Former Miami-Dade County Aviation Department Division Director Pleads Guilty to $5,000,000 Fraud and Kickback Scheme
A former Division Director of the Miami-Dade County Aviation Department pled guilty for his involvement in a $5,000,000 fraud and kickback scheme.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement.
Ivan Valdes, 46, of Miami, pled guilty to a one-count criminal Information charging him with theft in programs receiving federal funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 666. Valdes is scheduled to be sentenced on January 5, 2017, at 10:30 a.m., before United States District Judge Darrin P. Gayles. Valdes faces a statutory maximum term of 10 years’ imprisonment and fines of up to $250,000.
According to the court record, including a stipulated statement of facts, Valdes, a former Miami-Dade County Aviation Department Division Director was involved in a $5,000,000 fraud and kickback scheme. During in or about 2010, Valdes arranged with a co-conspirator to request that the Miami-Dade County Aviation Department purchase light fixtures for the Miami International Airport, in exchange for Valdes being paid a share of the proceeds. Between 2010 and 2015, the Miami-Dade County Aviation Department issued approximately twenty requests for Invitations to Quote for the purchase of over 9,000 LED light fixtures which cost Miami-Dade County millions of dollars. Valdes was paid in cash by a co-conspirator, with whom he split approximately $2.2 million in fraudulent proceeds from the scheme. Valdes used some of the fraudulent proceeds to pay an employee in the procurement section of the Miami-Dade County Aviation Department, who assisted with the fraud.
On two occasions, Valdes instructed a co-conspirator to bid on an Invitation to Quote for light fixtures, but he further instructed that the light fixtures should not be ordered from the lighting manufacturer. The co-conspirator bid and won the contracts. As a result, Valdes and his co-conspirators were paid approximately $500,000 for light fixtures that were never provided to the Miami-Dade County Aviation Department.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and the Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office and its Public Corruption Unit in connection with the investigation of this matter. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey N. Kaplan.