From left: Douglas Williams, Sherry Williams, Michael Hughes
By: Sharon Aron Baron
Three Coral Springs Police Officers and former Fraternal Order of Police Executive Boards members were charged this week on grand theft and organized scheme to defraud charges.
The Broward County State Attorney’s Office has announced that they are filing criminal charges against former leaders of the Coral Springs Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), Lodge 87 after an extensive investigation into thousands of emails, bank records, receipts, tax returns and other documents.
The following persons are being charged: Douglas (Doug) Williams, former President of the FOP Lodge 87 was charged with one count of Grand Theft, a third degree Felony; his wife Sherry Williams, was an economic crimes detective and former treasurer was charged with one count of first degree Felony as well as seven counts of Grand Theft, which is a third degree felony; and Michael Hughes, an undercover detective, who was a former President and Vice President was charged with a second degree Felony and four counts of Grand Theft.
Doug Williams has turned himself in on Tuesday, his wife and Michael Hughes have not at this time.
The members of the FOP are deeply disappointed by the actions of the former officers.
In the law enforcement community, we consider ourselves brothers and sisters of our fellow co-workers, and to discover that our leaders were stealing money from us is such a huge betrayal of trust.” – Current FOP President Glenn Matonak.
The investigation began a few months after a new executive board took over the administration of the FOP in January 2012, it was then they discovered suspicious business practices and transactions in the bank accounts. The also discovered that the lodge’s tax return contained fictitious figures and were not accurate.
After consultation with their accountant and attorneys, they hired a forensic accountant to conduct a review of the books. His findings were that, from January 2006 through December 2011, there were excessive amounts of cash withdrawals, charges at restaurants, bars, retailers, grocery stores, and other miscellaneous stores that were not supported by receipts or invoices. Based on the advice of their attorneys and the findings of the accountant, they voted unanimously to initiate a criminal investigation.
Since the new board has taken over in 2012, the lodge now has new procedures in place to ensure that this kind of embezzlement does not occur again.