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California probation officer arrested for fraud

On Jan. 20, officials from the Los Angeles County Probation Department announced they will pursue charges against a male probation officer who allegedly attempted to defraud the department of extra sick pay. The 41-year-old was taken into custody by sheriff's deputies on Jan. 17.

The defendant, who is a sworn peace officer assigned to a juvenile detention camp, is accused of falsifying medical documents in order to collect $2,374.68 in sick time payments that he was not entitled to. He is expected to be charged with two counts of workers' compensation insurance fraud. He was processed at the Lost Hills Sheriff Station in Agoura Hills and freed on a $30,000 bond.

The county probation department has been cracking down on employee misconduct. Within the last year, the department has added four investigators specially trained to spot medical and workers' compensation fraud to their Professional Standards Bureau.

In California, anyone convicted of fraud charges could face harsh penalties, including lengthy incarceration and steep fines. A conviction could also ruin a defendant's career and severely limit their future employment opportunities. Someone accused of fraud or similarly complex white-collar crimes may wish to retain a criminal defense attorney to represent them in court. An attorney could review the case against their client for evidence the alleged fraud did not take place or was inadvertent. A lawyer could also scrutinize police conduct for any violations of a defendant's rights, which could mitigate the charges. In some cases, it may be best to enter into plea bargain negotiations with the prosecution. Such an arrangement could involve a reduction in charges in exchange for the defendant's guilty plea.

Sources: mynewsLA.com, "Probation officer arrested for alleged insurance fraud," John Schreiber, Jan. 20, 2015

latimes.com, "L.A. County probation officer charged with insurance fraud," Richard Winton, Jan. 20, 2015

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