This week we take a look at three identity theft schemes three officers used to make fat stacks!
I first discussed this case in Nibble #1:
[00:00:08] Keith: Hey, welcome to eCrimeBytes season one, episode 17, and we’re calling this one, as of right now, three officers, three schemes only because two girls, one cup came up to mind and this is the closest I could get it. So that’s why I chose this.
[00:00:27] Seth: Some reference, my friend, oh my God, we just alienated half of our audience.
[00:00:33] Keith: Or, or we gained a bunch. Depends on how you look at it. Seth.
[00:00:38] Seth: Yeah. I’m gonna go with the latter, the former on that. That one was
[00:00:41] Keith: All right, so let’s go ahead and start our case details like we always do. The technology in here, I think we’ve talked about both of these, at least in prior episodes. First one is gonna be your personally identifiable information, and you’re gonna hear Seth and I, if you’re joining us for the first time, you’re gonna hear Seth and I saying the letters, PII, a lot in this episode and other episodes.
[00:01:06] And that’s what this means is things like date of birth, name, social security number, address, all that kind of stuff that you need to basically make a digital picture of a person. And the other piece that we’re gonna talk about is law enforcement databases. And you can think of these as, databases that police officers and other investigative agencies can use for investigative good purposes.
[00:01:36] But when officers go bad, they can also use the same data that’s in there for bad purposes. And that’s what we’re gonna describe in this episode is a couple of officers that turned to the dark side and started stealing information from these databases.
[00:01:52] Seth: Yeah, think about crown jewels, for the hacker world, this is the lucky charms pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
[00:01:58] There’s generally I think, a working assumption and a social contract that in the hands of law enforcement things are safe. As Keith said, if law enforcement kind of break bad it’s actually potentially catastrophic. But I think it’s interesting in this case, what went on, which is more of a gentle or more subtle approach to try to.
[00:02:14] Make a buck and, have a victimless crime kind of thing. Not that I’m saying it was victimless. Ultimately, the US taxpayers were the the victims here amongst the other ones we listed. But anyway, in terms of the crime, so we have identity theft for sure. As we mentioned, fraudulent tax filings, which is something we’ve seen now at least once.
[00:02:31] Did we see it twice, Keith? Yep. And
[00:02:34] Keith: you’ve seen it a bunch and we’ll definitely be seeing it more
[00:02:38] Seth: frankly as a former tax attorney, although it’s been many, many years since I’ve been in that space. It’s one of those things where I never would’ve thought that would be such an obvious target.
[00:02:48] Obviously people cheat on their taxes and there’s a lot of tax fraud out there, but the idea of creating a tax return that shouldn’t exist or filing it in somebody’s name when they never actually filed it is something I find very interesting and something I never would’ve thought about, but I’m not a crook.
[00:03:02] And then anyway, in terms of crime, the protection for fraudulent check cashing service, which we’ll get into a little bit later on in the show.
[00:03:11] Keith: So the criminals here, we have three officers, like I said at the beginning. One of ’em is a Florida Department of Corrections officer. So you can think of like an officer that manages prisons and jails like that.
[00:03:25] And then we have two Miami Florida police officers and it’s not really clear from the court paperwork if they knew each other. Some of the schemes are similar, so I think maybe they knew each other, but there, there was nothing in there that said that they definitely did know each other.
[00:03:44] Seth: So in terms of the victims we have a department of correction inmates, right? We have Florida citizens. I would argue, if these were, tax returns at the federal level, obviously, US taxpayers are technically victims since it’s coming out of their collective pocket. So yeah, lots of victims here.
[00:03:59] Keith, tell us why we’re talking about this case today.
[00:04:03] Keith: Okay. If you’re joining us and you’ve just listened to our full episodes and haven’t paid attention to these nibbles I’ve been releasing in between episodes, this was one of the first nibbles that I created and I released and I got a huge response from it.
[00:04:18] When I put it on YouTube and so forth, I got like thousands of views and people commenting on it. And so when I was looking for a new case to research, I’m, this is a process that I’m gonna do from now on, I’m gonna go back to pick out the most popular nibbles that we’ve published and develop the case more fully.
[00:04:38] So the reason why I chose this case is it was one of the largest responses that I got for. I don’t know, 30 or 40 nibbles we’re up to now. And so then I just picked the top one and thought you’d enjoy it, so there you go. Enjoy. And this in case you were keeping track, this is actually nibble number one.
[00:04:59] The very first one that I released.
[00:05:01] So with that, sit back and we will get right into the case right after our song.
Meet Bernard Beliard
[00:05:33] Keith: Hey, welcome back to eCrimeBytes, season one, episode 17, three officers, three schemes. So we’re gonna get into our first officer right away, and this officer was the Department of Corrections officer. His name is Bernard Beliard. Is that how you pronounce it, Seth? Sure. Beliard. All right. So he’s a Florida Department of Corrections officer, and you can imagine as a corrections officer, you have, since you’re managing people, you have access to their information.
[00:06:12] You’re in custody of people, so you’re gonna have access to their information. And so, these cases that we’re gonna present to you, they were pretty much independent cases, but they were all prosecuted and investigated at the same time, and they all started out the same way. I have a feeling they, they knew that these people were not on the up and up and they all started out the same way, which is just a confidential informant that works for the FBI, going up to this officer and saying, you wanna make some money? And from there the schemes differ. So the confidential informant tells Beliard that he will pay $1,000 for every 50 names plus social security numbers. And if you’re not in the US and you don’t know what a social security number, it’s just this, what is it?
