54 current or former California Highway Patrol officers charged with fraud
The California Attorney General announced charges against 54 people in connection with an alleged scheme in which California Highway Patrol officers were accused of inflating their overtime.
Of the 54 former and current agents charged on February 17, 11 of them currently worked at the CHP. According to Los Angeles Times, these 11 people have been placed on administrative leave while the investigation into the charges continues. The total amount of overtime allegedly stolen throughout the scheme was $226,556.
“Trust is an essential component of successful law enforcement. These defendants ignored the law by their alleged actions and did so without thinking about the impact of their conduct on the California Highway Patrol or the community that trusted them to protect and serve,” the California prosecutor said. General Rob Bonta. “I am grateful to the CHP for their thorough investigation and for working with the DOJ to hold these officers accountable.”
According to the East LA office’s website, the division is made up of “two lieutenants, 10 sergeants, 79 officers, and 16 non-uniformed personnel with a range of duties from office to fleet maintenance.” With 11 of those officers currently charged and on administrative leave, 68 officers remain. Asked by Newsweek Regarding the effect these charges have had on the East LA Division workforce, the CHP said approximately 47 new officers have been added to the patrol since the beginning of the month, including “10 d ‘between them [being] assigned to the East Los Angeles area office.”
In a separate statement, the CHP wrote that they “discovered the overtime fraud in the East Los Angeles area several years ago during an internal review.”
The investigation into potential fraud began in May 2018, with the investigation itself covering the period from January 1, 2016 to March 31, 2018, according to Time. The officers charged in the case are accused of inflating their overtime while working with the California Department of Transportation to protect construction workers. Bonta explained this in more detail in his statement.
“For example, rather than recording the three to four hours actually worked at a detail, an officer would record and allegedly receive an additional eight hours,” he explained.
However, many officers accused of being involved in the scheme maintain their innocence. According to former Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, the charges against the officers are a big mistake and Bonta has no idea what he’s doing.
“He [Bonta] is misrepresented by the deputy attorneys general assigned to the case,” Cooley told the newspaper. Time. “He will find out sooner or later [that] the conduct of the California Highway Patrol is unacceptable, they are selectively prosecuting and firing from a station all because of a legitimate work grievance and it is retaliation of biblical proportions.”
Update 2/18/2022 4:55 PM ET: This story has been updated to include a new quote from the California Highway Patrol.