1/21/2004 Sacramento Bee
Officer Fired; Facing 11 Fraud Counts
POSTED: 5:40 pm PST January 21, 2005
UPDATED: 6:01 pm PST January 21, 2005
WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A California Highway Patrol officer is accused of bilking California taxpayers in a workers' compensation scam.
Michael Jones was fired Friday after 10 years as a CHP officers. Jones is charged with 11 counts of workers' compensation fraud.
"This type of activity cheapens, frankly, the sacrifices of the men and women of this department on a daily basis who legitimately get hurt ... sometimes get killed," CHP Commissioner Mike Brown said.
Jones worked as a patrol officer is Coalinga, and allegedly faked injuries for two years and pocketed about $13,000.
Kings County District Attorney Patrick Hart is prosecuting the case and said videotapes prove that Jones was lying about his injuries.
"This community respects peace officers, we love peace officers ... but we cannot afford to have peace officers committing crimes," Hart said.
The arrest was the first since Brown relaunched the CHP's Workers' Compensation Fraud Unit in October in the wake of allegations of abuse of the system by retiring, healthy officers seeking bloated disability pensions.
Jones was not retired, but rather an active duty officer accused of playing the system.
"I hope it's an isolated case. I want to send a message to our employees or anyone who wants to deprive the state or Highway Patrol of operating money so we can serve the public," Brown said.
If convicted, Jones could face 15 years in prison and a fine of at least $50,000.