Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
FORMER ANAHEIM POLICE CADET SENTENCED FOR EMBEZZLING $225,000 CASH IN IMPOUNDED VEHICLE RELEASE FEES FROM CITY OF ANAHEIM
FULLERTON – A former police cadet with the Anaheim Police Department (APD) was sentenced today for stealing over $225,000 in cash fees paid to the City of Anaheim for the release of impounded vehicles. Kainat Syeda, 24, Buena Park, pleaded guilty to one felony count of the misappropriation of public funds and sentencing enhancements and allegations for theft exceeding $100,000 and property loss over $200,000. She was sentenced to four years in state prison stayed pending successful completion of five years of formal probation, and one year in Orange County jail. She was ordered to pay $225,000 in restitution to the City of Anaheim, $100,000 of which she paid today with a cashier’s check. With this conviction, Syeda is permanently disqualified from working in any public agency in California.
When an individual’s car is towed in the City of Anaheim, that person must pay a City “release fee” at APD. These fees are in addition to the towing and storage fees at impound facilities. Impounded vehicles are not released to their owner without an APD Release Authorization Form, which is given to the vehicle owner upon payment of the required fees. Between 2006 and 2009, APD accepted these types of fee payments in the form of cash and checks, ranging from $100 in 2006 up to $128 in 2009.
Between January 2006 and April 2009, Syeda stole $225,000 in cash from the City of Anaheim while working in uniform as a police cadet in the front lobby traffic bureau window at APD. When a person paid cash at the window for their impounded car, the defendant entered “No Sale” in the cash register and stole the cash payments. She provided individuals with the release authorization forms for which they had paid, but failed to provide that payment to the City.
Syeda altered the release authorization forms to ensure that the cash register “No Sale” validation imprint was cut off the form in an effort to conceal the theft. She committed this act 1,799 times, resulting in an embezzlement of $225,000.
In April 2009, another police cadet working in the traffic bureau uncovered discrepancies in processing the daily vehicle release records and notified administrators. During her next work shift, Syeda was observed handling more than a half dozen release authorizations at the front window but reported processing only two transactions in the daily records and receipts.
The defendant was arrested May 19, 2010, by APD.
Deputy District Attorney Chuck Lawhorn of the White Collar Crime Team prosecuted this case.