A former police officer based in Miami, Florida, has been convicted in a tax crime case. He was tried in a federal court and found guilty by a 12-person jury.
The man, 28, first became an officer with the Miami Police Department five years ago. He was accused of having stolen approximately 1,000 individual personal identity records from the department's database. According to the case against him, he used the data from those records to fraudulently get income tax refunds in the names of people whose information he took. He is said to have collected a total $140,000 in refunds between 2011 and 2012.
After an hour of deliberations, the federal jury returned a guilty verdict. Once it was delivered, the man was taken into custody to await sentencing. The trial only lasted two days and the jury took only an hour to convict the man.
He is the first South Florida police officer to be convicted of both tax-refund fraud and identity theft, although both crimes have become prevalent in Florida in the past few years.
He had also been investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation's anti-corruption task force. That task force included internal affairs detectives from the Miami Police Department. The detectives were involved because internal affairs offices at police departments are tasked with investigating their officers when the possibility of malfeasance exists.
Prior to his arrest, the man at the center of this case had helped the FBI as they investigated another Miami officer for the same thing. The second officer is currently on trial, with jury deliberations expected soon.
Tax fraud and identity theft are serious charges, with substantial penalties. Even though the man was a member of law enforcement and charged with these crimes, he still deserved a fair trial by an impartial jury and judge. It is not known when his sentencing will be, but it is possible he could face less prison time because he assisted the FBI in the other case.
Miami Herald, "Miami cop convicted of ID theft, tax fraud" Jay Weaver, Oct. 03, 2013