Police captain, ex-cop stole and sold personal info, authorities say

By Vernal Coleman | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
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on June 16, 2015

Newark Police captain Anthony Buono, (left) and former Newark police officer Dino D’Elia, (right) have been charged with conspiracy and computer theft

 

NEWARK – Authorities arrested a city police captain and former city police officer Tuesday in connection to an alleged data theft scheme, officials confirm.

Captain Anthony Buono, 60, of Millstone and former Newark Police Officer Dino D'Elia, 49, of Nutley, have been charged with two counts of computer theft and one count of conspiracy, said Essex County Prosecutor's Office Spokeswoman Katherine Carter.

According to investigators, the two illegally accessed a private database made available to police departments to investigate insurance fraud, and then sold information found in it to third parties.

On more than 900 occasions, Buono and D'Elia allegedly removed personally identifying information from a database, investigators said. The two later sold the information to third parties for $100 per search, they added.

"The public should not have to worry that sensitive information will be illegally accessed. These defendants at this juncture stand accused of compromising the public's trust,'' said Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray, who thanked the Newark Police Department for their cooperation in the investigation.

The suspected illegal breach first came to light in 2014, sparking a joint investigation by the Essex County Prosecutor's Office Official Corruption Unit and the Internal Affairs Unit of the Newark Police Department, officials said.

Investigators said that in August 2014, Buono submitted a form to a private company falsely indicating he was an agency administrator for the Newark Police Department to gain access to the database.

After receiving access from Buono, D'Elia allegedly sold the data as part of his private investigation business, officials said.

"We will handle this matter both expediently and appropriately upon completion of the trial," said Newark Police Department Director Eugene Venable in a released statement. "The Newark Police Department has no tolerance for these types of allegations and although the captain is innocent until proven guilty, we take these matters seriously and have a duty to relieve the captain of his job without pay pending a resolution."

If convicted, both men face 5 to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison on each count.

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