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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, December 15, 2017

Hialeah Woman Sentenced to 36 Months Imprisonment for Embezzling over $2.6 Million from Local Business

A Hialeah woman was sentenced to 36 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for embezzling over $2.6 million from local business.  

Benjamin G. Greenberg, Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Robert F. Lasky, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement. 

Carmen Silvia Rodriguez, 55, previously pled guilty to one count of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343. 

According to the charging document, 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 scheme, Rodriguez worked as a supervisor 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. 

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.  

At sentencing, Rodriguez was ordered to pay restitution to SCS in the amount of $2,669,372.30. 

Mr. Greenberg commended the investigative efforts of the FBI.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Christopher Browne.

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

Updated December 15, 2017