Fred Couch was sentenced Wednesday to one year’s probation

By Chris Harris
December 15, 2016 06:07 PM
Fred Couch
LM Otero/AP

This week, the father of Ethan Couch — the 19-year-old Texan known as the “affluenza teen” — was found guilty of falsely identifying himself as a peace officer, PEOPLE confirms.

A Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office source tells PEOPLE that Fred Couch, 51, was arrested two years ago for the crime.

According to investigators, police from North Richland Hills, Texas, responded to a disturbance call during the summer of 2014. When they arrived, Couch was at the scene, claiming he was a reserve officer for the Lakeside Police Department.

He even allegedly removed his wallet from his pants pocket, producing what appeared to be a police badge and identification card.

Investigators looked into Couch’s claim, quickly learning he has no official affiliation with any law enforcement agency.

Couch was sentenced Wednesday to a year’s probation. If he violates the terms of his sentence, he could face up to 120 days jail time. He was also instructed to pay a $260 fine.

In recent years, Couch, his ex-wife and his son have all been detained for various criminal offenses.

In 2013, when he was 16, Ethan Couch killed four pedestrians in a drunk driving accident. He was spared jail time and sentenced to probation after his defense attorney successfully argued his client suffered from “affluenza,” suggesting his wealthy upbringing had rendered him incapable of understanding the repercussions of his actions.

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Ethan, now 19, was sentenced this spring to serve two years in jail.

Couch and his mother fled to Mexico a year ago, after Ethan allegedly violated the terms of his probation by attending a drinking party.

Mexican authorities detained Couch and his mother, Tonya, in late December in the resort town of Puerto Vallarta. The mother and son spent weeks on the run, allegedly fleeing the United States after learning detectives were investigating Couch for possible probation violations.

Earlier this year, Tonya Couch was indicted on charges of hindering apprehension of a felon and money laundering. She was released from home confinement over the summer and has taken a job as a bartender in Fort Worth, Texas.

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Also this year, police were called to Fred Couch’s home to investigate claims he had allegedly assaulted his girlfriend. No criminal charges were filed against Couch after his girlfriend allegedly did not cooperate with detectives.

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