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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A former Miami-Dade Aviation Department director is facing years in prison for a fraud and kickback scheme that cost the county millions of dollars.

The scheme reportedly cost the county $5 million in funds meant to buy lighting fixtures for Miami International Airport (MIA).

Ivan Valdes, 46, was sentenced to seven years imprisonment and ordered to pay more than $5 million in restitution for his part in the scheme.

Valdes had pled guilty to a charge of theft in programs receiving federal funds. He also must be under supervised release for three years.

Court records indicate, around 2010, Valdes arranged with another co-conspirator to request that the Miami-Dade County Aviation Department purchase light fixtures for the airport.  In exchange, Valdes was paid a share of the proceeds.

Between 2010 and 2015, the aviation department bought over 9,000 light fixtures.

Due to the deal, court records indicate, Valdes was paid in cash by a co-conspirator with whom he split about $2 million in proceeds from the scheme.

His sentencing comes after a FBI investigation.

“Corrupt officials are on notice – breach the public’s trust through stealing or accepting bribes in the course of their official duties and they will be vigorously investigated,” said FBI Special Agent William J. Maddalena.  “The South Florida community can be assured that public corruption will remain a top priority for the FBI.”


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