Former Cop Posed As P.I. To Swindle Clients, Colleagues

A former California police officer is expected to be arraigned this week on numerous charges relating to an alleged private investigation scam.

Not only did Kevin Sianez, 53, bilk clients out of money, he also ripped off other private investigators whom he hired as subcontractors. Additionally, claim some of his alleged victims, when they tried to air their grievances on the Internet in order to warn others, they found their businesses attacked and their livelihoods threatened.

Sianez, a former Santa Ana and Stanton police officer, has never been a licensed private investigator. Between 2005 and 2010, however, he advertised such services on the Internet, doing business under several names, including KMS Investigations, Fore-Front Investigations and 4Front Investigations, say Orange County prosecutors.

Dave Qualls, who owns a small firm called Qualls Investigations, is one of the reputable, licensed private investigators targeted by Sianez. He worked as a subcontractor for Sianez in 2006, performing a surveillance job, but after turning over the results of his investigation, Qualls says, he spent several weeks trying to get Sianez to pay him what he was due. Sianez even went so far in the scam as to send Qualls an empty overnight envelope, in addition to multiple promises that payment was on the way.

The police told Qualls that since this was a civil matter, it was out of their hands. The P.I. then turned to the Web, but found himself the victim of a vicious attack. Others say that they were similarly defrauded, then harrassed when they attempted to post a complaint online.

Lori Johnson, another licensed P.I., noticed a litany of online complaints about Sianez—dozens of them, some dating back five years—while looking for references to her own business. After some additional research, she began making phone calls to the California Bureai of Security and Investigative Services, the FBI, the postmaster general, and the IRS. Although none of those agencies were able to help her, the Orange County D.A.’s office did investigate the claims against Sianez, leading to his arrest and the charges against him.

“He drew from that skill set as a police officer to do what he was doing,” said Johnson. “He knows where the envelope is and how far he could push the line. He knows when the police will get involved, and he teetered there on the line.”

Sianez is expected to be arraigned this week on 63 counts, including grand theft; second-degree commercial burglary; possession of a firearm by a felon; theft; identity theft; perjury; computer access and fraud; and possession of ammunition by a prohibited person. Moreover, he is additionally accused of engaging in a conspiracy to commit sexual assault of an animal, stemming from charges that he posted ads on Craigslist asking women to engage in bestiality with his dog.

Sianez had previously been convicted of theft and stalking.

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