HOUSTON -- On a Tuesday afternoon in March, Houston Police wrote up a Houston motorist for speeding in Northwest Houston. But he wasn't your everyday kind of driver.
"I've been behind the radar gun," said the man.
He asked not to identified, because he too, is a police officer. We'll refer to him as Jerry.
And when HPD handed Jerry the ticket, there was a major red flag.
"I immediately know that something's hinky with the ticket," Jerry said.
That's because the ticket-writing officer listed another HPD officer as a witness.
"There was no other officer, he was the only officer there," Jerry said.
What he didn't know at the time, is what the I-Team has now uncovered through a paper trail of records--dozens of cases where HPD officers listed witnessing officers on tickets--who were never there.
It was all to allegedly collect hefty overtime checks by later appearing in traffic court..
"Just to remind you just like any other citizen, they're innocent until proven guilty," said Ray Hunt, President of the Houston Police Officers' Union.
Hunt said the Union is prepared to offer legal representation to Officers Gregory Rosa, Robert Manzanales and John Garcia. The three have been relieved of duty and reassigned to desk jobs while an internal affairs investigation proceeds.
A fourth officer under investigation, Rudolph Farias, shot and killed himself Tuesday afternoon in a police parking garage near downtown.
The I-Team found the alleged ticket-rigging scheme took place mostly on highways. In one case in May, Officer Manzalnaes put Officer Farias down as a witness at 11:24 p.m. at I-10 and Westcott Street.
But at the same exact time, records show Farias was writing a ticket nine miles away at I-10 and Wilcrest.
In other example in April, three officers at once allegedly were in on it along the Katy Freeway. At 11:30 p.m. at the 610 Loop, Officer Manzanales listed Garcia as a witness on his ticket. But at 11:31 p.m, Garica also is a witness at Beltway 8, on a ticket Officer Rosa wrote. But records show at 11:31 p.m., Rosa is a witness over at Highway 6, on a ticket written by Officer Garcia.
"Don't lie, don't have your friend put something on the citation that's not true," said Jerry the police officer.
He said the alleged scheme angers him, knowing police officers are held to a higher standard.
"You wear that badge for a reason, you don't wear that badge for the wrong reasons," he said.