MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Harold Mathis, an El Portal councilperson, is accused of stealing more than $47,000 from the Miami law firm where he worked as a paralegal and office manager for more than half a dozen years, according to Miami-Dade prosecutors.
According to an arrest warrant obtained by CBS 4 News, Mathis worked for Ratzan & Faccidomo, LLC where some of his duties included preparing credit card statements for review and preparing checks for signature.
Prosecutors say Mathis bilked the firm by using the firm’s credit card, forging checks and stealing cash from a client over a period of 2 years.
Prosecutors say the law firm found hundreds of unauthorized credit card charges made under Mathis account for things like hotel stays, car rides and purchases at the Caliente Adult Superstore which has two locations in Miami-Dade.
The arrest report says Mathis also spent money on “Royal Caribbean cruises, airline tickets, bar, grocery stores and late night to early morning Uber and Lyft rides.”
Mycki Ratzan, a partner at the firm, said she was shocked when she learned of the theft.
“He’s a master, master, master manipulator and we trusted him 100 percent,” she told CBS 4 News.
Ratzan said Mathis stopped showing up for work earlier this year and quit his job. Then one day he came in to the office to collect his things.
“When he went to clean out his desk and put his stuff in a box that’s when we saw the credit card — the fictitious credit card statements that were cut and pasted in order to provide us with false documentation,” she said.
Ratzan said she confronted Mathis about the credit card charges and he confessed.
“His reaction was tears but not much of an apology,” she said.
And that wasn’t all the firm discovered.
“He was holding himself out as an attorney, collecting fees and obviously not doing the work,” she said.
In fact, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office says “cash payments of $1,900 made by a law firm client were never deposited to the firm’s account despite the client having received receipts from Mathis for these payments.”
The arrest report says Mathis made a payment of $1,400 to the firm as an effort to pay back the money and “offered to deed his home” to the attorneys. However, Mathis “did not make any further payments to the Victims and the ‘quick-claim’ deed never materialized.”
Ratzan still can’t believe this man she trusted and holds a position of public trust is accused of stealing from her and her law firm.
“We did so much to support him over the years and I never would have imagined in a million years that all of the people over the years to do this to me, it would be him,” she said.
Prosecutors say they continue to investigate Mathis. He is in jail on $84,000 bond and faces more than 60 criminal charges.
CBS 4 News called, emailed and texted the Mayor and Village Manager of El Portal for comment on Mathis’ arrest and how it impacts his council seat but neither of them have gotten back to us.