2 Miami officers face identity theft charges

MIAMI — Two Miami police officers were arrested Thursday on federal charges related to identity theft and tax-refund fraud.

Malinsky Bazile, 28, and Vital Frederick, 26, are among 11 Miami police officers relieved of duty in recent months who face potential criminal charges or the loss of their jobs in connection with the corruption investigation of the department, according to the The Miami Herald (http://hrld.us/XW0YvR ). The investigation was a joint effort between the department and the FBI.

“Lawmen have a great responsibility and therefore must be held to a higher standard,” said Acting SAC William J. Maddalena for FBI Miami. “The FBI’s Miami Area Corruption Task Force was assembled and designed to ensure that these high standards of integrity are met and maintained.”

Bazile and Frederick stole people’s identities from Miami police databases and used the information to file fraudulent tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service, court records showed. Investigators found Bazile alone ran searches on more than 1,000 people on the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles database, and that he provided some of that personal information to his step-brother, Jean-Baptiste Charles, to file fraudulent tax-refund claims, a criminal complaint reported.

A state corrections officer, Bernard Beliard, 27, was also arrested Thursday in connection with Bazile and Frederick. Both officers had been relieved of duty before their arrests.

The joint corruption investigation was launched a year ago when a Liberty City sports gambling ring was broken up. Last month, Miami police officer Nathaniel Dauphin, 41, pleaded guilty to an extortion charge for providing protection for the illegal betting business. But he’s expected to receive a substantial sentence reduction after wearing a wire for the FBI last year to root out corruption in his own department.

Dauphin’s cooperation led to the arrest of fellow officer Harold James, 29, court records showed. James resigned in November and pleaded guilty last month to two extortion charges.

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