Metropolitan Police Department Employee Sentenced for Accepting More than $40,000 in Cash Bribes in Exchange for Personal Identifying Information of Traffic Crash Victims
WASHINGTON – Aaron Willis, 38, of Maryland, was sentenced today to a term of 36 months’ probation, 6 months’ of intermittent incarceration and six months’ home confinement for accepting more than $40,000 in bribes in exchange for unlawfully providing information contained in non-public police paperwork identifying individuals involved in traffic accidents, announced Channing D. Phillips, Acting U.S. Attorney of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and James A. Dawson, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Washington Field Office Criminal Division.
Willis pled guilty in October 2018, in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, to one count of bribery of a public official. He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan.
According to the government’s evidence, dating back to at least 2015, Willis, a Customer Service Representative with Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), conspired with two independent “runners” who worked, in return for referral fees, to connect people in need of legal representation or medical services with providers of those services. Willis used his official position to obtain MPD Traffic Accident Reports, or “PD Form 10s,” which contained the names and contact information of individuals involved in traffic accidents. Beginning in 2015, however, MPD General Order 401.03 limited the distribution of these reports to individuals involved in traffic accidents and their representatives. Willis admitted that, beginning at that time and continuing into 2017, he accepted cash bribes in the amount of $80 per week from one “runner and $80 to $200 per week from another “runner” to violate the General Order and provide the confidential reports, which they used to contact and solicit potential clients. Between June and October 2017, alone, Willis accessed approximately traffic accident reports 28,252 times and exported these reports more than 12,206 times. Over the two years he engaged in the scheme, Willis received more than $40,000.
In announcing the sentence, Acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips commended the work of those who assisted the case from the FBI’s Washington Field Office and MPD’s Internal Affairs Division. He also acknowledged the work of those who handled the case at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section, including Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua S. Rothstein and Veronica Sanchez, who prosecuted the case.