Former Bellingham police detective pleads not guilty to misusing public funds

A former Bellingham Police Department detective accused of misusing public funds has pleaded not guilty to felony and gross misdemeanor charges.

Skagit County prosecutors charged 42-year-old Adam (Bo) Stanton McGinty on Oct. 16 in Whatcom County Superior Court with one count each of misappropriation or falsification of accounts by a public officer (a felony), official misconduct (a gross misdemeanor) and third-degree theft (a gross misdemeanor).

If convicted, McGinty faces a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, in addition to restitution, assessments and court costs, according to court records.

Skagit County prosecutors are handling the case due to conflicts of interest.

McGinty, who appeared remotely via Zoom, entered a not guilty plea to all charges at his first appearance Friday morning, Dec. 7 in court.

Jason Powers, McGinty’s private defense attorney, said in court Friday that they were reserving arguments on whether there was probable cause to charge McGinty, on the issues of which venue should hear the case, and on filing a bill of particulars, which can be requested by people accused of crimes and requires the prosecution to provide a list of the charges and more detailed evidence supporting those charges.

McGinty’s jury trial has tentatively been scheduled for March 18.

Friday was McGinty’s first appearance in court, as his two prior hearings were delayed. The entire proceeding took less than three minutes.

Skagit County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Nathaniel Block declined to comment Friday on the case due to the ethical rules regarding pending litigation.

The Bellingham Herald has reached out to Powers for comment.


McGinty is accused of allegedly misusing public funds by using another officer’s dry cleaning stipend. The dry cleaning stipend is offered to employees as part of their collective bargaining agreement.

McGinty allegedly used another detective’s name to obtain $750.98 worth of additional dry cleaning services across 17 months in 2022 and 2023. The other detective was allegedly not using the dry cleaning services during this time, according to court records.

Bellingham police started its internal affairs investigation into McGinty on May 18, and he was placed on paid administrative leave June 7.

The internal investigation was completed July 21, and the recommended discipline for McGinty was termination. McGinty was also placed on a dishonest officers list around this time, The Herald previously reported.

Bellingham Police Chief Rebecca Mertzig fired McGinty on Aug. 18.

McGinty was part of the special victims unit and had been with the Bellingham Police Department since March 1, 2015. He was promoted to detective in January 2018 and previously served as Bellingham Public Schools’ resource officer.

McGinty was also the former lead detective who spent more than a year investigating a female high school student’s sexual assault allegations and three Bellingham Public Schools administrators’ alleged failures to report the assaults.

The three administrators reached a resolution in their criminal cases earlier this week.

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