[00:07:09] It’s three plus two plus four. So that’s nine digits that identifies you in the US and it’s used on a lot of identification documents for, mortgage documents, a lot of times setting up cell phones, pretty much anything where you have credit, your social security number will be attached
[00:07:29] Seth: to it in some way.
[00:07:30] It’s an identifier, it’s part of a social program so that ostensibly when you retire, every working dollar you earn the back taxes are paid in so that when you retire, you get essentially, government pension to pay you a living wage or that’s not even accurate really, but, government money for retirement.
[00:07:47] But it is obviously a ubiquitous source of personally identifiable information. It’s one of the crown jewels, I would say for hackers for. Using it for, I guess falsifying identification. How do I know it’s Seth? Here’s a soc.
[00:08:04] Keith: So Beliard agreed to provide the PII to the confidential informant, and I didn’t mention the date up front, but this is October 23rd, 2012 that this meeting happened between beliard and this confidential informant that’s working for the FBI.
[00:08:19] Seth: So there’s your initial crime there. Okay, so I’ll take this one, Keith. So the week after this, the confidential informant calls Beliard. The call was recorded and Beliard tells the informant 104. As in he was able to obtain 104 individuals personally identifiable information, we’ll call it PII for short.
[00:08:40] So the informant tells Beliard that he would be paid from a percentage of the fraudulent tax returns filed in there, or the PI’s names. Now that’s interesting cuz that’s not from what he was originally told. You just changed the deal. First it was gonna be. I guess technically he should have received a little over $2,000 if he got a thousand dollars for every 50 names.
[00:09:01] But then he was like, no, no, no. You’ll get a piece of the fraudulent tax returns. Now, that might have been in Beliard’s favor if the tax returns were for hundreds of thousands of dollars. But what was the percentage? This is why I could never be a criminal that would never tolerate such a change in my deal.
[00:09:16] Keith: so let’s see. It would be two days later, Beliard meets with the informant. They meet at a Walgreens in Miami-Dade County. Beliard provides the informant with packets of Department of Corrections daily intake lists, which has names, dates of births, and social security numbers of inmates. This isn’t.
[00:09:39] Something that the inmates willingly handed over to somebody and you know it, it got outta hand. This is, this is an abuse. They’re incarcerated. This is an abuse, abusive power. This, they’re incarcerated, so that’s why their information is in the Department of Corrections. And this officer who’s an insider, gone bad, has access to it, and now he’s trying to make money off of it.
[00:09:59] So the informant paid $1,200 to Beliard for 102 names, and Beliard claimed to have removed two names and I couldn’t figure out why, but there was like some big thing between him and the informant. I couldn’t tell if it was, he wasn’t paid enough, so he took a couple names out, or if he looked at a couple names and said, I shouldn’t have put these in here, or what it was, but it was enough that it was in the court paperwork that I thought it would, yeah, we
[00:10:27] Seth: could conjecture on that all day.
[00:10:29] It could be because those were two guys he didn’t want to upset. We’re part of the inmate crew or whatever. What I find interesting, again, and not to repeat myself, but the deal was 50 names, a thousand dollars. So he gave him 102 names and got $1,200. I feel like he’s a thousand dollars off here. And it’s just a larger pattern that Keith, we have seen where the people who are the pivot to be able to actually have the crime committed are way underpaid.
[00:11:00] Keith: Oh wait. Wait, Seth, this guy, this guy’s rolling in it compared to the last guy that we talk about. So stick around to the end because the amount he’s worse than the guy at the end is worse than Steiner, I’ll put it that way. So when the informant paid him, got the names, the informant then went, Hey, FBI got these and handed it over to the FBI.
[00:11:20] So the FBI’s now making a case against Beliard.
[00:11:27] Seth: So now we flash forward to, the following week, so two weeks forward. So now we’re in late 2012 November the sixth. So the informant now wants to purchase another a hundred names, so he and Beliard arranged to meet again the next day. So again, they used Walgreens because if he happens to need to buy some pharmaceuticals, you’re right there.
[00:11:48] And Beller did provide another 102 names for 1200. So question Keith, why would it be exactly 102 names? Why not 106 or 98? Why a hun? Why 102? I found that weird.
[00:12:03] Keith: Yeah, I thought it was really weird too, and it was never like the na, the mounts and the names never really matched up or correlated. So I’m wondering if it was like, Hey, he gave me 102, but I only have uh, $1,200 on me.
[00:12:18] And he decides to take it.
[00:12:20] Seth: And maybe there was promise of additional money, because remember, now it was first the promise was for, money for names, and then it was like, actually you’re gonna get a piece of this. You’ll get paid when we actually file the tax returns, but maybe it was both.
[00:12:33] So it’s a little unclear as to what the formalized deal was. It doesn’t really matter since Beliard was clearly a co-conspirator at this point. Yeah,
[00:12:40] Keith: and at this point, Beliard and the confidential informant they start they communicate over text messages, and this is between November 7th, 2012 and November 26th, 2012.
[00:12:55] And I’m not gonna read you all of it, but basically I’m gonna give you the gist and then give you the last punchline, which is he’s basically saying, Hey, I got a whole bunch more stuff, but do you wanna buy it from me? Because I don’t really wanna do this forever, is how I’ve read this communication. And Beliard basically ended this conversation with, I was looking forward to at least a stack for my birthday party this Saturday and in the court paperwork, if you’ve never heard that term before, a stack is a thousand dollars. I didn’t know that. So I’ve
[00:13:32] Seth: heard of Fat Stacks. Yeah, so it’s, but I’ve never heard of, I didn’t know that it had a specific monetary amount to it. Oh
[00:13:38] Keith: yeah, not to sound like an old dad or anything, but stacks are referenced in new current music nowadays.
