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Former Santa Barbara Police Officer Guilty of Workers’ Comp Fraud

A former Santa Barbara police officer is headed to jail for Felony Workers’ Compensation Fraud.

Jacob Finerty, 28, of Hesperia, California, entered an open plea to four counts of fraud on Friday.

Officer Finerty claimed to have injured his back in an off-duty accident while he was employed with the Santa Barbara Police Department. He also claimed that he could not perform his usual and customary employment duties as a police officer due to his back injury.

Sergeant Jill Beecher of the Santa Barbara Police Department investigated Finerty’s claims. She discovered that during the same time Finerty claimed he couldn’t do his job, he was seen on multiple occasions lifting heavy weights, engaging in strength competitions and competing in MAS Wrestling events. Many of those activities were captured on video and photographs and posted on social media.

Sgt. Beecher sent her findings to Deputy District Attorney Gary Gemberling who filed the four felony counts against Finerty.

Finerty entered the open plea to all charges and there was no plea agreement.

Judge Clifford Anderson sentenced Finerty to 120 days in jail, placed him on five years probation and ordered him to payback $115,669.86 to the City of Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley stated, “The fraud committed by the defendant was paid for by the taxpayers of the City of Santa Barbara, the very same people the defendant was hired to protect. His criminal actions caused a significant breach of the public’s trust and resulted in his status changing from Santa Barbara Police Officer to a Felon.”

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