A former Los Angeles police officer was sentenced to a year in County Jail on Tuesday after pleading guilty to insurance fraud and falsely reporting to authorities that assailants shot him outside his home when he actually wounded himself.
Anthony Razo, 49, avoided eye contact with some of his former Los Angeles Police Department colleagues as he pleaded guilty in Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Norm Shapiro's courtroom. Razo was immediately sentenced to a year in jail and three years' probation.
As part of a plea agreement, Razo, a 14-year LAPD veteran, admitted that he made up the story that two young Latino males with shaved heads had attacked him outside his City Terrace home, grabbed his department-issued handgun and shot him in the shoulder. Razo told the judge that he was alone when he was wounded and that the men did not exist.
Under the plea deal, Razo agreed to return $5,400 that his fellow officers raised after the Jan. 31 shooting incident to help him pay his medical bills.
Razo also admitted that he intentionally torched his 2005 BMW 745Li and falsely reported that the car was stolen Jan. 4. He then filed fraudulent claims against his auto and homeowners insurance policies.
Sources familiar with the case said Razo was experiencing financial problems at the time of the incidents.
His attorney, Glen T. Jonas, said Razo was accepting responsibility for his actions.
"Unfortunately, there are officers suffering from job stress, family issues, financial difficulties or mental problems who feel they have nowhere to turn," Jonas said. "They don't want to admit weakness. They don't want to admit they need help and the problem becomes worse."
Deputy Dist. Atty. Christian Gullon said in exchange for the guilty plea to the felony fraud count and misdemeanor charge of filing a false police report, he dismissed four additional felony counts, including arson. Razo could have been sentenced to more than seven years in prison for those crimes, Gullon said.
Police Chief William J. Bratton last week called Razo a disgrace to the badge, particularly because he allowed the charity event to defray his medical expenses to go forward.--