Former Silt police officer gets 45 days jail time, 5 years probation for insurance fraud
SILT — A former Silt police officer was sentenced Tuesday to 45 days in the Garfield County Jail and five years supervised probation after pleading guilty in December to felony insurance fraud.
Ex-police Col. Michael Taylor, 49, will not go to prison, however, receiving a suspended five-year Department of Corrections sentence contingent on successfully completing the terms of his probation. That includes paying restitution now amounting to more than $70,000, with interest, and serving 100 hours of public service.
The sentence was handed down by 9th District Judge James Boyd in Garfield District Court.
Taylor was indicted by a grand jury last August, and later pleaded guilty in Garfield District Court to felony theft of $20,000 to $100,000 and felony insurance fraud.
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In the first claim, in 2010, he told New Castle police and his insurance company that several items were stolen from his home, including a Rolex watch, a Sentry safe, his passport and a blender. However, he later turned that passport in when he went to get a new one, and he later admitted that the Rolex was a knockoff, according to the grand jury indictment.
In 2012, he reported another burglary of his home, including of a Sentry safe, his passport and some valuable jewelry.
According to the indictment, Taylor was paid for his lost passport, other items, and $50,000 for the value of the jewelry items that he had claimed were stolen.
“Later investigation revealed that Taylor had taken [the diamond ring] in to a jeweler shortly before he made his claim, and the ring now had a cubic zirconium stone in it rather than a diamond ring shown in the appraisal, and thus would no longer be worth the $7,500 appraisal Taylor submitted,” the indictment said.
He later took a trip to Mexico using the passport he reported stolen, according to investigators.
In 2015 he reported again to his insurance company, saying that other items of jewelry had been stolen in the 2012 burglary. But his claim was denied because it was more than a year old.
“The next day Taylor contacted the New Castle Police Department and reported that the same items … had been stolen out of his wife’s car,” according to his indictment. The insurance company then paid him nearly $10,000 in that claim.
Prosecutor Jason Slothouber with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office pushed for a prison sentence of four to six years, without probation.
“The fact that he is a cop means he should be held to a higher level of responsibility … and, given the patterns, I have serious doubts he is going to do the right things,” Slothouber said. “If you have a police officer who becomes corrupt, unjust and commits crimes, it undoes the good work that you’ve been doing for years.”
Taylor made a statement to the court before his sentence was decided.
“I want to say, first and foremost, that I am deeply sorry for my personal actions, and I take personal responsibility,” he said. “Every day, these poor decisions haunt me, and make me sick to my core, knowing what I’ve done.”
Taylor’s wife and a few friends spoke in favor of a lighter sentence, so that he can help raise his two young children. His defense attorney, Ryan Kalamaya, noted that Taylor is recovering from a wrist injury sustained on his last day of active police duty last July, and will need ongoing medical attention. He has also been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, Kalamaya said.
“At the end of the day, this is a father, a husband and person who has given to his community and saved a lot of people, and who has put his life on the line,” Kalamaya said.
Boyd, in handing down the sentence, said he didn’t believe Taylor had “fully embraced” the criminal mistakes he made. “It is an injury to the community when a person in a law enforcement position breaches that trust,” Boyd said.
After the hearing, Taylor was immediately taken into custody by Garfield County Sheriff’s deputies to begin serving his jail sentence.
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