Sweetwater Police Officer Faces Fraud and Identity Theft Charges

September 3, 2013

The federal government has charged a veteran Sweetwater detective with committing fraud and identity theft. The detective was allegedly set up by one of his own informants that had recently been arrested for credit card fraud. According to the Miami criminal defense attorney representing the detective, the confidential informant (CI) set up his client in order to obtain a reduction in his sentence. Detective William Garcia was arrested by FBI agents for using fake credit cards at numerous establishments located in Miami Beach, Key Largo and other South Florida locations. As a result of the arrest, the detective was relieved of his duties without pay.

According to the government, Detective Garcia was a corrupt police officer in the middle of a credit card fraud scheme. The indictment alleges that he used his own credit card and with assistance of his former informant used a lap top computer that contained stolen credit card numbers. It also alleges that Garcia used fraudulent credit cards that he has seized from suspects while performing his police duties. Federal prosecutors claim that they have a recorded telephone call between the detective and the CI where the detective admits to taking the fraudulent credit cards The detective purportedly requested that the CI use his equipment to obtain the information from the metallic strips on the back of the seized credit cards.

The informant supposedly told the detective that he did not have the necessary equipment to scan the information from the metallic stip on the back of the credit cards. The government claims that the detective responded by saying, "I'll go wherever you need me to so we can read what's on the back." The indictment accused the defendant of using the counterfeit cards that he obtained from a suspect to charge hundreds of dollars of for meals in restaurants located in Miami Beach, Key Largo and Sweetwater. Another tape recorded conversation between the detective and the CI captured the detective asking the CI, "Are you going to visit me when I get sent to jail?

The arrest marks more trouble for the City of Sweetwater where the mayor was recently arrested for allegations of public corruption and money laundering. The same ant-corruption FBI task force was responsible for making both arrests. This case is not the first one in Miami-Dade County alleging that fraud was being committed by police officers. In March, a City of Miami police officer was arrested for stealing $140,000 by committing income tax fraud. Officer Malinsky Brazile was charged in federal court for using personal information obtained from the state driver's license data base, specifically, social security numbers. The social security numbers were used to file fraudulent tax returns. Both defendants are facing up to five years in prison for the fraud with a consecutive 2 year mandatory minimum sentence for aggravated identity theft.

FBI Busts Sweetwater COP on ID Theft, Fraud Charges, Miami Herald.com, August 28, 2013.