After some hesitation and much confusion, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Deputy Frantz Felisma plead guilty to identity theft and device fraud in federal court Thursday.
Federal investigators say Felisma used his department issued laptop, and his access to a law enforcement database, to steal personal information from at least 15 people.
Felisma then sold that information to a man named Kesner Joaseus. Joaseus set up bank accounts and credit cards, using the victims' names.
Felisma signed his plea agreement shortly after 3 p.m., then had second thoughts. U.S. District Judge Donald Middlebrooks said he could not accept the plea under any confusion, telling Felisma "you need to figure out exactly what you did and didn't do."
Feds say Felisma's accomplice admitted "he looked for individuals who were driving high-end vehicles." He then wrote down the make and model of the vehicle, along with the tag number and handed the information over to Felisma. Felisma gave Joaseus driver's license, social security numbers and date of births.
At first, Felisma explained that although he collected the information and handed it over, he did not want to take the money in return. As part of the agreement, Felisma will pay $135,000 in restitution.
Felisma ultimately told the judge he knew Joaseus was "a crook" when he gave him the information, adding "he knew he was doing bad things with it."
Felisma said "he took full responsibility" and "never had intent to hurt nobody."
Felisma will be sentenced on June 7 at 11 a.m.. He faces up to 10 years in prison.
Felisma is currently on administrative leave without pay.