CARLISLE, Pa. (WHTM) — A civil suit filed in Cumberland County reveals a former police chief and director of public safety for Middlesex Township is under investigation for fraud.
A former Middlesex Township police officer, Andrew Wolfe, filed a civil lawsuit against the township and his former chief, Barry Sherman.
Sherman made headlines in 2016 when he resigned as police chief and was immediately appointed public safety director, allowing him to collect a paycheck and retirement from the township.
Wolfe’s attorney, who did not want to comment on the civil case, filed a complaint last week that accuses Middlesex Township and Sherman of whistleblower retaliation, wrongful discharge, and violating the Pennsylvania Wiretap Act. The complaint also reveals a Pennsylvania State Police investigation into Sherman for allegedly falsifying reports and grants.
In the complaint, Wolfe claims after he suffered an injury on the job that required surgery and time off from work, Sherman demoted him when he returned in September 2015, no longer assigning him to the tractor-trailer enforcement mission, although he was senior to several other police officers.
The complaint states Wolfe became a victim of harassment on the job and both Sherman and Middlesex Township violated the Pennsylvania Wiretap Act when audio listening or recording devices were placed in the police department squad room and in Wolfe’s police vehicle in an attempt to obtain information that could be used against him.
The complaint also reveals that on April 12, 2016, Wolfe was approached by a state trooper and told Sherman was under investigation for fraud. According to court documents, Wolfe provided information to state police about Sherman falsifying Motor Carrier Safety Reports, township contracts for roadwork, hiring for road crew, and falsifying Safe Operation of seat belt grants from the Commonwealth.
According to the complaint, the next day Sherman confronted Wolfe and said he was aware he was being investigated and they should “get on the same page”.
The complaint also claims in November 2016, seven months after Wolfe was interviewed by state police, Sherman told Middlesex Township supervisors that Wolfe was the one responsible for the investigation and he should be denied promotion and be terminated.
Wolfe was fired eight months later.
State police say the criminal investigation into Sherman is still active.
“The investigation remains open and is currently active with our Bureau of Criminal Investigation. As of today, no charges have been filed in this investigation,” said Trooper Brent Miller, a state police spokesman.
Sherman is being represented by Harrisburg attorney Brian Perry in the criminal investigation. Perry was surprised to hear state police say the investigation is still open.
“It is my understanding the criminal matter is now closed and after many years of service Sherman is looking forward to enjoying retirement,” Perry said.
Sherman resigned from his position as director of public safety in December. It is not clear if the investigation led to his resignation.
ABC27 reached out to the state attorney general’s office. It would not comment on Sherman’s criminal case.
Middlesex Township said it does not comment on pending litigation involving either current or former personnel.
Wolfe is requesting a jury trial in his civil case and asking the court to award him compensatory damages and lost wages.