U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York
(716) 843-5700
July 30, 2014

Former Buffalo Police Officer Sentenced for Mail Fraud

BUFFALO, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that former Buffalo Police Officer Johnnie Fritz, 49, of Buffalo, N.Y., who was convicted of mail fraud, was sentenced to 10 months home confinement by Chief U.S. District Court Judge William M. Skretny. The defendant was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $6,400 to victims.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Russell T. Ippolito, Jr., who handled the prosecution, stated that between April 20, 2009, and June 9, 2009, Fritz conspired with another individual to defraud State Farm Automobile Insurance Company (“State Farm”) by inflating a claim for automobile insurance policy proceeds. The defendant assisted the co-conspirator in making a claim with State Farm following the theft of the co-conspirator’s automobile, a 2003 Cadillac CTS. The claim included two fraudulent receipts. One of the receipts falsely indicated that new tire rims had been added to the vehicle and the other receipt falsely indicated that a new muffler had recently been installed on the vehicle. The two false receipts inflated the value of the vehicle by more than $3,000.

Fritz made three other unrelated false claims for automobile insurance policy proceeds involving three other vehicles.

In addition to the false claims for insurance, the defendant also abused his position as a police officer with the City of Buffalo Police Department. In October 2009, Fritz unlawfully opened a New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”) account that enabled him to search DMV databases at no charge. Only law enforcement officials could open a DMV no-fee account like the one opened by Fritz.

The defendant was previously convicted in Buffalo City Court on June 9, 2011, for Attempted Grand Larceny in the 4th Degree, a misdemeanor, and failure to keep records under the New York State Tax Law, a misdemeanor, for his failure to pay State of New York sales tax receipts related to his automobile dealership.

The sentencing is the culmination of an investigation on the part of the Buffalo Police Department, under the direction of Commissioner Daniel Derenda, NYS Department of Motor Vehicles, under the direction of Director Barbara Fiala, NYS Department of Taxation and Finance, Criminal Investigations Division, under the direction of Commissioner Thomas Mattox, the NYS Department of Financial Services, under the direction of Superintendent Benjamin Lawsky, Criminal Investigations Division, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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