Former City of Miami Police Officer Sentenced on Corruption Charges
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 31, 2014|
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, announce that Vital Frederick, 27, a former city of Miami Police Officer, was sentenced to 81 months in prison, three years of supervised release, fined $16,806.33 and ordered to pay forfeiture in the amount of $1,200.
Vital was previously convicted after a five day trial before U.S. District Judge K. Michael Moore. The jury returned a guilty verdict on all seven counts in the indictment, including four counts of interference with commerce by extortion, one count of access device fraud, and two counts of aggravated identity theft. The defendant provided protection and security for an illegal check cashing scheme and exploited the police databases to steal identities and sell the identifiers believing they were to be used to commit tax fraud.
U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “There is no compromise when it comes to corruption. It has to be sought out and defeated. As a sworn police officer, Vital Frederick pledged to protect the public. Instead, he abused that trust to victimize those he swore to protect. The Federal Bureau of Investigation Public Corruption Task Force and this office are committed to rooting out public corruption at all levels. This case is a reminder that no one is above the law.”
“Law enforcement officers have a great responsibility to the public and therefore must be held to a higher standard of integrity,” said Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami. “The FBI’s Miami Area Corruption Task Force was assembled and designed to ensure that these high standards are met and maintained.”
FBI Public Corruption Task Force and the city of Miami Internal Affairs Section initiated an investigation on former Officer Frederick after receiving a report of Frederick’s suspicious activity while on duty. On four separate occasions, between August 2012 and September 2012, Frederick provided protection for a courier whom he believed was cashing fraudulent government checks at the check cashing store. He did so while in full uniform and while driving his marked city of Miami Police Department vehicle. Frederick, in an effort to further facilitate the criminal activity, escorted the courier away from the check cashing store to give the courier safe passage. In exchange for providing security of the courier, who was purportedly cashing fraudulent government checks at the check cashing store, Frederick took receipt of approximately $800 cash.
In October 2012, Frederick sold the personal identifiers of 52 individuals to a second cooperating source after accessing city of Miami Police Department databases. During the investigation, city of Miami Police Department Internal Affairs Unit covertly monitored Frederick’s police-issued laptop and found that he conducted searches of the victims whose identities he was selling.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and the city of Miami Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robin Waugh and Michael Davis.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.