Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Probable cause, what is it?


We've all heard the term before, but what does it mean?  I'm no lawyer not to I pretend to be, so let's take a look at the definition of probable cause as it appears in the online Legal Dictionary...
Apparent facts discovered through logical inquiry that would lead a reasonably intelligent and prudent person to believe that an accused person has committed a crime, thereby warranting his or her prosecution, or that a Cause of Action has accrued, justifying a civil lawsuit.
Simple enough, right?  The definition goes on to say...
In the criminal arena probable cause is important in two respects. First, police must possess probable cause before they may search a person or a person's property, and they must possess it before they may arrest a person. Second, in most criminal cases the court must find that probable cause exists to believe that the defendant committed the crime before the defendant may be prosecuted.
It all makes perfect sense.  As long as the police believe there's probable cause, they can go ahead and arrest you.  Now, let's look at how this probable cause business relates to the Airways Auto Tag Agency story.  Before we move forward, let's take a quick glance at the arrest report...

According to the arrest report, the "smoking gun" in this case was the allegation that the three tellers that were arrested would...
"log on to the tag agency receipt system using their access codes and on forty four occasions voided the sixty six transactions in order to remove the money & short the proceeds being turned into DHSMV on that day."  
Besides being full of errors and misstatements, that excerpt has one key piece of information that in the detectives mind created more than enough probable cause for him to arrest the tellers.  After an hour long investigation, the detective responsible for this mess, Jorge Baluja, concluded that since the transactions in question were voided using the tellers passwords on the agency's internal bookkeeping software then it must have been the tellers that stole the proceeds of these transactions.

Now imagine that you're the investigating cop here for a moment and step back to get a better look at the overall picture.  Once again, let's take a look at the incontrovertible facts;

  1. Tens of thousands of dollars are missing from the tag agency.
  2. Transactions were voided using access codes assigned to three of the tellers that were employed there.

Ok, all good.  Now, before I went off half cocked and arrested the tellers, I'd have to figure out who else knew about these teller access codes, specifically I'd want to know the following:

  1. How did the tellers get these access codes?  Were they assigned to them or did they pick them out themselves?
  2. Once they had these codes, how did they register them in the tag agency's internal bookkeeping system?
  3. Who else had access to the bookkeeping system?

If the codes were chosen by the tellers themselves and no one else had access to them, then I'd say they're fucked and an arrest would be justified.  In this case though, it's not that easy.  Let's not forget that the accounting system we're talking about isn't a secure state or government system but is instead the internal bookkeeping system that the tag agency installed themselves making it hardly secure.  Because of the nature of the system, I'd have to guess that the system administrator and/or the bookkeeper/accountant had access to these pass codes as well as the individual tellers.  If that's the case the basis for the tellers arrest goes right out the window since there could be up to at least two other people that had access to these codes other than the tellers.  Problem though is that you won't get answers to any of these types of questions when you spend less than an hour investigating.  For a better understanding of what really went on during this investigation, we have to take another look at that definition of probable cause...
Apparent facts discovered through logical inquiry that would lead a reasonably intelligent and prudent person
LOL!  Are we forgetting that we're talking about Detective Jorge Baluja here the very antithesis of a reasonably intelligent and prudent person!  We also can't ignore the fact that the owner of the tag agency is the wife of a fellow law enforcement officer, specifically the Chief of Police of the City of South Miami therefore making it impossible for the investigating officers to have an unbiased view of what went on.  

Now, don't get me wrong, it's entirely possible that the people arrested were the ones that stole the money, I highly doubt it though.  While I'm not going to accuse anyone else of these crimes, tomorrow we're going to reveal the results of a brief investigation of the facts that were ignored by the arresting officer that will not only provide more than enough probable cause but also motive for someone else other than the three tellers to have stolen the money.


  1. wow i so love this because the straw buyer is sending us on a real investigation cruise,and i say again those telles did not take the money ...wow i so love this web i am addicted to it..

  2. Well im ignorant but when you create an accounging softwaer the owner of the place and or the bookeeping so that means they did why the cop pick the tellerz up oh wait I c he got paid and now he is scare out of his mind thinking I should collect more of what I did.....

  3. Well im ignorant but when you create or install an accounging softwaer the owner of the place and or the bookeeping create a password to prevent this type of problems so that means the owner of the place or the bookeeping did that,and why the cop pick the tellerz up oh wait I c he got paid and now he is scare out of his mind thinking I should collect more of what I did.....
    and this is for anonymous don't hate the game hate the player for not following the game I believe you are a family of the agency tag or the owner of it if that so defen youself by showing proofs of your own screw up........

    Sorry for my first comment i was having breakfast when i wrote that

  4. If I put the cameras in the right places, I can let the tellers make up their own passwords, and I still know the passwords.


  6. This case is very interesting, We have to follow very closely.

  7. Is amazing what some people with a bit of power can do to others i personally know these girls and their families because of their bad record on the web they can not get a decent job and pay for their needs these corrupt people have to pay