Charges have been dropped against a Golden Beach police officer accused in 2011 of bilking the city of thousands and using his canine partner for an insurance fraud scheme.
"It's three long years and I'm very happy that things are resolved today," Officer Lyndean Peters said following a court appearance. "I'm very thankful for everything."
The investigation into Peters began in 2009 when the Miami-Dade Police Department received allegations that he had worked off-duty overtime details while on-duty. In 2011, he was charged with one count of organized scheme to defraud, one count of grand theft, one count of insurance fraud and 11 counts of official misconduct, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
In addition to the fraud allegations, Peters was accused of altering city reimbursement invoices and not compensating the city of Golden Beach for administrative costs associated with off-duty hours worked. The Fort Lauderdale resident was also charged with insurance fraud after he falsely alleged to an insurance company that his canine partner was no longer fit for duty following an automobile crash.
All 12 felony counts filed against Peters were dropped Wednesday. A prosecutor told the court the decision was based on information obtained in depositions and the latest assessment of the case. In a report issued by FDLE, investigators outlined challenges they faced in prosecuting the serious charges and said they let the case go because the rules surrounding Peters' case were confusing.
Peters said he is relieved to be done with what he described as a "very long process."
"It just took a really long time," he said. "I don't know why."
Peters has since gone on retirement from the department and been given a disability pension. His attorney said while those payments will prevent him from returning to the force, the closure will allow him to seek out new career options and move on with his life.
"It's just great for him to have this off his chest," attorney Don Oswald said. "It's been a very unfortunate event for three years of his life that caused a lot of unnecessary and unjust anxiety."
Two other officers accused of a similar double-dipping scheme are expected to appear in court on Thursday.
Ed. note: This article has been updated to accurately reflect the circumstances involving the canine.