Chandler cop resigns before inquiry

A Chandler officer indicted in a public corruption case resigned Thursday before police could question him, and as state prosecutors released documents detailing how they linked him to the case.

Bradley T. Forward, 30, is charged in a 10-count indictment alleging he used a police database to make illegal records checks on a witness and an attorney involved in a state securities fraud investigation. He was to be interviewed Thursday as Chandler police began an internal investigation into the matter.

Although police officers aren’t required to speak with investigators while under a criminal investigation, they are compelled to speak during the department’s internal and administrative investigation.

The latest report released Thursday by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office sheds no light on Forward’s link to Gregg L. Wolfe and Edward Purvis. The two Chandler men are principals in Nakami Chi Group Ministries International, the Scottsdale nonprofit religious organization under investigation by the Arizona Corporation Commission.

However, the two men, as well as many Chandler police officers, are associated with Chandler Christian Church. The report notes that many of its members are Nakami Chi investors.

Forward’s name emerged when the Arizona Corporation Commission served a search warrant on Wolfe’s home Oct. 4, and found confidential information pertaining to the investigation, which is looking into a possible multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme.

Named for an early 20th century criminal, Charles Ponzi, the scheme is an illegal arrangement in which an enterprise uses later investments to pay initial investors. According to the commission, Nakami Chi had promised investors 24 percent in annual returns.

While at Wolfe’s home, investigators also found criminal history and confidential employment information printouts of a man unassociated with the fraud case, but they contained Forward’s name.

Forward was a patrol officer when he was suspended Oct. 19, but for three years he worked as a family crimes unit detective.

The report states that in his last month as a detective, November 2005, that he met with one of the commission’s investigators who, while checking on Purvis and Wolfe, wanted to exchange information, a common practice among police agencies.

“During the meeting, Forward said that he had been directed by a superior to gather information about the Securities Division investigation,” the report states. “However, Forward refused to divulge the identity of that superior.”

The commission’s detective left the meeting empty handed, but he left a number of items with Forward, some of which were found in the search of Wolfe’s home.

According to the report, Forward began asking about the fraud investigation in September or October of 2005 in a chance meeting with a lawyer from the corporation commission, Julie Coleman.

“Forward asked Coleman if they (Securities Division) were conducting an investigation into Purvis and Wolfe and the Chandler Christian Church and Coleman confirmed they were,” the report states.

Forward expressed an interest in the case and offered the help of the Chandler Police Department — an unusual move since Chandler police typically do not handle large scope financial investigations and will turn them over to other agencies.

State investigators interviewed Forward on Oct. 18, but he invoked his right to silence after they told him he was an investigative lead.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday December 14, 2006.
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