The Ouachita Parish (La.) sheriff and a major in the agency have been charged with conspiracy, computer fraud, identity theft and obstruction, U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley announced.
Sheriff Royce Edward Toney, 64, and Major Michael Karl Davis, who worked in the agency's IT department, were arrested Friday. Toney was elected sheriff in 2007 and took office on July 1, 2008.
Toney and Davis engaged in a conspiracy to track a third-party's communications and, once Davis learned that the FBI wanted to speak with him, he tried to cover up the illegal activity.
The two men allegedly accessed a protected computer without authorization on nine occasions from April to October of 2010. They allegedly utilized an AOL e-mail address and password belonging to another person. Toney and Davis are charged with one count of obstruction for reformatting and installing a new operating system on a computer after Davis learned of the ongoing FBI investigation. Finally, Toney is charged with obstruction by retaliating against a witness who was cooperating with the FBI investigation.
If convicted, Toney and Davis face maximum up to one year in prison; a $100,000 fine, or both for each of the computer crime charges and five years in prison; and a $250,000 fine or both for each of the conspiracy, identity theft, and obstruction charges.