Lawfuel – The Law Newswire – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Jonathan I. Solomon, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office, announced that Hollywood Police Lieutenant Charles Roberts was charged in a criminal complaint with making material false statements to FBI agents who were investigating the leak of the FBI and United States Attorney’s Office’s long-term undercover investigation into ongoing corruption within the Hollywood Police Department, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001.
According to the complaint, in mid-January 2007, the Hollywood Police Chief and a limited number of his command staff were informed for the first time about the federal undercover investigation, which had been ongoing since 2004. Unbeknownst to federal authorities, this detailed information was shared by the Chief with additional Hollywood Police Department command staff members. In late January or early February 2007, a command staff member provided the details of this investigation to Roberts. Roberts subsequently informed another Hollywood Police Officer of the details of the undercover investigation, and that officer in turn informed one of the targets about the existence and substance of the federal investigation, leading to the exposure and premature termination of the undercover operation.
After this leak occurred, the FBI and United States Attorney’s Office began an investigation into the unauthorized disclosure of the operation. As part of that investigation, FBI agents interviewed Roberts about his role in the leak. Roberts told the agents that he first learned of the FBI corruption investigation the day the four officers were arrested. Roberts denied that he had been informed of the investigation by any member of the command staff, and also stated that he had not discussed the matter with anyone until after the investigation became public knowledge.
FBI agents re-contacted Roberts the next day to follow up on the initial interview. Roberts was offered an opportunity to add or change anything from his first interview with the agents. Roberts reiterated that he had no knowledge of the existence of the undercover FBI investigation before the arrest of the four HPD officers, Companion, Simcox, Courtney, and Harrison.
As a result of the premature disclosure of the operation to one of the targets, the undercover investigation was shut down. This prevented the FBI from completing a number of planned
investigative steps. This leak also required the conduct of an additional federal investigation, which included these interviews of Roberts. Roberts’ false statements to the FBI, if believed, could have derailed or sidelined this leak investigation. As such, his false statements both affected and had the potential to negatively affect this investigation.
If convicted, Roberts faces a maximum sentence of up to 5 years in prison for each alleged violation of Section 1001.
Mr. Acosta commends the efforts of the numerous special agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who have been working on this investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Clark and Senior Litigation Counsel Edward N. Stamm.
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 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 www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.