A former Anaheim Police Department cadet is accused of stealing more than $225,000 in cash fees paid to the City of Anaheim for the release of impounded vehicles. If convicted, 23-year-old Kainat Syeda of Buena Park could get probation. Or two years in state prison. Or up to 46 years in the big house.
The Orange County District Attorney's Office lays out the case against her after the jump . .
May 20, 2010
FORMER ANAHEIM POLICE CADET CHARGED WITH EMBEZZLING $225,000 CASH IN IMPOUNDED VEHICLE RELEASE FEES FROM CITY OF ANAHEIM
FULLERTON - A former police cadet with the Anaheim Police Department (APD) has been charged with stealing over $225,000 in cash fees paid to the City of Anaheim for the release of impounded vehicles. Kainat Syeda, 23, Buena Park, is charged with one felony count of the misappropriation of public funds, four felony counts of falsifying and altering records maintained at a public office, and 40 felony counts of the falsification and concealment of public accounts. She faces sentencing enhancements and allegations for theft exceeding $100,000 and property loss over $200,000. If convicted on all counts, Syeda faces a sentence ranging from two years up to 46 years in state prison. In certain unusual cases, a judge may also find the defendant eligible for probation in the interest of justice.
The defendant was arrested yesterday by APD and is being held on $225,000 bail and must prove that the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond. Syeda is scheduled to be arraigned today, Thursday, May 20, 2010, at 1:30 p.m. in Department N-3, North Justice Center, Fullerton.
When an individual's car is towed in the City of Anaheim, that person must pay a City "release fee" at APD. These fees are in addition to the towing and storage fees at impound facilities. Impounded vehicles are not released to their owner without an APD Release Authorization Form, which is given to the vehicle owner upon payment of the required fees. Between 2006 and 2009, APD accepted fee payments in the form of cash and checks, ranging from $100 in 2006 up to $128 in 2009.
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Between January 2006 and April 2009, Syeda is accused of stealing $225,000 in cash from the City of Anaheim while working in uniform as a police cadet in the front lobby traffic bureau window at APD. When a person paid cash at the window for their impounded car, the defendant is accused of entering "No Sale" in the cash register and stealing the cash payments. She is accused of providing individuals with the release authorization forms for which they had paid, but failing to provide that payment to the City.
Syeda is accused of altering the release authorization forms to ensure that the cash register "No Sale" validation imprint was cut off the form in an effort to conceal the theft. She is accused of committing this act 1,799 times, resulting in an embezzlement of $225,000.
In April 2009, another police cadet working in the traffic bureau uncovered discrepancies in processing the daily vehicle release records and notified administrators. During her next work shift, Syeda is accused of being observed handling more than a half dozen release authorizations at the front window but reported processing only two transactions in the daily records and receipts.
Deputy District Attorney Chuck Lawhorn of the White Collar Crime Team is prosecuting this case.