Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

May 17, 2013

Former boss accused of stealing

Tipton employee claims $29,000 taken from account.

By Ken de la Bastide
Tribune enterprise editor

Tipton — Floyd Ogden worked with Gary Harpe at the Tipton County Street Department for 20 years. Ogden’s mother used to handle his finances. When she got sick in 2008, his former boss, Harpe, offered to help out.

That year, Tipton’s street commissioner was given power of attorney over Ogden’s money.

Now Harpe is likely to face charges after Ogden filed a criminal complaint alleging Harpe stole $29,000 from Ogden’s bank account between 2009 and 2012. Ogden, 67, who is retired from the street department, filed a theft report with the Tipton Police Department on April 15. A special prosecutor has been requested to handle the allegations after Indiana State Police Detective Mike Tarrh turned over investigation paperwork to Tipton County Prosecutor Jay Rich last week.

Rich said ISP investigators are requesting criminal charges be filed against Harpe.

According to Ogden, Harpe confessed to having taken the funds to gamble.

“He came to my house and said, ‘Floyd, you’re going to be mad,’” Ogden said of first learning of the missing money in 2012. “He said he took some money from my account to play cards with.”

Ogden wasn’t mad, he said, but told Harpe he had to return the money. Harpe said he was sorry and would pay the money back, Ogden said.

On April 30, 2012, Harpe signed a promissory note prepared by attorney David Quigley in which he promised to repay Ogden $29,746.

The promissory note stated Harpe was to begin making monthly payments of $355 starting on Oct. 11, 2012, and have the entire amount paid back by Dec. 31, 2016.

Ogden said when he met with Harpe and Quigley it was decided the payments would start when Harpe’s divorce was finalized.

“I have received no money,” he said. “They made it sound like I gave him a loan, but I didn’t. All I want is my money back.”

Harpe has asked Ogden to drop the allegations of theft, but Ogden said he is concerned for his own wellbeing.

He is living on Social Security and a retirement benefit from the city and the loss of the funds has put him in a financial bind, he said.

“I need to take care of my house,” Ogden said.

There is a concern that if Harpe were to lose his job with the city of Tipton, Ogden wouldn’t get his money back.

“I don’t know if he should lose his job,” Ogden said, “but he needs to pay the money back. Gary was my boss. ... I don’t know why he did a trick like that. I didn’t expect it to happen.”

Ogden said he doesn’t know how much money was taken, He was basing the total on what Harpe told him.

Ogden’s cousin, George, was granted power of attorney on April 27, 2012.

He said George Ogden is attempting to get the money returned.

When contacted Thursday, Harpe said he didn’t want to comment at this time. He did say payments to Ogden will begin on Aug. 1.

Ogden remains hopeful he will be repaid.

“I might get my money back,” he said.

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Kokomo Tribune eEdition, or our print edition