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We’re not against the police.  We’re not against the police department, but we are against police who commit misconduct (and those who help cover it up).

This is part one of three. 

Theft
noun
the action or crime of stealing.
“he was convicted of theft”
synonyms: robbery, stealing, thieving, larceny, thievery, shoplifting, burglary, misappropriation, appropriation, embezzlement;

 

When last we spoke about Newton Division’s Captain Ed Prokop and his DUI, I closed by saying that I was looking into some funny money business and stolen laptop computers.  Well I looked and I found out.

Propkop doesn’t just have enemies inside of the Department upset with his preferential treatment when it comes to discipline but apparently he’s also stepped on the toes of members of the community who passed along the following information for the public to know about.

When Hoopesgate broke and then Newton Division Captain Jorge Rodriguez was demoted and shipped off to Foothill, Captain I Prokop became Captain III Prokop and Rodriguez’s replacement.

I’m told that one of the first things Prokop did when he took over was to set about picking apart pet projects that Rodriguez had spearheaded including the LAPD Newton Police Activities League otherwise known as PAL.

Newton PAL board with former councilmember Jan Perry and Captain Jorge Rodriguez.

Newton PAL board with former 9th District councilmember Jan Perry and Captain Jorge Rodriguez.

For those who don’t know, the PAL is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that works with the LAPD and focuses specifically on children in the area by providing them with structured activities as well as safe spaces to play with friendly officers watching over.  They are a separate organization from the LAPD with their own governing board.  It is a highly respected program run by great people that has been recognized by the City for its contribution to the community.

As a nonprofit the Newton PAL raises money to give to the Newton Division for specific projects and events.  However, it is not common practice for the captain of the division that is associated with a particular PAL to be a member of the board of directors.

According to those close to the situation, shortly after Prokop took over for Rodriguez he demanded to be on the board and a signer on the group’s bank account.  The group said no and explained that was a highly unusual request and that Rodriguez was never on the board or on the bank account so why should he be.

Prokop in turn had his boss Deputy Chief Jose Perez (via his adjutant Lieutenant Elaine Morales)  send an email demanding that Prokop be added to the bank account as a signer.

EXHIBIT A – Demand by Deputy Chief Perez that Captain Prokop be given acces to nonprofit’s bank account

From: “ELAINE MORALES” <25813@lapd.lacity.org>
Date: Wed, 08 May 2013 18:20:27 -0700
To: Robert Ri’chard<rinchesr@aol.com>; <gina@barenslaw.com>; Catherine Landeros<Landeros.catherine@gmail.com>; Margarita Verduzco<newtonpals.margarita@gmail.com>; YSABEL VILLEGAS<26919@lapd.lacity.org>; <chris.lee@med.usc.edu>; <Penas@repsrv.com>; akamusa@yahoo.com<akamusa@yahoo.com>; <kidston7730@yahoo.com>; <tammysantangelo2@yahoo.com>
Cc: RAFAEL RAMIREZ<27442@lapd.lacity.org>; MARY KOUMASHIAN<B8818@lapd.lacity.org>; EDWARD PROKOP<edward.prokop@lapd.lacity.org>; JOSE PEREZ<perezj@lapd.lacity.org>; JOHN SHERMAN<shermanj@lapd.lacity.org>
Subject: Re: Update from Newton PALS Emergency Meeting 04-23-13

Good Evening Everyone,

As May 10, 2013 is approaching, I have received the following documents:
-Newton PAL 2011 Accounting/Taxes documents
-Newton PAL 2012 Accounting/Taxes documents

The following documents are due to me by May 10, 2013, :
-All LAPD Volunteer Enrollment Forms
Ensure Captain Prokop is a signer on the current bank account

Currently Newton PAL needs the following checks for the Golf Tournament
* Tommy’s Burgers $893.00 (50% now, and the remainder after the tournament)
* Sierra La Verne Country Club $5748.69 (the remainder owed, due by 5-21-13) May change depending on # of golfers
* Gina’s Tacos $750 (taco lady on the course during tournament)
* $1000 (I need this amount in cash to purchase additional raffle prizes, need this ASAP)

I (Lieutenant Morales) will pick-up the checks/cash for the Golf Tournament from Margarita on Friday, May 10, 2013 unless delivered sooner to me.

