LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A 23-year veteran reserve deputy with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation—and subsequently fired—for allegedly stealing a 22-carat diamond ring worth up to $1 million.
Billy Lulo, 47, was charged Wednesday with one count of mail fraud following a 10-month investigation.
Federal authorities said Lulo, who owns Global Rings Jewelry in downtown Los Angeles, was doing business with a Texas couple who hired him to sell two diamond rings.
When the couple asked for the diamonds back, the FBI said Lulo just mailed the settings to them.
Lulo was booked at the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building in Los Angeles and released. He’s scheduled to appear in federal court in Midland, Texas later this month.
Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said Lulo thought he was above the law, but the government caught up to him.
“This is an individual who obviously thought he could take a short cut. The federal government said, ‘No, you can’t take a short cut.’ Sheriff Lee Baca said, ‘Not only can you not take a short cut, but you’re no longer going to work for us,'” he said.
Lulo’s attorney said his client is innocent until proven guilty. He said Lulo has a spotless record of risking his own life to serve his community.
The suspect, who was hired as a reserve deputy in 1990, was assigned to the Century Station. He was relieved of duty in Nov. 2012.