Overbilling Scheme May Have Cost Miami-Dade Taxpayers Millions
South Florida Crime
MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Two former Miami-Dade County workers have been arrested in a sophisticated overbilling scheme that may have cost taxpayers millions of dollars, according to CBS4 News partner The Miami Herald.
Jesus “Jay” Pons and Bruno Diaz were arrested Tuesday morning and charged with racketeering, organized scheme to defraud and a list of white-collar crimes, according to The Herald.
Bond was set at more than $3 million for Pons and more than $8-hundred thousand for Diaz on Tuesday.
The men were employees of Miami-Dade’s Internal Services department, which was also known as General Services Administration.
Pons and Diaz resigned after the county relieved them of duty while being investigated for the scheme where they allegedly received kickbacks for overbilling the county.
Pon’s wife, Diana Pons, was also arrested Tuesday morning.
The investigation involving Pons and Diaz surrounds billing with Data Industries Inc., a company that earned $16 million in taxpayer-funded contracts since 2001.
It unfolded when a subcontractor, Anthony Mei, with Monodnock Consulting agreed to tell police about suspicions he had concerning overbilling by Data Industries.
CBS4’s news partner, The Miami Herald, first reported Mei’s allegations outlined in a search warrant in April 2012.
Data Industries was hired in 2006 by General Services Administration to handle its information and technology services. The original contract was for $760,000 but reached $10.7 million paid to the company.
Pons, a board member at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, was a high-level GSA manager overseeing the Data Industries contract. Diaz was a senior systems analyst in the agency.
Mei claimed he charged Data Industries $125 an hour for his services. However, he alleged the company billed taxpayers between $230 to $275 an hour. Mei called the markups “inappropriate.”
The allegations didn’t stop there. Mei told police he believed the company paid a web designer $30 an hour, but taxpayers were billed $175 an hour for her services. Also, Mei alleged Data Industries billed $350,000 a year for another woman’s work, but her salary was only $35,000.
As part of the investigation, detectives raided the contents of Pons’ and Diaz’s desks in the fall of 2011 at County Hall.
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