As a reminder the below items are due to me by May 16, 2013
-Receipts and the Binder containing misc. documents, audits, expenditures, maintenance of all incoming and outgoing funds, and other associated matters.

Thanks for the Tax information, if there are any issues regarding the May 10th or May 16th deadlines please contact me as soon as possible.

Thanks
Elaine

ELAINE MORALES
Lieutenant
LAPD, OCB
(213) 926-0297

So that we’re clear, there was no issue with PAL’s bookkeeping and that was even admitted to by the LAPD in one of the emails flying back and forth about this.  And even if there was an issue, PAL is its own organization separate from the LAPD.  By most accounts, it was simply a power grab move on the behalf of Prokop.

So when the group still refused to comply with giving Prokop access to the organization’s funds, Perez called an emergency meeting on April 23, 2013 at 4 p.m. and told the board to “stand down” until further notice and that the Newton PAL board was going to be reconfigured.  Perez told the board members that they could reapply to be on the board.

EXHIBIT B – After PAL refuses Prokop access to bank account Perez sends stand-down letter

From: ELAINE MORALES <25813@lapd.lacity.org>
To: Robert Ri’chard <rinchesr@aol.com>; gina@barenslaw.com; Catherine Landeros <Landeros.catherine@gmail.com>; Margarita Verduzco <newtonpals.margarita@gmail.com>; YSABEL VILLEGAS <26919@lapd.lacity.org>; chris.lee@med.usc.edu; Penas@repsrv.com; “akamusa@yahoo.com” <akamusa@yahoo.com>; kidston7730@yahoo.com;tammysantangelo2@yahoo.com
Cc: RAFAEL RAMIREZ <27442@lapd.lacity.org>; MARY KOUMASHIAN <B8818@lapd.lacity.org>; EDWARD PROKOP <edward.prokop@lapd.lacity.org>; JOSE PEREZ <perezj@lapd.lacity.org>; JOHN SHERMAN <shermanj@lapd.lacity.org>
Sent: Wednesday, April 24, 2013 2:16 PM
Subject: Update from Newton PALS Emergency Meeting 04-23-13

Good Afternoon Everyone,

On April 23, 2013, at 4 pm, Deputy Chief Jose Perez, Commanding Officer, Operations-Central Bureau (OCB), called an emergency board meeting of the Newton PALS.

During this meeting there were three current board members present.  The purpose of this meeting was to obtain feedback and collect information on the historical overview of the Newton PAL Program, Newton PAL By-Laws, current financial systems (ie. audits, expenditures, receipts, tax info, financial records/binders, maintenance of all incoming and outgoing funds), and other associated matters.

Deputy Chief Jose Perez expressed his concern about the Newton PAL Program.  While there may be outstanding record keeping systems and documents of all items from above, until Deputy Chief Jose Perez reviews the above submitted documents and has a better comfort level of the Newton PAL Program, effective April 23, 2013, the Newton PALS Board and functions are to be “stood-down” with no further activity. All documents are due to me by Thursday, May 16, 2013.   

Deputy Chief Jose Perez has allowed the following to continue:

-Day to Day Kids Programs
-Golf Tournament

The following will discontinue until further notice:

-No expenses to be issued, all checkbooks turned in to Lt Elaine Morales
-No further involvement or progress with the following; WETLAND Foundation, Trinity Program, HACLA MOU, Annenburg Foundation,
-No Board meetings.

The Newton PAL Board will be reconfigured.   If you wish to apply as a Newton PAL volunteer board member, I have attached the LAPD Volunteer Enrollment Forms, which are due to me by Friday, May 10, 2013.   Deputy Chief Perez will ask the newly configured Board to revise/amend the Newton PAL Bylaws to be consistent with the other OCB PAL/Youth Boards.

Lt. Elaine Morales at OCB will be the coordinator and contact person for Chief Perez and she will handle all matters, questions, etc.

Thanks

ELAINE MORALES
Lieutenant
LAPD, OCB
(213) 926-0297

For the record, Perez was not a member of the board of the Newton PAL, he was just a member of the advisory board who until recently had never had a problem with any of the work that PAL had done on behalf of the station or the money it had raised.

