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Man fundraising for Deputy Gumm's family under investigation at unrelated charity

DA's office confirms embezzlement investigation
Posted at 5:48 PM, Feb 01, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-01 21:23:37-05

DENVER – The head of a police organization actively raising money for the family of an Adams County Sheriff deputy killed last week is under investigation for allegedly improperly taking more than $30,000 from a different charity last year, Denver7 investigative reporter Jace Larson has confirmed.

Frank Gale, who has not been charged with a crime, is currently the executive director of the Colorado Police Officers Foundation and has been actively raising money that the organization’s website says will go to Heath Gumm’s family. The foundation’s president, Stephen Schulz, says Gale is not in control of the money.

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The Colorado Police Officer’s Foundation, part of the Fraternal Order of Police, is not the same organization as the Adams County Sheriff’s Foundation, which is also raising money for Gumm’s family and is considered the official fundraising site.

Previously, Frank Gale was the head of Ecumenical Refugee and Immigration Services., Inc., a nonprofit group which worked on behalf of immigrants. 

That group's bookkeeper discovered a $32,778.85 check Gale allegedly wrote to himself in April of 2017 from the nonprofit's bank account, two years after the charity shut down, according to a court document.

The charity shut down and the check’s memo line read “reimbursement and consulting fee.”

Court records indicate the check was deposited into an account, whose owner was Franklin Gale.

Ecumenical Refugee and Immigration Services., Inc. kept its bank account open to receive restitution payments from a case where two other individuals stole money from the organization, court records detail.

The Denver District Attorney’s Office is investigating, spokesman Ken Lane confirmed to Denver7. 

Court documents show the investigation has been going on since July 2017 and show the bookkeeper emailed a copy to the Denver District Attorney’s office after learning of the DA's actions.

The bookkeeper told investigators she didn’t know why Gale would be entitled to consulting fees since the nonprofit was closed.

Gale’s attorney, Reid Elkis, told Denver7 that allegations money was improperly taken are unsubstantiated. Elkis declined to say if or why Gale wrote a check to himself.

“Frank Gale has spent his entire career giving back. There are no facts to support these claims,” Elkis said.

An accounting expert says it would be uncommon for the head of an organization to write himself a check of that size.

“It raises so many red flags,” said Gregory Clifton, who leads the accounting department at Metropolitan State University of Denver.

February marks the investigation’s eighth month.

Denver defense attorney David Beller said investigations that follow the money do not wrap up quickly.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean that anything criminal has happened, but certainly the investigators at this stage are following the evidence,” Beller said. “What the investigators look at is, what was the reason for the check being written number one and number two was it a legitimate reason? Was it a truthful reason?”

The Colorado Police Officers Foundation’s website shows it raised $74,000 as of Jan. 29. The website says all money donated, except for a credit card fee, will go to the Gumm family.