JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A Jacksonville Sheriff's Office corrections officer allegedly stole inmates social security numbers to get money from false tax returns, the Florida Times-Union reports.
According to the TU, Harold Bush Walbey III pleaded not guilty to wire fraud and identity theft charges in federal
court Thursday. Walbey worked for JSO for over 20 years.
He worked at the Sheriff's Office from August in 1992 until February 2013.
From 2010 until May 27, 2012, according to the court indictment, he used the
inmates' social security numbers to open pre-paid debit cards, which he used to
withdraw money from false tax returns.
JSO issued a statement to First Coast News Thursday:
This case is being handled by the federal authorities, and is an active investigation. At this time we will decline to comment.
Walbey faces up to 57 years in prison and up to $1.5 million in fines.
UPDATE 12/13/13: Walbey was arraigned Thursday, pleaded not guilty and was released on bond, according to a release from the office of Acting U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley. Walbey's status hearing is scheduled for Jan. 21.
Jacksonville Sheriff John Rutherford issued this statement:
"I do not want to comment any further about the specifics of the case at this time, but want to stress that once we became aware of this criminal activity, we launched the investigation and got our federal partners involved. Our corrections processes were examined to determine if this kind of fraud is preventable in the corrections environment. Unfortunately, an employee entrusted with access to confidential information breached that trust criminally. We will work to bring the full weight of the federal prosecution to bear on these individuals for those crimes."
By: Andrew Pantazi, Topher Sanders and Joe Daraskevich