TAMPA — Rashia Wilson, the so called "first lady of tax fraud" made a lavish living out of stealing other people's tax returns. And like a lot of people who document their lifestyle on Facebook, Wilson liked to boast in her posts.
"A lot of what came out in the trial with her came from her Facebook page where she was flaunting the money and laughing about what she was doing" said Hillsborough Sheriff's Corporal Bruce Crumpler.
Crumpler is not only able to gather evidence on Facebook, he can use the agency's own page to identify suspects in surveillance video.
"We put information to the public and it works. We get responses all the time all the time," said Crumpler.
Broward County authorities easily caught 21-year-old Steve Mulhall earlier this year after he stole the nameplate off the door of a judge and promptly posted a picture of himself holding the stolen plaque on Facebook.
In Polk County, Sheriff Grady Judd investigated social media postings in the cyber bullying suicide of 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick.
There's no way to know exactly how many abuse cases, thefts and other crimes are solved through social media, but for the first time, Facebook has released a worldwide count of how many official requests they receive for profile information including names, profiles and pictures. For the first half of this year in the U.S., the number was 12,000. Eighty percent of those result in some information being released.
But Facebook's general counsel makes it clear they don't rubber stamp requests saying, "We fight many of these requests, pushing back when we find legal deficiencies and narrowing the scope of overly broad or vague requests."