HPD officer charged in alleged overtime pay scam granted deferral

Published: Feb. 29, 2012 at 11:17 PM HST|Updated: Feb. 29, 2012 at 11:21 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Honolulu police officer charged in an alleged overtime pay scam involving members of the DUI enforcement team was granted a one-year deferral after pleading guilty for his role in the case.

Brian Morris, 35, was charged with two counts of tampering with a government record. He pleaded guilty to one count and no contest to the other, and was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.

Prosecutors offered to drop Morris' second count of record tampering in exchange for his testimony against the four defendants who are still awaiting trial. Morris chose to enter the no-contest plea instead.

Sergeant Aaron Bernal, Sergeant Duke Zoller, Officer Christopher Bugarin and Officer Patrick Bugarin have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial.

Prosecutors say the sergeants fraudulently collected overtime pay by claiming in police reports that they were present at DUI roadblocks even when they were not. The two officers are accused of filing the false reports for their supervisors.

Two other officers who were charged in the case -- Leighton Kato and Michael Krekel -- went to trial and were acquitted.

District Judge Leslie Hayashi on Tuesday granted Morris' request for a deferral. That means the misdemeanor convictions won't appear on Morris' record if he stays out of trouble for one year.

Prosecutors say that deferral period will actually end this Friday because Morris is getting credit for the time that has gone by since the criminal case was initiated.

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