Baltimore Police Officer Admits to Protecting a Heroin Dealer and Illegally Accessing Police Databases in Fraudulent Tax Refund Scheme
|U.S. Attorney’s Office November 06, 2013|
BALTIMORE, MD—Baltimore Police officer Ashley Roane, age 26, of Pikesville, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to extortion and aggravated identity theft.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge Stephen E. Vogt of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Commissioner Anthony W. Batts of the Baltimore Police Department.
According to her plea agreement, beginning in the fall of 2012, Roane and her roommate Erica Hughes engaged in a scheme whereby they provided the names and Social Security numbers of persons arrested by the Baltimore Police to an individual who could file false tax returns to obtain fraudulent tax refunds. Roane obtained the personal information of more than 30 people from law enforcement databases through her position as a Baltimore Police officer. Roane and Hughes provided the information to the individual, whom they believed worked as a tax preparer, in addition to being a large scale heroin trafficker in Baltimore. The individual whom the defendants believed was filing false tax returns and selling heroin was, in fact, an FBI cooperator.
On April 4, 2013, FBI agents watched as Roane arrived in her marked police patrol car for a meeting with the individual to obtain a fraudulent tax refund payment. As directed by the individual, Roane retrieved an envelope containing $2,500 from the source’s vehicle. At a recorded meeting on April 24, 2013, the individual went to Roane’s house and gave Roane an additional $1,500 that the FBI had provided to the individual, purported to be a fraudulent tax refund.
Roane admitted that she also provided protection for the individual’s purported drug trafficking. For example, on March 31, 2013, Roane told the individual that she had performed an unauthorized criminal check of one of the individual’s alleged associates to determine if the associate was a police informant, and the individual was “clean.” After Roane agreed to provide protection during drug transactions, on April 30, 2013, the FBI set up a controlled purchase by the individual of white powder that resembled a kilogram of heroin. The FBI watched while Roane, in uniform, armed with her service gun, and in a marked police car, provided protection while the individual purportedly retrieved heroin from a vehicle provided by the FBI. Shortly thereafter, at a prearranged meeting, the individual paid Roane $500 for her protection. Roane agreed to provide such protection again in a future transaction involving multiple kilograms of heroin.
During the course of the schemes, Roane and Hughes received $5,250 from the individual in what Roane believed was proceeds of fraudulent tax refunds. Roane also received a total of $1,000 in exchange for providing protection to the individual during what Roane believed were kilogram-level heroin transactions.
Roane and the government have agreed that if the court accepts the plea agreement, a sentence of between 60 and 111 months is the appropriate disposition of the case. U.S. District Judge William D. Quarles, Jr. has scheduled sentencing for February 4, 2014, at 1:00 p.m.
Co-defendant Erica Hughes, age 26, of Pikesville, previously pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and is scheduled to be sentenced on January 14, 2014, at 1:00 p.m.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the FBI and Baltimore Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter M. Nothstein, who is prosecuting the case.