Former ALEA officer sentenced for computer tampering, ethics charges

Steven Ziaja, Alabama Law Enforcement Agency agent

A former state narcotics officer was sentenced for computer tampering and ethics charges stemming from his illegal use of a statewide computer system.

Posted: Oct 23, 2018 5:52 PM

A former state narcotics officer was sentenced for computer tampering and ethics charges stemming from his illegal use of a statewide computer system.

Steven Wrea Ziaja, 40, was sentenced to serve 60 days in jail for 13 charges, including 12 counts of computer tampering and an ethics charge of using his public position for personal gain, according to Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall.

Ziaja pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges on October 22, and was also sentenced to a three-month term of probation following his incarceration.

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Ziaja, who was a narcotics officer for the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), began selling cars for a Morgan County car lot in 2014 – without notifying his supervisors.

He also invested in the car dealer's parent organization, Priceville Partners. When purchasers failed to make payments on cars purchased from the lot, Ziaja used the Law Enforcement Tactical System search feature to obtain information on buyers and their family members so that repossessors could find the cars.

Ziaja also used the computer search information, which is legally restricted to criminal justice purposes to help with the car dealer's respossessions in Morgan and Jefferson counties.

As part of his plea agreement, Ziaja will forfeit his certification as a law enforcement officer, and will be barred from serving as a law enforcement officer in Alabama in the future.

"Mr. Ziaja misused his law enforcement position for personal gain and therefore betrayed the public's trust," Marshall said.

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