- Associated Press - Friday, September 23, 2016

HASTINGS, Neb. (AP) - A January trial has been scheduled for a former Hastings police detective accused of running a fraudulent fundraising site to enrich himself.

The Grand Island Independent reports (https://bit.ly/2cI7qDf ) that 46-year-old Jerry Esch pleaded not guilty Thursday to a felony charge of theft by deception. His trial is set to begin Jan. 9.

Investigators say Esch set up a GoFundMe online page, raising more than $30,000 he had said was needed to cover medical expenses for cancer treatments not covered by his insurance provider. But Hastings officials told investigators that Esch’s story didn’t square with the city’s insurance policy for police.

Esch had worked for the Hastings Police Department until February.

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Information from: The Grand Island Independent, https://www.theindependent.com

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