Three police officers and one former officer all pled not guilty to charges that included time theft relating to negligent absenteeism from their beats, the Phoenix New Times reports. The charges came two weeks after the foursome was indicted on accusations that their time theft led to $16,000 in lost revenue for local small businesses.
The officers were contracted for off-duty security jobs for businesses and residencies in higher-crime neighborhoods of Phoenix. However, the group was paid for the work but never showed, the paper reports. In all, 25 police officers were named on the docket.
While time theft itself may be difficult to quantify, the four officers were levied with charges of theft, operating an illegal enterprise and fraudulent schemes.
The supposed head of the scheme, officer George Contreras supposedly filed false invoices and billed local businesses in advance.
Police officers are often required to punch in with timeclocks that track daily shifts, but in this case the defendants found a comparatively easy way to earn on the side with little to no oversight. The officers' precinct, South Mountain, has a history of scandals, the paper stated.
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