San Francisco, California - Former San Francisco Deputy Sheriff April Myres was convicted Wednesday by a federal jury of mail and wire fraud, announced United States Attorney David L. Anderson and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett. The guilty verdict followed an eight-day jury trial before the Honorable Richard Seeborg, U.S. District Judge.
The jury concluded Myres, 55, of San Francisco, filed a false insurance claim in which she asserted she was the victim of a home burglary in which, among other things, her San Francisco Sheriff’s Department (SFSD)-issued firearm was stolen. Evidence at trial showed that Myres reported a burglary of her home to the San Francisco Police Department on March 25, 2016. She claimed numerous items were stolen, including the firearm, her SFSD-issued radio, and numerous luxury goods. After making the report, Myres repeatedly refused to cooperate with the investigation.
Then, in May 2016, Myres filed an insurance claim under her homeowner’s policy. In her claim, Myres stated that the SFSD-issued firearm, the SFSD-issued radio, and the luxury goods had been stolen. Myres asserted in her insurance claim that she was entitled to over $67,000 in reimbursement for all of the items stolen.
An investigation by the FBI revealed that Myres made numerous false statements in her insurance claim. The evidence showed that while she had been working at the San Francisco County Jail, Myres had carried on a romantic relationship with an inmate, Antoine Fowler. Immediately after Fowler was released from custody in January 2016, he went to Myres’ house where he lived until March 24, 2016, the morning of the claimed burglary, when he moved out after a late-night dispute with Myres.
Following its investigation into Myres and Fowler, the FBI arrested Fowler on February 2, 2017, and found in his possession Myres’ SFSD-issued firearm. Fowler had an extensive criminal record and Myres had accused him of stealing from her. Still, Myres did not disclose to the San Francisco Police Department, the SFSD, the FBI, or the insurance company the relationship she had with Fowler, nor the fact that he had been living with her. In addition, Myres told the insurance company she had no suspects in the burglary and no estranged boyfriends who might have been responsible.
In addition, the evidence demonstrated Myres made numerous false statements about the items she claimed had been stolen. For example, she falsely claimed she owned the SFSD-issued firearm and SFSD-issued radio that she said had been stolen, and provided false details about the purchase prices and locations to bolster her claim. She also made false statements about items that had been stolen, including claiming that three items – a Louis Vuitton purse, Gucci boots, and a fox fur vest – were stolen, when all three of these items were located in her house when the FBI conducted a search in February 2017.
“The U.S. Attorney’s office will vigorously pursue law enforcement officers like Myres who abuse their positions of trust, especially when motivated by the sort of greed and avarice seen in this case,” said U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson. “The defendant not only lied repeatedly to profit from a so-called burglary, but allowed her service firearm to remain in the possession of a dangerous criminal for almost a full year.”
The investigation began when the FBI learned that Myres and Fowler were having a relationship while Fowler was an inmate in the San Francisco County Jail and that Fowler had made it known that he would be getting a firearm from Myres upon his release from custody.
On April 11, 2017, a federal grand jury indicted Myres and Fowler. In connection with her false claim to the insurance company, the grand jury charged Myres with one count each of mail fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1341, and wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343. In addition, the grand jury charged Myres with misprision of a felony, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 4, for deliberately concealing from law enforcement that Fowler had her firearm. In today’s verdict, the trial jury found Myres guilty of the wire fraud and mail fraud counts and acquitted her of the misprision of a felony charge.
Judge Seeborg ordered Myres’ sentencing hearing to take place in October 2019. The maximum statutory penalty for both the mail fraud and wire fraud counts is 20 years imprisonment, five years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. However, any sentence will be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553. Myres was released on a $1,000,000 secured bond and remains out of custody pending sentencing.
For his part in the events, the grand jury charged Fowler with one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). Fowler pleaded guilty to the charge on May 14, 2019, at a hearing in which he stated Myres gave him her firearm. Fowler was released on a $50,000 bond and remains out of custody pending sentencing. Judge Seeborg scheduled a status hearing regarding Fowler’s sentencing for July 16, 2019. The maximum statutory penalty for felon in possession of a firearm, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1), is 10 years imprisonment, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. However, any sentence will be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Laura Vartain and Nicholas Walsh are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Helen Yee, Kimberly Richardson, Margoth Turcios, Sutton Pierce, and Ian Meader. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the FBI.