On June 27, a 15-year San Francisco Police Department veteran was arrested on multiple charges, including grand theft by false pretense and two counts of insurance fraud.
According to SFPD Chief Bill Scott’s Office, the arrest stems from a two-year SFPD Internal Affairs investigation into “fraud related to a vehicle damaged in a vehicle collision.”
The investigation revealed that officer Adam Eatia committed theft when he represented that a damaged vehicle was not insured and took money from the victim as compensation for the damages while off duty. Additionally, the statement detailed that Eatia made “fraudulent representations to his insurance company” while making claims for the vehicle and impersonated a sergeant on the insurance form.
The internal affairs investigation began in August 2019 and Eatia was eventually disarmed and transferred to a non-public contact assignment in September 2021. It’s unclear why Eatia was disarmed and transferred at that point.
This vague announcement from SFPD is bolstered by an announcement from the recently recalled District Attorney Chesa Boudin’s office that provides more details on the situation. That statement, which came roughly two hours after the police statement, notes that the insurance fraud saga revolves around a 2018 Ford Mustang and that Eatia will be charged with five felony counts, the three stated above as well as one count of forgery and one count of identity theft.
It gets stranger from there. In 2018, when the Mustang was new and came with a price tag close to $30,000, a second unnamed officer reportedly helped Eatia buy the vehicle “and insured it [in] his name through Mercury Insurance. Officer Eatia was not disclosed as a driver anywhere on the application.”
This last portion became critically important in subsequent months when Eatia got into an accident in the vehicle and then tried to secure money from another driver, presumably to cover the costs and avoid having to report the accident to the insurance company that was unaware he was driving.
It got a little weirder on June 27 thanks to the industrious gum-shoe reporting from Berkeleyside editor Eve Batey who found a GoFundMe for Eatia that was started in October 2021, notably one month after he was disarmed and transferred to a non-public contact assignment. Batey also uncovered a PPP loan to a South San Francisco resident named Adam Eatia of $20,832 for Childcare Services. It’s unclear if that’s the same Eatia or not.
According to the GoFundMe, the page was started because Eatia had “exhausted his sick pay” and was dealing with a “disability for an injury that occurred at work.” However, the page later specifies that Eatia “faces termination for the vaccine mandate.” Notably, this occurred around the same time roughly 40 SFPD officers were put on leave for their failure to get vaccinated.
The GoFundMe does not note that Eatia was already under investigation and had been disarmed and transferred at the time the page was started.
The GoFundMe was organized by a man named John Cathey of South San Francisco. The name John Cathey may ring some bells as there was a former SFPD officer of the same name who worked in the Mission District. That Cathey was involved in a revamped approach to dealing with gang members in the district. Additionally, Cable Guys Inc., a South San Francisco-based company with one to five employees noted John Cathey as its Chief Executive Officer. It’s unclear if there is any relation between the Cathey who organized the GoFundMe, the former Mission District officer and the CEO of Cable Guys Inc.
This would all be strange enough but there are a couple more caveats. According to the Boudin’s office (On July 7, 2022, Mayor Breed selected former prosecutor Brooke Jenkins as the city’s next district attorney), Eatia took out a second insurance policy on the Mustang in March of 2019, forging the unnamed second officer’s signature to secure the policy.
The hilarious kicker is that Eatia loaned the vehicle to a friend, who subsequently totaled the Mustang. Eatia then demanded $49,000 from the friend for the damages and when he was paid the money, filed a fraudulent insurance claim with Allstate under the vehicle owner’s (unidentified officer’s) name.
“Officer Eatia is alleged to have committed grand theft when, after the accident, he lied to his friend—telling him that the vehicle was not insured and demanded that the friend pay him $49,000 for the damage. After accepting this payment, Officer Eatia also filed a claim with Allstate under the vehicle owner’s name. Through this claim, Allstate paid out more than $36,000 for the vehicle—resulting in an almost double recovery of funds for Officer Eatia,” read the statement from Boudin’s office.
All of this is odd in its own right but begs some questions about the nature of police relationships in the City. Eatia is a 15-year veteran so presumably, this practice had been done before. If not by Eatia, then by another group of officers. Additionally, who is the sergeant that helped Eatia who he later impersonated? Was the friend Eatia loaned the vehicle to another off-duty officer? How common is it for one officer to buy and insure a vehicle for another?
Eatia is set to be arraigned this month, at which point Breed’s appointed DA, Brooke Jenkins, will handle the case.