Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Officer Robert Quintana Arrested for Mail Fraud

U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Robert Quintana, 50, of Buffalo, New York, was arrested and charged by criminal complaint with mail fraud and health care fraud. The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, or both.

Assistant U.S. Attorney John E. Rogowski, who is handling the case, stated that on March 16, 2005, the defendant, a Buffalo police officer, was placed on injured on duty (IOD) status by the city of Buffalo. According to the complaint, Quintana was placed on IOD status for alleged injuries to his lower back and buttocks after he slipped and fell on icy steps while responding to a 911-call.

The complaint further states that on numerous occasions while allegedly out of work due to this injury, the defendant was observed working at a local restaurant. The observed work included the lifting of supplies, cleaning tables, stocking, kneeling and bending, and chipping ice. Nevertheless, during the course of an independent medical exam requested by the city of Buffalo in January 2012, Quintana told doctors he was unable to perform any work. The defendant remains on IOD status to this date (seven years after his initial injury) and has resisted efforts to have him return to work.

“It is the duty of all sworn police officers to uphold the law and the vast majority of officers do just that each and every day,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “All should also recognize that police work can be hazardous, and for that reason, communities frequently pay for officers injured in the line of duty until such time as they can return to their posts.”

Hochul further stated that “by falsely claiming to be too injured to return to work, an officer not just breaks the law, she or he hurts the credibility of those legitimately injured in the line of duty. This type of lie also leaves one less officer to patrol the streets of the city, requires working officers to perform overtime duty and thereby increase their own risk of injury, and drives up the cost of health care in these times of difficult economic circumstances. This office can and will act when presented with evidence of this type of fraud.”

“We, as members of law enforcement, are keenly aware of how dangerous it is to be a law enforcement officer,” said Steven L. Lanser, FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge. “Every day we see how the good, hardworking men and women in the Buffalo Police Department out their lives and safety on the line. The injured on duty program is in place to ensure members of the police department are secure in knowing this benefit is available should they sustain a serious injury while discharging their duties. Abuse of the IOD system is an affront to the taxpayers of the city of Buffalo.”

The criminal complaint is the culmination of an investigation by special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christopher M. Piehota, and the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Daniel Derenda.

The fact that a defendant has been charged with a crime is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

Joe Arpaio Facing Justice Department Lawsuit Over Alleged Civil Rights Violations

Federal authorities said Wednesday that they plan to sue Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio and his office over allegations of civil rights violations, including the racial profiling of Latinos.

The U.S. Justice Department has been seeking an agreement requiring Arpaio's office to train officers in how to make constitutional traffic stops, collect data on people arrested in traffic stops and reach out to Latinos to assure them that the department is there to also protect them.

Arpaio has denied the racial profiling allegations and has claimed that allowing a court monitor would mean that every policy decision would have to be cleared through an observer and would nullify his authority.

DOJ officials told a lawyer for Arpaio on April 3 that the lawman's refusal of a court-appointed monitor was a deal-breaker that would end settlement negotiations and result in a federal lawsuit.

The "notice of intent to file civil action" came Wednesday from Assistant U.S. Attorney General Thomas Perez in a letter to an Arpaio lawyer.

Perez, who heads the DOJ's civil rights division, noted that it's been more than 100 days since the sheriff's office received the DOJ's findings report and federal authorities haven't met with the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office counsel since Feb. 6 to discuss the terms of a consent agreement.

At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Arpaio defended himself in the face of the pending lawsuit.
"If they sue, we'll go to court. And then we'll find out the real story," he said. "There's lots of miscommunication emanating from Washington. They broke off communications.
"They're telling me how to run my organization. I'd like to get this resolved, but I'm not going to give up my authority to the federal government. It's as simple as that," Arpaio added.
Last December, the DOJ released a scathing report accusing Arpaio's office of racially profiling Latinos, basing immigration enforcement on racially charged citizen complaints and punishing Hispanic jail inmates for speaking Spanish in Arizona's most populous county.

The DOJ also accused Arpaio of having a culture of disregard for basic constitutional rights.
The civil rights allegations have led some Arpaio critics to call for his resignation, including the National Council of La Raza, a prominent advocacy group for Latinos.

The sheriff's office also is facing criticism over more than 400 sex-crimes investigations – including dozens of alleged child molestations – that hadn't been investigated adequately or weren't examined at all over a three-year period ending in 2007.

Arpaio has apologized for the botched cases, reopened 432 sex-crimes investigations and made 19 arrests.
Separate from the civil rights probe, a federal grand jury has been investigating Arpaio's office on criminal abuse-of-power allegations since at least December 2009. That grand jury is examining the investigative work of the sheriff's anti-public corruption squad.

The self-proclaimed toughest sheriff in America has been a national political fixture who has built his reputation on jailing inmates in tents and dressing them in pink underwear, selling himself to voters as unceasingly tough on crime and pushing the bounds of how far local police can go to confront illegal immigration

Officer Rudolfo Zermeno Arrested for Assaulting Girlfriend

A Winston-Salem police officer was in jail this morning after being charged with assault on a female, city police said in a news release.

Early yesterday morning, the police officer, Rudolfo Zermeno, 33, got in an argument with his girlfriend, Maria Fedelina Aguilar, police said, citing a complaint filed by the girlfriend later that day.

Zermeno slapped her face with an open hand and threw a TV remote control at her, hitting her elbow, police said.

Zermeno has been a Winston-Salem police officer for three years. He was placed on administrative leave, as is customary in this type of investigation, police said.

The department’s Criminal Investigations Division looked into the complaint and requested an arrest warrant, police said.

Zermeno was in the Forsyth County detention center on a $1000 secured bond.

In addition, Zermeno was ordered to have no contact with Aguilar.

Anyone with information about this incident may contact the Winston Salem Police Department at (336) 773-7700 or Crime Stoppers at (336) 727-2800.

Sheriff Deputy Andrew Field Arrested

A Bibb County Sheriff's Deputy assigned to the Detention Division was arrested Tuesday. According to a press release from the Sheriff's Office, an internal investigation led to the arrest of 26 year old Andrew Glenn Field. It says investigators arrested field for possession of drugs, crossing the guard line with drugs, and violating the oath of public office. Field is currently being held in the Bibb County Law Enforcement Complex with a bond of $17,100. Field has been placed on suspension with pay while the case is being investigated.