Bratton pleads guilty

Sentencing of former sheriff scheduled for May; maximum of 10 years.
Alex Green
Jan 29, 2014


Former Ottawa County Sheriff Bob Bratton broke down in tears Wednesday in federal court as he pleaded guilty to theft.    

"I resigned from the Genoa Police Department Jan. 13 — ended my career there," Bratton said, struggling to get through his statement in U.S. Northern District Court in Toledo.

Bratton, 60, was indicted Jan. 9 on a single count of theft, stemming from his misuse of federal funds when he served as sheriff in Ottawa County. He became sheriff in 2004 and resigned in 2011.   

In May 2011, during Ottawa County’s regular financial audit, auditors examined the sheriff’s Furtherance of Justice account, or FOJ funds, which are designated for goods or services that enhance law enforcement.

An investigation then revealed Bratton used the FOJ funds to purchase personal items, such as shoes, belts, neckties, reading glasses, cigars, a haircut, books, a watch, a coat and Cedar Point tickets. He also used the money to cover a copay after a medical appointment.

The investigation, headed by the Ohio Auditor's Special Audit Task Force, found about $9,000 worth of personal purchases. In some cases, Bratton used a credit card linked to the FOJ account to make the purchases.

Earlier this month, Bratton resigned from his job as Genoa's police chief, a position he held for the past two years.

As he appeared before U.S. District Court Judge Jack Zouhary on Wednesday, Bratton cried as he recalled his law enforcement career

He also tried to paint a more sympathetic picture of his actions.

"I would use (FOJ funds) to buy gift cards for students in the county," Bratton said.

Since the indictment, Bratton has repeatedly said he reimbursed the county as soon as the allegations were brought to light.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Gene Crawford, who is prosecuting the case, disagrees.

Bratton did not reimburse all of the funds right away, Crawford said.

"Ultimately, he did (pay back all funds)," Crawford said, adding that he's unsure of how much money was paid back on time, and how much was paid later.

Crawford declined to comment when asked who initiated the investigation after the special audit a few years ago.

Bratton is scheduled for sentencing May 28. The maximum prison sentence he could face is 10 years.


Dinghy Gal

He's worse that a street thug. The man of all people knew better than to steal from us. To think, we trusted him and while he was taking advantage of his offical position he was busting people in Ottawa County for also commiting crimes. Oh yea and now we are still writing this guy a check every month for the remainder of his life! What the +++++?? The more I think about it the more this p!ss+s me off.


If he (Bratton) is worse than a street thug, than what would you call the prosecutor, that has the " highest level of respect" for him?

Do you realize this "street thug" almost went UNPUNISHED, for his crime?

Bratton should have been punished for this crime years ago. But his friend Mulligan, let him get away with it.

Did you vote for Mulligan? If so you are partly to blame for the "street thug" not being in prison already.

Dinghy Gal

Did you vote for Mulligan?


I don't defend his actions but just what is a street thug anyway? And he didn't steal from 'us'. For some reason, many people think that their taxes pay for everything, but they don't.


Any grant or tax money ultimately comes from the tax payer. Even a cash donation turns into a write off for a rich guy, which is part of his taxes. It's all OUR money


Toledo Blade March 15, 2012

Mulligan says he doesn't believe Chief Bratton did anything criminal and the matter will not be presented to a grand jury.

March 15,2012

Ottawa County prosecutor Mark Mulligan said Bratton will not be charged criminally because there were no clear guidelines governing purchases made with funds from the sheriff's furtherance of justice account.

Jan. 9 2014 Mark Mulligan
"I thought the mistakes were innocent. He returned the funds. The matter was over. I still have the highest level of respect for Bob Bratton."

Mark Mulligan has the "highest level of respect" for a thief, a felon, that stole grant money, right under the prosecutors watch.

What is wrong with the residents of Ottawa County that continue to re-elect this lazy excuse of a prosecutor?

Dinghy Gal

I happen to agree.


Makes me wonder how many people he arrested for theft while he was in office? The fat pot calling the Kettle black.




Crying? Really?

This, so called man ignored crimes for years by fellow government workers, political friends and supporters while he targeted people ruthlessly who dared to question his integrity and abuse of power. An abuse of power enabled by OC Prosecutor Mark Mulligan.

This sniveling coward deserves the maximum sentence just for having
the audacity to make excuses. But, if he squeals on Mulligan and the rest of that corrupt county machine, he'll get probation.

His sentencing on May 28, 2014 is several months away and it provides plenty of time for people to provide the prosecutors the ammunition they need to ensure Bratton rolls, if he hasn't already to save his own hide.

Also AG DeWine should bring state charges against him for theft in office and Mulligan for obstructing justice. Then take his state pension as state law requires for abusing the public's trust. It's long past time to start making an example of corrupt law enforcement officers so the rest of them get the message that they are not above the law.

Julie R.



Take that you hypocrital, lying tub of too !


Say what you want but at least the man didn't hide behind his attorney and drag this thing out and try to get his charges reduced like most " Street thugs" would have. He said that he was going to plead guilty to the charges and he did so and how many "street thugs" do you know would have already paid back the money? Just how many people out there or on here for that matter making the comments, owe fines & costs or restitution in some court that they still haven't paid? Just saying..


You give him too much credit. He had struck a deal before the charge was even filed as he was not indicted but charged by an Information. That means a deal had been worked out in advance. likely for his cooperation against the real targets in Ottawa County.

Also, he only paid the money back AFTER he was caught and unlike the everyone else as a public employee he got to keep his job and kept collecting money while he went through the system. He also gets to keep his sizeable pension as he was double dipping.

He never saw a day in jail, never got the full treatment that he mete out to many people over the years.

And to prove there's a lot more to this story and that his thefts are likely just the tip of the iceberg; this story and its comments wre taken down within 12 hours of original posting and the News Herald didn't even cover the story. That indicates to me calls were made by the Feds.