An Orange County sheriff’s deputy has been charged with filing a false police report after prosecutors said she took a credit card from a suspect and gave it to her son, who then used the card to make purchases.
Angelina Cortez, 41, faces the felony charge in connection with a Nov. 19, 2018, incident in which she and her training officer responded to a 911 call about a man stealing wine and batteries from a San Clemente 7-Eleven store.
Cortez is accused of taking the suspected thief’s credit card, putting it in her uniform shirt pocket and later giving it to her son, who then used it. The card was never booked into evidence, prosecutors allege.
“The public has an absolute expectation that their law enforcement officers will carry out their duties lawfully,” said Orange County Dist. Atty. Todd Spitzer, a former Los Angeles police reserve officer.
“When laws are broken by the very people who are sworn to uphold them, the public trust is eroded, and society as a whole suffers. The entire criminal justice system relies on the trust that those sworn to uphold the law are following it themselves.”
The incident was identified and investigated by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department before it was presented to the D.A.’s office, sheriff’s spokeswoman Carrie Braun said.
“With charges filed, the department will now proceed with an internal administrative investigation.”
Cortez, who has been on administrative leave since June 2019, is slated to be arraigned Nov. 18.
If convicted as charged, she could face up to to three years in prison.
Before becoming a deputy in 2013, Cortez worked as a corrections assistant in the Orange County jails for the Sheriff’s Department. She earned about $248,000 in salary and benefits in 2018, including $41,000 in overtime, according to the county’s salary data.