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Criminal Charges, Volume XXXIV: Role-swapping cops and robbers

Jeremy Simon

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Not surprisingly, when you find stories of credit card theft, the police aren’t usually far behind.

 

This week, we have examples of law enforcement and thieves playing unusual roles, including cops as victims, a thief helping law enforcement and a 911 operator crossing the line into thievery.

Identity thief steals from police
Even the police aren’t immune from the threat posed by identity thieves.

Consider the case of Alton Davis from Baton Rouge, La. Davis was arrested on March 20 for allegedly using personal information stolen from 31 current and retired officers from the Baton Rouge Police Department to open credit card accounts, which were then used to buy items such as high-end electronics for re-sale on the street.

The Baton Rouge police acknowledged that they need to be on guard for more than just the public’s sake. “We spend our life trying to protect your identity,” Police Chief Jeff LeDuff told WAFB.com. “Now, we see we’re victims ourselves.”

Davis’ alleged crime may have extended beyond the police: “The compromise of identity could reach out to other city-parish workers,” the Web site reports, citing the U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana, David R. Dugas. For his alleged crimes, Davis could spend up to 15 years in federal prison if convicted.

Killer card fraudster helps police catch bikers
In a difficult economy, employment experts recommend keeping your resume updated. But how would you like your CV to include roles as a hit man, credit card fraudster and police informant?

That’s the job history of one Canadian. Gerald Gallant is a former hit man now serving a life sentence in prison who recently helped Canadian police arrest several people possibly tied to murders during Quebec’s biker wars. Gallant was arrested in Switzerland in 2006 on charges of credit card fraud. He provided information that led to the recent arrests of 10 individuals connected to the Rock Machine biker gang.

“The war between the rival gangs the Hells Angels and the Rock Machine (who became the Bandidos in 2000), which took place between 1994 and 2001, resulted in 165 murders and 185 attempted murders in Quebec,” QMI Agency reports. “Acting on information provided by Gallant, police arrested those they suspected were involved in at least 18 of the murders between 1996 and 2000.”

Former crime journalist Michel Auger told CBC News that self-confessed hit man Gallant was caught in Switzerland three years ago. “He was wanted by police there for small fraud, credit card fraud. He revealed to the astonishment of the police officers there that he was a contract killer in Quebec,” Auger says.

911 dispatcher charged with ID theft, subjected to parrot jokes
Emergency victims rely on dialing 911 when they’re in trouble, so imagine not being able to trust the operator on the other end of the line.

One 911 operator in Mississippi was apparently less than honest. Polly Crocker was employed as an E911 dispatcher in Lauderdale County, Miss., but apparently decided to use the phones at work to make a call out — and apply for a credit card in someone else’s name.

Earlier this month, police say that while at her work station, Crocker used the victim’s information to apply for a credit card. Apparently, the victim was tipped off about a potential identity theft after receiving unexplained credit card statements.

“Wanna” Crocker seemingly didn’t get the stolen information from a 911 call. “Investigators say the victim had not previously called 911 for assistance,” Meridian’s NewsCenter 11 reports. After having the alleged identity parroting scheme traced back to her, Crocker was taken into custody on March 20.

For the time being, it appears to be a one-off incident, according to the Meridian Star newspaper. “As far as we know, this incident involved one person’s information that was used to obtain the credit card,” says Capt. James Sharpe of the Meridian Police Department.

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