Prince George County woman pleads guilty to paying bribes in exchange for non-public information about traffic accident victims – Southern Maryland News Net
The defendant ran a company that provided information to lawyers
Maryland businesswoman pleaded guilty to paying cash bribes to a Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) officer in exchange for information contained in non-public police documents identifying the individuals involved in traffic accidents.
Raquel DePaula, 43, of Beltsville, Md., Pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to one count of bribing a public official. The Honorable Emmet G. Sullivan has not set a sentencing date. Under federal sentencing guidelines, she likely faces a sentence of 18 to 24 months in prison, as well as financial penalties. As part of her plea deal, she must pay $ 15,001 in a forfeiture judgment.
The announcement was made by Acting U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips, Wayne A. Jacobs, Special Agent in Charge of the Criminal Division of the FBI Field Office in Washington, and Robert J. Contee III, Chief of the Department of metropolitan police.
DePaula and the police officer were charged in June 2021. The officer has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is awaiting further legal proceedings.
DePaula is the owner of RD Legal Solutions, LLC, a company that, among other things, acts as a “runner” by providing contact details of traffic accident victims to attorneys in exchange for a referral fee. According to a statement of offense submitted as part of the plea, from around April 2019 to around August 2019, she paid the officer cash in order to obtain confidential information from the MPD traffic accident reports. A general decree of the MPD limited the distribution of these reports to people involved in traffic accidents and their representatives.
In the statement of offense, DePaula admitted to paying the officer between approximately $ 600 and $ 1,300 per week, although the amount varied, in exchange for the victim’s contact details. During the scheme, she admitted paying the officer over $ 15,000 and receiving contact information for 2,667 victims.
In announcing the plea, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillips, Special Agent in Charge Jacobs and Chief Contee praised the work of those investigating the case at the FBI’s Washington Field Office and the Internal Affairs Division of the MPD. They also expressed appreciation for the work of Assistant US Attorney Joshua S. Rothstein, who is pursuing the case.
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