LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy accused of misleading supervisors about the hours he worked and falsifying patrol records pleaded not guilty Wednesday to seven felony counts.
Matt Kochaon, 54, is charged with one count of grand theft and six counts of removing, destroying or falsifying a public record while an official custodian of records, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Kochaon — who was assigned at the time to the sheriff’s department’s Parks Bureau’s Southern Region — allegedly drove his patrol vehicle to his Riverside home at the end of his shift between September 2016 and October 2016, and then reportedly logged out from his shift at home, which resulted in salary overpayment, according to prosecutors.
He also allegedly made patrol log entries of his response to calls for backup when he was at home, according to prosecutors.
Kochaon is due back in a courtroom July 26, when a date is scheduled to be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require him to stand trial.
If convicted as charged, he could face up to nine years and eight months in local custody, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
Kochaon — a 20-year veteran of the sheriff’s department — was relieved of duty in February 2017 pending the outcome of a criminal investigation, according to a statement released by the sheriff’s department.
“When the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s (LASD) Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau (ICIB) became aware of the criminal allegations, a comprehensive investigation was initiated. Through the course of their investigation, ICIB investigators obtained information indicating that various crimes had occurred,” according to the statement, which noted that the case was presented to the District Attorney’s Office last year for filing consideration.
“The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department expects all of its members to hold themselves to the highest ethical and professional standards at all times. Department members who choose to violate the law and public trust will not be tolerated,” according to the statement.