(OKLAHOMA CITY) -- Two longtime Oklahoma City police officers were accused Wednesday of playing golf when they should have been patrolling streets.
Criminal charges of obtaining money by false pretenses were filed Wednesday against Lt. Michael T. Nard, 46, and Lt. Dennis R. Prater, 52.
Prosecutors allege the police officers defrauded the city by submitting employee time cards to reflect they were working when they actually were golfing.
Both men were placed on administrative leave without pay by Police Chief M.T. Berry. Prater has worked for the Oklahoma City Police Department since Sept. 24, 1971. Nard has worked there since Feb. 2, 1979.
"We are regretful that this situation has occurred," Berry said Wednesday. "But I think it is a good example of the police department policing itself."
Prater is charged with 12 felony counts and one misdemeanor count. A misdemeanor count involves an allegation of less than $50.Nard is charged with 11 felony counts and three misdemeanor counts. Each count carries a possible punishment of one year in jail and a fine of $5,000.
Oklahoma County prosecutors filed charges alleging the illegal activity occurred from September 1999 until July. Oklahoma County District Attorney Bob Macy declined comment.
According to the charges, police were contacted by an anonymous caller in June who accused Prater and Nard of playing golf while on duty. After researching records at the Hefner Golf Course, investigators learned Nard and Prater had signed courtesy rosters and golf tee-time sheets during hours that police records showed them to be working, court records show.
Berry said the officers were able to get away with lying on their time cards because no one was directly monitoring all of their activities. Both men are patrol supervisors working out of the Hefner division, said Nard's attorney, Irven Box. Box said the allegations might warrant disciplinary action, but they do not merit criminal prosecution. The matter should have been handled administratively within the police department, he said.
"Criminal charges should be filed against people who are really criminals and not someone who abuses leave time," Box said.
The police department has begun an internal audit of time records to see if there is evidence of other officers engaged in similar activities, Berry said.
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