- Associated Press - Monday, May 11, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) - The trial of a former western Massachusetts police chief who prosecutors say stole thousands of dollars from a Christmas toy fund is slated to begin next week.

The Springfield Republican reports (https://bit.ly/1Evh3Lb ) former Lee Police Chief Joseph Buffis was indicted in 2013 following allegations he pocketed about $60,000 from the police-sponsored LaLiberte Toy Fund over five years. His trial is scheduled to start May 18.

Prosecutors are attempting to include evidence showing Buffis’ thefts went beyond that period.

Officials say a forensic analyst determined Buffis took “nearly all” of hundreds of individual donations meant for poor children to write checks to “cash,” himself, various credit cards and his own bank between 1999 and 2012.

Buffis pleaded not guilty to extortion, fraud and related charges. He denies he stole the money.

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Information from: The Springfield (Mass.) Republican, https://www.masslive.com/news/


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