[00:13:45] You hear ’em talk about stacks and they’re talking about a thousand dollars there, Seth. So it’s like a fat right there.
[00:13:50] Seth: Yeah. Is a fat stack like a $10,000 kind of thing, or a $5,000 stack? Oh, I don’t know. I hope we some urban on Urban dictionary.
[00:14:02] Keith: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:14:03] Seth: Yeah, so now we’re about we’re about, two months now into this relationship between Beliard and the ci confidential informant. So at the end of November, around Thanksgiving of 2012, there’s another purchase. So the court documents state that on or about November 28th, 2012, the confidential informant placed a recorded call to Beliard.
[00:14:23] Beliard remember is our police officer or our corrections officer rather. So during the call the confidential informant told Beliard that he or she, I dunno why it says he or she Oh, cuz we don’t know if it’s all right. The confidential informant is clearly confidential. Was ready to take quote the 200, I’m assuming they mean 200 names.
[00:14:42] So arrangements were made to meet on November 30th, two days later to exchange list three for cash payment. Billiard responded quote, if we do, my daughter would have a wonderful birthday. I think that’s important, Keith, because he can’t claim that he didn’t know what he was doing or didn’t know what he was getting into.
[00:14:58] So the informant purchased another 201 names and they meet as usual at the Walgreens. You think they’d wanna mix up their meeting place? No shit. And this time Beliard was paid $2,400. I still feel like he’s being underpaid. There’s supposed to be a thousand dollars for 50 names, but what do I know?
[00:15:15] Keith: So if we fast forward to December 9th through about January 4th, 2013, this is the last purchase in this scheme with Beliard, and he basically, again, starts texting his partner in crime, which is the confidential informant, asking if he would wanna buy some more names. And Beliard basically said, now I have 500 plus names. And then he said yeah, let’s link up tomorrow for the 400. And he says, okay, that’s good, but I really need a stack today.
[00:15:53] A stack being a thousand dollars, a thousand
[00:15:55] Seth: dollars. Not to be confused with a fat stack of which we don’t know how much that is.
[00:16:01] Keith: And the one thing I love from the court paperwork here is I didn’t read it. It actually says smh and then they explain everything in court paperwork. There’s a sentence right afterwards.
[00:16:09] It literally says Your affiant is aware that smh is text shorthand for shaking my head.
[00:16:16] Yeah. All right. All right, if I’ll just continue on with the last purchase here, Seth. Now it’s January. So he must have gotten his fat stack or something and it’s January and there’s another recorded call. And basically they arranged to meet at the Walgreens drugstore that they met previously. They didn’t shake things up. They went back to the same drugstore. And now it’s for a lot more names than it was the last three times. So they exchanged the 400 names for $4,800, which is getting, I guess closer to the amount.
[00:16:53] And what happens? Fucking FBI rolls in, interviews ’em right afterward, and they’re like, dear sir, why do you have $4,800 in your pocket?
[00:17:05] Seth: Which would be the equivalent almost. Five stacks.
[00:17:10] Keith: Exactly. And what do you do at that point? What do you do? He just, he admitted knowing that the list he provided in exchange for cash were going to be used for tax fraud, at that point, it was just, he was caught literally red-handed with cash in his pocket at a goddamn Walgreens.
[00:17:26] If I get caught at something, I don’t wanna get caught at
[00:17:27] Seth: Walgreens. Now this is better our pharmaceuticals to get caught at all right? So we know a short time later, this didn’t take long. Within a few months, Mr. Beliard pleads guilty. He didn’t really have much of a defense here. They waived the indictment and he pled guilty to two charges.
[00:17:44] One possessed 15 or more unauthorized access devices, which is social, basically pii, in this case, social security numbers. But there were several other things. And then they transferred those PII to another person. It was way more than 15, by the way. They could have got him a hundred times over on this.
[00:18:02] He was sentenced to 54 months. So total, and that was 30 months as to count one and 24 months as to count two. And they were consecutive, not concurrent. He also yeah, so he had to surrender later that summer.
[00:18:18] So he got a $200 assessment and a fine of a thousand dollars. And that’s important because we’ve seen some of these sentencing. The assessment doesn’t mean anything. And the fine can always be pretty de minimus, right? But there is no restitution here, which is actually a win because that means when he comes out, he doesn’t have to start paying back some ungodly amount of money.
[00:18:36] $500,000, 5 million, which is no way an ex-convict unless he’s like some crazy white collar criminal genius is ever gonna be able to repay that. So he actually got a fairly light sentence, but he’ll be doing, outside of early release, whatever the better part of I guess almost six years, five and a half
[00:18:54] Keith: years.
[00:18:56] And he has a year of supervised release too, after he gets
Meet Malinsky Bazile
[00:18:59] Seth: out. Yeah. So not great. So let’s meet our next person here. This is a picture of Malinsky Bazile, I’m assuming I’m pronouncing that right?
[00:19:11] Keith: Yep. That’s how I do it. And Malinsky is one of the Miami Dade Florida police officers. And yes. Probably I said earlier how some of these officers were caught.
