Colusa Police Officer accused of embezzlement

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A longtime Colusa police officer has been charged with three felonies in connection to an alleged theft of police department funds.

Lt. Elden Henry Tamez, 55, who had served in the Colusa Police Department for 19 years, was arraigned on criminal charges in Colusa County Superior Court on Dec. 10. He is scheduled to appear in court to answer to the charges on Jan 22.

According to court records, the out-of-county law enforcement agency that investigated the theft filed the complaint with the Colusa County District Attorney’s Office alleging one felony count of embezzlement in that sometime between Oct. 26, 2018 and Oct. 31, 2019, Tamez defrauded or appropriated money belonging to the Colusa Police Department’s canine account that was entrusted to him. He is also facing two felony charges of grand theft, according to the complaint, which accuses him of taking more than $950 from the canine account and more than $950 from the Colusa Peace Officers Association.

Tamez began his career at the Colusa Police Department in 2000, and rose through the ranks to sergeant, senior sergeant, and lieutenant, and was the second highest officer in the department behind the chief of police.

Tamez’ salary in 2018, according to Transparent California, was just over $79,000 plus benefits.

Tamez resigned from the Colusa Police Department on Oct. 17 after the alleged theft was discovered, said Police Chief Josh Fitch.

A single felony conviction of grand theft carries up to three years in a California state prison and a $10,000 fine, according to the California penal code. Embezzlement under $65,000 can be charged as either a misdemeanor or a felony. ■