Winnipeg police arrested a suspect in fraud with police radios

Winnipeg police arrested a suspect in fraud with police radios

The Winnipeg Police Service arrested Winnipegger Ed Richardson, who is accused of having ordered his employees to use fraudulent software when servicing police radios.

According to the police, he received expensive illegal software in 2011 from a person who is considered a security risk by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. After that, he instructed employees to use it when working with police radio stations. Richardson worked as a manager in one of the radio stores in Winnipeg, which was engaged in the maintenance of radios used by the Winnipeg Police Service and Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service.

The charge concerns the period when the police used Motorola radios, which possessed an encryption function and allowed the officers to conduct secret negotiations. The thing is that for correct operation these radio stations required constant updates, for which it was necessary to buy license keys from the manufacturer. One update cost about $94, which Richardson didn’t like much. This information was provided by one of the employees of his store.

"The employee does not believe his actions were for personal gain; he believes that Richardson likes the idea of not giving more money to Motorola," is said in an official police statement.

This information appeared to the police in 2017, when Richardson led a project to launch a new emergency radio system for city services.

"The employee is concerned that Richardson's lack of integrity may put the security of this new radio system in jeopardy," the affidavit said.

Police estimate Motorola’s damage from Richardson’s illegal activity at $19,000.

In 2016, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security sent a special agent to Winnipeg to warn local law enforcement agencies about its investigation. It concerned a Winnipeg resident who illegally hacked and encrypted Motorola radios for customers around the world.

"This allows the criminal element to communicate without fear of interception by the government or law enforcement," the court documents said. "A significant number of these encrypted radios have been seized from the Mexican drug cartel members." This man was detained in 2016, and most likely it was he who handed Richard the scam software.

The final decision on the fault of Winnipegger will be taken by the court.

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