FRAUD-ALERT! Miami-Dade county fraud outed... Under Gimenez nose, or involvement??

Miami Herald:
Miami-Dade Inspector General Alleges Auction Bid-Rigging Scam


BY DOUGLAS HANKS

HIGHLIGHT:

  • Mirtha Morejon supervisor of surplus auction for Miami Dade and Lopez are accused of participating in 10 rigged auctions between 2012 and 2014, with the alterations costing Miami-Dade about $17,000.



Mirtha Morejon supervised surplus auctions for Miami-Dade County and was pretty adamant that the system wasn’t quite ready for the shift to computerized transactions. That stance turned out to be particularly helpful when she rigged sealed bids to let her boyfriend purchase government property at discounted prices, authorities say.
The scheme alleged by prosecutors and county investigators involves an illicit romance, a secret Las Vegas wedding and a curious commitment to handwritten spreadsheets. Some of this might have been caught on film, but authorities say Morejon disabled the surveillance camera in her county office. 
It all blew up in the spring of 2014 when the used-truck dealer accused of being in on the deception, Ruben Lopez, managed to snag a cut-rate price on a 2008 Lincoln Navigator linked in office buzz to having ferried around former mayor Carlos Alvarez before he left office in a 2011 recall. 
When Morejon coworkers were processing the paperwork on the Navigator, they noticed a winning bid of $8,400 for Lopez’s company, Action Truck. They were sure it had gone for at least $14,000 during the auction, according to arrest warrants in the case.
That discrepancy sparked an inquiry, which eventually landed Inspector General investigators at Morejon’s Miami home last week to confront her with allegations that she frequently rigged bids allowing Lopez to secure surplus government property at the lowest prices possible.
“Morejon became emotional during the course of the interview and began to cry,” according to the affidavit attached to the warrant. “Agents asked her if she altered the bids to save Lopez money. Morejon continued crying and nodded in acknowledgment.” 
Lopez and Morejon were charged with conducting an organized scheme to defraud, a felony. Lopez was also charged with a felony related to computer offenses. The fraud charge carries a possible prison sentence with a cap of between five and 30 years, depending on the severity of the offense. 
Reached by cellphone Thursday, Lopez referred questions to a lawyer, William Norris, who declined to comment beyond saying that whether the allegations match up with reality “is something we will have to wait to find out.”
Ruben Lopez, 47, is accused of benefiting from rigged auctions conducted by his girlfriend, Mirtha Morejon, a county employee. The two later married. -Miami-Dade County Police Department

Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Miami-Dade’s state attorney, released a statement saying the pair represent a classic tale of government corruption.


“Morejon’s alleged scheme to cheat Miami-Dade County is a story of the betrayal of trust and responsibility,” Fernandez Rundle wrote. With the help of Lopez, “she took county resources and turned them into a personal profit.”


Mirtha Morejon, 50, used to run surplus auctions for Miami-Dade County. She’s accused of rigging bids to allow her boyfriend, Ruben Lopez, to buy government property at cheaper prices. The two later married. Miami-Dade County Police

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