Tallahassee, FL – Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater recently announced the arrests of John Diaz, 45, Pinecrest, for money laundering, organized scheme to defraud (first-degree felonies), multiple money service business violations (second-degree felonies), and two counts of workers’ compensation fraud (both third-degree felonies) and Mercedes Avila-Diaz, 44, Pinecrest, for two counts of workers’ compensation fraud (both third-degree felonies).
A Workers’ Compensation Fraud Task Force investigation revealed that a total of $35 million in fraudulent transactions occurred at Diaz Supermarkets, a licensed money service business, owned and operated by Diaz since 2006. As a result of the search warrants executed in Miami-Dade County at four Diaz Supermarkets locations and one administrative office, a total of $640,000 was seized in forfeiture along with three vehicles.
The investigation also revealed that Diaz and Avila-Diaz jointly owned and operated Diavila Enterprises, Inc., which was advertised as a tax preparation company, since 2003. This company had been operating for nearly 10 years without the required workers’ compensation coverage, a third-degree felony.
Diaz and Avila-Diaz collectively face up to 95 years in prison if convicted on all counts. The Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s office will be prosecuting this case.
The Office of Financial Regulation assisted the task force by providing financial data support and licensure information and has played an integral part in helping the task force put these criminals behind bars. The Miami-Dade County Police Department also assisted with arrests.
The Workers’ Compensation Fraud Task Force includes CFO Atwater’s Division of Insurance Fraud, the Broward Sheriff’s Office and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. Through joint efforts, the task force has been able to successfully shut down more than 30 shell companies and identify $335 million in fraudulent transactions associated with these companies.
Source: Florida CFO’s Office