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Problem Solving 2,282 views Jul 04, 2017
Miami white collar crime: Can you relate to these people?

A white-collar crime typically involves a person being accused of breaking the law for personal financial gain but in a non-violent manner.  Examples of white collar crimes are embezzlement, insurance fraud, tax evasion, bribery, Ponzi schemes, insider trading, cybercrime, money laundering, identity theft and racketeering.

Here are some recent examples of Miami white collar crime. Have you been accused of something similar?

Embezzling former University of Miami finance director pleads guilty to tax evasion

In March 2017, Kimberly Jean Miller pleaded guilty to four counts of tax evasion, as she tried to hide $2.3 million she embezzled from the University of Miami. The alleged crime occurred when she was director of finance at UM’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science in the Virginia Key, a position she held from 2002 until 2012.

According court documents reported by the South Florida Business Journal, Miller pocketed the money by falsifying invoices from a vendor called International Assets.  Miller changed the name on the invoices to “Inter, Inc.” so the checks would be returned by the vendor. Once the checks were returned, she deposited the money in a bank account she had for Intercontinental Oceans Inc. and, of course, didn’t report any of that income to the IRS.

If you’ve been accused of embezzlement or tax evasion, consider reaching out to Berman Law, specialists in Miami white collar crime.

Former Florida lawmaker went years without paying taxes

Erik Fresen, whose eight-year tenure as a member of the Florida House of Representatives ended because of term limits last November, pleaded guilty in April of not filing a tax return in 2011, when he made over $270,000.

But, the Miami Herald reported that Fresen admitted to not reporting his income to the IRS from 2007-2016, a time period which predates his election to the Florida House by a year.

Fresen still owes about $100,000 in back taxes, plus fines and penalties, according to federal prosecutor Harold Schimkat.

Fresen represented House District 114, which includes Flagami, West Miami, Coral Gables, Pinecrest, Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay.

His sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 18, when he faces a punishment as lenient as probation and as stiff as a year in jail.  The prosecutor will seek the latter, his attorney the former. He also must prove to the court that he is paid up with the IRS or that he has a plan to do so.

Are you in a similar pickle with the IRS, too? The Berman Law Group can help.

Broward County couple ran lottery scheme

In May 2016, Elizabeth Gonzalez, a 25-year-old Broward County woman, pleaded guilty for her role in a lottery scheme that victimized elderly people.

Her husband, Delroy Drummond – a 26-year old musician known as Top Banga – was also part of the scheme. He was jailed in January of last year.

The scheme involved associates of the couple calling people in their 70s and 80s to tell them they won a lottery prize.  The victims were told they had to pay fees or taxes before they got their prizes. These people, obviously, had not won the lottery, and the money they sent went straight to Gonzalez and Drummond.

The Berman Law Group handles fraud cases should you have been accused.

Brothers sentenced for identity theft scheme

Also in May 2016, Bechir Delva, 24, and Dan Kenny Delva, 27, brothers from of Miramar, were sentenced to 102 months and 84 months, respectively, for an identity theft scheme.

The brothers were also ordered to pay $186,697 in restitution, according to Justice.gov.

The Delvas were convicted in February 2016 of possessing debit cards and over 1,600 social security numbers of other people. They also possessed several firearms, including an assault rifle. Eight victims testified against them at trial.

Florida is the most vulnerable state when it comes to identity theft and fraud, a study by Wallet.com found. Washington D.C. was worse, but as we know, that’s not a state.

The Berman Law Group can help you in cases of identity theft.

Money laundering and bank fraud

Nidal Ahmed Waked Hatum of Panama was arrested in 2016 after he was charged for conspiracy to commit money laundering and back fraud.  Miami-based Ocean Bank was the victim of the scheme, the Business Journal reported.

According to an indictment, Hatum’s scheme, which spanned between 2007 and 2009, involved moving money between two companies he owned – Florida-based Star Textile Manufacturing and Panama-based Vida Panama. The money transfers were disguised as loans, in an effort by Hatum and co-conspirator Tamas Zafir to trick Ocean Bank into giving them a lower interest rate.

The scheme also involved money from drug trafficking, as well as efforts to defraud an overseas bank, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

The Berman Law Group has expertise on money laundering and bank fraud.

Worker compensation insurance fraud

Facing a sentence of as many as 20 years in prison, Maira Chirinos was arrested in 2016 for lying to an insurance company when applying for a workers’ compensation policy.

Chirinos, who owned a construction company called Tocao Builders Inc.., underreported the company’s number of employees, as well as its payroll – and by a lot. She claimed Tocoa’s payroll was just $76,000 during a time period over which more than $11 million in payroll checks was cashed, the Sun-Sentinel reported. 

The lies saved her – before she was caught – about $1.8 million.

The Berman Law Group specializes in Miami white collar crime.  If you need their help, visit their website.