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S.F. deputy charged with giving gun to felon whom she had relationship with in jail, prosecutors say

A San Francisco sheriff’s deputy has been accused of staging the theft of her department-issued gun, submitting bogus insurance claims and handing the weapon over to a former inmate with whom she had had an intimate jailhouse relationship.

The fraud and corruption allegations against April Myres, a 20-year member of the Sheriff’s Department, came after months of investigation by local and federal authorities.

Myres, 52, was arrested Thursday and faces federal charges of mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy. She was detained shortly after agents conducted a traffic stop of Antoine Fowler, the former inmate, and recovered Myres’ gun in the console of his car, according to the U.S. attorney’s office in San Francisco.

Tony Tamburello, Myres’ attorney, did not respond to a request for comment. But in an interview with the Bay Area news station KGO-TV, he denied that his client had had an intimate relationship with Fowler. The attorney said Fowler had stolen the gun.

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“She did not give  … [it] to him,” Tamburello said.

In March 2016, Myres reported that the Glock 17 9-millimeter pistol had been stolen during a burglary of her home. She said the burglar also took her department-issued body armor, handcuffs and radio, as well as designer apparel that included Versace, Louis Vuitton and Chanel handbags, according to court papers.

When detectives tried to investigate the theft, they ran into difficulties, according to an affidavit filed in federal court.

The case against Custody Assistant Jonathan Grijalva is the latest in a string of criminal prosecutions that have roiled the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

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Myres told a San Francisco police officer that she had a security camera at her home, but that she already had deleted footage from the day of the break-in. Detectives wanted to dust parts of her home for fingerprints, but she balked.

She also gave law enforcement the name of a man she thought was involved, but did not mention that the suspect was her ex-husband, according to the affidavit.

Police tracked down security camera footage from one of Myres’ neighbors, which showed a group of men at the home on the evening in question. The footage showed Myres driving away about 6 p.m., which matched what she told investigators. But the men remained until about 8 p.m.

Myres told an insurance company that no one else had been at her house on the night of the burglary.

Meanwhile, at some point a former cellmate told investigators that Fowler and Myres had had an illicit relationship when he was in jail. Fowler and his cellmate were allowed to go to the gym separately from other inmates, the man said, enabling Fowler and Myres to meet privately. The cellmate told officials that he overheard the pair discussing plans for a Hawaii vacation and claimed that Myres agreed to get Fowler a gun once he was released.

In May, Myres sent insurance forms detailing about $66,000 worth of items she said were taken. In a handwritten note, she justified including her professional equipment in the claim, saying San Francisco’s city charter allowed her to assume ownership “after 4 years of service.” She provided the name of a supervisor for verification. Investigators later found that the name she provided was not her supervisor and that the city did not have such a policy, federal officials said in the affidavit.

After weeks of surveillance, FBI agents stopped Fowler’s car on Thursday and found Myres’ Glock in the console. He told investigators that Myres had given it to him. The same day, agents searched Myres’ home and found several of the items that she had said were stolen, according to the affidavit.

Fowler was charged with being a felon in possession of a gun. He remains in custody and is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday. His attorney could not be reached for comment. If convicted, Fowler faces up to 10 years in prison.

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Myres was released after posting $1-million bond. She faces up to 20 years in prison for each count of mail fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy, and an additional 10 years in prison for the weapons charge.

matt.hamilton@latimes.com

Twitter: @MattHjourno


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