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Six Arrested in Virginia Key Wetlands Restoration Project Corruption

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Six business owners were arrested today, accused of scamming the county for work done on the Virginia Key Wetlands Restoration Project.

In 2007, American Earth Movers submitted a successful bid to work on the project. The county had set aside 16 percent of the job for a program, meant to help minority-owned and disadvantaged companies get county contracts. Because American Earth Mover is not a disadvantaged or minority-owned business, it subcontracted 19 percent of the project to Pabon Engineering.

The project was completed in February '08, but the Miami-Dade Police Department's Public Corruption Investigation Bureau received an anonymous tip that Pabon had actually done no work on the project, and instead received kickbacks -- and fraudulent documents were submitted to the county. American Earth Movers paid Pabon $340,019.56; then Pabon paid out $323,709.53 to subcontractors.

Sworn testimony indicates Pabon did not actually work on the project and instead merely acted as a pass-through for American Earth Movers to shuffle its money in order to meet the CSBE requirement.
The six arrests include George Munne, Ivan Boris Barkovic, and Nelson Gonzalez from American Earth Movers, and Anibal Pabon, Milagro Pabon, and David Rubero from Pabon. All were charged with one count of organized scheme to defraud, a first-degree felony.

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