A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent destroyed his career over $750 after stealing the cash from several deportees, Philadelphia prosecutors said.
Justin Ford, 31, is accused of stealing money from aliens who were in the process of being deported from the country.
"What Mr. Ford did was deplorable," Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said Tuesday while announcing the agent's arrest.
Authorities caught Ford after carrying out a sting operation involving an undercover Philadelphia Police officer. In the sting, prosecutors said Ford was asked to search the undercover officer and found $2,000 in cash. The marked cash was planted as part of the operation.
Williams said Ford pressed the undercover officer to tell him how much cash their was, but he simply pretended not to speak English.
When the undercover officer was turned over to a prison in York County, Pennsylvania, detectives found two $100 bills were missing, prosecutors said.
"Agent Ford was willing to throw away his career for $200," Williams said.
Breaking news and the stories that matter to your neighborhood.
Philadelphia Police SWAT Officers arrested Ford on February 24. As he was taken into custody, the man "immediately began crying," according to Williams.
The agent later admitted to stealing a total of $750 from three deportees, officials said. Authorities said Ford was facing financial troubles. They were tipped off to his possible involvement after a detainee complained some of his money was missing.
There's no evidence any other agents were involved in the theft, authorities said.
Ford is charged with Theft by Unlawful Taking, Receiving Stolen Property, Official Oppression and Conspiracy. He's been released after posting $25,000 bail, prosecutors said.
An attorney was not listed for Ford. A phone number listed for him is no longer in service.
Williams called the case "unique" since the Department of Homeland Security came to local authorities to set up the sting and carry out the prosecution. He said it showcases the strong relationship the two agencies have been forging.