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Former county employees arrested for fraud

Posted on June 04, 2013 3:00 AM EST

Two former county employees were arrested on fraud related charges. Police say the allegations stem from an over-billing scheme that has cost the tax payers of Miami-Dade County millions of dollars. An extensive investigation revolved around a company called Data Industries, Inc. that has received approximately $16 million in tax payer funds for contract work. Two former employees of the Miami-Dade County Internal Services Department, also known as the General Services Administration (GSA), were arrested Tuesday for their alleged involvement.

Jesus Pons, Diana Pons, and Bruno Diaz were arrested for racketeering, organized scheme to defraud and a variety of other white collar offenses. Law enforcement officials claim that Pons and Diaz received kickbacks for arranging the contracts which led to over-billing the county. The GSA is a Miami-Dade County Department responsible for building and property management along with real estate transactions. The original contract between GSA and Data Industries was for $760,000. At the end of the contract, Data Industries received $10.7 million from the county.

Because Pons and Diaz were employed by Miami-Dade County and the offense arose while performing their official duties, criminal lawyers from the public corruption unit at the state attorney's office will prosecute the case. The public corruption unit prosecutes public officials charged with criminal misconduct committed within their scope of employment. Both defendants were relieved of their jobs soon after detectives executed search warrants at their places of employment.

The probe into the allegations began as a result of a subcontractor reporting suspicious activity. The subcontractor told investigators that pursuant to the contract Data Industries was supposed to charge the county $125 per hour. Instead the company was billing the county between $230 to $275 per hour. Other allegations of financial malfeasance were reported where individuals were being paid far more than they were entitled to under the contract. The Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office takes public corruption cases seriously. Only the most experienced prosecutors are offered the opportunity to work in that highly specialized department.

Former Miami-Dade County Employee Arrested in Massive Overbilling Scheme, Miami Herald.com, June 5, 2013.
Categories: Public Corruption