The Santa Clarita man charged with staging a shooting hoax in January while working as a police officer for the Los Angeles Unified School District that launched a massive manhunt was arraigned today on a six-count Grand Jury indictment unsealed this morning, the District Attorney’s office announced.
Jeff Stenroos pleaded not guilty before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patricia Schnegg to the superceding indictment which was returned Thursday by the Grand Jury.
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Deputy District Attorney Paul Nunez with the Justice System Integrity Division said the indictment charges the 30-year-old school police officer with five felony counts, including insurance fraud, workers’ compensation fraud, preparing a false police report, preparing false documentary evidence and planting false evidence, and one misdemeanor of falsely reporting an emergency.
The indictment adds two new counts – insurance fraud and planting evidence – and does not include a prior charge of perjury.
Nunez told the judge that the city is seeking $361,289 in restitution, and LAUSD is seeking $58,000 in medical costs. The district is still compiling full restitution costs for keeping students in lockdown at eight campuses for up to 10 hours.
Stenroos allegedly faked his own shooting while he was on duty at El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills on Jan. 19. Shortly after 11:30 a.m., a Good Samaritan spotted Stenroos lying on the ground near his open car door and called for help.
Stenroos allegedly told fellow officers that a car burglary suspect shot him once in the chest as he was patrolling the campus perimeter. More than 550 law enforcement officers throughout Southern California responded and conducted a 10-hour search, shutting down an eight-square-mile area in the Valley.
The indictment charges Stenroos, who was treated and released from Northridge Medical Center the day of the alleged hoax, with insurance fraud for seeking medical treatment for injuries he never sustained. The following weekend, Stenroos checked himself into Henry Mayo Hospital in Santa Clarita for ongoing complaints of pain.
An investigation by LAPD”s Robbery Homicide Division determined there was no shooting at the school as Stenroos first described and that he allegedly created false evidence when he claimed he was shot.
Judge Schnegg set his bail at $50,000. Stenroos, who is on paid administrative leave from the district, is scheduled to return to Van Nuys Superior Court, Department G, on May 18 for pretrial. The prior felony complaint will be dismissed on that date.
If convicted, Stenroos faces up to five years, eight months in state prison.