[00:19:26] This is an interesting tangent I found in the court paperwork. So stick with me here. Malinsky Bazile, police officer, his stepbrother John Baptiste is a Baptiste or Baptiste Baptist Charles. I’m just gonna call him Charles. That’s his last name. So let’s talk about Charles first because that’s what set the ball rolling here.
[00:19:52] Charles was pulled over by a detective on March 11th, 2011. Inside this rental car, he has several money order receipts. He had $4,616 in cash. I never carry cash, Seth I don’t even know if I’ve had $4,000 in my hand in cash before. That’s amazing. 10 prepaid debit cards. Okay. And you would say well, maybe he’s got a lot of accounts.
[00:20:19] Yes, he does. Registered to other people.
[00:20:24] Yeah. So when he’s caught and later on I’ll jump the gun a little bit here. Each person was interviewed at a later date and said, Did you have cards? And did you authorize Charles to have them in his possession? And they all said no. No, I definitely did not order these cards and give them to a random police officer to hold with all the other people’s cards.
[00:20:49] So then detectives looked a little further and they found 25 different people’s tax refund loaded on the cards totalling around $31,000. And if you miss some of our earlier episodes where we’ve talked about these tax refund schemes, a lot of times the criminals will get their funds from the fraudulent claims on prepaid debit cards, and that’s what it sounds like he has in his wallet in other people’s names, which is totally not good Now. He could just say, ah, they accidentally fell into my wallet. But the investigators, they did further investigation and they found that numerous ATM withdrawals came out of those debit cards.
[00:21:36] So he didn’t just have them, he used them. He is the stepbrother of the Officer Malinsky Bazile that we were talking about earlier. As they’re doing their investigation, one of the things they probably say is, where does this guy live? As they’re doing the investigation, they go, oh my God, he lives with one of our officers, officer Bazile.
[00:22:01] That’s odd.
[00:22:02] Seth: Yeah. So that triggered the investigators to start looking at Baal as well. And by the way, I just wanna pause. You’d think you’d wanna maybe launder the money better, right? So like any other crime follow the money, right? So if you’re pulling out money from fraudulent tax returns that had been filed into a prepaid debit card, and then you’re cashing in that cash, I don’t know how I would do it.
[00:22:25] But I’d wanna think there’s several layers in between that before it gets to me. You know what I mean? I would even try to have some rando do it and then give me cash rather than go to an atm. I mean, it’s too connected. It’s, I guess that’s why they got caught. Anyway, all.
[00:22:41] Keith: And I probably wouldn’t as an officer live with my stepbrother, who you probably would know is into this stuff at this point.
[00:22:50] Seth: Yeah. Yeah. Oh, then might be arguably a duty to report that person, which makes it an awkward dinner party for Christmas. Internal affairs investigated Bazile’s computer activity.
[00:23:00] Don’t forget he was a cop. So they had the ability to do that. And they discovered that he ran over a thousand people’s PII. In the Florida Department of Highway and Safety Vehicle driver license record database. That’s called, it’s a long acronym, but it’s basically David for sure. Basically similar to the Department of Corrections Intake forms, this is a golden goose location for PII. Thousand people’s PII were readily available as probably a printout or an export. So the database provides law enforcement, assumedly only law enforcement with names, dates of birth, and Keith, wait for it. Social security numbers. Oh, yeah. So Bazile ran the names of three of 10 individuals for whom Charles possessed debit cards.
[00:23:49] So now internal affairs attaches a keystroke logger on his work laptop. Keith, you wanna tell us what a keystroke logger is?
[00:23:58] Keith: Sure thing. So as you’re putting your fingers on your keyboard, you’re typing things that sometimes aren’t really seen on a computer, like your usernames, your passwords, your.
[00:24:12] Credit cards and so forth. So one way you can get all that information, even if you’re taking a video of somebody’s screen and you can’t see these passwords and credit cards and stuff, is by putting something called a keystroke loger on, and it’s nothing more than something either software or hardware that sits in between your keyboard and your computer, like the the operating system, like your web browser or whatever you’re doing on your computer. So Internal Affairs put this either physical device or software device on his computer and can see everything that he’s typing from there forward. And it’s important to note, this is his work laptop too. So he can’t just say, I left it there and somebody I knew just happened to use it because, work laptops like this, you have to use a username and password to log in.
[00:25:08] It’s just, it’s not just any Joe Schmoe that can log into this police officer’s laptop.
[00:25:13] Seth: Later that month, so end of June of 2012. Moron Bazile search queries. We know that he was searching a specific set of cadences, and it’s funny now, 11 years later, this works really well with a generative AI chatGPT set of queries, but so fairly advanced.
[00:25:30] His criteria for search were he was looking for females between, this is again on that David database that you know is Florida law enforcement females between 57 and 61. And had the first name, beginning with the letters, A through C. And had the last name of Rogers. So you can imagine that’s a fairly ubiquitous name.
[00:25:51] There’s probably a couple of thousand people who live in Florida with the last name of Rogers. And then if you wanna get a little more granular, you know who falls into the category of A being a female, B being between the ages 57 and 61, and C, having a first name, beginning with A through C. And when he clicked on several profiles, he then had access to a person’s name, their date of birth, social security number, and various other bits of PII.
[00:26:17] And when filling out the required reason for Field of Inquiry, I guess that’s a log that is required by that, law enforcement database. So they have some record of, what were you searching for? He said, dispatch. And I’m not a cop, but I think dispatch means that, it’s an officer on duty who is coming back to dispatch to confirm a license plate number or a car that may or may not be stolen or some standard, catchall for having them pull something up.
