A federal judge in Baltimore has acquitted a Virginia state police officer of four charges of mail fraud connected to an alleged scheme by two private investigators to supply clients with confidential information from an FBI crime computer.
Judge Norman P. Ramsey, in U.S. District Court, ruled Tuesday that a prosecutor had presented insufficient evidence to convict Special Agent John B. Flinn, the Virginia trooper, of the criminal charges.
Ramsey heard two days of prosecution testimony in a "judge trial," in which there was no jury. Then he granted a defense motion for acquittal.
Flinn, 53, of Richmond, was accused in a four-count indictment of supplying "rap sheet" information from the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC) computer to Samuel Yount Jr., a private detective in Charlottesville, Va.
Yount, a former government investigator, sold the information for $150 per rap sheet to George Fox, a former Prince George's County police officer who operates the Firefox International detective agency in Upper Marlboro, court records show.
Yount and Fox pleaded guilty in June to violating a federal computer-trespass statute. They are scheduled for sentencing later this month.
According to court records, Fox sold the information to his clients for $200 per rap sheet. They used the information in civil litigation and private investigations.
Prosecutor Dale P. Kelberman contended that Flinn used his Virginia police authority to obtain access to the FBI's NCIC database in Washington, D.C., and violated federal law by revealing the data to the private detectives.
It is illegal to gain access to the NCIC computer and use information obtained from it for other than official state, local or federal government business.
Flinn's attorney acknowledged that the defendant supplied NCIC data to Yount, but said Flinn had "no idea" Yount was selling the information to Fox and never intended for the data to be distributed to other people.