A former investigator in the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office was sentenced to probation Thursday for accessing criminal rap sheets in a law enforcement database for his personal benefit and that of his friends and colleagues.
Christopher Cardoza, 46, was sentenced to three years probation and 420 hours of community service by Judge Kyle Brodie in San Bernardino Superior Court. He is also responsible for $7,762 in restitution.
Defense lawyer James Vincent Reiss said the case brought against Cardoza had political overtones and that prosecutors sought to make an example out of his client.
“I think it’s an appropriate resolution for a case that in our mind is being brought out of spite,” Reiss said.
The county Probation Department had suggested 1,200 hours of community service for Cardoza in a pre-sentencing report. Reiss argued for 300 hours, but the judge decided more was needed.
“I think the circumstances in this case warrant a greater amount of community service than might normally be ordered,” Brodie said during the hearing.
A former police officer for Ontario and Long Beach police departments, Cardoza worked out of the District Attorney’s Rancho Cucamonga office from April 15, 2006 to June 6.
The defendant pleaded guilty April 16 to one felony count of computer fraud and one misdemeanor count of acts constituting theft, according to court records.
The California Attorney General’s Office was prosecuting the case, because Cardoza was an employee in the District Attorney’s Office. Deputy Attorney General Michael Murphy had no comment after the sentencing proceedings.
Cardoza reportedly used a Department of Justice database to check the background of a someone who was allegedly stalking his daughter and those of people who friends and colleagues were investigating for fraud claims, Reiss said in an earlier interview.
Cardoza also used the database for research on a fraud charge in his own civil case, where he had invested money in a project that went south, the defense lawyer said.
Prosecutors also alleged Cardoza had falsified time sheets from May 2008 to February 2009 to show he was on-the-clock when he was engaged in personal activities. It added up to about three weeks of salaried time, they said.
Staff Writer Joe Nelson contributed to this report.
Filed under: Civil Liberties, Information, Military Industrial Complex, Prison Industrial Complex, Privacy, San Bernardino County, SB DA Tagged: | Christopher Cardoza, fraud, James Vincent Reiss, Kyle Brodie, Long Beach Police Department, Ontario Police Department, police state, San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office, surveillance