LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Steep cuts in overtime pay have forced local sheriff’s deputies to turn to fraud and other illicit sources of income, according to a report released Tuesday.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca’s Office of Independent Review said one deputy torched his own car for a hefty insurance payout, while others fabricated burglary charges and enlisted colleagues to assist in a fraudulent car theft claim.
KNX 1070′s John Brooks reports the agency’s watchdog aren’t surprised by the increase in financial crimes, as many deputies had become dependent on the extra 15 to 20 per cent income.
“Times have been tough, and I think we have seen law enforcement officials getting tied up in financial crimes, said Michael Gennaco, the head of the watchdog unit.
Gennaco said the agency has seen a “significant spike” in the number of financial crimes committed by deputies in the last year.
Starting pay for deputies is about $60,000 a year, but in the past, overtime pay could boost salaries as much as 20 percent higher.
According to Gennaco, the sheriff has agreed to add training measures to get the message to deputies to keep their own spending limited to their base pay.