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Burbank police officer indicted on federal corruption charges

A veteran Burbank police officer was indicted this week on federal corruption charges for his involvement in an alleged bribery scheme involving his girlfriend and her estranged husband.

The officer, Anthony Valento, 42, is accused of agreeing to attempt to influence prosecutors to reduce or dismiss domestic violence charges against his girlfriend’s estranged husband, Jeremy Bassett, in exchange for money for his girlfriend, Gayle Bassett, as part of the pair’s divorce settlement, records show.

Additionally, Valento is accused defrauding the city of Burbank by allegedly falsifying records and disabling his patrol car’s GPS device to make it appear as though he was working when he was not, according to the indictment.

Much of the time, he was at Gayle Bassett’s home, according to court records.

Valento remains on paid administrative leave with the Burbank Police Department, city officials said Wednesday.

Federal prosecutors allege that between April and August, Valento solicited more than $100,000 from Jeremy Bassett in exchange for getting pending domestic violence charges against him reduced or dropped, according to court records.

The money was intended to be given to Gayle Bassett, court records state.

The criminal charges against Jeremy Bassett — which stemmed from an alleged domestic violence incident against Gayle Bassett in September 2012 — were dismissed last Thursday, according to Shiara Dávila-Morales, spokeswoman for Los Angeles County District Attorney.

Further details on the dismissal were not immediately available.

According to the indictment, Valento was charged with federal program bribery since he allegedly used his status with the city of Burbank — which receives federal funds — to make a deal with Jeremy Bassett.

He was also charged with wire fraud because his paychecks were deposited directly into his bank account when he was allegedly defrauding the city.

Additionally, Valento and Gayle Bassett were both charged with lying to federal officials during the investigation, the document states.

Valento and Gayle Bassett reportedly denied having a romantic or financial relationship with each other in interviews with the FBI.

However, according to prosecutors, the two were dating and lived together. Additionally, Valento reportedly paid for Gayle Bassett’s breast augmentation procedure and co-signed a lease with her on a Kia Sorento SUV, court records show.

Valento and Bassett are scheduled to be arraigned next week. If convicted, Valento and Bassett face a maximum of 35 years and 5 years in prison, respectively.

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Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.

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