crime

Former San Leandro Officer Sentenced for Stealing From Police Department

The former officer received more than $16,000 in overtime pay for hours he did not work, Alameda County prosecutors said

A former San Leandro police officer was sentenced Wednesday to felony probation, community service and ordered to pay as much as $46,815 in restitution for stealing from the police department. 

Former Sgt. Robert Sanchez received more than $16,000 in overtime pay for hours he did not work, Alameda County prosecutors said Thursday. 

Sanchez managed the payroll and timekeeping systems for the police department in 2019 and 2020. He approved overtime for himself that he did not work, prosecutors said. 

San Leandro police contacted the Alameda County District Attorney's Office in April 2020 following concerns that Sanchez had claimed overtime in March 2020 that he did not work. 

An investigation revealed that between August 2019 and March 2020, Sanchez claimed overtime and compensatory time when he was not working, such as on vacations, prosecutors said. 

Sanchez also erased vacation, sick and compensatory time that he had taken, according to prosecutors, and credited back sick, vacation and compensatory time he used, prosecutors said. 

Sanchez has paid the city $16,702.88, which was the amount of the money he received that he didn't work for. 

The remaining restitution reflects city of San Leandro attorney's fees, and he will also pay up to $27,940 for an ongoing, independent audit. So far, Sanchez has paid $12,000 for the audit. 

Sanchez pleaded no contest in June to felony grand theft in a negotiated disposition, according to prosecutors. 

City officials said they have put in place new safeguards, including bi-weekly audits, to avoid a similar situation in the future.

"This was clearly a violation of the public trust," San Leandro Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter said in a statement. "I am confident the proper steps have been taken to protect our hard-earned taxpayer dollars from a repeat of what was a painful and sad event."

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