| Crime |

Carlos Bertonatti Isn't the Only Member of His Family With Past Legal Troubles

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It's been more than one week since Carlos Bertonatti slammed into cyclist Christophe Le Canne on the Rickenbacker Causeway and then sped away as the 44-year-old died on the roadside, but the crime is still reverberating in the Magic City.

Bertonatti, as we first reported here in Riptide, had a long record of terrible driving before police say he drunkenly killed Le Canne January 17.

Now, Riptide has found he's not the only member of his family with a lengthy legal history in Miami.

Carlos A. Bertonatti -- the father of the hit-and-run suspect -- has been entangled in seven civil cases in Miami-Dade courts since 2002, facing accusations of stealing corporate secrets, reneging on a huge hospital bill at Jackson Memorial, and shuffling around expensive cars to avoid creditors.

The elder Bertonatti, who moved his family to Miami from Venezuela in the mid-'90s, spent years in court fighting a telecom company where he once worked as an executive.

Blackstone Communications accused Bertonatti of stealing corporate secrets and "betrayal" in a 2006 suit. 

"The defendants' greed overtook their loyalty and their sense of fiduciary obligation to Blackstone," the complaint says.

The suit, brought by Luis Arias, who still leads Blackstone, charges Bertonatti stole credit-card-processing technology from the company in the midst of negotiating a global contract with Siemens. The former exec then set up his own firm, Arias alleges, called Worldwide PIN, and tried to steal the contract.

Bertonatti later countersued. The lawsuit was declared inactive last April after both sides quit fighting.

The elder Bertonatti also spent years fighting Jackson Memorial Hospital and the Miami-Dade Public Health trust over a nearly $200,000 medical bill incurred when his daughter was seriously injured in January 2003.

According to court records, during the dispute, Bertonatti tried to transfer ownership of a 2000 Mercedes SL500 and a vintage 1948 Jeep to a relative to shield them from the hospital's creditors.

The Bertonattis eventually settled with the hospital in June 2005.

Carlos G. Bertonatti, the 28-year-old singer who killed Le Canne, meanwhile, faces felony charges of DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide, driving without a license, fleeing the scene of a fatality, and resisting arrest.

His first court appearance is scheduled for February 8. He's free on $100,000 bond.

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