Officer in Hayward Arrested for Extortion
Officer Romeo Aberin was arrested Monday after soliciting a $500 bribe from a suspect in exchange for letting the woman slide by in a prescription forgery case. Alameda County prosecutors charged him with extortion under color of authority (CA Penal Code 518) and receiving a bribe by an executive officer (CA Penal Code 68) . Aberin, a patrol officer since 2007, posted $50,000 bail and resigned as an officer.
The case started with an investigation last month when Aberin interviewed Tammy Spencer, a clinic employee, and determined that she had stolen blank prescription pads and forged prescriptions for friends. Instead of arresting Spencer, Aberin tried to use her as a confidential informant, telling her she had two weeks to come up with information on drug trafficking and money laundering. Aberin never told the police department about his actions and failed to follow the rules on how to deal with informants. Aberin and Spencer met again and she informed him that she had no useful information for him. However, Aberin then asked Spencer for cash in exchange to dismiss reporting the criminal activity. Spencer agreed, out of fear. Spencer gave him the $500, while she secretly recorded it on her cell phone.
Spencer reported Aberin to the San Leandro Police Department. Aberin admitted to taking the money, yet said she offered it to him rather than him demanding the money. Spencer was not arrested.