Ex-officer sentenced for insurance fraud
A retired California Highway Patrol officer and his wife will not spend time behind bars for filing a fraudulent insurance claim.
Charles and Kathleen Chapman were sentenced to 1,000 hours each of community service, each given a suspended prison sentence and ordered to jointly pay $26,000 in restitution.
El Dorado Superior Court Judge Jerald Lasarow commended District Attorney Paul Sutherland for bringing charges against the former law enforcement officers. Mrs. Chapman also served in law enforcement.
“I would imagine you would get two reactions,” Lasarow said to Sutherland. “One from the public saying, ‘Good, you did it.’ And another from law enforcement saying, ‘Why did you have to do it to one of us?'”
Mrs. Chapman did not speak before sentence was imposed.
Mr. Chapman said he respected the court and the District Attorney’s office.
“We walked in here with dignity and will walk out the same,” he said. “We respect what you say.”
The couple was previously convicted by jury trial of submitting a fraudulent insurance claim and making false statements regarding an insurance claim. Both crimes are felonies.
The Chapmans were paid about $50,000 from the California Automobile Association after a March 9, 1996 fire consumed their Tahoe Verde Mobile Home Park residence.
A CSAA investigation revealed the Chapmans had to be living in the home to collect on the policy. They were reportedly later found not to reside in the trailer.
The judge sentenced the Chapmans to two years of suspended prison time for each crime. Should the suspended sentences be imposed due to probation violations, each sentence will run concurrent to the other.
“This is the type of case I should ask for an increase of pay,” Lasarow said, citing the difficulty he had in presiding.
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