More than 50 California Highway Patrol officers charged with overtime fraud

The CHP itself opened an investigation into agents who allegedly recorded overtime not worked. (File)

Photo: APU GOMES / AFP / Getty Images

California Attorney Rob Bonta announced that charges were filed against 54 Highway Patrol (CHP) officers, some of them active and others who are no longer part of the corporation, in connection with an alleged fraud scheme. for overtime paid, without working, for several years.

Officers at the East Los Angeles station face a total of 302 charges, including grand theft and fraudulent claims. The total amount collected for fraudulent overtime is $226,556.

The charges are the result of an internal criminal investigation by the CHP to see if East Los Angeles station officers had falsified the amount of overtime they worked.

“Trust is a critical component of successful law enforcement,” said Attorney Bonta.

“These defendants flouted the law through their alleged actions and did so without thought as to how their conduct would affect the California Highway Patrol or the community that relied on them to protect and serve them,” it said.

California Highway Patrol officers confer at a roadblock on Highway 38 near Angeles Oaks during a standoff with fugitive ex-cop Christopher Dorner, near San Bernardino, California on February 12, 2013. Nobody has yet been found in a burnt-out US mountain cabin where Dorner was believed to have barricaded himself after a six-day manhunt, a police spokesman said.  Media reports that a body had been found in the cabin near Big Bear, east of Los Angeles, and identified as Dorner's were false, said Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) spokesman Andrew Smith.  AFP PHOTO /JOE KLAMAR (Photo credit should read JOE KLAMAR/AFP via Getty Images)
The officers charged are from the CHP station in East Los Angeles. (Getty Images)

It was in May 2018, when the California Highway Patrol launched an investigation into alleged overtime fraud that occurred between January 1, 2016 and March 31, 2018.

During that period, several officers at the East Los Angeles station were suspected of logging excessive overtime when they were assigned to provide protection to Caltrans workers through the Maintenance Zone Enhanced Enforcement Program or the Enhanced Enforcement Program. of the Construction Zone.

For example, instead of recording the 3-4 hours they worked, an officer reportedly signed on and was paid for 8 hours of overtime.

In addition to the main scheme, three of the former officers allegedly logged false hours while patrolling high occupancy traffic lanes.

To support their fraudulent overtime claims, they fabricated false reports and provided assistance to drivers.

Attorney General Bonta filed the charges in early February 2022, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff booked the officers on February 15, 16 and 17.

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 28: California Highway Patrol officer Rick Baller stands next to his car as he guards the closed toll plaza leading to the San Francisco Bay Bridge October 28, 2009 in Oakland, California.  The San Francisco Bay Bridge was abruptly closed Tuesday evening after two steel tie rods and a crossbeam from a steel saddle broke and fell onto the upper deck of the bridge landing on three vehicles and causing one person to suffer injuries.  The eastern span of the bridge is undergoing seismic renovation and is expected to be completed in 2013. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The California Highway Patrol itself launched investigations into the alleged fraud. (Getty Images)

Attorney General Bonta also re-filed charges against 9 defendants who were the subject of a previous complaint filed in July 2021.

Appearances for all 54 defendants are scheduled for March 17-18 in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Regardless of this investigation, in May 2021, 2 of the 54 defendants were charged with conspiracy and three additional charges with accepting a bribe in connection with a bribery scheme.

The couple allegedly accepted bribes in exchange for falsifying documents for registering exotic cars from the gray market (an illegal market).

Attorney Bonta’s office said the defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

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East Los Angeles CHP officers in trouble for alleged misuse of overtime. (Getty Images)

Regarding the incident, the CHP responded through a statement sent to The opinion: “As a professional law enforcement agency that holds its employees to the highest standards, we take all allegations of misconduct seriously.”

They recalled that the CHP discovered overtime fraud in the East Los Angeles area several years ago during an internal inspection.

“The officers under investigation by the Department of Justice have been placed on administrative leave and their powers removed.”

Because this issue is the subject of an ongoing investigation and part of pending litigation, the CHP had no additional comment.