Former Miami-Dade County Aviation Department Division Director Sentenced to 7 Years Imprisonment for $5,000,000 Fraud and Kickback Scheme
A former Division Director of the Miami-Dade County Aviation Department was sentenced to seven year’s imprisonment 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.
- The public has a right to expect that officials who oversee local government agencies are ethical, trustworthy, responsible, and represent the best interests of the community,” stated U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer. “The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida and our law enforcement partners will continue to identify for prosecution those individuals who choose to betray the public’s trust and steal funds for their own illicit personal gain.”
“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 William J. Maddalena, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami. “The South Florida community can be assured that public corruption will remain a top priority for the FBI.”
Ivan Valdes, 46, of Miami, was sentenced to 7 year’s imprisonment, ordered to pay $5,247,539 in restitution, and must serve 3 years of supervised release after having previously 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.
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 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. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey N. Kaplan.