Salt Lake IT worker arrested, accused of providing inside information to police

A man who works in IT for Salt Lake City and its police department has been arrested and charged with providing sensitive police information to a man recently charged with human trafficking to help him avoid being taken. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)

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SALT LAKE CITY – A Salt Lake City IT worker who investigators said had access to restricted information intended only for police officers has been arrested and charged with aiding a Bountiful man recently accused of trafficking human being.

Patrick Kevin Driscoll, 50, was jailed in Salt Lake County Jail on Wednesday for investigation into two counts of computer crimes, exploitation of prostitution, aiding prostitution, obstruction of justice and flight.

According to a police booking affidavit, Driscoll is an associate of Michael Joe Ricks, 49, who was indicted earlier this month in 3rd District Court with 15 felonies, including two counts of aggravated trafficking in human beings for the purpose of forced sexual exploitation and two counts of aggravated crimes. exploitation of prostitution.

Investigators believe Ricks would recruit women already working in the sex industry and then manipulate and control them once they start working for him, the prosecution documents say. He is also accused of distributing cocaine, Suboxone, marijuana and prescription drugs, and of supplying heroin to the women who worked for him.

As the Utah attorney general’s office continued to investigate Ricks, a woman who claimed to have also been exploited by Driscoll came forward.

The woman told investigators that Driscoll “was involved in the exploitation of women in conjunction with Michael Ricks and would provide Ricks with sensitive law enforcement data that was not publicly available,” the affidavit states.

The woman, who worked in the sex industry, said “she specifically traded sex for money or information from Driscoll,” according to the affidavit, and claimed that Ricks would make her perform sex acts with Driscoll for information intended to help Ricks avoid being arrested.

The woman provided investigators with a screenshot of a cash app in which Driscoll made her payment “for sex or for information,” the affidavit reads. At one point, Driscoll allegedly even took the woman to the Salt Lake City Police Department where he had access to the underground parking lot.

The woman “believed Driscoll was a police officer because he was able to gain access to the police station in addition to being able to provide Ricks and others with sensitive data to law enforcement,” according to the affidavit . Driscoll was known as “the guard,” according to the woman, and “would use his job as an employee in Salt Lake City to access law enforcement databases and other non-public sources and provide this sensitive information. to persons involved in illicit activities “.

Specifically, Driscoll would provide “the phone numbers and names of police officers working undercover – particularly those investigating crimes of prostitution and human trafficking” – as well as “information on police operations taking place in the area. areas where Ricks operated apartments and hotels.

“Driscoll would send information directly to Ricks and Ricks was able to use that information to cover up his illegal activity from law enforcement,” according to the arrest report.

Police said Driscoll primarily communicated through a third-party app called Signal, which “has end-to-end encryption and messages are typically deleted after 30 seconds.” Investigators also searched the cell phones of two women and found messages telling one woman that she “would end up in the wilderness” if she spoke to anyone about Ricks or the Guardian. Other messages provided information on police activity where she worked.

Investigators from the Attorney General’s Office have confirmed that Driscoll is an employee of the Information Management Services in Salt Lake City “and that he has full access to the police department as well as all of the databases in the city ​​and law enforcement, ”the affidavit reads. He was not a certified police officer.

Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown said in a prepared statement Thursday that his department assisted agents from the Attorney General’s Office locate and detain Driscoll at the Salt Lake City Public Security building on Wednesday.

Driscoll was interviewed on Wednesday and “admitted that he accessed Salt Lake City databases from his residence, but claimed the information he provided to Ricks (and two women) was false and not legitimate “, states the affidavit. Officers then served a search warrant at Driscoll’s home and said they found “electronic storage devices containing confidential files, including sensitive law enforcement data, including: accessible through the use of multiple restricted databases or files. “

Police believe Driscoll is a “substantial danger” to the community and have requested that he be held in the Salt Lake County Jail without bail pending charges.

“Law enforcement officials have spoken to police and city administrators in Salt Lake City, and there is concern that Driscoll has not only the knowledge, but the means, to shut down all IT departments in the city of Salt Lake City. the city if he wishes. At this crossroads, city officials are unsure of the extent or depth of the files that have been accessed, ”the affidavit states.

“The allegations, as described in court documents, are of great concern,” Brown said.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall also released a brief statement Thursday following the news of Driscoll’s arrest, saying she was “deeply troubled by the circumstances and the information surrounding the arrest of Driscoll. An IMS employee of Salt Lake City Corp. Salt Lake City Corp. has full cooperation with the Utah Attorney General’s office and the employee is on administrative leave pending potential disciplinary action.

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