Criminal charges are being reviewed for a retired San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department captain accused of falsifying certifications to raise his salary and selling doctored training records to other employees.
Details of the alleged scheme have not been released. The captain, whose wife works at the sheriff’s training academy, has not been identified because it is a personnel matter.
Sheriff Rod Hoops said he launched an investigation after first learning of the allegations in September. When the captain was confronted, he chose to retire and pay back roughly $16,000 rather than be placed on administrative leave.
The possible corruption has shamed many within the department and raised concerns of a cover-up, which Hoops has denied.
Members of the Grand Jury’s public safety subcommittee contacted sheriff’s administrators after hearing of the allegations.
“They came over and visited with the deputy chief in charge of training,” Hoops said. “They seem to be satisfied to me and we haven’t heard from them since.”
By law, grand juries meet in secret.
Prosecutors are still deciding whether to file grand theft charges against the captain. Reviewing the case was delayed more than a week because the file contained statements that the captain was ordered to give during an internal probe.
“The person is told they have to answer the questions but the answers cannot be used against them in a criminal action,” said Assistant District Attorney Dennis Christy. “We would not be able to prosecute if we reviewed compelled statements.”
The case was sent to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, which redacted compelled comments and information. It was returned to San Bernardino County prosecutors on Tuesday.
The captain is accused of conspiring with his wife, an employee at the training academy, to obtain fraudulent Peace Officer Standards and Training certificates.
It’s unknown how much money he may have pocketed from the scandal, but Hoops has said the falsified training record gave the captain an 8 percent salary boost.
A captain’s annual salary is between $102,600 and $131,928.
POST spokeswoman Karen Lozito said the agency is waiting until the local investigation is complete before they look further into the accusations.
She also said she was unaware of a letter Hoops said he wrote to POST asking them to rescind the certifications, but that they would do so if he made the request.
Only the head of a law enforcement department can ask for certifications to be taken away because it is his or her responsibility to review and sign off on them when they are sent to POST.
In the meantime, an internal memo distributed by Hoops indicates that “steps have been taken to prevent a reoccurrence of this conduct.”
On Thursday, he could not specifically list the policy changes but said training staff have implemented “checks and balances to make sure that people are actually in classes they claim to be in.”
Three other people believed to be involved with the scheme have been disciplined but remain employed.
POST administrators will be reviewing certifications for the captain and two others, Lozito said.
Filed under: Censorship, Information, Military Industrial Complex, Prison Industrial Complex, San Bernardino County, SB DA, SB Military, SB Sheriff Tagged: | Bart Gray, Corruption, Dennis Christy, fraud, Karen Lozito, Peace Officer Standards and Training, Riverside County District Attorney, Rod Hoops, San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office, San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department