News and Press Releases

Former Track Supervisor at Calder Pleads Guilty to False Billing and Kickback Scheme

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 6, 2012

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), announce that defendant Steven Cross, 53, of Hollywood, pled guilty today before U.S. District Court Judge William J. Zloch in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349 (Count 1), and tax evasion, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7201 (Count 3). Sentencing is scheduled at 10 a.m. on May 22, 2012. At sentencing, Cross faces a statutory maximum sentence of up to 25 years in prison.

In the Stipulated Statement of Facts signed by the defendant and his counsel and filed with the Court at the plea hearing, defendant Cross admitted that from 1992 through about March 2008, he 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. Co-defendants Campos and Cantrell were in the business of selling janitorial supplies and other industrial cleaners to commercial businesses. According to the Stipulated Statement of Facts, defendant Cross agreed to participate in a scheme with co-defendant Campos and later with co-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. Defendant Cross further admitted in the Stipulated Statement of Facts that he failed to report on his 2006 federal income tax return approximately $480,000 of income he obtained from the fraudulent scheme.

In addition to the above-described false billing schemes, Cross admitted in the Stipulated Statement of Facts to participating 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.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CID in connection with the investigation of this matter. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey N. Kaplan.

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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.

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