A scheme known as the "Florida Plan" has reportedly diverted up to $1 billion each year from the state's economy as subcontracting companies use the method to escape expensive workers' compensation premiums. This white collar crime occurs as a shell company is established to facilitate opportunities for subcontractors to secure contracts without actually purchasing workers' compensation coverage. A shell company will secure an inexpensive policy that will then be rented along with the company name to a subcontractor. Although the subcontracting organization is able to provide documents that appear to reflect proper coverage, the majority of company employees are not protected.
A 39-year-old woman who was employed as a bookkeeper for a Florida business was charged with multiple offenses after she was accused of stealing more than $100,000 from the company. According to the report, the charges resulted from an investigation that was instigated by the owner of the company after he began to suspect that the accused woman was stealing.
On Sept. 2, a Florida woman was arraigned in court after she was indicted on multiple fraud charges. Sources indicate that these charges are related to an alleged scheme involving the creation of false IRS documents.
According to a report released on Aug. 29, a man was accused of operating a scam that allegedly involved the Miami Heat and a number of investors. According to the report, the accused man claimed that he was from a Pakistani family that was in charge of operating numerous hotels, oil business and textile plants.
Three men in Florida were sentenced to federal prison on Aug. 21. The charges related to fraudulent activity involving their former employer, Coastal Community Bank. The former CEO and attorney for the bank were each given a four-year sentence in prison. The former Coastal Community Bank CFO was sentenced to three years behind bars. The charges carried a potential maximum sentence of 30 years each as well as five additional years for filing a false claim against the United States.
The mayor of Miami Lakes has been acquitted of federal charges related to allegedly taking bribes. The mayor had been indicted in the wake of an FBI sting operation that had targeted public officials in Florida believed by the federal agency to have been corrupt. A federal jury in Miami announced the not guilty verdict on Aug. 14 after two days of deliberation. The mayor had been accused of seven separate counts related to the alleged corruption.
Readers in Florida may be interested to learn about federal statutes regarding a variety of computer-based activities that are considered illegal under federal law. According to sections of the U.S. Code, a number of unauthorized computer activities that involve knowingly accessing protected information or causing damage and loss is illegal and punishable upon conviction.
On July 24, two brothers in South Florida were sentenced to spend more than five years in prison for using government-issued food stamps fraudulently. The 42-year-old and 52-year-old brothers were also ordered to pay $4 million in restitution after pleading guilty to conspiracy, bankruptcy fraud and other charges.
A 37-year-old woman was sentenced to 12 years in prison for her role in a tax fraud scheme that netted her $135,000. An investigation on the scheme, named Operation Zig Zag, was launched after VyStar Credit Union contacted authorities about irregularities in refund checks that had been cashed at the institution. The investigation began in May of 2012 and was a collaboration between the Secret Service, the IRS and the State Attorney's Office.
A plea agreement in the case of a Tampa man accused of defrauding would-be investors holds that the man will pay restitution to his alleged victims; the man is the defendant in three pending federal cases in both criminal and civil court. The 34-year-old man and a conspirator allegedly offered investors the services of a day trading firm, attempting to attract investors with the promise of low fees. Federal authorities accuse the pair of defrauding customers out of $473,742, of which some $181,000 was withdrawn in cash.