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Ex-cop pleads guilty to stealing from Indiana police lodge

VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) — Prosecutors say a gambling habit apparently led to the theft of nearly $190,000 from an Indiana lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police.

Lawrence LaFlower of Valparaiso pleaded guilty to fraud Thursday in federal court. He was treasurer of FOP Lodge 165 in Valparaiso and a lieutenant with the Porter County sheriff's office. He quit his law enforcement job in May.

LaFlower says he wrote checks to himself or withdrew money from the bank over a five-year period. He agreed when Judge Philip Simon said, "Nothing fancy here."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Abizer Zanzi says LaFlower liked to gamble and had "broad authority" over the checkbook.

The FOP lodge has sold property to make up the loss. LaFlower sold a condominium and will put the money toward restitution.

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