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What are the consequences of filing a false police report?

February 22, 2019 06:28 AM

(WHEC) - It is a stunning fall from fame for ‘Empire’ star Jussie Smollett. The actor is currently out on bond but he could face probation or even up to three years in prison after police say he staged a fake racist attack on himself then filed a false police report.

While that high profile case is making headlines, state and local law enforcement groups say they deal with this issue all the time in New York.

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Back in 2014, 5-year-old Kenneth White was choked by his cousin, dragged out of their home near Albany, then his body was dumped across the street. The initial call came from 19-year-old Tiffany VanAlstyne claiming two black men kidnapped the boy.

She later confessed to the murder.

In 2016, three UAlbany students said they were attacked on a bus and called it a hate crime. Surveillance video captured a different story, showing the three black girls attacking a group of white students and bragging about it.

"You often wonder why people do it,” Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple said. “Is it a mental health issue? You're trying to gain some sort of notoriety or something? I don't know, but it's foolish and unnecessary.”

So what happens if you file a fake report in New York?

You can be hit with a misdemeanor, which happens most of the time. A class “A” misdemeanor carries a max penalty of a year in jail or a $1,000 fine. Depending on the case and your history, the charge can be upped to a felony.

Credits

Brennan Somers

Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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