A police officer used inside information to steal thousands of dollars in reward money from Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers, reports the Miami Herald. Officer Wayne Fortella, an 11-year Miami police veteran, was charged Wednesday with wire fraud and conspiracy in Miami federal court. Two of his friends, who allegedly collected the Crime Stoppers payments at Wachovia banks, were also charged.
Cellphone calls and text messages between Fortella and each of the two other men — with details for picking up the rewards at banks — helped authorities track the trio. Some of the rewards involved a county gun bounty program. On a single day in June 2008, one of the men picked up four different rewards from four different bank branches. The men allegedly stole almost $15,000 in reward money from Crime Stoppers. Last year, the program handed out about $100,000 for tips. Richard Masten, Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers executive director, called the charges “sickening.”