- Associated Press - Thursday, October 8, 2015

KING CITY, Calif. (AP) - The former police chief of a Northern California city was sentenced to 30 days in jail for illegally giving a patrol car to another officer.

Former King City Police Chief Dominic Baldiviez, 50, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor embezzlement charges earlier this year, the Salinas Californian reported Wednesday (https://tinyurl.com/nm5q57h ).

The case involved a patrol car modified into a low rider to be used in the King City Police Explorer program for department outreach.

Former officer Mario Mottu Sr., who ended up with title to the car, was also sentenced to 30 days in jail for his role in the scheme. Mottu, who ran the outreach program, was ordered to return the car to the city.

Both men will be allowed to serve their jail sentence through a work alternative program in which they can sign up with the local sheriff’s office to do physical labor, the newspaper said.



Baldiviez and Mottu were among six arrested in February 2014 as part of a corruption probe. All but one of those charged has pleaded guilty or no contest.

In a similar situation in Southern California, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department launched an internal investigation after a newspaper found a top-ranking official bought a stolen car from the owner of a towing company that contracts with the department.

Assistant Sheriff Michael Rothans told the Los Angeles Times (https://lat.ms/1ZgVJXz ) that he had no idea he was driving a stolen car until more than a year after he bought it.

Rothans, the department’s third-ranking official, paid $3,000 for the 2012 Audi A4 last year. It was purchased from Lisa Vernola, a longtime friend who owns Vernola’s Towing in Norwalk.

The Audi had been seized from a suspected gang member at a drunken-driving checkpoint, the Times said.

Rothans says he considered the transaction a private sale between himself and Vernola.

Rothans has returned the car.

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