LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A deputy believed to be the whistle-blower in the FBI corruption probe of the L.A. County Sheriff's Department was charged Thursday with taking bribes.
Edwin Tamayo, 44, had been on paid administrative leave since February 2013 while the department investigated whether the deputy had taken bribes in exchange for fixing traffic tickets, according to LASD spokesperson Nicole Nishida. Tamayo was arrested Tuesday in San Diego and released hours later on a $25,000 bond.
Tamayo is accused of fixing tickets on two occasions for friends or acquaintances, according to prosecutors. In one of the alleged incidents, a driver paid the deputy $1,000 to get rid of three tickets in 2012.
The deputy managed to fix tickets by removing them before they were filed in court and took court notices from a colleague's office mailbox without the deputy's knowledge, Deputy District Attorney Deborah Delport says.
Tamayo faces up to nine years and eight months in state prison if convicted of all the charges, according to the L.A. County D.A.'s Office.
Meanwhile, the deputy has filed a suit against L.A. County claiming his unit commander ordered him to pick up sealed envelopes containing donations for then-L.A. City Attorney Carmen Trutanich, which he considered illegal. Tamayo told the Los Angeles Times that during those pick-ups he had been wearing a wire to help the FBI's investigation.
Nishida could not confirm whether Tamayo was the whistle-blower in the FBI investigation into the Sheriff's Department, only saying "I think he is."
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