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Home / overtime fraud

Charges dismissed against 9 former CHP officers, but refiling expected

Criminal charges were dismissed Friday against nine former California Highway Patrol officers charged in connection with an alleged multi-year overtime fraud scheme, but a prosecutor told the judge the charges will be refiled.

Deputy Attorney General Paul Thies asked for the cases to be dismissed, but declined outside court to explain why he made the request.

It was not immediately clear when the cases would be refiled.

Connie Marie Guzman, 57; Edmund Zorrilla, 48; Giovanni Bembi, 43; Luis Manuel Mendoza, 45; William Matthew Fountain, 39; and William Preciado, 57, were charged July 8 in connection with an internal criminal investigation launched by the CHP in May 2018 into overtime fraud that allegedly occurred between Jan. 1, 2016, and March 31, 2018, while officers were assigned to protection details for Caltrans workers, according to a statement released by the California Attorney General’s Office.

The six were initially charged with one count each of grand theft and multiple counts of presentation of a false claim, but the prosecution subsequently filed an amended criminal complaint that reduced the number of charges against each of them.

The case against the other three former officers — Ruben Robles, 43; Rey David Thorne, 54; and Martin Gerardo Vasquez, 52 — was subsequently filed in September.

The criminal complaints alleged that the offenses “were not discovered until May 4, 2018, by investigators from the California Highway Patrol who were being made aware of irregularities in the overtime being reported by officers out of the CHP East Los Angeles Station and began an investigation into the alleged fraud.”

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