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A California Highway Patrol officer who pleaded no contest to grand theft related to his concealing the true extent of his disability following a workplace injury must pay investigation costs as part of court-ordered restitution, a state appeals court ruled Monday.
Following surveillance as part of a fraud investigation by both the CHP and the State Compensation Insurance Fund and a court order to pay $71,509 as part of his restitution, Daniel Cory Clapp appealed, arguing that “as public investigative agencies, neither SCIF nor CHP is entitled to reimbursement for the costs of investigating his claim, according to documents in The People v. Daniel Cory Clapp, filed in the Court of Appeal in California’s 3rd Appellate District in Sacramento.
CHP officers logged 1,761 hours investigating Mr. Clapp and his activities on disability leave following a tip, and SCIF investigators spent 59 hours investigating the claim, according to documents. The surveillance included Mr. Clapp traveling, going to doctor’s visits, shopping, camping, boating, swimming and chopping wood.
Altogether, Mr. Clapp collected $111,863 in injury and disability benefits.
The state appellate court disagreed with Mr. Clapp’s assertion that he should not pay for the investigation, concluding “that as direct victims of defendant’s fraud, both CHP and SCIF are entitled to restitution for investigative costs incurred in an effort to justify discontinuance of payments and recoup money defendant fraudulently obtained.”
The court also wrote that “denying the agencies restitution here would result in a rule encouraging public entities to incur out-of-pocket expenses for outside investigators rather than try to investigate the matter in-house.”