Sheriff’s Deputy implicated in multi-million dollar bank and investment fraud

October 23, 2019 - 11:44pm

A federal grand jury indictment unsealed Wednesday accused a veteran investigator with the Dodge County Sheriff's Office of a multi-million dollar business fraud scheme. 

Craig Harbaugh (Dodge Co Sheriff Photo)

Section from Federal Grand Jury report

On Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney for Nebraska unsealed a 15-count indictment against Craig Harbaugh, claiming the sheriff's investigator defrauded his bank and six acquaintances out of $10,979,214. 

If true, the allegations against Harbaugh would appear to be part of an effort to save his struggling business, Tactical Solutions Gear, as it skidded towards a bankruptcy filing. 

For nearly 17 years, Harbaugh had a side business in addition to his law enforcement responsibilities. He owned Tactical Solutions Gear in Fremont, selling law enforcement and military tactical equipment. His inventory included firearms, accessories, night vision gear and body armor. It's website claimed TSG was "the area's leading firearms store serving Dodge County and surrounding areas."

The indictment claims the sheriff's officer lied and falsified records, convincing investors and loan officers at Great Western Bank that multi-million dollar sales of merchandise were underway to clients like the Nebraska State Patrol and defense contractors. The indictment indicates no such sales occurred.

Harbaugh, through his court-appointed attorney, pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court at a hearing in Omaha. Prosecutors did not oppose releasing the former deputy without bond, but Assistant U.S. Attorney Lesley A. Woods raised concerns about Harbaugh's contact with the alleged victims. She told Magistrate Michael Nelson, "A few special agents have asked Mr. Harbaugh to stop contacting the victims in this case and he has continued to do so on a repeated basis." She asked Harbaugh be given a no-contact order with the victims, which the court included in his instructions for release. 

Five of the victims, unidentified in the indictment, were in the courtroom during the plea hearing. 

Court records quote a text message sent to Harbaugh by one of his investors back in July. "Thanks a lot for losing all of (our) retirement money. One million 344 thousand dollars. You just kept taking (our) money." Harbaugh texted back: "I swear that your money is good. I did not lose it. You will have it on Monday." That check apparently never arrived. Harbaugh had begun filing bankruptcy for his business in federal court.



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