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Police officer convicted in money-laundering conspiracy

JSO officer ran law enforcement database check on undercover officer

Michael Rounsville leaving federal courthouse after his arraignment.
Michael Rounsville leaving federal courthouse after his arraignment.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A Jacksonville police officer indicted in connection with a federal investigation into a criminal conspiracy that involved drug dealing and money laundering was convicted Monday of accessing a law enforcement database without authorization for financial gain and in furtherance of the money-laundering scheme.

Michael Rounsville, 48, of Jacksonville, was one of 13 people indicted as part of Operation Thunderstruck. He was accused of unauthorized use of the FBI's National Crime Information Center database. He could face up to five years in prison when he is sentenced next February.

Operation Thunderstruck began after an undercover officer investigating money laundering involving car sales from a Westside dealership was asked to turn over his Social Security number and ID. Investigators said that undercover officer's information was turned over to Rounsville, who ran checks through the NCIC and Florida's  Driver and Vehicle Information databases -- something he did not have authority to do.

A co-conspirator testified at trial that, at the request of another co-defendant, he had delivered an envelope containing an unknown amount of cash to Rounsville while he was engaged in off-duty work at a road construction site in Jacksonville.

Rounsville was on voluntary unpaid leave without pay from the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office pending the outcome of his trial. The JSO told News4Jax Tuesday afternoon that his employment status has not changed.

Erick Estrada-Lopez, 41, of Jacksonville, was found guilty Monday by the same jury on charges of conspiracy to commit money laundering. He faces a sentence of up to 20 years.

Hedar Khlaf, 34, of Jacksonville; Mollie Bass, 32, of Jacksonville; Diane Harrison, 58, of Jacksonville; Christian Magliano, 27, of Miami; Bruce Childs, 47, of Jacksonville; and Manuel Rodriguez, 33, of Middleburg previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the money-laundering scheme. Their sentencing hearings have not yet been scheduled.

"This is an important victory for the American public,” said Kim Lappin, special agent in charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation field office in Tampa. “Rooting out public corruption remains one of IRS-CI’s highest priorities and this verdict underscores our commitment to work in a collaborative effort to promote honest and ethical government at all levels and to prosecute those who have violated the public’s trust."