FDLE agents arrested Bernard McBride Jr., 57, of 3458 Saulstars Court, Sarasota for four counts of grand theft that took place over a year. [Read more…] about FDLE arrests Sarasota man for grand theft
FDLE agents have requested warrants for the arrest of Roland Hartridge Lee, 38, formerly of 32451 Eaglewoods Trail, Sanford, and Juan Jose Sapeg, 37, formerly of 9906 River Crest Court, Orlando, on grand theft and conspiracy to commit grand theft. The charges stem from stolen goods at more than 30 Home Depot stores. [Read more…] about FDLE arrests suspects for grand theft, conspiracy
Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement today arrested two Pasco County residents on racketeering charges related to theft of more than $480,000 from an elderly victim.
Chet Alan Ragsdale, 45, of 5621 Sea Turtle Court in New Port Richey, faces racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, 28 counts of grand theft, money laundering, 25 counts of forgery, 25 counts of uttering a forged instrument, and dealing in stolen property. Barbara DiCioccio, 52, of the same address, faces charges of racketeering, conspiracy to commit racketeering, 25 counts of grand theft and money laundering. Ragsdale and DiCioccio are not legally married but live together as a couple.
In April 2017, FDLE agents launched an investigation after a complaint was filed with the Office of Statewide Prosecution for grand theft. During the investigation, agents learned Ragsdale and DiCioccio worked for the victim. Both had access to the victim’s bank records and accounts. DiCioccio was entrusted with bookkeeping responsibilities.
The investigation revealed several checks made payable to the victim had been deposited into Ragsdale’s account and a joint account he had with DiCioccio. Agents determined DiCioccio would open the mail and give the checks to Ragsdale, who would ask the victim to endorse the checks. The victim believed the checks were being deposited in her bank account but they were not.
Ragsdale and DiCioccio used the money to purchase real estate. Other money was used to pay for credit cards and personal expenses.
Both were taken to the Pasco County Jail . Ragsdale has a bond of $2 million; Dicioccio’s bond is $1.1 million. The Office of Statewide Prosecution will prosecute.
Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested Matthew McDermott, 51, of Davenport today on a grand theft charge stemming from a virtual currency operation. Virtual currency types include Bitcoin and Litecoin.
McDermott is also facing a charge of official misconduct. He is the Information Technology manager for the Florida Department of Citrus, which is charged with regulation of the state’s citrus industry. It is based in Bartow.
The investigation was launched after FDLE agents received a complaint from the Citrus agency’s Office of Inspector General. The complaint followed an audit of P-Card (purchasing card) activity that found McDermott had made more than $22,000 in purchases between July 2017 and December 2017. Among those purchases were 24 computer graphics cards known as Graphic Processing Units (GPUs).
In addition, the IG noted that utility bills for the agency had increased by 41% between October 2017 and January 2017. The increase amounted to nearly $825.00.
FDLE agents learned that McDermott was accessing a virtual currency exchange from multiple computers at the Department of Citrus and was part of a mining pool. A mining pool, or team, is used to solve mathematical equations in an effort to mine the virtual currency and win a reward. The pool combines its resources to help offset costs.
“Through the diligence of the executive management team at the Florida Department of Citrus, our agency was able to minimize losses to the state,” said FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen. “Thanks to the Citrus agency’s quick and appropriate action, we were able to investigate and arrest Matthew McDermott.”
Shannon Shepp, Executive Director of the Department of Citrus, said: “We are grateful for the swift and professional actions of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. This is a breach of ethics that is far outside the character of the Florida Department of Citrus and the industry we serve. Fortunately, our agency has internal controls that detected suspicious activity, and our Inspector General immediately notified the proper channels. We will continue to work with FDLE and the court system through this process.”
The Inspector General’s Office of the Florida Department of Citrus assisted with this investigation. McDermott will be booked into the Polk County Jail on a $5,000 bond. The State Attorney’s Office, 10th Judicial Circuit, will prosecute.
Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested Major Callahan, Jr., today on charges of conspiracy to commit racketeering and grand theft.
Callahan operated three Pointe 1 Tax Services offices within Highlands County. According to investigators, Callahan used these offices to defraud victims out of out of more than $50,000 in tax refunds. At least 24 victims were identified as having their refunds stolen, or attempted to be stolen, by Callahan through Pointe 1 between 2012 and 2015.
FDLE investigators, with help from the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office and the Internal Revenue Service, believe Callahan, or his co-conspirators, filed federal tax returns with the victims’ information, then forging their signatures on refund checks in order to convert the funds to their own use. The investigation into the conspiracy is ongoing.