[00:26:43] Even though at the time Bazile was on vacation, which is problematic.
[00:26:49] Keith: Yeah. You would think officers would go. There’s probably a log of this somewhere that I’m not working, but it probably didn’t click and it was 10 years ago, so maybe they didn’t, it wasn’t as front of mine as it is in 2023.
[00:27:03] So he just continues on with a bunch of more queries and it’s basically, it’s like a dating wishlist. It’s Florida for him, for females, Florida age 57 to 61. And then he would vary things like the first name would be B, C, or D. And then the last name would be Sanders, Martinez, or Gonzalez or Lopez or Harrison.
[00:27:26] Basically pause on that. Brute forcing
[00:27:28] Seth: combinations. But let’s pause on that. What’s the commonality, Keith, between all the last names he used?
[00:27:33] They’re extremely common names. Yeah. He didn’t look at, he wasn’t looking for Eichenholtz. He was looking for Jones. He was looking for that. He was looking, looking for Jones. He was looking for a Sanders, right? Fairly common. Martinez, I’m sure given South Florida’s population is plenty of people with that last name.
[00:27:50] Similar for Gonzalez and Lopez. Harrison, fairly common, right? If you just pick up an old fashioned phone book, you probably have hundreds if not thousands of people you know who hit those categories. So there was no shortage of names to pull from here.
[00:28:06] Keith: It does this is how all these schemes with tax fraud tend to work is somebody has to get the data. So now they have the data, right? Gotta file the tax returns in order to get the money from the data that you just pulled. When they did the investigation, just like they did in the first officer’s case, they took a look at the PII, they had access to and what was actually fraudulently filed. So they could lay out the evidence of showing that the data was captured and then the data was used, and then money was gained from that data.
[00:28:48] Seth: And you’re learning that, I’m sorry, Keith, go ahead.
[00:28:50] I interrupted you. No, no, no. Go ahead. I was gonna say, one at the last case we were wondering the last case we had that involved fraudulent tax returns. What income were they reporting? That would, even be available that would then, trigger a refund of phantom money.
[00:29:09] I think this case probably provides a pretty good blueprint for how they did it. They filed it based upon, so in the ta, in the court documents, the eight returns that were listed under a specific search recorded similar income of unemployment compensation of a modest amount. Here it was $6,500, and then the returns had also filed identically which was not slick refunds of $1,700.
[00:29:34] And the reason why I find that interesting Is, it’s a nominal amount of money. So most people who are vaguely familiar with the US tax system is, generally the lower amount of money that you’re reporting, the less odds you’re gonna have of being audited or having a further inquiry into it, right?
[00:29:49] Because it’s, kind of small potatoes money from the federal government’s perspective, from an individual tax return. Plus, how many thousands of people are on unemployment, right? But usually any kind of income that’s generated, especially by a government entity files, triggers a specific documentation that’s supposed to flow back to the irs, right?
[00:30:08] So if you earn money whether it’s from a private company or from a government, you fi, you get a w two. A tax document, which is also reported to the government, or a 10 99 or some rather, various tax documents that the government could say, oh, Keith Jones looks like he earned, a thousand dollars from this company.
[00:30:25] And then I have similar documentation showing that he owned a thousand dollars. That was also, filed by the entity that paid him. But I guess our crooks here were banking on the fact that the IRS wasn’t looking at every return, especially one from an unemployed person who makes, $6,000 a year, it’s not worth it.
[00:30:44] So I think that’s what they were banking on here, and it’s just an interesting, if not ingenious way. You can’t make a lot of money in a crime of $1,700 in return, but if you do it a thousand times, that’s some real money there.
[00:30:57] Keith: Yeah, definitely. All right. And he just continues throughout the year to look up data, get that data, and then do the false tax returns.
[00:31:08] Now he has to get the money off the credit cards or the debit cards, the prepaid ones that the IRS sends them. There’s a point where the investigators went and looked at the transaction logs for these debit cards, and they found that money was being pulled out of them on ATMs. So the next step in the investigative lead is, let’s go look at the ATM cameras, right?
[00:31:37] So we have a picture of the officer actually standing there getting his money out of the atm. But unfortunately, it’s probably the grossest black and white picture known to man, where you can tell it’s a person maybe wearing some sunglasses and a hat, and he looks stout. I mean a large individual, not like a skinny little dude.
[00:32:01] And that’s about all you can tell from him. Yeah.
[00:32:03] Seth: It’s not, it looks like anime. It’s not good. I
[00:32:06] Keith: looked and looked and looked on the internet for a nicer color picture because I’m pretty sure there’s one out there and I just couldn’t find it. So if somebody has it I would appreciate, cause I was gonna put it in here as like the, one of the title pictures and it’s probably it’s the ugliest black and white picture, but evidence wise, they have the nice clear color picture where they can say, ah, this is Mr. Malinsky here, taking money out from these credit cards that were gained by fraudulent tax returns.
[00:32:41] Seth: Indeed. October of that year, 2012. Bazile Malinsky Bazile is interviewed, so he agrees to cooperate after he was shown the evidence collected against him and he signed a written confession that he used the Florida Law Enforcement acronym David on his police issued computer to find PII of victims to file false tax returns.
[00:33:01] He withdrew the money from the prepaid debit cards, from the false tax returns. And a search of his residence via consent, they didn’t even need to get a court order or a warrant, found ledgers with hundreds of people’s PII and prepaid debit card info, which showcases, this wasn’t like a one-off, he was enticed to do this crime thing.
