Records: Ex-deputy stole from suspects while making arrests
A former Orange County deputy who stole hundreds of dollars from a suspect during an arrest in 2017 was later convicted of stealing money from a different suspect in another case, records show.
Deputy Joseph Haddad’s first arrest came in September 2017, after officials in Osceola County found he stole a suspect’s wallet during an arrest and then used the man’s credit cards at Target and Walmart. He resigned from the Orange Sheriff’s Office in July 2018 after being convicted in that case.
In the second case against him, which has not previously been reported, Haddad was accused of taking $160 in cash from a suspect he helped arrest for marijuana possession in August 2017. He was later convicted of theft in April 2019.
OCSO’s Professional Standards division completed its probe of the August 2017 theft in October. The report was obtained by the Orlando Sentinel through a public record request. The internal review found Haddad violated agency policy on conformance to laws.
The agency has not reviewed other cases Haddad worked to determine if there was a more widespread pattern of thefts. Spokeswoman Michelle Guido said the two cases were the only ones that have been brought to the professional standards divi
sion, which investigates deputy misconduct.
Haddad was hired in May 2016 and worked in uniform patrol.
“An allegation surfaced and that allegation was thoroughly investigated,” Guido said. “During that investigation, another matter was brought to light and that was investigated as well. If OCSO had uncovered any other instances of wrongdoing, those would have been addressed as well.”
Haddad refused to be interviewed by professional standards, the report said. His attorney, Justin Infurna, declined to comment when reached by the Sentinel, beyond noting the incidents happened years ago.
In the September 2017 case, Haddad and Deputy Conor Lenahan responded to a burglary, but later determined the victim was in possession of drugs. They arrested the man, who later said his wallet — including $1,700 in cash — went missing during the arrest. The following day, the man received bank notifications his cards were used at Target and Walmart. Investigators linked those purchases to Haddad and his wife.
Haddad pleaded guilty to fraudulent use of personal identification information and unlawful possession of a stolen credit or debit card in that case, court records show.
After his conviction, OCSO investigators asked Lenahan if he had any other information about Haddad, according to the professional standards report.
Lenahan said he recalled another arrest in which the suspect “alleged he was missing money from his wallet,” according to the report. That deputy began “pointing out similarities between Haddad’s recent arrest and [the suspect’s] allegation,” the report said.
That case began the night of Aug. 15, 2017, when Lenahan found a suspicious vehicle stopped inside a park. When he approached, he smelled marijuana coming from inside the vehicle, the arrest report said. After the driver admitted smoking marijuana, Lenahan asked the two occupants to get out and began searching them and the vehicle. He also called for backup.
Lenahan searched the vehicle, finding more than 20 grams of marijuana in plastic bags, the report said. Haddad arrived on scene as backup, and Lenahan asked him to help secure the suspect as he finished searching the vehicle.
“[Lenahan] recalled observing multiple bills inside [the suspect’s] wallet when he initially searched him and before Deputy Haddad’s arrival to the scene,” the report said. Lenahan said he didn’t count the money, but said it was clear there were multiple bills.
In an interview with OCSO about the incident, the suspect said he remembered Haddad counting the money, dropping one bill to the ground before picking it back up, the report said. Lenahan said he also saw Haddad take money out of the wallet and look at it, but neither saw Haddad’s next move with the wallet, the report said. At the jail, the suspect asked Lanahan if he could “check his wallet and make sure he has his cash,” the report said. The deputy agreed, opening the wallet and finding only $20 in cash.
The man said he had $180 in cash in his wallet before the arrest and noted that Haddad had been “looking at the money,” the report said. Lenahan said he knew the suspect had more than $20 in the wallet before the arrest, but did not know the exact amount, the report said.
While still in jail, the man called a friend to check his car for the money, but the friend did not find it, the report said. “It is presumed the only reason [the suspect] retained possession of the remaining $20 bill was because there were witnesses present when Deputy Haddad inadvertently, but conspicuously, dropped it and returned it to [his] wallet,” the report said.