Former Fairview Twp. officer to serve prison time
HARRISBURG — The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Tyson Baker, age 43, of Etters, Pennsylvania, was sentenced today by United States District Court Judge Sylvia H. Rambo to 42 months’ imprisonment and two years’ supervised release for theft of seized money that was evidence in two separate drug cases.
Judge Rambo also ordered Baker to pay $1,000 restitution to Fairview Township Police Department and $330 restitution to the FBI. Baker is to report to the Bureau of Prisons on April 2, 2018.
According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, Baker, a former 17 year veteran police officer with the Fairview Township Police Department, was convicted on September 14, 2017, after a four-day trial before Judge Rambo. Baker was convicted of two counts of theft of drug money that was subject to seizure and forfeiture, one count of falsifying or altering records to impede, obstruct or influence a federal drug investigation regarding the first incident, one count of theft of federal property, and one count of presenting a false police report to the FBI.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Harrisburg received information that Baker stole money from drug traffickers who were arrested, the subject of traffic stops, or both. On November 21, 2015, Baker orchestrated the theft of $2,000 in drug proceeds seized by the Fairview Township Police Department during a search of a residence that resulted in the seizure of several pounds of marijuana and approximately $15,000. On December 16, 2015, the FBI arranged for an undercover vehicle operated by an undercover FBI agent to be stopped by Fairview Township. Baker had the vehicle towed from the scene and, without a warrant and in spite of directions from an FBI agent not to search the vehicle, Baker searched the vehicle and stole $3,000 out of $15,000 concealed in a gym bag in the back of the vehicle. The undercover vehicle was equipped with video recording equipment that recorded Baker going through the vehicle without a warrant. On December 18, 2015, Baker was arrested by the FBI and confessed to both incidents.
“Because of his status as a law enforcement officer, Baker’s actions not only violated state and federal laws, but also had a direct negative impact on state and federal cases where he served as an investigator or witness,” said United States Attorney Freed. “The excellent cooperative investigation followed by Judge Rambo’s sentence send a strong message that this type of conduct will be vigorously prosecuted and punished.”
“When an officer shrugs off his sworn oath, breaking the law to pad his paycheck, he betrays the people of his community – and all of us who wear a badge,” said Michael Harpster, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Philadelphia Division. “Removing rogue officers from the ranks is vital. The FBI will continue to investigate police corruption and bring those responsible to justice. No one is above the law.”
The case was investigated by the Harrisburg Resident Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Pennsylvania State Police, the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General, and the Fairview Township Police Department. Assistant United States Attorneys William A. Behe and Michael Consiglio prosecuted the case.
Source: United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania