February 9, 2016

Former Tampa Police Department Employee Pleads Guilty to Computer Intrusion

A 53-year-old Tampa woman who worked as a community service officer for the Tampa Police Department pleaded guilty Friday to two counts of obtaining information from the department’s computer system for a fraudulent purpose.

As part of her civilian job, Tonia Bright took reports from the public related to incidents not requiring the response of a sworn police officer. According to her February 5 plea, Bright had access to law enforcement databases, including the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) computerized index that contains the personally identifiable information of millions of individuals.

The plea shows that at least 10 times between 2009 and 2014 Bright accessed the databases and provided information to a friend, Rita Monique Girvin, who used the information to file fraudulent income tax returns and claim refunds, some of which she shared with Bright. Girvin pleaded guilty in a separate case and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Bright’s sentencing has not yet been scheduled. The case was investigated by the FBI’s Tampa Field Office, the Tampa Police Department, and the IRS.

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