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FBI arrests L.A. County probation executive in bank fraud

September 17, 2012 | 12:58 pm

A top Los Angeles County Probation Department executive was arrested by FBI agents Monday on suspicion of committing bank fraud.

Carl Washington, division chief of intergovermental relations and legislative affairs and a former state legislator, was taken into custody about 10 a.m. in connection with an investigation into bank fraud and allegations of identity theft, federal officials said.

Washington is the latest and most high-ranking probation employee to be arrested. Department officials acknowledged in a statement that there have been "more than 40 arrests of employees" so far this year. Two weeks ago, for example, a six-year probation employee was accused of filing false workers' compensation claims.

With around 6,000 employees, the agency is responsible for keeping tabs on 80,000 adult criminals on their release from jail, and also operates camps and halls for juvenile delinquents.

In 1996, Washington was first elected to the California Assembly to represent the 52nd district that includes Compton, serving three terms.  While an assemblyman, he was chairman of the Public Safety Committee and wrote the School Safety and Violence Prevention Act of 1999. 

County probation officials said the arrests this year coincide with a year-long internal review of staff misconduct and serve to help raise the Probation Department’s employment standards and practices.

“These recent arrests should serve as a clear message that this chief and this Probation Department will not tolerate criminal behavior by staff," said Probation Chief Jerry Powers. "This is a law enforcement agency and as such, we will hold ourselves to a higher standard both on and off-duty."

The department also acknowledged assisting in a number of criminal investigations involving probation employees.

Powers is the latest head of the department battling to clean up misconduct. In a 2010 investigation, The Times identified at least 11 Los Angeles County juvenile probation officers who had been convicted of crimes or disciplined in recent years for inappropriate conduct involving current or former probationers, including several cases of molesting or beating youths in their care.

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-- Richard Winton and Jason Song

 

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