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After promising reform, top Broward prosecutor Pryor gives big break to charity-cheating cop

Florida Bulldog, December 9, 2021, Bob Norman, special to

After two years of investigation by his own department, retired Davie Police Officer Jeffrey Stewart was finally about to face justice.

Stewart was charged in October with multiple felonies related to a charity he’d started for tragedy-stricken families in the city where he worked. The two-year investigation, led by Davie Police Detective Viviana Gallinal, found that nearly $15,000 of the money he raised never made it to those he’d promised to help.

One of those people was an El Salvadoran immigrant named Maria Orellana Cruz, whose husband, Carlos Amaya, and 5-year-old daughter, Heydi, were hit and killed by a car in 2018 while trick or treating on Halloween.  Shortly after that tragedy, the balding and mustachioed Stewart, 53, appeared on WSVN-TV in uniform and announced that he was creating a GoFundMe account for Cruz and her surviving 2-year-old daughter.

Gallinal charged Stewart with six criminal counts, including tampering with evidence and two counts of grand theft. Then it was up to first-year Broward State Attorney Harold Pryor to prosecute the case.

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