Prostitution Suspect Used Data Access to Keep Tabs on Cops
A federal government worker who abused her access to sensitive consumer data to try to stave off a prostitution investigation has been sentenced to four months' home confinement with another four years of probation.
Candice "Candy" Smith, 44, of Blue Springs, Mo., pleaded guilty to making unauthorized inquiries into data aggregator LexisNexis's database of non-public information on millions of consumers, such as driver's license and address information.
Many people might assume that only cops can look up this type of information, but Smith was granted access to the database by virtue of her job as a bill collector for the Center for Medicaid Services, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services.
By night, Smith was making around $3,000 a month turning tricks with about 20 regular johns, prosecutors say. By day, they say, she was using her LexisNexis account to look up data on a people she thought were involved in an investigation into her double life.
According to court documents, Smith spotted a post to the Yahoo! group "kchourlyfriends" about Kansas City police Sgt. Brad Dumit, and decided to run a background check on him in hopes of figuring out what types of undercover names Dumit might have used. She also looked up information on another prostitute she believed was cooperating with law enforcement, according to the documents.
In addition, Smith ran checks on her ex-husband to look up bankruptcy records and child support information. The two are in the midst of a custody battle over their two children, ages 8 and 11. In a telephone interview, Smith expressed remorse for her actions, which she said have made it difficult for her to find a job.
"It was never my intention to harm anyone. I'm a good lady who made poor choices that I'm going to be paying for for the rest of my life. I know it will be hard to find [an employer] who will trust me in that capacity again but I'm sure someone out there who has needed a second chance will hear my story and give me a second chance."
This case raises disturbing questions about just how many government employees have access to data on millions of Americans, and how many of them routinely abuse that access for their private gain -- financial or otherwise.
Update, Dec. 5, 6:15 p.m. ET:The documents released by the Missouri US Attorney's office said Smith had access to credit history data, but LexisNexis officials say their service does not offer such access. The text above has been corrected.
Posted by: keydet89 | December 5, 2005 6:45 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Bk | December 5, 2005 8:58 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Candi (not Candy) Smith | January 23, 2006 11:52 PM | Report abuse
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