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Burbank officer makes bail, leaves federal custody

October 16, 2013|By Alene Tchekmedyian
  • Burbank Police Officer Anthony Valento leaves the Roybal Federal building in Los Angeles.
Burbank Police Officer Anthony Valento leaves the Roybal Federal building… (Roger Wilson / TImes Community…)

A Burbank police officer was released from federal custody Wednesday on $25,000 bail after his arrest the day before in an alleged extortion scheme involving his girlfriend's estranged husband.

Anthony Valento, a 17-year veteran of the Burbank Police Department, told the husband of his girlfriend,  Gayle Bassett, that if he paid her more than $100,000, Valento could get pending domestic violence charges against the husband, identified in court as Jeremy Bassett, reduced or dropped, according to a federal criminal complaint.

The money would have been handed over as part of an anticipated divorce settlement, the Burbank Leader reported.

Gayle Bassett, allegedly involved in the scheme as well, was also released from federal custody after posting $20,000 bail.

Upon leaving court, she declined to comment on the allegations against her.

Jeremy Bassett was arrested in September 2012 after throwing a bottle and bottle opener at Gayle Bassett, choking her and throwing her to the ground, according to the complaint.

Starting in July, the FBI, with the Jeremy Bassett’s cooperation, obtained a series of recorded conversations between himself and Gayle Bassett or Valento.

In the conversations, Valento tied the divorce settlement payment to his discussions with state prosecutors, the complaint said.

On Wednesday, a judge ordered Valento and Gayle Bassett to stay out of contact with each other, as well as with Jeremy Bassett.

Anthony Valento and Gayle Bassett are due back in court next month.

Anthony’s father, Joseph Valento, a retired Burbank police captain who was present in court, said that he had not yet read the complaint against his son and therefore had no comment on the allegations.

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alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com

Google+ / @atchek.

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