A Treasure Valley man who was a Boise police officer for about eight years and led the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police has been charged with one count of felony grand theft, according to online jail records and Boise police.
Mark Furniss, 46, was arrested by Meridian police and booked into the Ada County Jail just before midnight Friday. His wife, Sara, 40, was also charged with grand theft.
A letter from the Treasure Valley Lodge #11 Fraternal Order of Police addressed to community members indicates that discrepancies were found in the financial accounts of the lodge in January.
The exact amount of missing funds was not available Saturday. Current group president Joe Andreoli said investigators looked at five years of financial records and found evidence that tens of thousands of dollars went missing during that time.
An internal investigation found evidence of wrongdoing by the Furnisses — Mark was then the president and Sara was the office manager.
The information was turned over to Meridian police for further investigation, and the Boise Police Department’s Office of Internal Affairs was notified, according to the letter. Meridian later turned over the investigation to the Nampa Police Department to “alleviate any concerns of conflict” because Nampa doesn’t have any members in that FOP lodge.
Although it is heartbreaking to learn of these alleged crimes by persons we trusted, I am extremely proud of the way the situation was handled by the members of the lodge, as well as the executive board.
Joe Andreoli, Boise police, current FOP Treasure Valley Lodge #11 president
Treasure Valley Lodge #11 has 364 members, including 348 sworn officers. The nonprofit raises money to assist injured and fallen officers and their families. It also offers scholarships to children.
The FOP chapter’s GoFundMe account raised more than $73,000 following the Nov. 11 shooting by fugitive Marco Romero of Boise Cpl. Kevin Holtry, Cpl. Chris Davis and police canine Jardo (who died five days later). Holtry, who was shot multiple times, was listed in fair condition at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center on Friday. Davis was released from the hospital the day after the shooting.
The fundraising goal of that account was $50,000.
Andreoli said about a dozen new processes were put in place soon after the financial discrepancies were discovered to protect the group from theft. Andreoli is a Boise police officer who has worked for the department for 11 years.
Now every expenditure made goes through a voucher process that includes signatures from two members of the board. The group is now doing quarterly audits of its finances and an annual audit by an outside firm.
Mark Furniss previously worked for the Garden City Police Department and the Ada County Jail. Garden City hired him from the jail, Garden City Police Chief Rick Allen said.
Mark and Sara Furniss have been released from jail and have a court appearance scheduled for Dec. 5. They are being represented by Boise attorney Michael Bartlett.
A spokeswoman for the department sent this statement and additional information to the Statesman:
“The Boise Police Department Office of Internal Affairs was made aware of a criminal investigation involving a Boise police officer in early 2016. That officer, Mark Furniss, was hired in July of 2007, and worked most recently in the patrol division. Furniss was placed on suspension while the investigation was conducted. During that investigation, Furniss resigned from the Boise Police Department and is no longer an employee of the city of Boise.”