THREE CHARGED WITH PARTICIPATING IN FALSE BILLING AND KICBACK SCHEME AT CALDER RACE COURSE
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Jose A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CID), announced today the filing of a three-count Information charging defendants Steven Cross, 53, of Hollywood, Israel Campos, 64, of Miami, and Mark Cantrell, 45, of Boca Raton, with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349 (Count 1). In addition, defendants Mark Cantrell and Steven Cross were each individually charged with tax evasion, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7201 (Count 2 and 3, respectively). The Information also seeks the forfeiture of $4.5 million derived from the schemes. The defendants are expected to make their initial appearances in court as follows: Cantrell on Feb. 3, 2012; Cross on Feb. 7, 2012; and Campos on Feb. 8, 2012.
According to the Information, from 1992 through about March 2008, defendant Cross was the track superintendent at Calder Race Course (Calder), in Miami Gardens, FL. As track supervisor, Cross ordered chemicals, such as herbicides and fungicides, used to maintain the race track and grounds at Calder. Defendants Campos and Cantrell were in the business of selling janitorial supplies and other industrial cleaners to commercial businesses. According to the Information, defendant Cross agreed to participate in a scheme with defendant Campos and later with defendant Cantrell, in which Campos and Cantrell would submit fraudulent invoices and delivery tickets to Calder for chemicals that would not be delivered. The defendants agreed they would split the money paid by Calder based on the false billings.
To execute the scheme, Cross would telephone orders to Campos and Cantrell, respectively, for chemicals purportedly needed by Calder. Thereafter, Campos and Cantrell would prepare delivery tickets purporting that chemicals had, in fact, been delivered to Calder. Cross would sign these delivery tickets, falsely confirming that the chemicals had been received by Calder. In fact, however, at least 80% of the chemicals invoiced to Calder by Campos’ companies were never delivered, and none of the chemicals invoiced to Calder by Cantrell were ever delivered.
In this way, from 1998 through March 2008, Campos fraudulently received about $2 million from Calder, which Campos and Cross split between them. Similarly, from around December 1999 through March 2008, Cantrell fraudulently received about $1.5 million from Calder, which Cantrell and Cross split. The Information further alleges that Cross and Cantrell failed to report the income they obtained from the fraudulent scheme on their 2006 and 2005 taxes, respectively.
In addition to the above-described false billing schemes, Cross allegedly participated in a separate kickback scheme with other workers and contractors he hired at Calder. For example, from about 2004 through April 2005, a plumbing contractor allegedly paid Cross’ credit card and other bills, totalling approximately $120,000. In this way, from April 2005 through March 2008, three contractors paid kick-backs totalling approximately $1 million into a company controlled by Cross.
If convicted, defendants Cross and Cantrell each face a statutory maximum term of imprisonment of up to 25 years. Defendant Campos faces a statutory maximum term of imprisonment of up to 20 years.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.