[00:33:22] This has been probably some kind of racket that he’d been running or involved in for some time.
[00:33:28] Keith: Or it was just enough information that he had to write it all down. I mean, It’s like, like you said, if you’re getting like a thousand dollars at a time and you gotta do it 50 times to make, however you’re trying to, however much you’re trying to make, you gotta keep that information somewhere.
[00:33:43] And apparently it was an ledger.
[00:33:45] Seth: So we know about a year later, I guess he goes to trial. And the defendant, which is interesting because I don’t understand Keith, if he pled guilty, why would he go to trial?
[00:33:57] Keith: It didn’t say like what the motivation was. It basically was in the court paperwork that he did make the confession and then all of a sudden he’s going to
[00:34:06] Seth: trial. So yeah, usually when you confess, unless it’s an enforced, coerced in a confession, you’re not going to trial. But he did and he lost. So he was found guilty on seven counts. There was a trafficking and unauthorized access devices.
[00:34:21] There’s just social security numbers. Only one count of that. I guess they could have been, one off, one per, but they guess went with a broader approach, but they got ’em on aggravated identity theft. That counts two through five. Got ’em on fraud and related activity in connection with computers, which is a statutory crime.
[00:34:38] Got ’em on six counts of that, and they got him on possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices. Seven of those. And in total, let’s see what his criminal time was here, or his jail time was. That was count seven. Count seven, excuse me. So he got a pretty hefty duty sentencing here. He was committed to the custody of the US Bureau of Prisons for 144 months, and that is consisting of 120 months or 10 years if you’re counting to count one, and then 120 months as to count seven.
[00:35:14] But those were run concurrently. And 60 months to count six. So all those were served concurrently and there was an additional 24 months to additional counts. Also served concurrently but consecutively to the terms imposed. So he actually got an additional, so he got a hundred and yeah, so he got 120 months plus an additional 24 months.
[00:35:36] So that brings him to 144 months. So he’s doing about 12 years here. Which is quite a lot. And on top of that, he is gotta have three years of supervised released. And on top of that, he has some substance abuse treatment. I’m not sure why they threw that in there unless it was an issue. But he’ll spend the better part of the next 12 years in prison on this, which is a rough, and on this one we did see an assessment of $700 de minimus, but a restitution of $140,000.
[00:36:04] So he’ll have that over his head. I’m not sure how he gets to pay that back.
[00:36:08] Keith: So
Meet Vital Frederick
[00:36:09] Keith: that was officer two. We have the third officer who is Vital Frederick. Now he has actually a couple of schemes going on. He’s also a Miami Dade Florida police officer and his first scheme, and I just thought, this isn’t necessarily a electronic crime thing, but.
[00:36:32] He had two schemes, so we’re gonna talk about the first one too. His first scheme was protection of illegal activity, and I was like, all right, what is this about and read into it a little further. And between August and September of 2012, he provided protection for cash, for illicit activity.
[00:36:51] He was told this illicit activity was a check cashing place. This establishment that he was protecting and they were cashing, quote unquote dirty checks from a courier. He was also told that the check cashing store owner takes a cut from the scheme. He was told that the courier would not use the store unless there was police protection.
[00:37:17] Frederick was told the courier had about 40 to 50 K worth of checks with him. And then he was like, yep, I’m in. Sign me up. Frederick agreed to participate several times and he was there in uniform and a marked car, and he parked next door at a gas station. So now be clear,
[00:37:39] Seth: this guy’s job was just to sit in his car, in a cop car to make it look like it was a safe environment for the courier to come by and basically sell dirty checks to the ca check cashing company? That’s batshit crazy to me. Yep. I guess it’s cheap money. If you’re a cop, you look the other way. Grab a few hundred bucks. Interesting.
[00:38:02] Keith: Yeah, and it’s all, police trying to catch police, so they’re set, it’s, they’re investigating Frederick, this isn’t a real scenario at this point. Yeah, ju it’s like the confidential informants that we saw in the other police officer stories.
[00:38:19] Seth: So Frederick’s other scheme was ID theft. This brings us back to the eCrimeBytes, the e part of it. So while investigating the first scheme, investigators found a second one, and like with Bazile, the FBI sent a confidential informant to ask Frederick, Hey, you wanna make some money?
[00:38:37] That was around October of 2012. So the first meeting, Frederick provided 14 names. For $200, which is much more efficient than the prior guy, than Mr. Bazile. Yeah, Frederick sold himself short, by the way. Later we found out that he sold 38 for 400 bucks. Clearly he wasn’t interested in math.
[00:38:56] The CI or confidential informant told Frederick about the fraudulent tax refund scheme. So record records show that Frederick accessed the PII in a law enforcement only database similar to Bazile. It’s almost like they were, following a script here.
[00:39:14] Keith: Yeah, but unfortunately they didn’t talk to each other and say, Hey, how much are you making per name?
[00:39:18] Because this guy is only getting a couple hundred dollars for about the same amount of names. So on January 7th, 2013 investigators, they came in and they interviewed Frederick, and what does he do? He goes, yep, it was me. I was providing protection for a check cashing store and escorting their courier with fraudulent checks for cash payments. That was a quote. I’m just kidding. It wasn’t a quote, but that’s what he admitted to. And then he also admitted to providing two lists of PII to these informants. He also admitted to knowing that the PII was gonna be used for illegal purposes of making fraudulent tax returns.
