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‘Very disappointing:’ Las Vegas officer allegedly stole from K-9 charity

Updated April 10, 2020 - 7:38 pm

An officer with the Metropolitan Police Department for more than two decades was arrested by the agency Friday and booked into jail on suspicion of stealing thousands of dollars from a Las Vegas police foundation.

Metro said Friday afternoon that officer Sean Malia was booked into the Clark County Detention Center. He is being held on 12 counts of theft and one count of embezzlement, the department said.

Malia is accused of embezzling more than $16,000 from the Friends for Las Vegas Police K9 Foundation from 2017 to 2019. Police said Malia was the foundation’s treasurer.

“This is something that is very disappointing, when you see someone go down this kind of path,” Metro Lt. Jeff Clark said at a press briefing. “It tarnishes the badge that myself and so many men and women have worked for.”

Malia has been with Metro since 1998 and is assigned to the K-9 unit. He was relieved of duty and placed on administrative leave without pay Friday.

Clark, who also is with the department’s K-9 unit, said that Metro detectives had received a tip about potential criminal activity involving the charity and immediately began investigating.

“In a case like this, when one of our officers is the suspect, we don’t take that lightly at all,” he said. “We understand that the public trust is paramount to what we do and without that we’re nothing.”

Clark also said that Malia’s alleged actions spurred the department to put the Friends for Las Vegas Police K9 Foundation, a longtime charity intended to raise funds for the care of retired police dogs, under the auspices of the LVMPD Foundation, “which has much better checks and balances, greater oversight, very strong board.”

He added that he hoped the public and donors would note the department’s response to the investigation and continue to trust in the charity, because it benefits retired K-9s who are adopted by their handlers for $1 and often need regular veterinary attention after years on the force.

Asked where the missing funds were, Clark said that was part of the investigation. But despite the alleged embezzlement, he said that “none of our dogs have gone without.”

Contact Dalton LaFerney at dlaferney@reviewjournal.com or at 702-383-0288. Follow @daltonlaferney on Twitter. Contact Shea Johnson at sjohnson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter.

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