Robles Must Withdraw Grievance With City Police Department
By JENNA CARLESSO
January 07, 2013
HARTFORD —— Outgoing state Rep. Hector Robles, a former city police officer accused of defrauding the police department of more than $10,000, was granted a special form of probation Monday that would allow his criminal record to be erased.
Superior Court Judge James Bentivegna granted Robles accelerated rehabilitation for one year, after which Robles' criminal record would be expunged if he successfully completes the probation. Robles must perform 100 hours of community service and pay $2,500 in restitution to the city of Hartford, the judge said.
Under the terms of the agreement, Assistant State's Attorney John Whalen said, Robles also must withdraw a grievance he filed against the Hartford Police Department and a complaint he filed with the state's Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.
Robles was charged in March 2011 with two counts of first-degree larceny.
Investigators say Robles, a 15-year veteran of the Hartford police force, falsified time cards to show that he was on duty while working private-duty jobs — a move that defrauded the department of $10,651 between September 2008 and September 2009. He was fired from the department on Nov. 2, 2010.
Prior to his firing, Robles was found to have violated several articles of the Hartford Police Department code of conduct, including conduct unbecoming an employee, knowingly or willfully making a false entry in a department record and intentional failure to comply with lawful orders, procedures, directives or regulations, oral or written.
According to a Hartford police internal affairs investigation, Robles was in contact with the police dispatch center during some of his assigned shifts. On others, his reported activities didn't match what was listed on the dispatch log system, an internal affairs report said.
The report detailed numerous occasions in which Robles wrote on his timecard that he worked a regular shift when, in fact, he was working a private-duty job, collecting an amount identical to his hourly pay.
Robles worked private jobs for Connecticut Natural Gas, the Metropolitan District Commission, Flow Assessment Construction Co. and Seaboard Drilling Assessment Construction Co., according to the report.
Robles' attorney, R. Bartley Halloran, said Monday the double-billing problem wasn't unique to Robles. Halloran said he obtained time cards and other records for 70 Hartford police officers through a Freedom of Information Act request, and found that 56 of those officers had "significant" overlaps in the time they spent on duty and working private jobs.
While the officers may not all be at fault, Halloran said, the review showed that "the system itself is very flawed and antiquated."
Hartford police officials told the Courant in 2011 that they had since installed a new scheduling and payroll system that uses computer software instead of paper cards.
"Mr. Robles deeply regrets his inattention to detail and failure to properly account for his time," Halloran said Monday.
He said the case has put a strain on Robles' family and caused him to lose his bid for re-election this past fall.
"It's been a very difficult period of time for Hector," Halloran said. "He's just simply got to put this behind him and move on."
Robles is now working as security director for the South Windsor-based TicketNetwork. For the last four years, he has served as state representative for the 6th House District, comprising a large portion of south Hartford. Robles, a Democrat, lost the primary election in August to Edwin Vargas, who went on to win the general election.
Robles' term ends Wednesday. Halloran said Robles has no future political plans.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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