Mark Ott, Former Lantana Cop, Gets Three Years in the Pen for Robbing Hispanic Men
|Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office|
According to his arrest report, Ott was targeting Hispanic men that "he thought were illegal immigrants," and would steal money from men he'd arrested or detained.
Ott's streak came to an end during a sting operation involving the FBI and a cop with the last name "Santos."
The first complaint came in February 2011, when an "FBI source" told an FBI agent that he and his son -- both Hispanic -- were pulled over by Ott for no reason, and they were harassed.
The "source" went back to the FBI in March, telling them he knew of several Hispanic people who had been pulled over on traffic stops by Ott, and also had money taken from them.
Several of these people were interviewed, with person after person saying that between $20 and $100 magically went missing from their cars after traffic stops with Ott.
One man reported $400 missing after being pulled over, and actually made him and his friend walk home after being pulled over because neither of them had a driver's license. No citation or warning was issued to the man.
That's when the cops set up the sting vehicle, with an "FBI source" driving a green truck around Ott's area.
One night -- after they watched Ott pull the handcuff-Hispanic-guys-for-no-reason routine on some other people -- Ott pulled up behind their truck, but after running the license plate, which was registered to a licensed driver.
Then the cops changed the license plate to be registered to a Hispanic man, and didn't connect it with a driver's license.
Sure enough, Ott pulled that car over, with Agent Rick Santos from the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office driving, and the "FBI source" in the passenger seat.
Santos was handcuffed and searched, and after Ott gave Santos back his belongings, his wallet was $150 short.
Ott was called back to the police department, where the sheriff's office found a one-hundred dollar bill and a fifty-dollar bill in a pocket on his bulletproof vest.
Ott was charged with three counts of evidencing prejudice while committing robbery, which each carry a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.
Thanks to the plea deal, Ott was sentenced today to just three.
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