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Court filing: Indicted PCSD official Radtke acting 'on behalf of employer'

A former chief deputy with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department scheduled to go to trial Jan. 24 on federal theft and money laundering charges will argue he was “acting within the lawful scope and authority of his employment.”

Christopher Radtke’s attorney, Sean Chapman of Tucson, filed a Notice of Public Authority Defense on Wednesday in U.S. District Court. According to the document, Radtke was acting “on behalf of and in the interests of his employer,” with respect to the crimes alleged in his September indictment.

Radtke is facing one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and six counts of theft after a yearlong FBI investigation revealed the misuse of $500,000 in RICO money.

The indictment alleges Radtke conspired "with persons known and unknown" over five years to circumvent the rules regarding funds generated when law enforcement agencies seize assets during criminal investigations.

Federal authorities believe Radtke and the others told the Pima County Attorney's Office, which oversees RICO funds, that the department was giving the money to the Sheriff's Auxiliary Volunteers in Tucson, when, in fact, they were using the funds for the department and “others affiliated with the defendant."

The Sheriff’s Department has three SAV organizations run independently from one another. The volunteers assist the department in various operations, including patrol, crime prevention, Neighborhood Watch and fingerprinting.

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Chris Radtke