Overtime compensation accounts for a large percentage of California law enforcement budgets, but the nature of police work makes predictive scheduling very difficult. Police officers who work a lot of overtime earn more money, and they can also find themselves on the wrong side of the law if their overtime claims are bogus. This is the position that a Los Angeles Police Department officer finds herself in according to a Sept. 29 press release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
The 32-year-old officer faces a felony count of embezzlement for allegedly submitting bogus overtime claims that earned her more than $15,000. If she is convicted, she could be sent to a county jail for three years. She has already been relieved of duty and is scheduled to appear before an LAPD Board of Rights hearing. An LAPD statement reveals that the hearing panel has been urged to terminate the officer.
The allegedly bogus overtime claims were all submitted while the officer was on call during a criminal trial in 2022. The trial began on Feb. 23 and concluded on March 8. The investigation into the officer’s suspected crimes was launched when her commanding officer noticed inconsistencies between her overtime claims and the trail dates. LAPD detectives assigned to the case claim to have discovered that the officer submitted 70 on call overtime claims after the trial concluded. Some of these claims were submitted for being on call during court holidays according to officials.
Like most people accused of committing white-collar crimes, this officer will likely agree to plead guilty in return for a reduced charge or a more lenient sentence. Plea deals are common in case like this one because documents like court schedules and payroll records provide prosecutors with compelling evidence that is difficult to dispute.