|For Immediate Release
Case # 12CM04792
December 6, 2012
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
Cell: 714-292-2718Farrah Emami
TWO POLICE OFFICERS CONVICTED OF CONSPIRACY VIA TEXT AND PHONE CALLS TO ILLEGALLY DISMISS LEGITIMATE TRAFFIC CITATION
WESTMINSTER – Two police officers from different agencies were convicted today of conspiring in text messages and phone calls to illegally dismiss a legitimate traffic citation. Erik Michael Krause, 44, and Michael John Zannitto, 47, were both found guilty by a jury of one misdemeanor count of conspiracy to obstruct justice. They face a sentence ranging from probation up to one year in jail at their sentencing Jan. 25, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. in Department W-17, West Justice Center, Westminster.
At the time of the crime, Krause was a 22-year veteran of the Huntington Beach Police Department (HBPD) and Zannitto was an 11-year veteran of the Garden Grove Police Department (GGPD). The defendants did not know each other prior to the crime.
On Nov. 9, 2011, Krause issued a traffic citation for speeding in the immediate vicinity of a stopped school bus to 32-year-old Jane Doe. He wrote detailed notes regarding the violation on the ticket. Later that same month, Zannitto met Jane Doe at Knott’s Berry Farm. The defendant was off-duty and not in uniform. During this initial meeting, Zannitto told Jane Doe that he could have her traffic citation dismissed.
On Dec. 6, 2011, Zannitto sent Jane Doe a text message requesting a copy of her citation. On Dec. 13, 2011, Zannitto received a text message from Jane Doe, who works in the alcohol industry, in which she included pictures of alcohol and an offer of free alcohol in exchange for getting the traffic citation dismissed.
On Jan. 20, 2012, Zannitto received a text message from Jane Doe with a picture of the citation issued to her by Krause. Sometime between November 2011 and Jan. 20, 2012, Zannitto instructed Jane Doe to contest her traffic citation by written declaration.
Sometime between Jan. 20, 2012, and Jan. 25, 2012, Zannitto contacted a sergeant at HBPD and identified himself as a GGPD officer. He falsely stated that his sister had been issued a ticket by Krause and asked to be put in contact with Krause under the pretense of having a question.