(KFYI News) – A Maricopa County sheriff's employee has been indicted on 10 criminal counts for allegedly soliciting sensitive investigative information from out-of-state law enforcement agencies and then disseminating it to people outside of law enforcement.
The Sheriff's Office says 48-year-old Joseph Asarisi was originally from Ukraine, but is a naturalized US citizen. Asarisi has worked in the MCSO jail laundry for 11 years.
According to sheriff's investigators, employees from the MCSO's technology bureau noticed Asarisi's sheriff's department e-mail account had received hundreds of sensitive law enforcement documents, designated as being for law enforcement use only, from various law enforcement agencies including the US Department of Homeland Security and Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Asarisi then forwarded the information to people outside law enforcement, including "a renowned anti-government author" in New York City, according to a Sheriff's Office news release. When interviewed in person by MCSO investigators, that writer first denied knowing Asarisi, then refused to cooperate and directed investigators to his lawyer.
MCSO detectives also traveled to Los Angeles and interviewed the LASD detective who sent information to Asarisi. The detective told them he believed Asarisi was a member of law enforcement and had legal access to the information provided.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio tells KFYI News that his detectives haven't determined a motive for Asarisi's actions, whether he did it for money or for some other reason.
He was indicted on felony charges of impersonating a police officer, forgery, and computer tampering.