In an odd case of fraud usually reserved for the silver screen, $3.6 million was stolen from a Miami Beach City Hall bank account over six months. The city named a couple of suspects that they believe may have been involved in the scandal; however, it is inconclusive as to who syphoned the money from the account. Though two longstanding employees resigned just after the discovery, they were not deemed suspects in the situation.
How Did 3.6 Million Go Missing Unknowingly?
Stolen in small amounts over a six-month period, Miami Beach City Hall claims that the total sum that was stolen could be attributed to a lack of attentiveness or perhaps negligence on other employees' behalf. They claim that employees were not paying careful enough attention to what payments were being taken out of the account, or blatantly ignoring it. However, the claim is unsubstantiated as of yet as they have not discovered any employee involvement.
According to sources, the bank had the opportunity to ward against fraudulent charges on their account in 2012, but instead they opted out. The additional protection would have been at no cost to them. Still, the manager whole-heartedly believes that it's possible they could not have prevented the theft, but may have been able to mitigate the amount.
It wasn't until December 19 of last year that anyone realized that a substantial amount of automatic transactions had been made against the account. As of today, almost $700 thousand has been returned to the account, but SunTrust (the City's bank) is unsure how much more can be recovered.
Effects of the Fraud on the City of Miami Beach
The account in question was holding a considerable amount of public money from things such as resort taxes, parking fees, and liens. The city stopped transactions to the existing account and the recovered money is being placed into a new account recently established.
The manager has made a statement saying that city projects and other obligations should not be affected by the theft. The stolen funds were from a contingency account, which held a ballpark amount of $48 million.
While it appears that no charges have been officially made, it seems as if Miami Beach City Hall is pointing fingers at a few individuals. Even in the early stages, being accused of a white color crime or fraudulent activity is a serious matter. If at any time an individual is questioned in connection with a crime, it is wise to hire a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
[email protected], J. (n.d.). No one noticed $3.6 million being stolen from Miami Beach City Hall over six months. Retrieved January 12, 2017, from http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/miami-beach/article125421019.html