Former Miramar Police Department Employee Sentenced to Prison for Participating in Fraud Scheme
A former Miramar Police Department employee was sentenced to prison today for participating in a fraud scheme.
Ariana Fajardo Orshan, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.
Brian M. Chen, 39, of Weston, Florida, a former Information Technology Analyst with the police department for the city of Miramar, Florida, was sentenced today to 37 months in prison by U.S. District Judge William P. Dimitrouleas, after previously pleading guilty to a three-count Information charging him in each count with mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341. Chen was order to pay $343,797.02 in restitution to the City of Miramar. After sentencing, Chen was remanded to the custody of the Bureau of Prisons to begin serving his prison sentence.
According to the court record, including stipulated statements of fact, the State of Florida had a contract with Verizon Wireless for a cellular telephone service plan, which included the acquisition by state and local agencies of cellular telephones and devices. The contract allowed state and local agencies in Florida to obtain iPhones and Android cellular telephones for free or at a discounted rate, provided that the cellular telephones were obtained for official use and that Verizon Wireless was utilized as the service provider. In his position as Information Technology Analyst, Chen was the administrator of the plan and was in charge of overseeing the purchase and use of cellular telephones and service.
Beginning in or about 2013, Chen, through his position as Information Technology Analyst with the Miramar Police Department, ordered cellular telephones online through the Verizon “My Business” portal for free or at a substantial discount with the intent to unlawfully resell those cellular telephones. Upon ordering the cellular telephones, Chen caused Verizon to initiate a monthly service plan for each line of service. Chen attempted to suspend the monthly service plan for each cellular telephone in order to conceal his illegal acquisition of them.
Chen offered the illegally obtained telephones for sale individually through an online auction and resale provider and also sold the illegally obtained telephones in bulk to persons in the business of reselling cellular telephones. Due to the volume of telephones illegally purchased and the associated lines of service plans, some service plans could not be continuously suspended. Miramar Police Department incurred a loss of approximately $350,000 by paying for service plans for telephones purchased by Chen pursuant to the fraudulent scheme. From in or about 2013, through on or about November 29, 2018, Chen illegally profited, from the scheme, by receiving approximately $800,000 through the sale of over a thousand illegally obtained cellular telephones.
U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan commended the investigative efforts of the FBI in connection with this matter. She thanked the Miramar Police Department for their assistance. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeffrey N. Kaplan and Paul F. Schwartz.