[00:40:02] So this, this is the part that blew my mind in this week’s episode, which was how much did he admit to making on all this? And before I give you the number, at first I pondered this and I was like, do you round up to sound like you really, you’re really good at your job? Do you go, Hey, I made a hundred thousand dollars when you only made a thousand dollars.
[00:40:28] Or do you round down and you say, I only made $200 when I actually made a thousand dollars. I couldn’t figure out what I would do or what he would do in this case, but I will tell you, he ended up saying that he took in $1,400 for this whole scheme, and I was like, okay, that sucks. He only made $1,400. But the positive note is, He did not get it in Amazon gift cards like Luke Steiner in our previous episode.
[00:41:00] Seth: Yeah. Some would argue that gift cards are better because, then you can get whatever you want on Amazon. Who wants cash? I don’t know. That’s crazy shit to me. You’re basically going down the river for such a small amount of money. Yeah, so there’s a superseding indictment here, basically, meaning there were other indictments and this came forward and it over overtakes them here.
[00:41:19] Keith: There’s seven counts. You got interference with Commerce by extortion were counts one through four. There is count five, which is access device fraud, which is usually like owning some kind of username, password or some kinda like social security number or something along those lines, or like the ATM card. And then count six and seven were aggravated identity theft.
[00:41:46] Seth: So he goes to trial, found guilty on all seven counts. So let’s see what he got. So he was committed to 81 months. So that breaks down to 57 months for the first counts and then another 24 on some other ones. And some were consecutive, some were concurrent. But a totals 81 months, which is not a small amount of time.
[00:42:12] Right. What is that? Seven years, eight years?
[00:42:16] Keith: For fucking $1,400. Oh my god, that’s so much time for that little amount of money. And I don’t mean to belittle $1,400, but when you throw your life, any career, any career at all seems like it would be worth more than $1,400, and that’s what he threw away.
[00:42:35] And he’s going to prison for 81 months.
[00:42:38] Seth: Just, yeah. Astounding to me that somebody would be so silly to throw their life away for that amount of money. So
[00:42:44] Keith: supervised release was pretty standard. We had three years on that, and then we had the monetary penalties and we don’t have a restitution, but we do have a $700 assessment and then we have a six almost a $1,700 fine.
[00:43:02] Seth: Now. It’s interesting. I think that might be the highest statutory fine we’ve seen in any of our cases. Keith. Usually the fine is, a thousand, $2,000. It’s just, probably a way out of date number that has been, added to a statute.
[00:43:15] So to see something that high is interesting to me. Now there is a star on it, but I’m not sure if we have any details on it. But I’m not sure if it was cause he was a police officer and abuse of power, but that’s interesting to me that the fine is so high.
[00:43:26] Keith: And that’s it. That’s our three police officers and our three schemes, actually four-ish, if you count the one that wasn’t electronic. So what did we learn in this? And I hope we drill this home, but if you listen to more and more of our episodes, I hope we drill home that criminals come in every profession.
[00:43:47] Okay, here, it’s law enforcement. You’re gonna see in an episode or two, we’re gonna have a Navy officer. We talked about a Navy engineer previously. We have a a Department of Transportation lawyer coming up in a couple episodes. It doesn’t matter. It seems like you pick a profession, there’s gonna be somebody there that’s gonna be a criminal and they’re gonna be, it’s almost every profession also touches electronic crime when they’re a criminal too.
[00:44:14] Seth: Yeah. I’m gonna jump in here. I think in every case we’ve seen here, there has to be an insider, right? And it gets to the very heart of what I do on a day-to-day basis for internal investigations. And it doesn’t mean that we don’t trust people. It doesn’t mean people are inherently bad.
[00:44:28] People do things for various reasons financially. I’m really actually not trying to judge them, although we do make a lot of jokes on this. But the point is, when you have inside information, there’s like a responsibility to handle it responsibly and ethically. And I guess, that’s ultimately the crux of these cases, which is, the lur of money can overwhelm that.
[00:44:48] And even law enforcement we’re certainly not denigrating law enforcement for those of you who are in law enforcement listening. We did show there were multiple officers participating though in a similar ID theft scheme, specifically on focusing on fraudulent tax returns. I found that easy, not easy.
[00:45:02] Interesting. Because I guess for a lot of people they look at it as a. Kind of a victimless crime, right? You’re, yeah, you’re taking money outta taxpayer’s hands, but that’s indirectly, right? Ultimately, if the government shells out another 1200 bucks to somebody, after all the money we spend in our budget, for military spending and whatever kind of spending, I can see how one could argue well, you know, it’s what’s, what’s another $1,200 here and there?
[00:45:27] Not that
[00:45:27] Keith: I’m asking. I think the biggest damage to the victims would be, Unfucking your taxes after someone tried to fraudulently file yeah on top of yours, because there’s probably gonna be a period of time where you have to talk to the IRS, just the legwork. And doing anything with the IRS is going, it’s horrible.
[00:45:48] So just the legwork of having to untangle your tax history if someone were to fraudulently file in your name because they picked you out of a driver’s license database, I think is just the biggest impact. Yeah.
[00:46:01] Seth: I wonder when they filed the returns though what was the parity from like the actual, regular return, maybe for some people that were incarcerated, for those people it’d be different because if they’re incarcerated, they’re probably not filing a return. Even if they received unemployment funds, I’m not sure you can actually can receive unemployment while you’re incarcerated. So I can see how that could confuse the IRS agents, which is, Keith Jones incarcerated, 600 dollars, whatever. It’s fine. They wouldn’t even know you’re incarcerated. I’m not sure how they’d have that record, but if it’s somebody else that came from that, David Department of Transportation, basically some rando dude who has a car, right? That’s how they got that information. That person probably did file a tax return.
