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Former cop hopes to erase larceny charge in Stamford

January 14, 2017 GMT

STAMFORD-The attorney for the former Stamford police officer who took a Hawaiian vacation in late 2015 while being paid to be his Reserves unit, has asked to participate in a court diversionary program to wipe his larceny charge away.

Donald Chen, 31, appeared with his attorney John Gulash at the Stamford courthouse Friday and applied for the accelerated rehabilitation program for first time offenders.

The program puts defendants on a probationary program that if competed successfully, that is with no arrests, could erase Chen’s first-degree felony arrest.

On December 1, 2015, Chen, an officer with 20 months on the job, requested two weeks off to report for training with his U.S. Army Reserves unit.

Until that time, Chen had served in the Army Reserves for eight years, spending one-year hitches in Iraq and Afghanistan, Gulash said earlier.

The Stamford police department, which supports its members serving in the military, allows officers to go on deployments for up to 30 days each year with pay.

But eight days into his December leave, the Army called Stamford inquiring about his whereabouts and requested help finding him.

Police began a missing persons investigation and eventually reached him by phone, and Chen said he was in Taiwan with his father, who’d had a heart attack and was undergoing surgery, police said. But police talked to Chen’s family in Queens and found out his father was alive and well.

Confronted with that and other information that may have involved pinging his phone and locating him in Hawaii, Chen admitted that he was in the Pacific vacationing with his girlfriend.

Chen resigned on Dec. 14, 2015 before he could be fired.

Chief Jon Fontneau called Chen’s actions a case of fraud, perpetrated not only on the city but on the U.S. Government as well.

At the time, Fontneau said the department asked prosecutors to demand restitution for the more than $2,000 Chen was being paid by the city for his military service.

Gulash said Chen will pay back the city, but the amount is in question.

“Yes, restitution will certainly be part of it. That will be addressed,” Gulash said.

JNICKERSON@SCNI.COM;