FDLE arrests former credit union employee for dark web fraud scheme

For Immediate Release
January 3, 2023
PENSACOLA, Fla. – Wade Hampton Helms, 34, of Arab, Alabama, was arrested on a Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) warrant last week on one count of offenses against users of computers, computer systems, computer networks and electronic devices; eight counts of criminal use of personal identification information; 34 counts of unlawful possession of personal identification information; and one count of unlawful use of a two-way communications device. All charges are felonies.
FDLE’s investigation began in September 2022, when internal fraud investigators with a Pensacola-area credit union reported possible fraud related to Helms, who at the time lived in Pensacola and was an employee of the credit union.
Agents discovered that Helms misused his employee access to compromise dozens of credit union member accounts, taking the members’ personal identification information and providing it to third parties via the dark web. He also assisted the third parties to gain access to the credit union member accounts, resulting in the third parties stealing funds from the accounts.

The credit union has notified members whose information was compromised.

Helms was arrested by the Arab (Alabama) Police Department on the FDLE warrant and transported to Pensacola. He was booked into the Escambia County Jail on a $47,000 bond. The case will be prosecuted by the State Attorney’s Office, First Judicial Circuit.
For Further Information Contact:
FDLE Office of Public Information
(850) 410-7001

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Priorities

FDLE is composed of five areas: Executive Direction and Business Support, Criminal Investigations and Forensic Science, Criminal Justice Information, Criminal Justice Professionalism and Florida Capitol Police. FDLE’s duties, responsibilities and procedures are mandated through Chapter 943, FS, and Chapter 11, FAC. To learn more about these areas, read our Statement of Agency Organization and Operation or visit our Open Government page.