CLICK HERE TO REPORT LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRUPTION (Provide as much information as possible: full names, descriptions, dates, times, activity, witnesses, etc.)

Telephone: 347-632-9775

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Guilty plea in Law Enforcement Computer Misuse

Guilty plea entered in computer misuse
The New Haven Register by William Kaempffer - August 14, 2008

NEW HAVEN — A former Department of Correction employee has pleaded guilty in federal court to accepting cash and gift certificates to expensive restaurants from three corrupt bail bondsmen in exchange for misusing a state computer to help them catch fugitives. James Barone, 48, is the third state employee to be ensnared in the bribery scheme and the ninth person — including three New Haven police officers — to plead guilty to corruption counts. Among them were the three bondsmen, Robert Jacobs, 81, and his sons, Paul and Philip, who for decades used their influence to secure bail customers in Superior Court. Federal prosecutors also say the bondsmen illegally obtained information to help capture bail jumpers. That’s where federal prosecutors say Barone came in. It appears that Barone may have been in the sights of the Federal Bureau of Investigation for some time. He resigned from the Department of Correction in January after nearly 26 years, and just a month after the FBI arrested two court employees who Philip Jacobs helped set up in hopes of a lighter sentence. The U.S. District Court on-line database did not have any record of Barone’s case Wednesday afternoon, and the U.S. Attorney’s office released no other records Wednesday.

Barone worked at the New Haven Correctional Center on Whalley Avenue as a counselor supervisor, DOC spokesman Brian Garnett said Wednesday. He declined further comment, referring questions to prosecutors. Barone pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of exceeding his authorized access to a state computer, a charge that could land him in prison for up to a year when he is sentenced in November. He could get significantly less. A former judicial marshal who pleaded guilty to providing illegal favors to Philip Jacobs got probation in May, and the two Jacobs sons received four months each, in part because of their cooperation. According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, from at least 2005 through March 2007, Barone used his position at the New Haven Correctional Center to assist the Jacobses by providing them pictures of individuals who failed to appear in Superior Court, and also with inmate information from the Connecticut Online Law Enforcement Communications Teleprocessing system and the FBI’s National Crime Information Center database. NCIC is a computerized index of criminal justice information that is available to federal, state, and local law enforcement and other criminal justice agencies. Usage is restricted to official duties and it is a crime to misuse it.

Last October, Madison Patrol Officer Bernard Durgin Jr. was arrested on state charges for misusing the state law enforcement database to look up information about ex-girlfriends and women he worked with as a security guard at Yale-New Haven Hospital. In March 2007, the FBI went public with a months-long undercover investigation of members of the New Haven Police Department and the bail bondsmen. The net result of the probe was the arrests of two prominent figures: New Haven Lt. William White, a cop of nearly four decades, and Robert Jacobs, who had been a fixture at the Elm Street courthouse for just as long. White got the stiffest sentence, 38 months, for stealing money planted in a sting by the FBI and taking thousands of dollars in bribes from the Jacobs for running down fugitives while on the job. He is serving his sentence in West Virginia. The elder Jacobs got 15 months for paying bribes. Only Philip has so far reported to prison, according to the Bureau of Prisons.

Detective Justen Kasperzyk is serving a 15-month sentence in New Jersey for planting evidence, and Detective Jose Silva has already been released from his three-month stint. Jill D’Antona, a judicial marshal at the Elm Street courthouse, and Cynthia McClendon, a clerk in the public defender’s office, were more minor players. Both have pleaded guilty to taking “gratuities” from the Jacobses in exchange for their help. D’Antona received probation. McClendon has yet to be sentenced. In court Tuesday, Barone admitted that as a gratuity for providing assistance, during the holiday season, the Jacobses over the years gave him gift certificates to expensive restaurants and, in December 2006, Robert Jacobs gave Barone $200 as thanks for the assistance that Barone provided in his official capacity.

No comments: