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Former Durham deputy surrenders on embezzlement charges

Posted September 8, 2010

— A former Durham County deputy surrendered Wednesday and was released on bond, one day after being indicted on charges that he stole money used in undercover drug operations.

A grand jury indicted Derek O'Mary, who was a lieutenant with the Durham County Sheriff's Office, on 25 charges of embezzlement involving "buy funds" used by the department's vice officers. He also was indicted on another embezzlement charge, obstruction of justice and cocaine possession involving the alleged theft of drug evidence from the department.

Noelle Talley, a spokeswoman with the state Attorney General's Office, which is handling the case, said the alleged embezzlement involved $97,976 in county funds and occurred between July 2003 and March 2009.

Court records show undercover officers turned 9.2 ounces of cocaine over to O'Mary following an operation, but when it was put into the evidence room at the sheriff's office to be kept until a trial, it weighed only about 7 ounces.

Durham County Sheriff Worth Hill fired O'Mary in April 2009, about two weeks after detectives in his department's Anti-Crime Narcotics Unit presented evidence that O'Mary wasn't properly managing the account used for undercover drug buys.

Durham County Sheriff's Office patrol cars Former Durham deputy surrenders on embezzlement charges

Deputies immediately secured O'Mary's office and documents as possible evidence, and Hill and Durham County District Attorney Tracey Cline asked the State Bureau of Investigation to pursue the case.

The sheriff's office has since implemented more oversight and auditing to its cash-handling procedures, Hill said in a statement.

O'Mary was released Wednesday morning after posting a $50,000 bond.

"Criminal charges against any individual are simply the beginning of a process," O'Mary's attorney, Joe Cheshire, said in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon. "Mr. O’Mary had a long and substantial career serving the people of Durham County, and no one should forget his sacrifices as we work through the process of this case."


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  • COPs eye Sep 9, 2010

    Another example of a fine OUTSTANDING LEO....We need more just like him...NOT!!! can't wait to hear the LEO supporters defend this one!!....Journey985

    Well I support LEOs, b/c I am one of them. None of us condones what he is accused of and if they do, they need to go with him to the unemployment line. Here is his defense that everyone likes to cry when some thug gets arrested or worse. Innocent until proven guilty. Personally if he is found guilty he needs to do time.

  • budgetcuts Sep 9, 2010

    When he started out he was full of energy,happy, and a attityde of wanting to serve the Durham Community. He made bad choices in his life that now he will pay for and so will his family and friends. Now its not where he has been but where he is going with his life. In no way am I saying what he did was right - Embezzlement and Drug Activity! He should pay! Don't give up and learn from your mistakes. Praying for you and your family.

  • ForTheLoveOf Sep 8, 2010

    Way to go Journey! You've stated the obvious, that we all, those of us in LE and out of, hate corrupt officers! I can't wait to hear your realistic solution! Gonna go sign up and change the force to a pearly image of perfection? Probably not...guess you'll just sit here and be cynical on golo some more.

  • Journey985 Sep 8, 2010

    Another example of a fine OUTSTANDING LEO....We need more just like him...NOT!!! can't wait to hear the LEO supporters defend this one!!

  • wildcat Sep 8, 2010

    But it doesnt involve a Trooper

    Trooper have had their share of shady crimes.

  • rlt197131 Sep 8, 2010

    This is sad. When will this "beleagured" dept. get a break? Perhaps the media will request all of his training records and IA files. But it doesnt involve a Trooper, so this will probably be the last anyone ever hears of it.

  • wildcat Sep 8, 2010

    I am shocked!

    Shocked on what. Sweetie, this happens all the time. The sheriff in this case did the right thing. No cover up.

  • wildcat Sep 8, 2010

    What an embarassment to all officers? What does this say to the public people? Is this why its hard for the public to trust officers of the Law. He should have been fired and I hope it will be hard for him to get another job. He knew better.

  • davidbh61255 Sep 8, 2010

    Welcome Cellie!! I will make sure you don't get bored!!

  • AnotherIgnoredComment Sep 8, 2010

    hats off to the Sheriff for firing and helping with the investigation....no cover up....best policy, glad to see him prosecuted