A New Hampshire sheriff is facing numerous charges after allegedly using thousands of dollars of county funds for personal expenses and lying to a jury about it.
Strafford County Sheriff Mark Brave is charged with eight felonies as part of an ongoing investigation into his misuse of county credit cards.
According to the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office, he faces one count of theft by deception, two counts of falsifying physical evidence, and five counts of perjury.
He faces up to 31.5 to 64 years in prison and fines of up to $32,000 if convicted on all counts.
Brave allegedly spent $19,000 of Strafford County credit cards on personal expenses, including airfare, hotel stays, and dinners for personal trips to Boston and Florida, amongst other locations.
To cover up the personal nature of these costs, he allegedly said he was going to conferences and meetings he did not attend, that did not exist, or for organizations that were made up. Similarly, officials say he falsified receipts to cover his tracks.
When confronted about these allegations, the AG’s office says Brave lied to a grand jury while giving testimony.
The first of his perjury charges involved a female employee traveling with him to Florida, where Brave claimed she stayed in a different hotel from him, which investigators say was false. After the employee walked back her story and said she did stay with Brave, he allegedly repeated her earlier version of events, denying they stayed in the same room.
Another incident involved Brave allegedly attending events for a fake law enforcement agency.
Brave also claimed he took a trip to Maryland to meet with U.S. Representative Chris Pappas. He told a grand jury that the Congressman had to cancel the meeting but gave him a flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol as an apology. Pappas’s office says a meeting was never scheduled and a flag was never given as a gift. Prosecutors say Brave used the Maryland trip to meet with a lover.
The attorney general’s office also says Brave used county funds for a dinner cruise and hotel stay in Boston, where he allegedly told a grand jury it was for him and a male deputy to attend a charity fundraiser. Instead, he allegedly bought the tickets the same day as the cruise for himself and a lover to attend on her birthday. Brave alleged to a jury he didn’t remember the cruise but later admitted the paramour spent the night with him at the hotel for romantic and sexual purposes.
“The decision to charge an elected constitutional officer was not made lightly,” said Attorney General Formella. “However, no person is above the law, and the evidence in this case required action. It is my hope that the public will be reassured that there will be equal justice under the law for every person in this State – including public officials.”
Brave was released on personal recognizance pending arraignment in superior court.
The case is being investigated by the New Hampshire Department of Justice and the New Hampshire Department of Justice’s Public Integrity Unit.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
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