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,” Evelio Suarez, 47, husband of current defendant Zairis Cruz, was arrested on multiple charges including conspiracy to commit workers’ compensation fraud and grand theft. During this investigation approximately $1 million was seized.
“Operation Dirty Money continues to make great strides in cracking down on these illegal check-cashing schemes, diverting millions of dollars from honest, hard-working Floridians,” CFO Atwater said. “I commend our investigators and Sheriff Lamberti for their hard work in making this task force such a success.”
“Complicated fraud investigations don’t always get the public attention that violent crimes do, but it is important that people take notice,” Broward County Sheriff Al Lamberti said. “Operation Dirty Money uncovered swindling and theft that hurts all of us at the end of the day, and our investigative efforts will continue.”
The Workers’ Compensation Fraud Task Force investigation revealed that Suarez was the actual owner and operator of all of the businesses associated with I & T Financial Services, Inc, and Immigration and Tax Services, Inc. Investigators discovered that the money service business license for these businesses was obtained under fraudulent pretences.
Suarez was booked into the Miami-Dade County Jail and is being held on $250,000 bond. If convicted on all charges, he faces up to 150 years in prison. The charges against Suarez will be prosecuted by the office of Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle.
The Office of Financial Regulation assisted the task force by providing financial data support and licensure information.
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.