Young's press secretary, Bob Berg, didn't return a call.

In an unrelated federal case, Weiner, 44, was convicted last month of 40 charges in a multimillion-dollar investment fraud scheme involving precious metals.

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