LAWFUEL – Legal News Network R. Alexander Acosta, United …

LAWFUEL – Legal News Network R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Jonathan I. Solomon, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Division, announced that defendants, William Scott Deloach, Maria Garcia, and Rosario Licata, pled guilty this afternoon to charges that they engaged in a long-term scheme to embezzle over $35 million from their former employer, PBSJ Corp. All three defendants were previously charged by Information with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1349. In addition, defendant Deloach pled guilty to a separate count to charges of unlawfully reimbursing federal campaign contributions in the amount of $11,000.00 regarding the Mel Martinez Senate campaign, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 441f and 437g(d).

Sentencing has been scheduled for December 14, 2006. The defendants face a statutory maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment, a fine, and mandatory restitution. To date, the defendants have returned approximately $15 million to PBSJ as restitution. In addition, defendant Deloach faces a maximum sentence of 2 years’ imprisonment on the campaign contribution count, and a possible fine of not less than 300% and not more than the greater of $50,000 or 1000% of the amount involved in the violation.

According to the Information and documents filed with the court during the plea hearing, from 1992 to March 2005, defendants Deloach, Garcia, and Licata embezzled millions of dollars from their employer, PBSJ Corp., headquartered at 2001 Northwest 107th Avenue, Miami, Florida. PBSJ was an employee-owned national engineering and construction firm that provided a myriad of services in transportation, environmental, civil engineering, and construction management. The three defendants were once senior high-level employees of PBSJ. Deloach was hired in 1992 as comptroller, and later became the Chief Financial Officer. Garcia was hired in November 1978, and held various positions in the company’s finance department, including, Accounting Manager, Payroll Supervisor, Miami District Manager, and Business Information Systems Managers. Licata was hired in March 1978 in the accounts payable department, and later became a supervisor and manager in the accounts payable department.

According to the Information and documents filed with the court, initially, from at least 1999 through 2003, the defendants embezzled money using the PBSJ master cash disbursement account. Licata issued millions of dollars in unauthorized checks from this account payable to Deloach, who, in turn, deposited the checks in personal bank accounts at different area banks. Deloach used the money for his own personal benefit, splitting a portion of the proceeds with Garcia in the form of cash or checks.

Later, between 2003 and March 2005, the defendants embezzled funds using another PBSJ account. In this part of the scheme, Deloach transferred millions of dollars from the PBSJ medical benefits account into secret accounts opened by Licata at Bank of America, and later at Wachovia, in the name of “PBSJ PAC.” Deloach wrote checks from the PAC accounts to Garcia, Licata, and himself for their personal use and benefit.

According to court records, the defendants’ fraud funded their lavish lifestyles. Deloach, for example, owned several valuable properties, including a multi-million dollar home in Aventura, multi-million dollar real estate in the Florida Keys, luxury sports automobiles, and a yacht. Garcia used the stolen money to buy several luxury sports cars, expensive jewelry and Rolex watches, and an ownership interest in a local restaurant. Licata used her share of the stolen funds to purchase real estate in Florida and Nicaragua, as to engage in high-dollar gambling activities.

With respect to the campaign finance charge against Deloach, court records reflect that in 2004, Deloach learned that PBSJ supported the U.S. Senate campaign of Mel Martinez. Deloach wrote a personal contribution check to the Martinez campaign and asked four PBSJ employees to do the same. The four employees, and two of their spouses, made contributions totaling $11,000, for which each was unlawfully reimbursed.

Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joan Silverstein and Karen Rochlin.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. 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.

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