Hialeah Woman Charged with Embezzling over $2.6 Million from Local Business
Benjamin G. Greenberg, Acting 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, announce the filing of federal charges against Carmen Silvia Rodriguez in connection with a fraud scheme to steal over $2.6 million from her employer.
Rodriguez, 55, of Hialeah, was charged with two counts of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343.
According to the information, from April 2010 through May 2016, Rodriguez worked for Starboard Cruise Services, Inc. (“SCS”), a Florida company that operates tax- and duty-free retail stores aboard cruise ships.
During the course of the alleged scheme, Rodriguez worked in SCS’s Finance and Administration Department. There, Rodriguez accessed company records related to two former SCS vendors (“SCS Vendor #1” and “SCS Vendor #2”) and added her own bank account information to the two vendors’ accounts. SCS Vendor #1 and SCS Vendor #2 did not do business with SCS after 2010.
The information further alleges that between April 1, 2010, and May 31, 2016, Rodriguez created false internal invoices that inflated the price of certain products purchased by SCS, often by overstating the shipping and handling costs associated with SCS’s purchase of the products. Rodriguez also created false internal invoices that purportedly reflected the purchase of certain products by SCS. For each of the inflated and/or false internal invoices, Rodriguez created a false purchase order, listing either SCS Vendor #1 or SCS Vendor #2 as the payee, for the difference between the money actually owed to the vendor, if any, and the inflated and/or false invoice price.
By creating the false purchase orders and making them payable to SCS Vendor #1 and/or SCS Vendor #2, Rodriguez caused approximately $2,669,372.30 in electronic Automated Clearinghouse payments to be transmitted from SCS’s bank account to Rodriguez’s personal bank accounts.
Each count of wire fraud carries a maximum term of twenty years in prison. Rodriguez made her initial appearance in Federal court on August 16, 2017 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Edwin G. Torres.
Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of the FBI. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Browne.
An Information is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.