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by Robert Anglen
Thursday, Dec. 14, 2006 at 8:42 AM
Isn't it great the cops have a double standard about releasing information about criminals. One standard for the general public and the world "NO" when it comes to releasing information about criminal cops - Chandler Police Department would not release basic public information, such as Forward's date of hire, his job title or his salary. The department routinely releases information on suspects who are not police officers without notice.
Chandler officer is indicted
Charges tied to suspects in church charity case
Dec. 13, 2006 12:00 AM
A grand jury indicted a Chandler police officer Tuesday on 10 felony counts of supplying suspects in a state fraud case with investigative files and using police computers to dig up information on witnesses and a prosecutor.
Bradley Forward faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted of hindering prosecution, stealing and destroying public records, computer tampering and illegally releasing criminal histories.
He is accused of helping the owners of a non-profit company that state and federal investigators say orchestrated a fraud scheme that has netted millions of dollars from churchgoers in Arizona and 12 other states.
Forward, who is on paid administrative leave from the Chandler Police Department, is scheduled to make his first court appearance Dec. 26. In a brief interview at his Gilbert home Tuesday, Forward said he was sorry for putting Chandler in a negative light.
"I regret that this situation happened only because the Chandler Police Department is one of the top agencies in the state, and it doesn't deserve the negative attention it is going to get," he said. "I apologize to the Police Department and the citizens of Chandler."
Forward would not talk about any details of the case.
"These unauthorized uses of confidential public safety information are serious crimes," Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said in a written statement. "The abuse of a position of public trust cannot be tolerated."
The indictment alleges that Forward lied to investigators with the Arizona Corporation Commission in order to get hold of confidential investigative files, which he turned over to the suspects in the case.
For more than a year, the commission has been investigating Ed Purvis and Gregg Wolfe, owners of Nakami Chi Group Ministries International, a non-profit company that promised investors their money would be used to fund Christian charities while generating 24 percent returns.
"Forward falsely represented that the Chandler Police Department was investigating Edward Purvis," the indictment said. "(He) then caused portions of the confidential Arizona Corporation Commission file to be provided to Edward Purvis and/or Gregg Wolfe."
Ties to Nakami unclear
It is unclear what connection Forward has to Purvis or Wolfe, who both live in Chandler. The indictment said Forward deceived investigators from the Attorney General's Office, telling them in interviews that he had never had contact with Purvis.
Purvis and Wolfe have denied any wrongdoing in the fraud case.
According to the indictment, Forward also used police computers to run criminal background checks and obtain personal information on two witnesses and the lead prosecutor in the fraud case against Purvis and Wolfe.
Information contained in police systems goes beyond public records and can include things such as driver's license information, home addresses, phone numbers, criminal and arrest records, and Social Security information.
The indictment said Forward used the Arizona criminal-justice information system and criminal record information "to access vehicle registration information relating to Rachel Strachan, an attorney at the Arizona Corporation Commission."
Goddard said in his statement that the information on Strachan and the witnesses was provided to Purvis and Wolfe.
Career at stake
Chandler Police Department officials refused Tuesday to discuss Forward or the case.
The department would not release basic public information, such as Forward's date of hire, his job title or his salary.
Department officials said they wanted to give Forward time to get a court order to prevent the release of his personnel records, including any commendations or discipline he may have received since being hired.
The department routinely releases information on suspects without notice.
Public-record searches show that Forward is 30 years old and lives in Gilbert.
Before coming to the Valley in the late 1990s, he lived in Cleveland. He graduated from Arizona State University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in justice studies.
In addition to possible prison time, if convicted of a felony, Forward would lose his job and his state law enforcement certification.
Investors say Purvis and Wolfe told them that their company was worth 0 billion and controlled assets around the world, including gold mines, Australian developments, telecommunication firms, banks and a Phoenix technology company.
An Arizona Republic investigation in September raised questions about the size and holdings of Nakami, which uses a Scottsdale post office box as its company business address.
State records show Purvis is a licensed practical nurse living in a home valued at 0,000 and Wolfe is a former roofing contractor.
Records also show Purvis and Wolfe do not have broker, lender or banking licenses and have not filed paperwork in Arizona related to mines in the state.
In recent court filings, Corporation Commission investigators said that hundreds of thousands in investor money was used by Purvis for gambling, credit cards, jewelry, a down payment on a new house, a restaurant, a new car, loan payments and cash withdrawals, among other things.
Pastors and members at Vineyard Church in Avondale and Chandler Christian Church, some of whom have invested in Nakami, have steadfastly defended Purvis and Wolfe.
They say there is no evidence of wrongdoing.
Reporter Sarah Muench contributed to this article. Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or (602) 444-8694.
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