DENVER — A former Denver Sheriff Department division chief has been accused of stealing more than $50,000 from a now-defunct charity he once led.
Franklin Gale, 55, is being charged with money laundering and theft among other charges for writing checks to himself from the baking account of the Ecumenical Refugee And Immigration Services (ERIS), according to an indictment.
According to the indictment, Gale deposited checks totaling $48,668 between November 2015 and April 2017 into an account he had established for his son, who is a minor. He would then either withdraw or transfer that money from his son's account and put it into other accounts he owned.
Beginning in January 2014, another ERIS employee, Genevieve Cruz, was being investigated for theft and charitable fraud, the indictment read.
The charity lost most of their funding and supporters and it closed in May 2015. The current President of the Board of Directors at the time resigned his position and Gale was selected to facilitate the closing of the non-profit.
Cruz pleaded guilty to the theft in 2016 and was ordered to pay $50,000 in restitution to ERIS, according to the indictment against Gale. The money was intended to pay off any outstanding bills and any excess would be given to another nonprofit.
Between June 2016 and January 2017, Gale deposited the restitution checks into ERIS's bank account, the indictment says.
According to the indictment, it was both before and after these payments that Gale wrote a total 15 checks from the ERIS account to himself.
Gale is also accused of forging the name and signature of an ERIS board director on the title of a truck owned by the nonprofit and then transferring that title to his name.
Gale's first court appearance is scheduled for October 15.
Reid Elkus, an attorney representing Gale, said "we are defending it (the case) zealously," and declined to comment further.
The alleged thefts occurred just over a year after the former Denver Sheriff's Department Division chief was fired. Gale was let go in January 2015. According to his letter of discipline, he was let go due to neglect of duty, an act of dishonesty (citing lying to superiors or falsifying records with respect to official duties), failure to comply with the lawful orders of an authorized supervisor or failing to do assigned work and his failure to observe written departmental or agency regulations.
In September 2016, Gale sued the city over his firing.
Gale served as the president of the Colorado State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police for eight years, the indictment says. He's currently listed as the executive director of the Colorado Police Officers Foundation on their website.
The foundation collected money for fallen Adams County deputy Heath Gumm in January 2018. Gale was the executive director at the time.
The Colorado State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police issued a statement defending Gale on Thursday afternoon. It reads, in part, "we will stand by [Gale] throughout the legal process, which in the end, will demonstrate that he did nothing wrong."
The statement also called the investigation "politically motivated" with the intent to "smear the name of Frank Gale and the Fraternal Order of Police."