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Dec 17, 2021

Winter Haven man arrested for hacking into Polk State College database and possession of child pornography

Media Contact: Alicia Manautou, PIO

On Thursday, December 16, 2021, PCSO detectives arrested 38-year-old BrandonBrandon Diaz James Diaz of Winter Haven for hacking into the Polk State College student labs and scheduling database and possession of child pornography.

In June of 2021, a program coordinator and an instructor of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) course program at Polk State College (PSC) began having difficulty signing into their labs and scheduling accounts. During the course of resetting their passwords, they discovered their password recovery hints had been changed to "Sell Out' or "Ha Ha Ha Loser."

Detectives identified the suspect as Brandon Diaz, whose employment as a Clinical Coordinator was terminated from the Polk State College EMS program in April of 2021 after his termination from Lakeland Regional Health due to a failed drug screening. He had also been employed as a Polk County firefighter/paramedic for 11 years before his termination in 2015 due to unprofessional conduct. Between 2015 and 2017 Diaz was employed with Poinciana Medical Center as a nurse.

During an interview with Diaz, he admitted to accessing the PSC database from his personal computer. He told detectives he altered the passwords of the program coordinator and instructor because he blamed them for his termination. He also admitted to altering the administrative rights of the other accounts in the database. Ten accounts in total were tampered with. 

During the investigation, detectives did not find any evidence of personal identity information being stolen.

Detectives served a search warrant at Diaz's residence and seized his computer and during an on-scene preview, located 75 images of child pornography. 

Diaz told detectives he is currently employed as an Emergency Department Assistant Nursing Manager with Advent Health Heart of Florida in Davenport. 
“I am proud of the good work my detectives did on this case. If tampering with information in a State College database wasn't bad enough, he had a large amount of child pornography on his computer. It's ironic that our investigation ended up turning into a child pornography case.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff 
Diaz was arrested for Access to Computer without Authorization (F3) (10 counts), Use of a Two-Way Device to Commit a Felony (F3), and Enhanced Possession of Child Pornography (F2) (75 counts). He is currently in the Polk County Jail and is being held on no bond.