October 23, 2014

FL CFO & Broward Sheriff Announce Additional Arrest in ‘Operation Dirty Money’

Tallahassee, FL – Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti recently announced an additional arrest as part of continuing enforcement efforts under Operation Dirty Money. Zairis Cruz, 37, employee of I & T Financial Service, LLC, located in Miami, was charged with 29 counts of money service business violations for her part in a $2.5 million, fraudulent check cashing scheme.

“Our workers’ comp fraud taskforce is continuing to crack down on check cashing schemes that divert nearly $1 billion from Florida’s economy annually,” CFO Atwater said. “These fraudsters put all businesses and employees at risk. Make no mistake, if you are involved in workers’ comp fraud you will be caught and be brought to justice.”

“When we announced the initial results of Operation Dirty Money we said it was just the beginning,” Sheriff Al Lamberti said. “It’s a pattern of organized fraud, not an isolated incident or two, and the task force will continue its work.”

The Workers’ Compensation Fraud Task Force investigation revealed that Cruz submitted 29 Currency Transaction Reports containing materially false information about the transactions to the Internal Revenue Service totaling over $2.5 million. Each fraudulent Currency Transaction Report completed and submitted to the IRS as accurate constitutes a third degree felony.

Cruz was booked into the Miami-Dade County Jail and is being held on $145,000 bond. If convicted on all charges, she faces up to 150 years in prison. The charges against Cruz will be prosecuted by Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.

The Workers’ Compensation Fraud Task Force was jointly created by CFO Atwater’s Division of Insurance Fraud and Sheriff Lamberti’s office in August of 2011. Through joint efforts, the task force has been able to successfully shut down 12 shell companies and identify $140 million in fraudulent transactions associated with these companies.

Source: FL CFO’s Office

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