| Columns |

The"Meyer Lanksy" of Miami-Dade Government Goes Down

A Miami-Dade County bureaucrat who evoked Jewish mob king Meyer Lansky's name to orchestrate shady deals ripped off taxpayers to the tune of $3 million in a decade.

During an afternoon press conference yesterday, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle unveiled charges of racketeering, fraud, grand-theft, extortion and other white-collar crimes against Jesus "Jay" Pons. His wife and brother-in-law were also arrested for participating in Pons' racket to pad county contracts for a New York tech company called Data Industries Inc. in exchange for paper bags stuffed with cash.

Rundle says the investigation revealed Pons orchestrated a scheme to overbill for work never done by Data Industries Inc. In exchange, he got between 10 and 50 percent of the profits while he collected his county pay check, prosecutors say.

Investigators described Pons as a flashy, corrupt government employee. He drove a Porsche Cayenne, arranged fraudulent deals via email using the name of his favorite gangster, Meyer Lansky, slept with the company president's fianceé, bragged about off-shore banks accounts and a home in the Caribbean -- while hinting at vague mob ties, according to the CBS4.

His fairy tale mob life was obliterated on Tuesday when Miami-Dade Police's Special Response Team deployed flash-bang grenades to roust Pons from his home wearing only his pajamas. His accountant wife Diana, and brother-in-law Bruno Diaz, another county employee, where in on the racket, Rundle alleges.

In 2006, GSA hired Data Industries to handle its information technology services. The original contract was for $760,000 but with Pons pulling the strings, it ballooned up to a staggering $10.7 million paid to the company. In all, investigators say at least $6 million was stolen, with half of that going to Pons.

Following a 2011 police raid on their desks at County Hall, Pons and Diaz were relieved of duty. They subsequently quit their jobs.

Follow Francisco Alvarado on Twitter: @thefrankness.

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