CHP Officer Used Work Party Fund Like ‘His Own Personal Bank Account': Prosecutors

A former California Highway Patrol officer in the Westminster bureau is accused of embezzling at least $3,000 from a fund his colleagues set up for holiday parties and get-togethers, a prosecutor said Friday.

Mark Matthew Linza, 40, of Huntington Beach, was charged Wednesday with a felony count of embezzlement by fiduciary of trust. He is scheduled to be arraigned June 28 and could face up to three years in jail if convicted.

Linza became president of the 670 Club at the CHP's Westminster bureau in January 2014. He set it up so that he could get an ATM card for the club's bank account, then began making a series of withdrawals — adding up to at least $3,000 — over the next two years, said Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Chrisopoulos.

"In all likelihood it'll be substantially more,'' the prosecutor said. "He had a debit card issued in his own name and was using it as his own personal bank account."

Linza had bank statements sent to his home, but one of them made it to the office, which is when the alleged embezzlement came to light, Chrisopoulos said.

Linza has since resigned from the CHP, the prosecutor said.

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