Two City of Miami Police Officers and One State Corrections Officer Arrested and Charged in Separate Corruption Investigations
|U.S. Attorney’s Office March 07, 2013|
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office; and Manuel Orosa, Chief, City of Miami Police Department, announced today that Bernard Beliard, 27, a state corrections officer assigned to the South Florida Reception Center; and Vital Frederick, 26, and Malinzky Bazile, 28, City of Miami Police officers, were arrested today and charged in three separate complaints with fraud and extortion offenses. The defendants made their initial appearance in federal court this afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert L. Dubé.
The first complaint (Criminal No. 13-2314-Dubé) charges Bernard Beliard with access device fraud and aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1029(a)(3) and 1028A(a)(1), respectively. The second complaint (Criminal No. 13-2315-Dubé) charges Vital Frederick with extortion under color of official right, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1029(a)(3), 1028A(a)(1), and 1951(a), respectively. The third complaint (Criminal No. 13-2316-Dubé) charges Malinsky Bazile with access device fraud, use of a computer to facilitate the access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1029(a)(2), 1030(a)(4), and 1028A(a)(1), respectively.
According to the allegations in each of the complaints, the defendants used their official law enforcement positions to gain and/or access personal identifying information, including names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers of individuals. More specifically, Beliard and Frederick are alleged to have gained access to and sold personal identifying information of unsuspecting individuals to an FBI source believing that such information would be used in a tax return fraud. Bazile allegedly used the city’s official computer to gain access to personal identifying information of individuals and then used the information to participate in a tax return fraud scheme. Frederick is also charged with providing security and protection services to a check cashing operation that purportedly cashed fraudulent treasury checks.
U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “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. 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.”
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI Miami Area Public Corruption Task Force, with the assistance of the City of Miami Police Department, Internal Revenue Service, and the Florida Department of Corrections-Office of Inspector General (FDOC-OIG). These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robin W. Waugh and Michael N. Berger.
A criminal complaint is only an accusation, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.