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Gazette Premium Content Police: Ex-Denver sheriff chief stole tax software

The Associated Press Updated: April 29, 2014 at 8:09 pm

DENVER — A former high-ranking member of the Denver Sheriff's Department stole more than $20,000 worth of tax software by hiding it in bags of dog food and other merchandise at Target stores, according to a grand jury indictment released Tuesday.

In addition to theft charges, former division chief Michael Than, 46, also is accused of tax evasion, as authorities say he never reported the more than $60,000 he earned reselling packages of stolen Turbo Tax software on eBay and preparing tax returns for other people.

Than also failed to document the more than $233,000 in income he used for gambling in Black Hawk, the court documents say.

Than was a 21-year veteran of the sheriff's office and held the second-highest post when he abruptly resigned in December, when the department learned of the criminal investigation. He oversaw the city's downtown jail, among other duties.

Prosecutors say Than stashed boxes of the software inside items such as dog food bags, a cooler and a padded envelope, and then paid for those less expensive items instead. The crimes span from January 2010 to January 2013 and happened mostly at Target stores in the Denver area, according to the indictment.

Than has declined to comment, and his attorney did not return calls from The Associated Press.

The investigation focused on Than in January 2012, when Target security pegged him as the person who stole eight packages of Turbo Tax software, the indictment says. Security cameras captured him lifting the software multiple times after that.

Prosecutors say Than's thefts ended after a January 2013 trip to Target. Than packed a bag of dog food and took it to a checkout line but fled the store when an employee tried to help him. A look inside the bag revealed six packages of Turbo Tax software valued at $530, the indictment says.

By then, authorities said Than had sold nearly 1,300 packages of the tax software on eBay.

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