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A former Sandy police officer charged with faking traffic tickets and overtime billings was sentenced Monday to probation, a $250 fine and 150 hours of community service.
Eric Cunningham, 31, had pleaded guilty in 3rd District Court to one count of third-degree felony theft. In exchange, prosecutors dismissed one count of third-degree felony communication fraud.
Judge William Barrett suspended a potential prison term of up to five years and ordered Cunningham to complete the probation requirements within five months. No jail time was ordered.
The terms of Cunningham's sentence are the result of a joint recommendation from the defense and prosecution.
Defense attorney Jeffrey Hall said he plans to approach the court in six months to request a reduction of the felony to a class A misdemeanor.
Sandy officials have estimated Cunningham cost them more than $1,910. Hall said Cunningham had already paid restitution to the court, and those funds can now be transferred to Sandy.
Cunningham reportedly submitted claims for 56 hours of overtime he was not entitled to, along with recording 158 falsified citations.
The crimes occurred from August 2009 through February, while Cunningham was assigned to an overtime shift known as the Neighborhood Traffic Safety Program.
An investigation was started in February after Cunningham's supervisor noted a "significant discrepancy" between the officer's self-reported citations and actual citations issued, according to charging documents.
Cunningham resigned after the discrepancy was uncovered.
Further investigation including examining payroll sheets, dispatch logs and the Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) device installed in Cunningham's patrol car showed that numerous traffic tickets were fabricated or not written during his overtime shift.
The AVL device showed Cunningham was away from his designated location during portions of the overtime shifts. The AVL also revealed there were times during those shifts when he was not even within Sandy city limits, charging documents state.
Cunningham said nothing during the sentencing hearing and declined to comment afterward.
Hall said, "The resolution provided for each of the parties' interests to be respected."