A grand jury indicted Sandusky County Sheriff Kyle Overmyer on 43 charges, including 38 felony counts that include allegations he deceived to obtain prescription drugs, tampered with records in the department’s Furtherance of Justice account and stole prescription pills from drug take-back boxes at county police departments.
Overmyer was indicted Tuesday after more than 10 hours of testimony and deliberation, according to special prosecutor Carol Hamilton O’Brien, of Delaware County.
Hamilton O’Brien was appointed to investigate Overmyer by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office in February, and seven months later, the prosecutor presented her findings to a special grand jury that met Tuesday.
The sheriff faces several felony counts of deceiving physicians and pharmacists to obtain prescription pain medication on various dates beginning April 2014 through January 2015, including nine separate cases of seeking Percocet, five instances in which he sought Hydrocodone pills and one case in which he sought Oxycodone.
“He was indicted on various counts of deception to obtain drugs, filing a false financial affidavit, tampering with records and theft of drugs,” Hamilton O’Brien said Tuesday night.
The indictment, which was released by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office Tuesday night, also alleges that Overmyer falsified financial statements between January 2009 and August 2016.
Several counts in the indictment include theft in office of monetary values over $1,000, but less than $7,500. The theft allegations detailed in the indictment range from November 2013 through April 2015.
Last January, it was revealed the state was investigating Overmyer in connection with the collection of take-back prescription pill boxes from county police departments, also included among the 43 charges in the indictment.
During this period, Overmyer is alleged to have improperly collected the boxes from April through August of 2015.
Also included in the indictment were allegations that Overmyer tampered with records between November 2013 and December 2015.
Overmyer is expected to appear in court Wednesday before visiting judge Patricia Cosgrove.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine released a statement detailing the counts against Overmyer, including:
• Twelve counts of tampering with records, all third-degree felonies. Overmyer is alleged to have tampered with records concerning the departments Furtherance of Justice account.
• Twelve counts of deception to obtain a dangerous drug, all fourth-degree felonies. Overmyer is alleged to have deceived physicians and pharmacists in order to obtain prescription pain medication, according to DeWine’s release.
• Six counts of theft in office, all fourth-degree felonies. The sheriff is alleged to have improperly taken medication from prescription drug disposal drop boxes.
• Four four-degree felony counts of theft.
• One fifth-degree felony count of theft.
• Five first-degree misdemeanor counts of filing false financial disclosure reports.
Hamilton O’Brien, the Delaware County prosecutor, said Overmyer is still the sheriff in Sandusky County, and said she is working with Overmyer’s legal counsel to have him turn himself in.
Any action to remove a sheriff from office must be decided by a special panel of judges appointed by the chief justice.
Hamilton O’Brien, the Delaware County prosecutor, was appointed in February by the attorney general’s office to oversee the case that came to light after Overmyer collected the prescription drugs that had been turned in to county police departments in drug take-back programs.
Overmyer came under fire in January 2016 after police chiefs in Sandusky County voiced concerns over an investigation being conducted by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation into the sheriff’s collecting of prescription pills from area police departments.
After Overmyer collected the pills from Bellevue police, a detective with the department told Sandusky County Sheriff’s Office Detective Capt. Sean O’Connell, who then began to review the collected boxes that had been placed in evidence at the sheriff’s office.
During an August 2015 meeting, the Sandusky County Police Chiefs Association said it was “very suspicious” that Overmyer had collected the pills. The chiefs requested Ohio BCI to investigate the sheriff for possible wrongdoing.
In January, Overmyer told the News-Messenger that he personally collected pills from the Fremont, Bellevue, Green Springs and Woodville police departments between April and July as a good-faith effort to promote better communication among county law enforcement agencies.
Overmyer told the News-Messenger he cooperated with BCI’s investigation, including submitting to, and passing, a drug test.
The sheriff did not answer a call from the News-Messenger on Tuesday, and his phone did not accept voicemails.
O’Connell, the sheriff’s detective who led many high-profile investigations — including the still-unsolved 2015 homicide of Heather Bogle — was suspended in June over allegations of workplace misconduct. An outside agency, the Lorain County sheriff’s office, investigated O’Connell and concluded that the detective had violated workplace rules and that he might have broken the law when he sent a copy of the confidential Bogle investigation to an employee in the Sandusky County Jobs and Family Services office.
Overmyer, who is running for re-election in November, has served as sheriff since his appointment in 2008 after the death of former Sheriff David Gangwer, becoming the youngest sheriff in Ohio at age 34. Until the May primary, the now 42-year-old sheriff had not faced any political opposition.
Prior to becoming sheriff, Overmyer served the sheriff’s office in Sandusky County as a corrections officer — where he started in 1995 — before being promoted to road deputy and detective.
Overmyer earned his peace officer’s certificate in 1995 from Terra State Community College before receiving his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Tiffin University in 2003.