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.
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.
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.
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.