LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Six former California Highway Patrol officers who worked out of the East Los Angeles station were charged Thursday in a multi-year overtime fraud scheme, Attorney General Rob Bonta announced.
They former officers were identified in a felony criminal complaint (PDF) as Giovanni Bembi, Connie Marie Guzman, William Preciado, Edmund Zorilla, Luis Manuel Mendoza, and William Matthew Fountain. They face a total of 97 counts, including one count each of grand theft and multiple counts of presentation of fraudulent claim. The fraudulent overtime hours amounted to more than $23,000.
The charges follow a CHP investigation into overtime fraud launched in May of 2018. Between Jan. 1, 2016 and March 31, 2018, multiple officers at the East Los Angeles station were suspected of padding their overtime hours while providing a protection detail for Caltrans workers. For example, instead of recording the three to four hours actually worked, the officer would allegedly record and receive pay for eight hours of overtime.
“Trust is a fundamental part of effective law enforcement,” Bonta said in a statement. “Californians should be able to depend on CHP officers to keep our roads and highways safe, and when officers don’t adhere to the law themselves, it erodes our communities’ trust.”