Callahan turned himself into the Highlands County Jail. This case will be prosecuted by Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution.
Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested 57-year-old Antonio Colmenares and 60-year-old Antonio Sabatier, both of Miami, on first-degree grand theft related to more than $300,000 worth of donated items to the Florida Veterans Foundation (FVF).
The FVF is a nonprofit that offers support to the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs (FDVA).
Colmenares, of 4345 SW 10th St., was a volunteer as the Miami Director for the FVF; Sabatier, of 4247 SW 10th St., is a close friend of Colmenares. He did not have an appointed position with the FVF.
In March 2015, FDLE received a complaint from the state Department of Veterans’ Affairs alleging a theft of disaster blankets and ready-to-eat emergency meals. The items had been provided to FVF by a Tampa-area nonprofit agency to be used for an event to help homeless veterans in Miami. Colmenares had organized the event. During the investigation, agents found that in February 2015 Colmenares and Sabatier arranged for the sale of more than 27,000 blankets and 9,700 meals instead of using the items for their intended purpose. The proceeds from the sale of the items totaled $46,800 and did not benefit FVF but were deposited into an account of Nike Management, a company owned by Sabatier.
The investigation uncovered that other donated items, such as sleeping bags, cots and back packs, were also sold for profit. Colmenares and Sabatier sold most of the items to Worldwide Tactical, a Miami company, on three different occasions: April 2014, February 2015 and May 2015 for a total of $79,394.41. Worldwide Tactical had no knowledge the items were being sold illegally.
“These donated items should have gone to help feed and warm veterans struggling to get back on their feet—instead they were sold to fatten the pockets of those charged with preying on the good intentions of others,” said Attorney General Pam Bondi. “I want to thank FDLE for their tireless efforts investigating this case and working with my Office of Statewide Prosecution. I also want to commend the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs for immediately contacting law enforcement about the alleged theft so an investigation could be opened.”
FDLE Commissioner Rick Swearingen said: “These items were donated with the express purpose to help our veterans who unselfishly serve our country. To take advantage of any opportunity that would benefit them is indefensible.”
The Inspector General’s Office of the FDVA assisted with this investigation. Both Colmenares and Sabatier were booked in the Miami-Dade Jail on a $20,000 bond each.
Agents with Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s Miami Regional Operations Center arrested Peggy Sue Juffre, 43, of 629 Southwest 167 Way in Pembroke Pines, Florida, for one count of organized fraud and one count of grand theft in the first degree.
According to investigators, Juffre embezzled nearly $300,000 from her employer, a fitness company based in the Miami area, between January 2015 and January 2016. FDLE’s investigation began after the business owner discovered the funds were missing, confronted Juffre, and reported the theft.
FDLE agents, with the assistance of the Office of the Statewide Prosecutor, obtained an arrest warrant for Juffre based on the results of the investigation. Juffre turned herself in to FDLE on Tuesday.
Juffre was booked into Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. Bond has been set at $10,000.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested Colin L. Ansby, 25, of 225 NW 79th Terr., Margate, for one count each of scheme to defraud over $50,000, grand theft over $100,000, and grand theft between $20,000 and $100,000.
Ansby was the recipient of the proceeds of an elaborate scheme to defraud victims in Florida and Pennsylvania. The scheme, known as a business email compromise, used compromised email accounts to convince the victims to wire transfer money which they believed was for legitimate business purposes.
A victim in Lee County, Florida, believed that she was communicating via email with her real estate attorney, and wire transferred over $100,000 for a real estate purchase. A victim in Pennsylvania believed that she received an email from a superior directing her to wire transfer over $20,000 for the purchase of clothing.
Ansby was booked into the Broward County Jail. He will be prosecuted by the Office of Statewide Prosecution, Ft. Myers, Florida.
Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested Andrea Velandia, 37, of 11171 NW 10th PL, Coral Springs, Florida on one count of grand theft.
On May 19, FDLE received a complaint from the Office of Inspector General (OIG), Florida Department of Education (FDOE). The complaint alleged that Andrea Velandia, owner of World Academy of Learning, was receiving Florida Tax Credit (FTC) subsidies through Step Up for Students (SUFS) for 10 students not actually enrolled at the school. Signatures on negotiated SUFS checks were fraudulently signed in place of the legitimate counter signature of the parents of the students who had left World Academy of learning for other schools. The total amount of SUFS funds fraudulently obtained by Andrea Velandia was approximately $63,056.26.
FDLE, working with the Coral Springs Police Department, located and arrested Andrea Velandia yesterday at her home and she was booked into the Broward County Jail. The case will be prosecuted by the Office of the State Attorney, 17th Judicial Circuit.