LOS ANGELES - A police officer with the Los Angeles Police Department was charged with automobile insurance fraud on Monday after arranging for his vehicle to be set on fire and collecting the insurance money.Anthony Robert Villanueva, 24, was charged with one count each of insurance fraud, arson of one's own property and false report of a criminal offense. Another police officer and alleged accomplice, Ricardo Rebolledo, 27, was also charged with one count of insurance fraud. Villanueva was arrested Monday upon reporting to work. He was arraigned Tuesday. Rebolledo surrendered on Tuesday. Prosecutors allege that in April, Villanueva arranged for his 2001 Lexus sedan to be taken to the desert and set on fire, resulting in a total loss. Villanueva then purportedly filed a stolen vehicle report with the LAPD and submitted a claim for damages to his automobile insurance company. Rebolledo allegedly provided a false statement to Villanueva's insurance company in support of the claim, vouching for his friend's whereabouts on the day of the supposed vehicle theft. Both Villanueva and Rebolledo have been employed by the LAPD since September 2009. The recommended bail for Villanueva is $75,000 and $25,000 for Rebolledo. If convicted, Villanueva faces more than six years in prison and a fine up to $50,000. Rebolledo faces five years in prison.
********** Published: October 21, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 27