Jose Claudio, PBSO Deputy, Accused of Stealing Thousands From Trailer Park Resident

According to the Palm Beach State Attorney's Office, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Deputy Jose Claudio's method of making money on the side was stealing thousands of dollars from a woman living in a West Palm Beach trailer park.

An arrest narrative states that a property owner sent in a complaint to the State Attorney's Office alleging that somehow, people had gained access to accounting records and receipts from the Casa Del Monte trailer park and had organized a scheme to defraud the company that had cost them more than $200,000.

When they interviewed one of the park's residents, she told investigators that she'd bought her trailer for $8,000 from Claudio -- which police say Claudio never owned in the first place.

Investigators say that the management company actually owned the trailer but that the woman gave Claudio a check for $8,000 in August 2008, and he deposited most of that money into a bank that same day -- using his Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office ID to verify his identity, according to the cops.

Then, police say, Claudio started charging the woman for rent on the lot she kept the trailer on, for the price of $525 per month, which he also had no authority to do.

By July 2010, the property owner discovered that the woman's rent payments weren't in her account, because Claudio had been collecting the rent money from the woman -- which he deposited in his bank account, according to investigators.

Claudio has been charged with three counts of grand theft -- all felonies -- which carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison per charge.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley