Former North Miami Beach public services director Martin King was arrested today and charged with 41 felony counts of money laundering for stealing millions in taxpayer dollars with fake work orders for sewer projects. After investigators looked into how $2.2 million in projects were unaccounted for, King admitted that he set up a sham company to take in fake construction bids over a decade of fraud.
King set up his shell company, Construction Administrative Services Incorporated, back in February 1998 and convinced his wife -- who was not privy to his crimes -- to serve as CEO, according to his arrest warrant.
The bureaucrat constructed an elaborate scheme to funnel project money, supposedly tagged for environmental upgrades, to the firm. King convinced unwitting side companies to sign off on the firms, prosecutors say.
King has agreed to plead guilty to the charges.
An official from troubled North Miami Beach will plead guilty later this afternoon to blowing millions of city funds in an "elaborate scheme" to get rich off taxpayer cash. Prosecutors declined to name the official because he hasn't been taken into custody.
The city has been cooperating with the State Attorney to investigate Martin King, a public services director who resigned last May after admitting he approved projects that were never completed. Ed Griffith, a spokesman for the State Attorney, declined to confirm whether King is the target of today's arrest.
In November, the city launched an audit after finding $2.2 million in construction and sewer spending couldn't be accounted for. That added up to 2,500 feet of missing tunnels and 254 phantom manholes, the Herald reported.
It's not the first brush with infamy for North Miami Beach in the last twelve months. Mayor Myron Rosner had to tangle with state ethics commissioners over allegations that he skirted zoning rules to add a room and a pool to his house.
In September, City Manager Kevin Baker was fired suspiciously soon after accusing city council members of violating the Sunshine Law's open meetings rules.
State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle and North Miami Beach PD chief Ralph Hernandez will release more details about today's corruption arrest later this afternoon, Griffth says.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.