SJ police officer pleads no contest to charges of faking traffic citation, parking tickets

SAN JOSE (BCN)

A San Jose police officer declined to contest four felony charges stemming from faked traffic tickets he wrote against two people involved in a lawsuit with him in 2008, prosecutors said.

George Chavez, 51, a 23-year veteran police officer, pleaded no contest to three counts of false personation exposing the victim to liability and one count of filing a false report, Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Daniel Rothbach said.

Chavez could face a penalty ranging from probation to five years in state prison when he is sentenced at a hearing in Superior Court in San Jose on April 3, Rothbach said.

In 2008, Chavez had been in a legal dispute over a vehicle accident he had while off duty with a man named Charles Petre that ended in an out-of-court settlement, Rothbach said.

Chavez had hired an attorney, Stephen Dougan, to represent him in the lawsuit about the accident that was later settled, Rothbach said.

On Oct. 28 last year, Chavez used a police department computer to locate the two men and with the information wrote a fake traffic ticket against Petre and two phony parking citations for illegal parking in a handicapped zone on Dougan, prosecutors said.

Chavez then forged Petre’s signature and the signature of another police officer on the traffic citation and forged the signature of a second police officer on the parking tickets, according to the district attorney’s office.

The officer whose signature was faked on the traffic citation later discovered it and notified his supervisor, which led to a police investigation, prosecutors said.

Police later found out that the bogus parking tickets had been written on the same date as the phony traffic ticket, prosecutors said.

Chavez, who has been out of custody since soon after he surrendered to authorities on Nov. 26, was charged with filing a false report because a traffic ticket is regarded legally in the same way as a police report, Rothbach said.

(Copyright 2014  Bay City News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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