Michigan Police Officers Accused Of Bridge Card Fraud - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Michigan Police Officers Accused Of Bridge Card Fraud

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(WLNS) - Lansing police officials are investigating possible cases of bridge card fraud within their own ranks.

In 2013 the Lansing Police Department requested Michigan State Police investigate the same issue within the Lansing Police Department.
Today 6 News obtained a part of MSP’s report.

As 6 News Joe Khalil reports their findings were unsettling.
In 2013 former Police Chief Theresa Szymanski learned of allegations officers in LPD’s special operations division used USDA issued bridge cards meant for investigating fraud to buy steaks, drinks and snack food for themselves.

Current Police Chief Mike Yankowski says she responded appropriately.

"She immediately ceased all bridge card investigations. She removed and re-assigned all leadership in the special operations. Then contacted the Michigan State Police and requested they do an investigation into the allegations,” said Mike Yankowski, Lansing Police Chief.

State police did investigate and found LPD special ops made several bridge card purchases at stores where there was no active investigation relayed to the USDA.

The report also quotes a former LPD special ops administrative worker who says officers often came back with bags and bags of food essentially to stock their own kitchen, with steaks, hot dogs and peanut butter to name a few items.

The woman admitted at times she took food officers bought with a bridge card saying quote, “I love a good snack for breakfast, a bag of chips, I never had any steaks or hot dogs, they'd grill that on the afternoon shift.”

"These bridge cards are designed to feed hungry families,” said State Senator Rick Jones, (r), Grand Ledge.

State Senator Rick Jones has introduced a number of bills to combat bridge card fraud.

A former sheriff, he says there are only three ways police are allowed to use what they get on stings.

"You book it into evidence and you charge somebody, you destroy it, or you give it to a food shelter."

He says any personal use is not only immoral, it's illegal.

Michigan State Police turned their report in to the Attorney General's office. He's says there's no evidence of wrong-doing within the department.

But Lansing police officials say they have their own standard of conduct and will continue to investigate their own department.
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