Iowa Resident Pled Guilty To Sharing Sensitive Non-public Info

February 4, 2021

By a Biometrica staffer

Rachel Manna, an Iowa resident, pled guilty to posting the photographs and names of individuals assisting authorities with a narcotics investigation on her Facebook page, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement. She got this information from Danielle Taff, who was employed as a contractor paralegal by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

Manna, 33, from West Des Moines, asked Taff to obtain “non-public information” in the spring of 2018. On or about May 16, 2018 used her U.S. Department of Justice computer to access criminal files stored on the district’s shared electronic data storage drive, including reports of law enforcement interviews with at least two individuals who cooperated with the district in a drug-trafficking investigation.

Taff then used her cell phone to take approximately 30 photographs of the sensitive, non-public documents related to the drug-trafficking investigation. This information identified at least two cooperators in the drug-trafficking investigation by name and other personal identifiers.

After photographing the documents, Taff shared them with Manna, who subsequently posted the photographs with several individuals on Facebook. As a result, in October 2018, other individuals shared those photographs to a Facebook group dedicated to outing “snitches,” or law enforcement cooperators, in the Des Moines region.

Taff was assigned to the office’s Civil Division, where she worked exclusively on matters related to civil forfeiture and was neither required nor authorized to access files and information related to the district’s investigation and prosecution of criminal cases. The admissions were made in connection to the guilty plea. Taff pled guilty in November 2020 for her role in the scheme and is scheduled to be sentenced March 9. Sentencing for Manna is scheduled for Jun. 4.

The Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General, Chicago Field Division, is investigating the case. Trial Attorneys Erica O’Brien Waymack and Matthew Palmer-Ball of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section are prosecuting the case.