Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Manuel Orosa, Chief, City of Miami Police Department, announced that Harold James, former City of Miami police officer, was sentenced yesterday by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola to fifteen (15) months imprisonment, as to each Count of the two-count Information, to be followed by two (2) years supervised release. The imposed sentence stems from charges of extortion under color of official right, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1951(a).
The FBI, working in conjunction with the City of Miami Police Department, initiated an investigation after receiving information that City of Miami police officers were facilitating illicit gambling activity taking place at Player’s Choice, a barber shop located in Miami.
In April 2012, during the course of the investigation, James met with and took a cash payment from a cooperating source for providing security at the gambling establishment. It was at this meeting that James was told of another illicit operation. James agreed to participate in the second scheme and agreed to take cash for his involvement.
On five separate occasions, James provided protection for a courier who he believed was cashing fraudulent government checks at the check cashing store. He did so, while in full uniform and while driving his marked City of Miami Police Department vehicle. James, in an effort to further facilitate the criminal activity, notified the cooperating source when there would be law enforcement activity in the area of the check cashing store. In exchange for providing security of the courier who was purportedly cashing fraudulent government checks at the check cashing store, James took receipt of approximately $800 cash.
U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “The criminal conduct of this officer and other public officials undermines the public trust. This sentence sends a message to all public officials who commit crime that they are not above the law.”
“Law enforcement officers are in a position of public trust and therefore must be held to a high standard,” said Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Miami. “James violated that trust and was brought to justice in large part due to the dedication and commitment of the members of the Miami Area Corruption Task Force and the City of Miami Police Department.”
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI Miami Area Public Corruption Task Force, and the City of Miami Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robin W. Waugh.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.