Two Miami police officers and a state corrections officer were charged with fraud and extortion offenses, the U.S. Department of Justice announced.
Miami police officers Vital Frederick, 26, and Malinzky Bazile, 28, and state corrections officer Bernard Beliard, 27, were arrested Thursday.
Beliard is charged with access device fraud and aggravated identity theft. Bazile is charged with access device fraud, use of a computer to facilitate the access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Frederick is charged with extortion under color of official right, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft.
According to the complaints, Beliard and Frederick sold identification information taken from police and jail databases to a FBI source. Bazile used his department computer to steal identification information for a tax return fraud scheme.
"This one just is a little different because of it's not the usual suspects that are in the box," said Saam Zangeneh, Bazile's attorney. "I don't know if there is a nexus between Mr. Bazile and the other because I haven't been afforded all the discovery. I don't know what the government knows."
Frederick is also charged with providing security and protection services to a check cashing operation that purportedly cashed fraudulent treasury checks. The complaint alleges he accepted $1,400 for protecting a Liberty City fraud check-cashing ring.
“Identity theft and stolen identity refund fraud are the fastest growing crimes in South Florida, spreading like a virus. The perpetrators of this type of fraud have been as diverse as the victims they prey upon," said U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer. "To date, we have prosecuted Social Security office employees, hospital employees, clinic workers, former NFL players, gang members, and violent criminals, to name a few. Today, we sadly add law enforcement to the list of thieves.”
“Lawmen have a great responsibility and therefore must be held to a higher standard,” said Acting SAC William J. Maddalena for FBI Miami. “The FBI’s Miami Area Corruption Task Force was assembled and designed to ensure that these high standards of integrity are met and maintained.”