[00:46:43] So was the tax return in the same address? If you got a call from the IRS saying, Hey, why did you file two returns? You’re like, I didn’t file two returns. Yes you did. You know, I mean, I just don’t know what level of analysis is being done at the irs, but you have to wonder if they have some processes in place to look for differences between, different year returns versus same year returns that are duplicative. And I don’t know, I wouldn’t put it past the IRS to not having that fully locked down. But anyway, at the point is you see how easy ID theft can be, right? And more importantly, how easy it would be to trip up a victim like the IRS, who it may take them years to untangle something like that.
[00:47:24] Keith: as a, if you’re assuming you’re a victim being, you’re one of the people picked out of that database and someone fraudulently filed in your name. I sat there and I was like, how can you protect yourself from this? And I couldn’t really think of anything. Because the victims were picked from databases.
[00:47:43] It’s not like you can take yourself out of that database, if you’re into the Department of Corrections database you’re there because against your will, because you’re in custody and if you’re in the driver’s license database, your information’s in there mandatory wise because it’s a driver’s license database.
[00:48:02] So there’s nothing that a layman I that I can imagine, like all the other things we say, Hey, patch your devices, or put stronger passwords on your account or use two-factor authentication. I don’t have anything for this type of crime where I can say, do this and you’ll be more protected, unfortunately.
[00:48:22] Seth: Yeah I agree. I. It’s a tough one, right? That gets to the whole insider thing. You’re at their mercy. But I would say keep, there’s a, they say generally keep your tax records for seven years, right? Unfortunately, do especially if you do your tax returns electronically, like most people do these days.
[00:48:37] Keep an electronic copy of it. It’s not like it’s taking up physical space in your, in your desk drawer kind of thing. And that way they were like, you’ll know what you filed and know how many times you filed it.
[00:48:47] And then I think the last piece This cop Frederick threw his life away for $1,400.
[00:48:53] We thought the guy, Steiner, was maybe the biggest loser here for throwing his life away for $11,000 in Amazon gift cards. This is worse. It’s just it’s hard to digest that, if somebody went into law enforcement ostensibly for the right reasons, but they throw it all the way down the drain for 1400 bucks,
[00:49:13] Keith: Yeah, and I had to go back.
[00:49:15] I didn’t have to, I went back and kept checking the numbers because I thought I missed a zero or something in there. I was like, why is this payout so much less than everybody’s else? And what are you gonna do? And you’re a criminal and you come up with your agreement with your other criminals and then even we were talking about earlier about being shorted. It’s what are you gonna do? You’re not gonna call the cops. First of all, you are the cops and there’s no other cops that’s gonna enforce it. So it’s kinda like you get what you get and you hope you make money on it.
How To Reach Us And Amish Butter
[00:49:45] Keith: All right, so with that, let me just tell you about how to reach us.
[00:49:49] Our website is the main place you want you go. It’s just eCrimeBytes, E C R I M E B Y, as in yellow milk. Yellow milk t e s.com. Real quick, Seth, my brother you’re gonna wanna stick around for this joke, my brother text me the other day. He’s really into cheeses. My brother and I, we are the frozen milk guys, right?
[00:50:14] So this relates, trust me, he texts me and said, I found some awesome Amish cheese that I wanna try. He’s really into cheeses. Later on, I get a text that said, oh my God, it was butter and not cheese. And my response to my brother was, I bet that butter still tasted better than frozen yellow milk. And he said Indeed.
[00:50:39] Seth: Yeah, in fucking indeed.
[00:50:41] Keith: Yeah, if you go to our website ecri bites.com, all our social media, podcasting apps, everything is linked on there. If you wanna see the videos, you can get that across the top if you’re on your phone. It’s actually a little dropdown. Instead of being on the top, it’s this little hamburger three line looking thing on the right upper corner.
[00:51:00] Click on that and then you’re gonna have all these links that I’m talking about. Please, please, please, if you get a chance, subscribe to your podcast on whatever your favorite podcasting app is, and please, please, please leave us a positive review on whatever that is. That helps other people that haven’t heard of us before start to see us and then we get a bigger audience, so everybody wins. All right. We appreciate that.
[00:51:27] And do you have anything else before I send us out, Seth?
[00:51:31] Seth: No, no. Who knew that, fraudulent tax returns would be such an interesting topic of conversation. Just know we appreciate you guys listening. Uh, It means a lot to us. We, find this to be a cathartic use of our time and we hope you do as well. So thank you for joining us.
[00:51:44] Keith: Absolutely. And next week, let me give you a little preview because we’re coming to the end of our first season, which I just arbitrarily made a half year long.
[00:51:53] And our next episode is gonna be another tax fraud return episode, but a much, much grander scale than we looked at here. And then we’re gonna be looking at a couple who cyber stocks together, and this one was really interesting because it was a Navy officer who ends up being a giant shitbag stalking his ex-wife and you go, you get through it and you’re like, oh my God, this guy is this giant shitbag! And then. Oh, like a significant other moves in with him and helps him. So then now there’s two giant shitbags cyber stalking together his ex-wife, and it’s one of the most crazy stories that I’ve heard of.
[00:52:37] And then after that we will have a nice season review. So we hope to see you on all those episodes soon and we look forward to seeing you on the next one. Thanks. Bye.
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