REDWOOD CITY -- A Dublin man is accused of trying to blame a suspected DUI crash in Colma on his passenger, even going as far as forging a witness's signature on a statement supporting the claim.
After Josef Moschref, 44, crashed into a light pole about 1 a.m. on Aug. 7, 2012, he tried to convince his passenger to tell Colma police he was driving, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said. The passenger refused, and Moschref was arrested after blowing a .14 on his breathalyzer test.
In the days after the crash, Moschref returned to the Colma neighborhood and offered a resident money to say a "tall, black man" jumped out of the driver's seat and ran away, Wagstaffe said. That description matches that of the passenger. The neighbor, who heard the crash but did not see it, declined the man's offer and refused to sign a declaration to support the lie, Wagstaffe said.
Moschref reportedly returned to the house 13 times and harassed the man to sign the document, Wagstaffe said. Each time, the neighbor declined the offer of money and refused to sign for something he didn't see.
According to Wagstaffe, Moschref's former attorney filed a declaration in court saying the neighbor saw the passenger running from the scene and said the declaration had been signed by the resident. Police investigated the claim, and the neighbor reiterated to them that he did not see the crash and never signed anything Moschref presented.
The defense attorney at the time, who has since dropped Moschref from his case load, said his former client gave him the declaration and declared that his claims about the passenger were true, Wagstaffe said.
Moschref on Thursday called the accusations "completely false" and said he is "100 percent innocent," and will take the matter before a jury to prove he has done no wrong.
"It makes me extremely angry," he said. "My reputation is very important to me."
Moschref said he had just met the other man and asked him if he would drive from San Francisco to Colma because he knew he was intoxicated. The man agreed, but fled after the crash because he had also been drinking.
Moschref said a witness had indeed initially confirmed that the other man was the driver, but "got completely manipulated by the police officer" and changed the story.
"Why would somebody commit a felony crime to defend against a misdemeanor?" he said of his alleged forgery. "It doesn't make any sense. I am a rational man and not an idiot. This has been a fabrication of lies." Moschref was additionally charged with forgery and submitting fraudulent documents, and remains out of jail on $100,000 bail bond. He is scheduled to return to court for trial June 2.