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FBI examines records from Pittsburgh police chief's office account

| Friday, Feb. 15, 2013, 9:45 a.m.
A federal grand jury indicted ousted Pittsburgh police Chief Nate Harper for conspiracy to take public money and failure to file tax returns. Prosecutors charged Harper, 60, of Stanton Heights with four counts of failure to pay taxes on his $110,000 salary and one count of conspiracy.

FBI agents took records this week from the Pittsburgh police chief's office account at the Greater Pittsburgh Police Federal Credit Union in Elliott, the president of the board of directors said on Thursday.

“They came in with a subpoena and took several records from us,” said Frank Amity, a retired city homicide detective. “They've been here, back and forth, for the last week or so.

“They are interested in an account opened by the chief's office,” Amity said. “They subpoenaed records from that account. They wouldn't tell us why or what they are looking for.”

Harper could not be reached for comment. Police spokeswoman Diane Richard said she was unaware of the account.

Amity, who retired from the city in 1987, said the names of several people are on the account, but he would not identify them, saying such information is confidential.

The record seizure came in the same week that FBI agents took records from police headquarters. On Tuesday, agents carried at least nine boxes out of headquarters in the North Side related to secondary employment, training and travel from the special events, personnel and finance offices. City solicitor Dan Regan said the seizure came from a grand jury subpoena.

A federal grand jury is investigating whether Harper, 60, of Stanton Heights was involved in awarding a contract to a shell company set up by his one-time friend Art Bedway, 63, of Robinson. It's unclear if the records seizure this week is connected to the Bedway case.

Margaret Philbin, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office, declined to comment. FBI spokeswoman Kelly Kochamba did not return a call for comment.

Mayor Luke Ravenstahl last week asked for an outside review of police policies on officers holding secondary jobs because of concerns over the consultant firm Harper created with Cmdr. Eric Holmes, Sgt. Barry Budd, Officer Tonya Montgomery-Ford and Tamara Davis, a civilian clerk.

Michael Hasch and Bobby Kerlik are staff writersfor Trib Total Media. Hasch can be reached at412-320-7820 or mhasch@tribweb.com. Kerlik canbe reached at 412-320-7886 or bkerlik@tribweb.com.Staff writer Margaret Harding contributed to this report.

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