Officer in Ticket-Rigging Scheme Accused of Lying Under Oath
In January, Gregory Rosa was one of three Houston police officers charged with falsifying police reports in an apparent ticket-rigging scam. Authorities now claim Rosa lied under oath when one of his bogus traffic cases went to trial.
Per a felony indictment filed in Harris County yesterday, Rosa has been charged with aggravated perjury. According to court records, Rosa went before a municipal court judge in June 2013 and testified under oath that he'd witnessed a June 2013 traffic stop along Katy Freeway. Problem is, prosecutors allege, Rosa never witnessed that traffic stop.
An HPD internal affairs investigation last year discovered that Rosa and his fellow officers listed themselves as witnesses on numerous traffic citations where they weren't present, raking in tens of thousands of dollars in overtime pay for municipal court appearances. KHOU, which first broke the story last year, conducted an analysis of speeding tickets that showed dozens of instances in which officers were listed in two places at once.
In January, Rosa and two other officers were indicted on numerous felony charges related to the scam. Robert Manzanales now faces two felony counts of tampering with a government record and one count of aggravated perjury for lying under oath when a traffic case went to municipal court in April 2014. John Garcia has also been charged with two felony counts of tampering with a government record.
A fourth officer who was accused in the scheme, Rudolph Farias, committed suicide inside his patrol car last August the day HPD relieved him of duty.
Last September, HPD Chief Charles McClelland announced that "in the interest of justice and in fairness" HPD and the city attorney's office would dismiss outstanding tickets issued by the four officers. However, the relief didn't apply to tickets that had been settled for longer than 10 days.
No word yet on what if any recourse there is for drivers whose citations were settled in municipal court after the officers lied on the stand, as is alleged in Rosa's and Manzanales's perjury indictments.