Legally Perez didn’t have the authority to make the board comply with his orders because it wasn’t his organization.  So instead Perez asked all of the board members to resign of which they refused to do.

Shortly after this, on LAPD letterhead, the group who had raised so much money and done so much great work for the LAPD was sent a disassociation letter.

EXHIBIT C – Perez sends PAL disassociation letter

From: “ELAINE MORALES” <25813@lapd.lacity.org>
Date: May 14, 2013 at 9:06:00 AM PDT
To: “Robert Ri’chard” <rinchesr@aol.com>,<gina@barenslaw.com>, “Catherine Landeros” <Landeros.catherine@gmail.com>, “Margarita Verduzco” <newtonpals.margarita@gmail.com>, “YSABEL VILLEGAS” <26919@lapd.lacity.org>, <chris.lee@med.usc.edu>, <Penas@repsrv.com>, “akamusa@yahoo.com” <akamusa@yahoo.com>, <kidston7730@yahoo.com>, <tammysantangelo2@yahoo.com>
Cc: “RONALD SPICER” <26170@lapd.lacity.org>, “RAFAEL RAMIREZ” <27442@lapd.lacity.org>, “MC NEILL GARDNER” <32848@lapd.lacity.org>, “MARY KOUMASHIAN” <B8818@lapd.lacity.org>, “EDWARD PROKOP” <edward.prokop@lapd.lacity.org>, “JOSE PEREZ” <perezj@lapd.lacity.org>, “JOHN SHERMAN” <shermanj@lapd.lacity.org>
Subject: PAL DISASSOCIATION NOTICE

Good Morning,
Please see the important attachment.
Thanks

ELAINE MORALES
Lieutenant
LAPD, OCB
(213) 926-0297

May 10, 2013 Letter of Disassociation

May 10, 2013 Letter of Disassociation

Fast forward to November 2013 when the Newton PAL board, which had not dissolved and was still operating just not with Newton Division as a partner, voted to use $6,000 of the money it had raised on holiday gifts for local community children in Southeast Los Angeles through projects sponsored by 9th District Councilmember Curren D. Price, Commissioner Sandra Figueroa, the nonprofit L.A.U.R.A., and LAPD 77th station.

It wasn’t until after all of the gifts were purchased that the Newton PAL was made aware by their bank Wells Fargo that the money they thought they had was no longer in their account.

According to my source, it seems that Prokop sent Newton Division Officer’s Tuason and Trugman 13.2 miles from 3400 South Central Avenue to a Wells Fargo in Beverly Hills on Santa Monica Blvd. (passing at least 12 other Wells Fargo banks) with a copy of the disassociation letter to take the money in the Newton PAL account and transfer it into a newly created account under the name of LAPD Newton PAAL, Police Athletic and Activities League.  Trugman, a product of Beverly Hills is believed to have had a friend on the inside that made the transaction run smoothly.

EXHIBIT D

Wells Fargo Bank withdrawal slip showing deposit of funds into PAAL account November 7, 2013.

Wells Fargo Bank withdrawal slip showing deposit of funds into PAAL account November 7, 2013.

EXHIBIT E

Wells Fargo Bank statement for PAL showing funds before they were removed.

Wells Fargo Bank statement for PAL showing funds before they were removed.

For the record, that was theft.

All in all $8,708.09 was removed from the Newton PAL’s bank account on November 7, 2013 by two on-duty LAPD police officers using a letter on LAPD letterhead with Chief Charlie Beck’s name on it.

Once Wells Fargo was made aware of the fraudulent transaction they demanded that LAPD’s PAAL return the money to Newton PAL’s account.  They finally did three months later in February 2014 under pressure from the group’s attorney and Wells Fargo who were both threatening to take legal action which would have been very embarrassing for the Department.

EXHIBIT F

Wells Fargo Bank Statement showing return of funds dated February 2014.

Wells Fargo Bank Statement showing return of funds dated February 2014.

And even as I write this, I am told that there is still an ongoing investigation into how this was able to happen in the first place by Wells Fargo and the Newton PAL.

The higher ups in the LAPD chain of command know all about this.  They also know about parts two and three which we’ll get to shortly also with documented proof.

In the meanwhile, Captain Prokop is carrying on with business as usual–you or I on the other hand would be in jail.

Stay tuned for part two…