LAPD officer arrested in alleged scheme to torch car, collect insurance; second officer accused of cover-up

(LA TIMES)   Two Los Angeles police officers were charged Monday with insurance fraud stemming from a case in which one of the cops allegedly torched his own car and the other helped cover up the crime, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office announced.

Anthony Robert Villanueva, 24, allegedly arranged to have his 2001 Lexus sedan taken to the desert and set on fire in April. Villanueva then reported the car stolen to the LAPD and submitted a claim with his insurance company to be reimbursed, authorities alleged.

He was arrested Monday when he showed up for work, prosecutors said. He faces charges of fraud, arson and filing a false report.

The second officer, Ricardo Rebolledo, 27, wrote a false statement to Villanueva’s insurance company, vouching for Villanueva and his alibi on the day of the fabricated theft, according to a statement released by the district attorney’s office.

Rebolledo is expected to surrender Tuesday in court, when both officers are scheduled to be arraigned.

The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by the California Department of Insurance. Officials at the state agency did not respond to calls for comment on how the officers first came under suspicion.

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