A Miami couple is facing fraud charges for using access to public assistance applications to fraudulently access benefits under other people’s names.
DCF Worker uses confidential information to commit fraud
56-year-old Clara Builes worked for the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) processing applications. She was able to use the information on the applications to acquire EBT cards under the names of various people. EBT, or Economic Benefit Transfer cards are available to eligible low income individuals and families and can be used like a debit card at supermarkets.
Clara Builes surrendered with her husband, Gonzalez Builes, 53, earlier this month. The couple faces charges of public assistance fraud, theft, and official misconduct. Mrs. Builes is charged with using her position with DCF to steal identities and file false benefit claims. She and her husband allegedly acquired $20,000 worth of EBT cards under false pretenses.
Lengthy Investigation Reveals Couple’s Scheme
The couple has been under investigation for nearly two years. Their case came under the scrutiny of investigators when a Columbian woman who had previously lived in Miami discovered that someone had used her and her children’s information to make a false claim for benefits. The application had been approved by Clara Builes.
Despite attempts to cover their tracks, investigators were able to follow the trail of the Builes’ plot. The application included the phone number of Clara Builes’ son. The EBT card obtained was mailed to a coworker of Gonzalez Builes. Investigators then collected surveillance footage of Gonzalez Builes using the card at a West Kendall Publix to the tune of over $5,000.
Mr. Builes admitted to using cards issued under two other people’s names for purchases of more than $10,000, and prosecutors say there is an additional man whose identity was stolen.
Allegations of fraud and other white-collar crime are serious. A seasoned defense attorney like Russell Spatz can help if you find yourself facing such accusations.
State: DCF employee, husband stole identities to get public assistance, David Ovalle, www.miamiherald.com, 5 Aug 2015