LAPD detective accused of embezzling witness-relocation funds

A Los Angeles Police Department detective was scheduled to be arraigned Monday for allegedly embezzling thousands of dollars in witness-relocation funds.

Leonard Avalos, 44, was arrested by investigators from the LAPD's Professional Standards Bureau on Thursday night in Placentia while he was off duty, according to the LAPD.

Avalos, a 17-year LAPD veteran, was booked at the downtown Los Angeles Men's Central Jail on a felony arrest warrant for one count of embezzlement and six counts of grand theft, police said. He was being held in lieu of $120,000 bail, according to the sheriff's department.

According to the District Attorney's Office, more than $30,000 was disbursed to Avalos to relocate three crime victims who were eligible for the witness-protection program, but only one of the victims was ever relocated.

"His duty status will be `assigned to home,' pending the conclusion of the investigations,'' police said. LAPD Officer Norma Eisenman said she didn't know whether Avalos would remain on payroll.

Avalos was scheduled to be arraigned Monday.

If convicted of all charges, he could face a maximum of six years and four months in prison, prosecutors said.