Former Lancaster County Drug Task Force Officer Pleads Guilty to Stealing $171K of Forfeited Funds

Former Officer in Charge of the Lancaster County Drug Task Force, John Burkhart, has pleaded guilty to charges regarding thefts of approximately $171K of forfeited funds between 2015 and 2020, Attorney General Michelle Henry announced today.

According to investigators from the Office of Attorney General, Burkhart stole seized cash, failed to deposit funds, and falsified deposit records during the civil asset forfeiture process in criminal cases investigated by the Lancaster County Drug Task Force.

Attorney General Henry stated, “Mr. Burkhart broke the law and violated public trust when he stole forfeited resources from Lancaster County to line his own pocket. This guilty plea closes a painful chapter for Lancaster County and is a reminder that our office will be tenacious in holding anyone who violates public trust and breaks the law accountable – regardless of their occupation or rank.”

The Office of Attorney General took jurisdiction over the case in April 2020 following a conflict referral from the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office. On March 4, 2022, the Forty-Ninth Statewide Investigating Grand Jury issued a presentment finding that from at least 2015 through 2020, Burkhart repeatedly stole money that had been seized during drug investigations using two separate schemes.


The first scheme involved Burkhart stealing seized cash from the Lancaster County Drug Task Force safe where seized money was stored before it was formally forfeited and placed into the Lancaster County general fund bank account for use by the Task Force. Burkhart had nearly exclusive control of the safe and its contents.

The second scheme involved Burkhart recording and delivering cash deposits from the Drug Task Force to the county treasurer after the seized assets were forfeited by court order. Burkhart recorded false deposit amounts before they could be recorded by the treasurer and skimmed thousands of dollars from 2015 through 2020.

John Burkhart pleaded guilty to Theft by Deception and Theft by Failure to Make Required Disposition of Funds. The defendant will be sentenced at a later date. This case is being prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Megan Madaffari.


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James H Pentz obituary 1944~2023

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