On Sept. 12, a former high-level Miami-Dade county bureaucrat pleaded guilty for his role in a scheme to defraud taxpayers of millions of dollars. As part of his plea settlement, the 52-year-old Coral Gables, Florida, man will serve at least four years in prison and will pay back over $1 million in stolen assets. The defendant admitted his guilt in one charge of unlawful compensation and eight counts of felony grand theft.
Despite the plea deal made with the Miami-Dade County prosecutors, the defendant may now also be facing additional jail time from a pending federal tax evasion case that stems from the same incident. Prosecutors had also charged the defendant's wife and brother-in-law for participating in the scheme, yet drop those charges in exchange for the defendant's plea agreement.
According to prosecutors, the defendant used his managerial position at Miami-Dade's General Service Administration to wrangle a deal for himself with a county vendor in exchange for lucrative kickbacks from that vendor. Specifically, the defendant allowed New York tech company to overbill the county for work they had done and in some cases, he also allowed them to be paid county money for services they had never rendered. The defendant received 10 to 50 percent in kickbacks from his co-conspirators.
Prosecutors say the defendant lived extravagantly on the money stolen from taxpayers, often bragging about maintaining offshore accounts and a residence located in the Caribbean. It is believed the man may have stolen at least $6 million throughout the course of his fraudulent activities.
If you are a Florida resident currently facing charges of tax crimes, then you should know that there are legal protections afforded to every criminal defendant. You have a right to have your attorneys sift through the evidence the prosecutors are offering against you as proof of your alleged guilt. In some cases, it may be possible to find errors in the prosecution's case or otherwise diminish the trustworthiness of their evidence. These may include things that might not be readily apparent to you.
Additionally, it may also be possible for your attorneys to negotiate a plea settlement agreement on your behalf that may reduce the charges against you and thus, lesson any potential prison time and fines.
Source: Miami-Herald, "Miami-Dade bureaucrat pleads guilty to massive theft" David Ovalle, Sep. 12, 2014