(CN) – A former Florida police chief has been charged with allegedly pinning a string of thefts on a sixteen-year-old in an effort to keep up the appearance that his police department had a flawless burglary prosecution rate.
In a grand jury indictment unsealed Monday, former Biscayne Park Police Chief Raimundo “Ray” Atesiano is accused of having the teen arrested in 2013 for four unsolved burglaries despite “knowing there was no evidence and no lawful basis” to connect him to those crimes.
Allegedly, Atesiano was trying to make sure his department maintained a 100 percent clearance rate for burglaries, meaning that for each burglary report in his Biscayne Park jurisdiction, a suspect was identified and charged.
“The existence of this fictitious 100% clearance rate of reported burglaries was used by Atesiano to gain favor with elected officials and concerned citizens,” the indictment states.
Co-defendant Raul Fernandez, who was working as a reserve officer for Biscayne Park at the time, “agreed to write and notarize four arrest affidavits with false narratives to unlawfully charge” the teen, according to the indictment. A third policeman, co-defendant Charlie Dayoub, signed the affidavits, the indictment states.
Atesiano touted the police department’s supposedly perfect burglary clearance rate at a July 2013 city council meeting, roughly three weeks after the arrest affidavits were filed, prosecutors say.
Atesiano, Fernandez and Dayoub are each charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the teen’s Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, and another count of deprivation of rights under color of law.
The case was investigated by the FBI’s Miami Field Office including the FBI Miami Area Corruption Task Force, alongside the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
According to the indictment unsealed Monday, Atesiano had about 20 officers under his command during his stint at the helm of the Biscayne Park Police Department. The less-than one-square-mile municipality, which is estimated to have about 3,000 residents, is tucked into the northeast corner of Miami-Dade County in a densely populated metropolitan area.
The Miami Herald reported that Atesiano resigned in 2014 amid scrutiny over a loan he allegedly had received from an officer under his command. Atesiano denied any misconduct. He characterized a crudely handwritten IOU that supposedly documented the loan as a joke.
Earlier this year, a separate criminal case was brought against another one of the town’s former officers, for allegedly concealing in his police reports that he struck and injured two suspects in 2013.