Fort Lauderdale Police Officer David McElligott was charged yesterday with wire fraud after allegedly defrauding the city for supplemental pay while serving in the Air Force.
After 9/11, the Fort Lauderdale Commission put a supplemental military pay policy that would give city employees called to active military service money to bring their base military pay up to what they were earning with the city.
According to federal court documents, McElligott didn't quite follow the rules of that policy.
McElligott was on active duty in the Air Force Reserve beginning ten days after 9/11 and, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office, operated his alleged scam against the City of Fort Lauderdale between September 2003 and October 2011.
The feds say McElligott gave "fabricated, falsified and altered" military earnings statements and military orders to the city and the police department in order to get more supplemental pay and benefits as a city employee.
The documents state that McElligott changed his earnings statements to make it appear is if he was getting paid less than he actually was and also altered his military orders to make it look like he was on active duty on an involuntary basis.
According to the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, an employee returning from military service has reemployment rights when he or she returns only if they're not away from their job from more than five years. If that military service is involuntary, though, that time doesn't count toward the five-year threshhold.
The U.S. Attorney's Office alleges McElligott continued his service voluntarily, but the military orders he provided the city and the police department stated that he was serving involuntarily.
Under the broad definition of wire fraud, McElligott's allegedly sending an email from Robins Air Force Base in Georgia to the Fort Lauderdale PD's payroll department qualifies.
The feds recommended McElligott's bond be set at $50,000, and the charge carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a $250,000 fine.
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McElligott was hired by the Fort Lauderdale Police Department in December 1991.