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Officers allegedly claimed over $200,000 in fraudulent overtime hours
OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today announced charges against 54 former and current California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers in connection with an alleged, multiyear overtime fraud scheme. The charges are the result of an internal criminal investigation by CHP into whether officers in the East Los Angeles station exaggerated the number of overtime hours they worked. The officers face a total of 302 counts, including charges of grand theft and the presentation of a fraudulent claim. The total amount of the fraudulent overtime hours is $226,556.
“Trust is a critical part of successful law enforcement,” said Attorney General Bonta. “These defendants disregarded the law through their alleged actions and did so without thought of how their conduct would impact the California Highway Patrol or the community that trusted them to protect and serve. I’m thankful to CHP for its thorough investigation, and for working with DOJ to hold these officers accountable.”
In May 2018, CHP launched an investigation into overtime fraud that allegedly occurred between January 1, 2016, and March 31, 2018. During that period, multiple officers in the East Los Angeles station were suspected of recording additional overtime hours when they were assigned to provide protection detail for Caltrans workers through the Maintenance Zone Enhanced Enforcement Program or the Construction Zone Enhanced Enforcement Program. For instance, rather than recording the three to four hours actually worked at a detail, an officer would allegedly record and receive pay for eight hours of overtime.
In addition to the main scheme, three of the former officers allegedly recorded fake hours worked patrolling High Occupancy Traffic Lanes. To support their fraudulent overtime claims, they manufactured fake warnings and assistance given to drivers.
Attorney General Bonta filed the charges in the beginning of February 2022, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff booked the officers on February 15, 16, and 17. Attorney General Bonta also refiled charges against nine defendants who were the subject of a previous complaint filed in July 2021. Arraignments for all 54 defendants are scheduled for March 17 and March 18 in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Separate from this investigation, two of the 54 defendants were arraigned in May 2021 on charges of conspiracy and three counts each of accepting a bribe in connection with a bribery scheme. The duo allegedly accepted bribes in exchange for falsifying documents to register exotic “gray market” cars.
It is important to note that a criminal complaint contains charges that are only allegations against a person. Every defendant is presumed innocent unless or until proven guilty.
Copies of the complaints are available here.