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Lies, a shakedown and a Ford Mustang: Veteran SF police officer arrested in lucrative fraud scheme

An SFPD vehicle is seen behind bars in the Mission Police Station in San Francisco, Calif. on Wednesday, May 25, 2022. | Camille Cohen/The Standard

A longtime San Francisco police officer faces numerous felony charges for allegedly lying to a friend and filing bogus car insurance claims in a complicated fraud scheme that resulted in tens of thousands in payouts.

Adam Eatia, a 15-year veteran of the San Francisco Police Department, was booked Friday on suspicion of various charges including grand theft by false pretenses, insurance fraud and identity theft, according to police.

Prosecutors have decided to formally file charges against him, the District Attorney’s Office announced Monday.

It all started for Eatia in Spring 2018 when he and a fellow officer bought a Ford Mustang together. Following a car collision that July, prosecutors say Eatia failed to disclose that he was the primary driver of the vehicle in an insurance claim that resulted in a company paying out more than $6,000.

The following March, Eatia allegedly took out another insurance policy in the name of the other officer without his consent—impersonating a friend by forging his signature, according to the District Attorney’s Office. Police identified the officer as a sergeant with the department.

Eatia then took things a step further, prosecutors say. 

Eatia allegedly let another friend borrow the car. When that friend totaled the Mustang, prosecutors say Eatia lied to the person by saying the vehicle was not insured and demanded $49,000 over the collision. After accepting the payment, Eatia allegedly filed an insurance claim resulting in another $36,000 payout.

While Eatia allegedly committed these offenses off-duty, outgoing District Attorney Chesa Boudin said officers who break the law “must be held accountable” regardless of whether their misconduct was on-duty. 

“Our office is committed to ensuring that no one is above the law,” Boudin said.

San Francisco Police Chief Scott speaks at a press conference on January 25, 2022. | Camille Cohen/The Standard

Police Chief Bill Scott first announced the arrest, saying that Eatia’s actions “violate the law and regrettably fall far short” of department values.

Eatia has been under investigation since his department received a tip in August 2019 about his alleged fraud, police said.

Eatia was disarmed and, in September 2021, transferred to an assignment in which he had no interaction with the public, according to police.

The investigation resulted in a judge signing a warrant for his arrest last Wednesday, two days before Eatia turned himself in.

He is due to appear in court for his arraignment on July 25.

An attorney for Eatia declined to comment.

The police union issued a statement saying it would not pay for his defense since the allegations were off-duty and outside the "course and scope of his duties."

"Eatia’s actions, if true, disgrace our star and he should be held fully accountable by the department," said Tracy McCray, head of the police union. "If his actions are determined to be criminal, he should be accorded his due process rights and be prosecuted for his shameful behavior."

Eatia is the fourth member of the SFPD to be arrested in recent months. 

In April, police arrested two of their own for allegedly destroying evidence after responding to a call at a hotel in South of Market. That same month, police announced gun charges against a retired officer who allegedly took a submachine gun while working in the department's property room.

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