Thursday, May 23, 2013
Former Cop Faces No Jail Time for PFD Fraud
However, Rafael Mora-Lopez, 47, was ordered to pay back more than $27,000 in PFD checks he had collected over the last 21 years.
On Friday, a state Superior Court judge sentenced Rafael Mora-Lopez, 47, to one year of unsupervised probation and no additional jail time. He was ordered to pay back more than $27,000 in PFD checks he had collected over the last 21 years.
Mora-Lopez gave an emotional testimony in court in front of a judge along with his friends and family members who were sitting behind him in the courtroom.
“I want to apologize to the police department, to my family and my friends for what my actions caused,” he said tearfully. “It was never my intention to hurt the people of Anchorage. I want to apologize for what I did, all I wanted was to serve you.”
Superior Court Judge Michael Wolverton told the court that he had received an overwhelming number of letters of support from the community about the good things he had done.
Mora-Lopez will serve a three-month federal prison sentence for passport fraud and false claim of citizenship.
“He was a very good police officer and very strong supporter of the community, so it’s a bitter pill for all of us to swallow,” said Lt. Dave Parker, a spokesperson for the Anchorage Police Department.
APD officers say Mora-Lopez was involved with hundreds of cases during his six-year career as a patrol officer with the department - many of which will not be re-opened.
“Most of the cases that he worked on have already passed through the court system,” Parker said.
The case has prompted APD to make changes, especially to hiring processes.
“The big thing is getting to know our candidates, getting to know them well before the final selection is made,” he said.
Anchorage detectives will now be conducting the initial interviews and polygraph operators will go through additional training to make sure they detect all red flags.
“We have several commanders that would be lieutenants or captains review every single file which comes from our background unit prior to presentation to our chief,” he said.
It’s a process APD hopes will make sure there aren’t any more cases like those of Mora-Lopez.