Former cop pleads not guilty to embezzling LGBT funds

A former San Francisco police officer charged with embezzlement and grand theft stemming from allegations that he took money from an LGBT police officer organization more than a year ago, pleaded not guilty to the charges in court Tuesday.

Former San Francisco police Officer Mike Evans was booked into San Francisco County Jail last week and released after posting $15,000 bail.

Evans was in court this afternoon just long enough to enter a not guilty plea and have his next court date set for two months from now.

San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr said last week that Evans has, apparently, since repaid roughly $15,000 to the San Francisco Police Officer’s Pride Alliance, an LGBT police officers organization, from which Evans is accused of embezzling funds.

However, neither the Pride Alliance nor the police department have confirmed the amount allegedly taken from the organization.

San Francisco District Attorney’s Office spokesman Max Szabo said today that he didn’t know how much Evans was accused of embezzling from the Pride Alliance or how much he might have repaid.

The LGBT police officers organization advocates for equal opportunities for its members and provides safe and open social gatherings for LGBT officers, family and friends, according to their website.

Suhr said last week that the charges against Evans of felony embezzlement and felony grand theft stem from an internal audit by the Pride Alliance done in January 2014 that detected missing money and found Evans responsible.

Seven months after the audit, in late August 2014, the Pride Alliance brought the issue up in a meeting, at which the Pride Alliance president, since-retired San Francisco police Lt. Chuck Limbert, is said to have dismissed the allegations against Evans, according to Suhr.

However, other members of the Pride Alliance brought the allegations to the attention of the Police Department and in September 2014, an internal investigation into the matter was launched, according to San Francisco police spokesman Albie Esparza.

A criminal investigation into the allegations against Evans was initiated on Sept. 11, 2014, Suhr said.

Less than a month later, in October, Evans apparently made restitution of roughly $15,000 to the Pride Alliance. Suhr said that civil remedy “may or may not have been thought, by then-president Limbert, to be sufficient.” Esparza said he didn’t know how much money Evans had been accused of embezzling from the organization or what Evans may have purchased with the money.

Shortly thereafter, Evans resigned and Lt. Limbert retired from the Police Department.

Evans joined the department in March 2007 and left the department on Dec. 20, 2014, according to San Francisco police spokeswoman Officer Grace Gatpandan.

Police presented their criminal case to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office in June of this year for a charging decision, Suhr said.

On July 1, an arrest warrant was issued for felony grand theft and felony embezzlement against Evans, who was located in San Antonio, Texas.

Police arrested Evans on Sept. 10 in San Antonio and then brought him back to San Francisco.

Suhr said he knows that Evans was “going through some personal issues at the time,” but said he isn’t aware of the depth and breadth of those issues.

Suhr said San Francisco police officers “expect to be held to the highest standards” and that when the department is made aware of a criminal complaint against an officer, they do a full investigation and seek a charging decision “as anyone would and should expect of us.” The police chief said he wasn’t aware of any motive in connection with the alleged embezzlement.

San Francisco District Attorney’s Office spokesman Max Szabo said that Evans is expected back in court at 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 3 for a pre-hearing conference.