Lawfuel – The Legal Newswire – 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 defendant Maria Garcia, was sentenced today on charges that she participated with defendants William Deloach and Rosario Licata in a long-term scheme to embezzle over $35 million from their former employer, PBSJ Corp. All defendants were previously charged by Information with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1349. United States District Court Judge James Lawrence King sentenced Garcia to 63 months’ imprisonment, to be followed by three years of supervised release. In addition, Garcia was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $9,483,247 to PBS&J and $666,666.66 to Chubb Group of Insurance Companies.
According to the Information and documents filed with the court during the plea hearing, from 1992 to March 2005, defendants Garcia, Deloach, 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.
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.