Former Harris County Precinct 1 Constable Jack Abercia told investigators he performed illegal background checks to raise money, in part, for an elevator at his home, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
Abercia pleaded guilty Thursday to 11 counts of exceeding authorized computer access. The charges stemmed from illegal background checks Abercia and a top staffer performed for private companies, using a national criminal information database that is restricted to law enforcement purposes.
“God willing, this money will go towards my elevator,” the longtime lawman is alleged to have said while taking $3,000 for the illegal background checks. Abercia is suffering from colon cancer and told undercover investigators that he needed help getting up and down the stairs in his home.
The 79-year-old Abercia, who took office in 1991, will remain free on bail until he is formally sentenced Nov. 26. He could face up to five years in prison on each count.
“He was being paid to arrange criminal background checks for personal financial gain,” said Angela Dodge, a spokeswoman for the Houston U.S. Attorney’s Office.
In total, Abercia received $9,000, Dodge said. Wiener was paid $1,000 for his part in the illegal searches. The three were indicted in January 2012, accused of conspiring to sell information from a law enforcement database, accepting a bribe for hiring an unqualified deputy and sending employees on personal errands on county time. The other charges were dropped as part of Thursday’s plea agreement.
So tawdry. Abercia was arrested last January. This is the first update since then that I know of. I have no sympathy for him.