A Vacaville man working as a senior account officer for the California Highway Patrol has been arrested on suspicion of embezzlement after an internal review found state funds had been funneled into a private bank account, officials confirmed Wednesday.
Bijan Azar, 63, was taken into custody at his home in the 100 block of Waterford Drive without incident around 9:25 p.m. Tuesday by investigators executing a search warrant, said Fran Clader, CHP director of communications.
According to Clader, an internal review by the CHP recently discovered information indicating that Azar, a "non-uniformed" employee who has been with the CHP for approximately 12 years, may have committed embezzlement or fraud.
"The CHP has systems in place to periodically perform inspections and self-audits of CHP operations," she explained. "As a result of information obtained during the internal review, the CHP began an immediate investigation into the theft of state funds."
Investigators found evidence that Azar was allegedly diverting state funds into a privately owned bank account, which was immediately frozen, Clader said.
Though she called the arrest of one of the CHP's own unfortunate and embarrassing, Clader said she is proud of the systems the organization has in place that enabled discovery of the theft.
Investigators conducted search warrants at both Azar's residence in Vacaville and his work space at CHP headquarters in Sacramento, Clader said.
Investigators reportedly found evidence inside Azar's home that tied him to the bank account containing the CHP funds.
The case remains under investigation, Clader said, noting that the CHP takes allegations of misconduct seriously and takes "swift and appropriate action" to address such issues.
Azar was booked into Sacramento County Jail on suspicion of several counts of identity theft, misappropriation of public funds and grand theft. His bail was set at $100,000.