Two Local Police Officers Charged With Fraud

By: Tony Tagliavia Email
By: Tony Tagliavia Email

Jackson County prosecutors say two mid-Michigan police officers covered up the cause of a car accident, committing insurance fraud.

"They reported a car-deer accident," Waterloo Police Chief Tom Cottrell said. "And that is not what happened."

There was an accident, he says.

Prosecutors say Andrew Hinkle, a Stockbridge police officer, was leaving a party in Jackson County last October when he hit a car. Apparently not wanting to report the accident as it happened, he called a friend who was an officer in nearby Waterloo Township, where Cottrell is the chief of police.

"The Stockbridge officer made a personal phone call to my officer to arrange to get the process started," he said.

That process involved Waterloo officer Matthew LaFrance filing a false police report, investigators say, to get Hinkle's insurance company to fix the damage from the accident.

"A fraudulent insurance claim was submitted and paid," Cottrell said.

LaFrance is also charged with neglect as a public officer. His attorney did not return a call seeking comment. A lawyer for Hinkle said he is still reviewing the police reports in the case.

Those reports indicate the accident involving Hinkle's personal car probably happened in Henrietta Township, Cottrell says.

When he began investigating, he says he discovered the damage to Hinkle's car was not consistent with a car-deer collision.

Mike King is the chief of police in Stockbridge, where Hinkle worked. He says someone came and told him one of his officers was involved in an accident that wasn't handled properly. That's when he alerted the Waterloo chief, where the allegedly false report was filed.

"It's an unfortunate thing because they were both good officers, both did good police work," Cottrell said. "They just made some very bad decisions."

Decisions that could land them up to four years in prison.

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  • by Holly Location: Eaton County on Jun 26, 2009 at 05:24 AM
    AMY....What do you mean "you HAD a wife and kids"? He HAS a wife and kids and we stood by his side like a good supportive wife/family does! Maybe AMY you should know your facts before you go spouten your mouth off about un-true things. How dare you be little a honest, up-holding man. Shame on you and get a life!!
  • by amy Location: jackson on Mar 15, 2009 at 07:54 AM
    so how many yrs did you spend in jail and how could you do that when you HAD a wife and kids you should of know better you were raised better then that to do such a thing you are such a good person and i know people make mistakes
  • by confused Location: Michigan on May 2, 2008 at 06:18 AM
    I have since found out that ALL charges against Officer LaFrance have been DISMISSED. WHY hasn't the news media picked up on that and help restore his good name. They were so fast to report what he allegedly had done wrong, but yet they haven't reported that he was cleared of any wrong doing. That is just wrong of the media!! There is always 2 sides to every story and you should always report the truth!
  • by confused Location: michigan on Jan 24, 2008 at 11:53 AM
    It has been almost one year now, and i have not heard or seen anything in the news media about officer LaFrance and if his charges have been dropped. Everyone was so quick to judge him on the so called bad news so what about now? what is the up date?
  • by JS Location: Jackson on Aug 28, 2007 at 11:24 AM
    Here is a something that everyone should read about Officer Hinkle before they say anything bad about him. Officer Hinkle has received the 2005 officer of the year award and a letter of commendation for apprehending two armed robbers from the Leoni Township Police Department.
  • by JPS Location: Jackson on Aug 28, 2007 at 10:58 AM
    Officer Hinkle was the best officer in Jackson County. Officer Hinkle would go above and beyond the call of duty. I know what officer Hinkle did was bad but you have to see what he did for the community. When Officer Hinkle was with Stockbridge Police Dept Officer Hinkle and the Chief start stopping alot of different type of drug problems that was going on there. Most people don't say much about the good things police officer do on a everyday basis they just talk about when the officers do something wrong. I feel most of the people that said bad things about both officers on here have been stoped by the officer or their family's have been stop by these officers. I want the people on here to know that the funny thing is alot of you have pulled the same stuff yourself and what I mean by that is driving with out insurance on your cars. I am glad that I have had the chance to know both of the police officers.
  • by JJPS Location: Michigan Center on Aug 25, 2007 at 10:55 PM
    I know officer Hinle very well and I think it is funny that the people who have been in trouble with the law have been talking a bunch of stuff about both officers. But the things is the people saying that have been breaking the law for a long time and they feel good by saying this know they will be able to break the law again because officer Hinkle is not there to stop them. I also know for a fact officer Hinkle would never be drunk on the job and type of thing would be done by the people call him a crook. Thank Good we had a good police officer like Hinkle. Maybe some day the people of Stockbridge will see what they are missing now. Thanks!!!! JJPS
  • by jay Location: jackson on May 5, 2007 at 08:54 PM
    I have know Hinkle since he was in grade school. I also know he would end up in jail. He was a stoner in school and should have never had a badge.
  • by Forgiving Location: Ann Arbor on Apr 27, 2007 at 10:54 AM
    We should all be accountable for our actions. For every decision we make there is a consequence. My parent's taught me that "people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones." So I say, "ye without sin, cast the first stone."
  • by PLF Location: Jackson on Apr 26, 2007 at 11:17 AM
    Seems to me that those trash talking the 2 officers were individuals pulled over for reasons necessary and not holding themselves accountable for there actions. What do we really know about what happened. Pictures are placed on the news with slanderous reports and no proof as of yet to what took place. The HX of these 2 officers is one of hard work and tireless service to make communities safe for all individuals. I hope all actions are taken into account along with work history and dedication applied to the job. A day in court is due prior to all the negative pubilicty which is not even substantiated. I wish these officers well and hope for the best outcome, it would be a shame to lose their service and dedication.
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