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May 24, 2014 deputy loses certification for inappropriate records searches

By Natalie Tolomeo, MyNews13

The former Seminole County deputy, who admitted to breaking the law by searching more than 200 names illegally, is no longer a law enforcement officer.

Thursday, the state stripped William Santiago-Gines of his certification.

During the majority of his four years with the Sheriff’s Office, Santiago-Gines checked out information on 11 celebrities, including Celine Dion and Shellie Zimmerman; more than 120 current and former Seminole County Sheriff’s Office employees, their friends and family members; and even women with whom he had romantic relationships.

The investigation into Santiago-Gines started a year ago, in April 2013. Sheriff’s officials said they were initially tipped off after the then-deputy reportedly searched for information on a child protection investigator.

According to an investigation report, once officials started searching, they noticed patterns and asked Santiago-Gines why he was running so many names in the system.

In the report, investigators wrote Santiago-Gines said he would look up people to see whom he was going to meet, or because he was just curious.

Santiago-Gines resigned not long after the investigation ended.