Former OPD cop sentenced to two years for embezzling $200K
Former officer Amy Bretches was found guilty in July of embezzling funds from FEMA and the City of Orlando.
(ORLANDO SENTINEL) A former Orlando police officer found guilty of embezzling $200,000 in federal funds was sentenced to two years in prison Wednesday.
Senior U.S. District Judge G. Kendall Sharp sentenced Amy Bretches to 24 months in prison with credit for four months of time served.
Her 20-year career as a law-enforcement officer contributed to Sharp’s decision, he said. Bretches could have faced up to two decades years in prison.
The courtroom was packed with Bretches friends and family, several of whom cried when Bretches spoke directly to the judge about her actions.
“I accept responsibility for what I did,” said Bretches, who was wearing a red Seminole County jail jumpsuit and shackles on her feet. “I didn’t know how to handle it.”
A former colleague offered support for Bretches.
“She is an excellent friend who excelled at her job,” said Lt. Joseph Windt, who still works for OPD. “I understand she could have, should have done things differently.”
Windt and Bretches have been friends for 15 years, he said.
The judge said he took her long career and service to underprivileged children into account before imposing the sentence.
Earlier this year, a jury found Bretches guilty of two counts of money laundering for embezzling funds from FEMA and the City of Orlando.
According to the indictment filed against her in May, Bretches opened savings and checking accounts at Orlando Federal Credit Union in July 2000, listing herself and “Orlando Police Department Gang Resistance Education and Training” as the account holders.
Prosecutors said she used the Police Department’s address and the city’s taxpayer identification number. Bretches, 49, wasn’t authorized to open such accounts.
In March 2004, Bretches opened an account on ccr.gov, a government website used by federal-grant recipients so they can receive grant funds electronically.
When Bretches opened that account, she listed the city of Orlando as the grant recipient, used the city’s identification numbers, and listed herself as the point of contact, according to the indictment.
Bianca Prieto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-420-5620.