Two Miami Police officers made their first appearances in federal court Thursday afternoon after being arrested in a case of identity theft and tax refund fraud, authorities said.
Malinsky Bazile, 28, has been charged with access device fraud, use of a computer to facilitate the access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft, while Vital Frederick, 26, has been charged with access device fraud, aggravated identity theft and extortion under color of official right, federal authorities said.
Both officers were relieved of duty before they were arrested, The Miami Herald reported.
A state corrections officer, Bernard Beliard, was also arrested on Thursday in a separate corruption investigation on charges of access device fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to authorities. The 27-year-old also made his initial appearance in federal court Thursday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Robert L. Dubé.
The defendants used their law enforcement positions to gain and/or access the "personal identifying information" of individuals, according to authorities.
"Beliard and Frederick are alleged to have gained access to and sold personal identifying information of unsuspecting individuals to an FBI source believing that such information would be used in a tax return fraud. Bazile allegedly used the city’s official computer to gain access to personal identifying information of individuals, and then used the information to participate in a tax return fraud scheme," authorities said in a statement. "Frederick is also charged with providing security and protection services to a check cashing operation that purportedly cashed fraudulent treasury checks."
The Herald reported that Bazile and Frederick's arrests were related to an investigation into several Miami Police officers who were connected to an extortion scheme for a Liberty City-based sports gambling operation. Frederick faces his extortion charge in connection to that investigation, the newspaper reported.
"There’s been some issues with the city of Miami Police Department," said Bazile's attorney, Saam Zangeneh. "I don’t know if there’s any kind of nexus between Mr. Bazile and the other investigation. Because I haven’t been afforded all of the discovery, I don't know what the government knows.”
It wasn't immediately known if Frederick and Beliard have attorneys.
All three defendants are due back in court next week to enter pleas.