Former Police Officer Convicted on Corruption Charges
HARRISBURG – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that a former 17 year veteran police officer with the Fairview Township Police Department, Tyson Baker, age 43, of Etters, York, Pennsylvania, was convicted on September 14, 2017, on charges stemming from the theft of seized money that was evidence in two separate drug cases. The four-day trial was held before United States District Court Judge Sylvia H. Rambo in Harrisburg.
According to United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, the jury returned the guilty verdict after approximately three hours of deliberation. 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. He was found not guilty of one count of falsifying or altering records to impede regarding the second incident.
The evidence presented during the trial showed the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Harrisburg received information that Baker might be stealing 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. At the time another officer with the Fairview Township Police Department cooperating with the FBI, recorded conversations with Baker regarding the theft in which Baker discussed how the officer should steal drug proceeds from drug traffickers during traffic stops.
On December 16, 2015, the FBI, with the full cooperation of the Fairview Township Police Department, 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 searching the vehicle without a warrant. On December 18, 2015, Baker was arrested by the FBI and confessed to both incidents.
Fairview Township Police Department cooperated fully with the FBI and state law enforcement in the investigation.
A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
The combined maximum penalty under federal law is 45 years. There is also a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and $1,250,000 in fines. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.
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.
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