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Ambridge Police Chief Accused Of Fraudulently Receiving Disability Pay, Harassing Officers

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AMBRIDGE (KDKA) -- The Ambridge Police chief is facing multiple criminal charges following a state police investigation.

James Mann, 61, was placed on leave back in April following complaints from several officers.

Mann is facing a number of charges that were filed Thursday, including fraud, theft by deception, harassment and witness intimidation.

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According to a criminal complaint, the Ambridge Mayor contacted the Pennsylvania State Police after someone left him a letter alleging Mann had committed a theft.

Mann underwent back surgery in December of 2016 and, according to his neurosurgeon, was disabled for at least eight weeks.

The complaint says Mann ran out of sick time, compensatory time and vacation time in 2017, but he continued to get paid his full wage, while also collecting about $27,000 in disability payments, by filing time sheets for sick time, compensatory time and vacation time.

Additionally, ten different Ambridge Borough Police officers told State Police Mann had repeatedly made threats and harassed them, saying "I'm going to cut the cancer from the department" and "I'm firing everyone."

Mann allegedly suspended one officer, verbally assaulted and poked another officer, and threatened to fire two officers and a lieutenant for cooperating with the investigation.

In a press release, Ambridge Borough solicitor Richard F. Start said the charges will be the subject of an executive session and a special meeting of Borough Council in the immediate future.

"It is expected that action shall be taken regarding this matter with no further public comment as this is a matter of Personnel which, for the time being, is required by law to remain private and confidential," the release said.

Mann's defense attorney, Stephen Colafella, called the allegations "ridiculous."

"It is a case that is motivated entirely by a handful of insurgents and the mayor, who made no secret of the fact that he was going to get rid of Chief Mann," defense attorney Stephen Colafella said.

"I'm just looking forward to coming back to work," Mann said.


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