|For Immediate Release
Case # TBA
February 14, 2014
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
FULLERTON POLICE OFFICER CHARGED WITH STEALING $24,000 FROM FINANCIAL LENDER AND CAR BUYER WHILE OFF DUTY
FULLERTON – A police officer has been charged with stealing approximately $24,000 from a financial lender and a wholesale automobile buyer after failing to repay a loan and fraudulently selling his truck, which was collateral for the unpaid loan. The officer was off duty at the time. Hugo Garcia, 32, is charged with one felony count of grand theft by false pretense and one felony count of embezzlement by debtor of security agreement. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of three years in jail. Garcia is scheduled to be arraigned March 14, 2014, at the North Justice Center, Fullerton. The time and Department are to be determined.
In October 2012, Garcia is accused of taking out a loan for approximately $12,000 from a financial lender using his Chevrolet Tahoe as collateral. The defendant is accused of making two payments on the loan and then failing to make any additional payments.
In November 2012, Garcia is accused of advertising his Tahoe for sale on Craigslist, despite the financial lender having a security interest in the car. The defendant is accused of selling the vehicle to a wholesale buyer for $12,000 cash. The buyer was unaware that the car was being used as collateral for the loan and purchased the vehicle believing it was a legitimate transaction.
In March 2013, after Garcia is accused of failing to make multiple payments on his loan, the financial lender repossessed the vehicle from a third party who had purchased it after it was sold by the wholesaler. The original wholesaler buyer re-paid the third party and, therefore, lost both the Tahoe and his $12,000 payment.
In October 2013, the victim reported the case to the Fullerton Police Department after being unable to recoup his losses directly from the defendant. FPD investigated this case and submitted it to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office for criminal review in January 2014. Garcia was off-duty and not acting in his official capacity as a police officer at the time of the crime.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Robert Mestman of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.