Two Los Angeles police officers were charged Monday with insurance fraud stemming from a case in which one of them allegedly had his car torched and the other helped cover up the crime, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office announced.
Anthony Robert Villanueva, 24, allegedly arranged to have his 2001 Lexus sedan taken to the desert and set on fire in April. He then reported the car stolen and submitted a claim with his insurance company to be reimbursed, authorities alleged.
He was arrested Monday when he showed up for work, prosecutors said. He faces charges of fraud, arson and filing a false report.
The second officer, Ricardo Rebolledo, 27, wrote a false statement to Villanueva's insurance company, vouching for Villanueva and his alibi on the day of the fabricated theft, according to a statement released by the D.A.'s office.
Rebolledo is expected to surrender in court Tuesday, when both officers are scheduled to be arraigned.
The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by the California Department of Insurance. Officials at the state agency did not respond to calls for comment on how the officers first came under suspicion.
Both were at the beginning of their careers, having joined the Los Angeles Police Department in September 2009. They would have just recently completed or still have been in the midst of the one-year probation period that every officer goes through after graduating from the department's training academy.
Police officials did not immediately respond to questions about the officers' work status or details of Villanueva's arrest, and the officers could not be reached for comment. If convicted as charged, Villanueva faces a maximum sentence of a little more than six years in state prison and Rebolledo up to five years in state prison.
Prosecutors are expected to seek $75,000 bail for Villanueva and $25,000 for Rebolledo.
It is the fourth fraud-related case against police officers to arise in recent months. In July, a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy turned himself in after an arrest warrant was issued for him stemming from his suspicious claim that his SUV had been stolen.
Earlier this month, two LAPD officers were arrested on suspicion of committing worker's compensation fraud.