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Grinberg: LAPD Officer's Fraud Taints Convictions

By Gregory Grinberg

Thursday, March 26, 2020 | 632 | 0 | min read

I’ve got a bittersweet item to report. A former Los Angeles Police Department officer, Michael Simon, of Redondo Beach, pleaded no contest to grand theft and insurance fraud. 

Gregory Grinberg

Gregory Grinberg

As reported by MyNewsLA.com, Simon was accused of “misrepresenting the nature of his injuries to his employer to collect additional financial assistance” and “of engaging in activities inconsistent with his claimed injuries while he was off work in disability.”

The article reflects that he had been an LAPD officer for 12 years before resigning.

As this blog often points out, the conviction of a law enforcement officer or, really, any person in a particular position of trust in our society, is bittersweet. On the one hand, it is justice being served to have a person engaged in deceit and fraud to be caught, publicly shamed and for restitution to be made to the victims — in this case, the taxpayer-funded budget of the public sector employer.

But there is a bitter taste to such victories as well. Every time a law enforcement officer is convicted of fraud, the testimony of honest LEOs in the prosecution of any trial is just a little bit less persuasive. Even the convictions that Simon contributed to in his 12 years as an LAPD officer, perhaps fairly and honestly reached, are now tainted and impeached.

Of course, every defense attorney who ever represented a criminal defendant convicted even in part by the testimony of Simon is cracking open his or her old file for a new appeal and a new trial, one that the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office probably has limited resources to retry (perhaps several years later).

Unfortunately, “what’s to be done?” has a very limited option for meaningful response. In my estimation, the right thing was done here: Upon finding a rotten apple in the barrel, the local authorities investigated and removed it.

Unfortunately, few details are available on how Simon was caught with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar. Such details would help educate the defense community in how to better identify and document fraud, but, in all likelihood, would also shape more elaborate fraudsters. 

Congratulations to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office on a successful prosecution.

Gregory Grinberg is a workers' compensation defense attorney at the Law Office of Gregory Grinberg, based in the San Francisco Bay Area. This post is reprinted with permission from Grinberg's WCDefenseCA blog.

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