WASHINGTON – Vincent Forrest, 35, a former patrol officer with the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), was found guilty today for his role in a bribery scheme in which he unlawfully provided information contained in non-public police documents in exchange for cash payments, announced U.S. Attorney Matthew M. Graves and FBI Acting Special Agent in Charge David Geist of the Washington Field Office Criminal and Cyber Division.
Forrest, of Washington, D.C., and Raquel DePaula, 43, of Beltsville, Maryland, were indicted by a grand jury in June 2021.
A federal jury in U.S. District Court today found Forrest guilty of conspiracy, bribery, and making false statements. The Honorable Randolph D. Moss set sentencing for June 7, 2024.
According to the government’s evidence, beginning in April 2019, Forrest accessed confidential information from MPD Traffic Accident Reports, or “PD Form 10s.” Forrest, in violation of his official duties, used his official access to MPD’s law enforcement sensitive database to review and record victim contact information from Traffic Accident Reports. The reports contained the names and contact information of individuals involved in traffic accidents.
Forrest sent the victim contact information to DePaula using WhatsApp Messenger, an encrypted communications application. DePaula, who owned RD Legal Solutions, LLC, acted as a “runner,” using victim contact information to solicit for local attorneys in exchange for referral fees. DePaula reached out to the accident victims within days of their traffic accidents in violation of 22 D.C. Code Section 3225.14.
Forrest met up with DePaula at various locations in the District and Maryland to receive cash bribes from her. Forrest and DePaula concealed their bribery scheme by, among other methods, communicating by encrypted application, meeting in person, and exchanging bribes in cash.
DePaula pleaded guilty on October 6, 2021, in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, to one count of bribery of a public official. She is scheduled to be sentenced on March 15, 2024. DePaula has admitted paying Forrest between approximately $600 and $1,300 per week in exchange for the victim contact information. The evidence at trial showed that over the course of the scheme, she paid Forrest over $15,000 and receiving contact information for 2,316 traffic crash victims.
DePaula and Forrest are the sixth and seventh defendants to be convicted in connection with the illegal sale of traffic crash reports by MPD officers. Previously, MPD Officer Walter Lee, MPD employees Kendra Coles and Aaron Willis, runners Marvin Parker and Michelle Cage pleaded guilty to related charges.
This investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Washington Field Office and MPD’s Internal Affairs Division. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joshua S. Rothstein and Madhu Chugh of the Fraud, Public Corruption, and Civil Rights Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.