A Miami police officer allegedly abused his access to Florida’s driver’s license database to steal identities and use them to file fraudulent income tax returns.
The officer, Malinsky Bazile, 28, is on trial for stealing hundreds of identities, according to the Orlando Sun-Sentinel. Though prosecutors said he initially confessed to acquiring $130,000 to $140,000 with the scheme, Bazile pleaded not guilty to aggravated identity theft and related charges.
According to the report, Bazile joined the Miami Police Department in 2008, and in the trial that started Oct. 1, prosecutors said Bazile told investigators the scam occurred in 2011 and 2012. He also allegedly told investigators how he did it:
Prosecutors contend that he used his police-issued laptop to access to the driver’s license database and search for victims, often women with common last names. He then allegedly used their information to file a tax return and have the refunds deposited onto prepaid cards in order to withdraw cash from ATMs.
The tale of an employee using privileges for personal gain is a common one. Several days ago, there was the story of the cop who allegedly filed false police reports to boost credit scores, and a state employee in Alabama was sentenced in August for abusing her security clearance.
With these situations, the best thing consumers can do is monitor their credit activity so they’ll know if something is amiss. Everyone is entitled to a free credit report from the credit bureaus each year, and there are plenty of free tools people can use to monitor their credit throughout the year (Credit.com offers a free tool that provides a regularly updated overview of your credit along with your credit score). Additionally, one of the easiest solutions is to make checking bank statements a daily habit.