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New Hampshire sheriff charged with theft, perjury and falsifying evidence resigns

Crime

Mark Brave, a Democrat elected in 2020, said after his arrest that he was innocent and that none of his spending was “due to deceive the county or the people of Strafford County.”

Strafford County Sheriff Mark Brave.
Strafford County Sheriff Mark Brave walks into Rockingham County Superior Court for a hearing Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023, in Brentwood, N.H. Deb Cram/Portsmouth Herald via AP

BRENTWOOD, N.H. (AP) — A New Hampshire sheriff accused of stealing $19,000 in county funds has resigned, leading prosecutors to withdraw their request to revoke his bail on charges of theft, perjury and falsifying evidence.

“I am proud to have served as high sheriff of Strafford County and to have been both the youngest sheriff and first African American man to serve in this role across the state of New Hampshire,” Mark Brave wrote in his resignation letter. His lawyer announced his resignation at a scheduled hearing in court Tuesday, effective immediately.

Brave, 38, pleaded not guilty in September. He’s accused of using his county credit card to pay for travel to fictitious business meetings with multiple paramours and then lying about it to a grand jury. He was arrested in August and went on administrative leave.

“At this time, I feel it is in the best interest of Strafford County, my subordinates, and the populations we serve that I step aside while I address allegations made against me,” Brave wrote in his letter.

“I look forward to resolving my pending legal matter and to serving my constituents again in (the) future.”

Prosecutors sought to revoke Brave’s bail. They learned that instead of staying in Dover, New Hampshire, Brave was living in Tewksbury, Massachusetts. He had been ordered not to leave New Hampshire unless it was related to his daughter’s schools in Massachusetts. Prosecutors also said Brave lied about his financial situation to get a court-appointed attorney. He currently has his own lawyer.

Now that Brave has resigned, prosecutors said where he lives has become less relevant to the case. They dropped the travel restrictions and bail revocation motion.

The allegations “are more properly addressed through a motion of contempt or potential criminal charges rather than a motion to revoke bail,” prosecutor Joe Fincham told WMUR-TV.

Brave is scheduled to return to court on Jan. 30.

Brave, a Democrat elected in 2020, said after his arrest that he was innocent and that none of his spending was “due to deceive the county or the people of Strafford County.” He had called the allegations politically and racially motivated. County commissioners, all of whom also are Democrats, denied his claims.