Dallas officer faces termination for filing fake insurance claims

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by REBECCA LOPEZ

Bio | Email | Follow: @rlopezwfaa

WFAA

Posted on November 4, 2013 at 6:04 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 4 at 10:06 PM

DALLAS –– Internal affairs investigators in the Dallas Police Department are recommending an 11-year veteran be fired for filing phony insurance claims and collecting thousands of dollars. 

Ofc. Cortenay Howard claimed his BMW was damaged by hail in the June 2012 freak hailstorm but investigators found that to be a lie. 

The officer claimed his BMW was among the vehicles damaged in the June 13, 2012 storm, which caused millions of dollars in damages inside the city of Dallas. 

The Dallas Morning News obtained a photo copy of the BMW covered with a plastic tarp. The newspaper also obtained a recording of Howard talking to an insurance fraud investigator about the damage.

Howard is heard describing what he saw, “I saw the windshield damaged, uh my sunroof was broken and the back window was knocked out, and um, you know, dents to the hood and the roof to the trunk area."

The National Insurance Crime Bureau flagged the case and investigators were sent to talk to Howard. Investigator Robert Mayfield told Howard, "The dents were not uniform in size, shape and depth. The dents were not consistent with damage caused by hail."

Ofc. Howard claimed his car was towed from North Park Mall where it happened and produced this towing receipt. But the towing company owner told DPD’s Internal Affairs that the receipt is a fake.

Internal affairs investigators found Howard filed a fraudulent insurance claim and is recommended he be fired.

Internal affairs also took a look at Officer Howard's history of filing claims. He's filed nine since 2008 from having his car vandalized to his apartment being flooded."

Here are some of his claims:

  • In 2008 he claimed someone vandalized his BMW, a month later he filed a claim for a motorcycle accident.
  • In 2010 he claimed his Yukon was burglarized and in 2011 claimed it was stolen.
  • In April 2012 he claimed his Ford Explorer also had hail damage and was paid nearly $5,000. 

Howard did drop some of the claims after investigators began asking questions. He's been investigated 15 times in the 11 years he's been on the police force, internal affairs documents show. Two of those were for discharging his service weapon and he's been exonerated on complaints that he used excessive force, was unprofessional, made improper comments and mistreated a citizen. 

He has been reprimanded for using unnecessary force in 2004, violating the department's off-duty employment policy in 2009 and going AWOL in 2010.

Ofc. Howard is on administrative leave and did not return calls requesting comment. 

Chief David Brown will determine if he should be fired. 

Email rlopez@wfaa.com

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