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Miami-Dade police officer pleads guilty in wire fraud scheme

2 South Florida police officers also charged in scheme

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MIAMI – A Miami-Dade police officer pleaded guilty Friday to his role in a wire fraud scheme involving a series of credit repair businesses.

George Price, 42, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Price is the third police officer in South Florida to be indicted in the case. Miami-Dade police Officer Rafael Duran was arrested in connection with the case on April 2, and 15-year Miami Police Department veteran Lazaro Fernandez pleaded guilty in federal court in September to fraud for his role in the scam.

Duran has pleaded not guilty to a fraud charge related to the case that involves a total of 130 bogus police reports, according to federal court papers.

"This unacceptable behavior only serves to tarnish the reputation of the overwhelming majority of police officers who serve their communities faithfully and well every day," George L. Piro, special agent in charge, FBI Miami said.   

Prosecutors said the defendants provided false police reports to people operating credit repair businesses, indicating that their customers, who were looking to clean up their credit records, had been victims of identity theft.

Prosecutors said Price and Duran would receive payments from their alleged co-conspirators for writing up the false police reports.

"Law enforcement officers have a duty to protect and serve the public.  Instead, George Price betrayed his badge in order to enrich himself unjustly.  Our office remains vigilant in its efforts to track down and root out official corruption," U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer said.

Price faces up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced. Price has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of his case.

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