Former Miami officer sentenced on corruption charges

Vital Frederick sentenced to 81 months in prison


MIAMI – A former city of Miami police officer was sentenced to more than six years in prison on corruption charges, authorities announced Thursday.

U.S. attorneys said Vital Frederick, 27, was sentenced to 81 months in prison, three years of supervised release, fined $16,806.33 and ordered to pay forfeiture in the amount of $1,200.

Frederick was previously convicted after a five-day trial, in which attorneys said the jury returned a guilty verdict on all seven counts in the indictment, including four counts of interference with commerce by extortion, one count of access device fraud, and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

Attorneys said Frederick provided protection and security for an illegal check-cashing scheme and exploited police databases to steal identities and sell the identifiers, believing they were to be used to commit tax fraud.

"There is no compromise when it comes to corruption. It has to be sought out and defeated," said U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer. "As a sworn police officer, Vital Frederick pledged to protect the public. Instead, he abused that trust to victimize those he swore to protect. The Federal Bureau of Investigation Public Corruption Task Force and this office are committed to rooting out public corruption at all levels. This case is a reminder that no one is above the law."

The FBI Public Corruption Task Force and the City of Miami Internal Affairs Section began an investigation of Frederick after receiving a report of Frederick's suspicious activity while on-duty.

On four separate occasions, between August-September 2012, authorities said Frederick provided protection for a courier who he believed was cashing fraudulent government checks at the check-cashing store. Attorneys said Frederick did so while in full uniform and while driving his marked city of Miami Police Department vehicle.

Frederick, in an effort to further facilitate the criminal activity, escorted the courier away from the check-cashing store to give the courier safe passage. In exchange for providing security of the courier, who was purportedly cashing fraudulent government checks at the check-cashing store, attorneys said Frederick took receipt of approximately $800 cash.

In October 2012, officials said Frederick sold the personal identifiers of 52 people to a second cooperating source after accessing city of Miami Police Department databases. During the investigation, the City of Miami Police Department Internal Affairs Unit covertly monitored Frederick's police-issued laptop and found that he conducted searches of the victims whose identities he was selling.

"Law enforcement officers have a great responsibility to the public and therefore must be held to a higher standard of integrity," said Michael B. Steinbach, special agent in charge of FBI Miami. "The FBI's Miami Area Corruption Task Force was assembled and designed to ensure that these high standards are met and maintained."