SALINAS, Calif. - Former Pacific Grove Police Commander John Nyunt pleaded guilty Thursday morning to multiple felony charges, including dissuading a person from reporting a crime by threats of violence.
That charge stemmed from an incident between Nyunt and his estranged wife.
Nyunt also pled guilty to one count of being an accessory after the fact to theft and burglary, and one count of being an accomplice to the burglary of a business, all felonies. He'll be sentenced to three years in prison.
Prosecutors determined Nyunt knew his wife, Kristin Nyunt, was committing massive criminal identity fraud and made repeat efforts to cover it up.
Nyunt now also faces federal charges of extortion and wire fraud in connection with the investigation, prosecutors said.
Monterey County District Attorney's investigators reviewed tens of thousands of emails, text messages and financial documents, and interviewed dozens of witnesses and victims in this investigation.
They say Nyunt lied to victims about investigations in which his wife was a prime suspect and directed subordinates to close some investigations. They say he also helped his wife access online police databases she used to acquire sensitive personal information. She was then able to use that information to commit dozens of identity thefts throughout the state and country. The many victims also included John Nyunt's son, his ex-wife and other police officers.
The Nyunts also are accused of starting an unlicensed private investigation business, in violation of Pacific Grove Police Department policy. Prosecutors say John Nyunt referred people seeking police assistance to his private business, a violation of federal law, and that his wife committed identity theft against many of those individuals.
He also stands accused of embezzling police property for his own use, including an assault rifle.
When his wife threatened to go to the authorities, Nyunt told her over the phone that he would slit her throat and kill several prosecutors.
In the taped call, Nyunt also said, "Yeah, I'm gonna start killin' my [expletive] people first," presumably referring to Pacific Grove police officers.
Nyunt will likely be transferred to federal custody within the next couple of weeks.
The criminal case against his wife is still pending.