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Winter Haven police officer allegedly faked time card, charged with grand theft

Officer Antonio Arias was placed on unpaid administrative leave on May 25.

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — A Winter Haven police officer is accused of clocking over 300 hours the police department claims he either only worked a portion of or none at all, according to an affidavit.

Antonio Arias, 28, was arrested and taken into custody on May 25. The Winter Haven Police Department said he'd been on paid leave since March 22 when a criminal investigation launched in regards to special detail pay Arias received for off-duty details he did not complete. 

On March 17, it was brought up to a supervisor that Arias did not appear to be at his assigned detail as he reported on March 16, according to a press release. After reviewing security camera footage, an affidavit report revealed that Arias did not show up at the City of Winter Haven Parking Garage where he was expected to have passed through at some time during the detail.

That's when a support captain requested an investigation to figure out if Arias was fraudulently reporting time worked for off-duty details, the new release said.

Thus, the investigation began on March 22. 

When working off-duty security details, Winter Have police officers notify dispatch of their assignment location and the time period in which they're working. Officers are also issued Apple watches, iPhones and Wi-Fi cellular hot-spot devices, able to be tracked through GPS and range-to-tower data. 

The investigation went as far back as Arias' first eligible off-duty security detail on Dec. 26, 2020, to March 17, 2022, the news release said. 

Through the investigation, the Winter Haven Police Department reported that Arias fraudulently reported a total of 387.5 hours, "where he claimed to have worked an entire detail but had only worked a portion or none at all." 

Out of the 295 details Arias worked, the investigation stated that he was not present at 185 of those off-duty details in some capacity or time frame, the report says. In addition, the total amount of time Arias was paid for that he did not work totaled to $11,625, the report added.

Authorities said Arias spent the majority of the hours reportedly worked leaving his assigned detail to other parts of the city of Winter Haven or just outside the city while claiming to be on-site working the entire detail. 

Arias is charged with grand theft and property obtained by communications fraud (valued at more than $10,000). Since his arrest on May 25, Arias has been placed on unpaid administrative leave pending the disciplinary process, police reported.  

He was hired as a police officer on Aug. 31, 2020.

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