A Baltimore police detective was convicted by a jury on all counts in a case in which city prosecutors said he had lied about shooting himself in a downtown parking garage and improperly obtained worker's compensation benefits.
Mark Cheshire, a spokesman for the Baltimore State's Attorney's Office, said Det. Anthony Fata was convicted on charges of perjury, misconduct in office and worker's compensation benefits fraud over $10,000.
The Police Department, in a statement, called the guilty finding a "sad but just closure of the criminal portion of Mr. Fata's actions."
"Mr. Fata is now a convicted felon and the Baltimore Police Department will move swiftly with the internal disciplinary process," the department statement said. "Anyone who brings dishonor to this agency will not be allowed to continue in their service."
Fata told police he was shot in a garage near police headquarters in January 2011, prompting a massive police response. He said he encountered a man in the stairwell, and they had exchanged gunfire. Officers locked down the garage, but were unable to find a suspect.
Ballistics evidence was inconclusive regarding whether there was a second weapon fired, and Fata's graze wound to his inner thigh raised questions about whether his own gun had accidentally discharged.
Fata's attorney, Shaun Owens, said it was a "hard-fought case" and that he believed they created enough reasonable doubt about the state's case. "We're surprised by the jury verdict," Owens said. "We need to sit down, regroup, and figure out the next steps."
The charges were unusual because they were filed more than a year after the incident, and the official police investigation remains an open shooting case and has not been re-classified to a self-inflicted shooting, police say.
Fata, a 16-year veteran, was removed from the homicide unit after the incident. Perjury carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, while the felony workers’ compensation count carries as many as 15 years. Misconduct in office is a "common law" that does not have a prescribed maximum sentence, with discretion left to the judge.
Sentencing is set for Oct. 21.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun