A former employee with the Miramar Police Department has been accused of fraud for allegedly buying cellphones through the department at a discounted rate and reselling them for profit.
Brian M. Chen, 39, of Weston, has been charged with three counts of mail fraud and surrendered to the FBI Thursday morning in Miramar, according to a news release.
State and local agencies in Florida can get iPhone and Android phones through Verizon for free or at a discount rate, provided they would be obtained for official use. Charging documents alleged that as an information technology analyst with the police department, Chen ordered the cellphones with the intent to resell them.
Officials allege that Chen received approximately $800,000 from the cellphone scheme from 2013 until late November of 2018. The Miramar Police Department incurred a loss of approximately $350,000 due to the scheme.
“Earlier this year the Miramar Police Department discovered an anomaly with fluctuation in billing for equipment and services. We immediately conducted an audit and initiated an investigation. Its findings resulted in the department reaching out to the FBI, to independently investigate alleged misconduct," a statement from Miramar police chief Dexter Williams said in part. "Brian’s actions certainly do not reflect the integrity and dedication of the hard-working employees who serve the Miramar Police Department.”
The department said Chen has been with the department since April 2007 and was placed on administrative leave without pay.
It's unclear if Chen has an attorney. His next court appearance is scheduled for February.