Newark – Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced today that a Newark Police Captain and a former Newark Police Officer, who took a disability retirement six years ago, have been charged with illegally accessing a private insurance database.
Newark Police Captain Anthony Buono, 60, of Millstone and former Newark Police Officer Dino D’Elia, 49, of Nutley, have both been charged with two counts of computer theft and one count of conspiracy for illegally accessing a private database made available to police departments to investigate insurance fraud.
It is alleged that sensitive personal information taken from that database was subsequently sold by the defendants.
“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 Prosecutor Murray, who thanked the Newark Police Department for their cooperation in the investigation.
It is alleged that on more than 900 occasions Buono and D’Elia obtained personally identifying information of others from the database. It is further alleged that the information obtained was sold to third parties for $100 per search. The suspected illegal breach came to light in December 2014 at which point an investigation was launched.
The investigation revealed that on Aug. 1, 2014, Buono submitted a form to the private company falsely indicating he was the agency administrator for the Newark Police Department. It is alleged that Buono stated that the person who previously held the administrator title was now working for another company and that he would be handling those duties, according to Deputy Chief Assistant Prosecutor Walter J. Dirkin.
Buono gave D’Elia access to the database. D’Elia then sold the data as part of his private investigation business.
If convicted, both men face 5 to 10 years in New Jersey State Prison on each count.
These are accusations. All defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they enter a guilty plea or are found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The investigation was a joint effort by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Official Corruption Unit and the Internal Affairs Unit of the Newark Police Department.