- Associated Press - Saturday, December 13, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - A St. Paul Police Department officer has been convicted of using a fake identity to send money to her boyfriend, a gang member in jail.

Ruby Diaz, 38, was convicted Friday of felony electronic identity theft in Ramsey County District Court, but was acquitted of two forgery charges. Diaz admitted using her best friend’s name to wire $1,500 to Ramone Smaller, a 22-year-old known gang member imprisoned for attempted murder.

Diaz had no disciplinary history with the St. Paul Police Department, and was a finalist for its Officer of the Year award in 2008, The St. Paul Pioneer Press (https://bit.ly/1BH6oR1) reported.

She has been on paid leave from the department pending the outcome of her case. Her sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 2. Given her lack of a criminal history, prosecutor Andrew LeFevour said Diaz would likely face probation rather than time in prison.

Police Chief Thomas Smith said he’ll make a decision soon about her future with the department, though Diaz’s attorney said his client will have to go through a hearing before she can be fired. Minnesota law requires that an officer convicted of a felony have his or her peace officer license automatically revoked.

“I hold my officers accountable to the highest standards of conduct, and there is no room for those who tarnish the badge,” Smith said in a statement.

Diaz met Smaller about 10 years ago while working as a school resource officer at Humboldt Secondary School, where Smaller was a seventh-grader. Their relationship turned romantic in 2013.

Diaz admitted she used the name of her best friend, Mao Lee, to set up accounts with Western Union and the Minnesota Department of Corrections in order to send Smaller money at St. Cloud Prison. Diaz testified she didn’t intend to defraud the department or Western Union, but wanted to avoid harassment from colleagues for being involved with a felon.

Smaller is currently in state prison in Rush City, serving a sentence for attempted murder.

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Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, https://www.twincities.com

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