A New Jersey police officer was charged with official misconduct and receiving stolen property after selling stolen Bitcoin mining equipment in an undercover sting. The dirty cop, Vincent Saggese, 32, works for the Plainfield PD and is also a member of the Union County SWAT team. According to New Jersey public records he earns an annual salary of $85,924.
Saggese is the latest in a continuing trend of corrupt law enforcement officers dipping their hands into the Bitcoin industry for personal gain. It is unknown whether he knew the exact nature of what he was selling.
Somerset County Prosecutor Geoffrey Soriano said Saggese met twice with an undercover agent from the prosecutor’s office between March 29 and April 17 to negotiate a sale of the hot KnCMiner Neptune units, which can sell for up to several hundred dollars depending on the model. Soriano did not reveal where the units were stolen from.
Saggese’s dirt goes beyond Bitcoin mining equipment as he also accepted a cool $250 from the undercover agent in exchange for providing the detective with an address of a license plate owner and to also provide a photo of that person. “Such information is available to law enforcement officers through various computer platforms that are to be used solely for law enforcement purposes,” Soriano said in a news release.
Saggese was arrested on April 17 without incident, and released on his own recognizance. The charges brought against him are Official Misconduct 2nd degree and Receiving Stolen Property 3rd degree.
“I, of course, am very disappointed regarding the circumstances, and I’m sure his colleagues are disappointed as well,” said Carl Riley, Saggese’s boss and the Plainfield police director. “On Friday, shortly after his arrest, he was suspended without pay, pending the final disposition of the case.”
KnCMiner is located in northern Sweden and has been withdrawing from hardware sales, instead giving customers the option of directly purchasing computing power for a duration of time. KnCMiner has built a data center in the Arctic Circle which consumes 30 megawatts of power, according to a recent NASDAQ report.