EAST CLEVELAND, Ohio — Three weeks after he was placed on administrative leave, East Cleveland Police Chief Scott Gardner appeared in court Wednesday morning for an arraignment hearing on multiple charges related to theft and fraud.
The arraignment was originally scheduled to take place on Monday, Sept. 12, but was rescheduled.
During the arraignment, Gardner plead not guilty to the charges he is facing. A bond of $5,000 was set for Gardner.
Gardner is expected to appear in court on Monday, Oct. 3, for a pretrial at 9 a.m.
According to the indictment, Gardner is accused of the following offenses dating back as early as 2014:
- One count of aggravated theft
- One count of grand theft
- One count of theft in office
- One count of telecommunications fraud
- One count of tampering with records
- Two counts of passing bad checks
- Six counts related to alleged violations of the Ohio tax code
In the aggravated theft charge, Gardner is accused of failing to pay more than $150,000 in taxes between 2014 and 2019, 3News previously reported.
When asked for comment about the situation last month, Gardner told 3News the indictment was a “surprise.”
Gardner, 47, has worked with the East Cleveland Police Department since 1999. This is not the first time he has faced a criminal inquiry. In 2014, Gardner faced multiple other charges including records tampering and filing false statements, but later pleaded guilty to lesser accusations of prohibition and tax violations. He was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay nearly $30,000 in restitution.