Did a Miami Night School Principal Really Employ “Ghost” Employees?
Jean Coty Ridore, the Principal at the North Miami Adult Education Center has been arrested on corruption charges.The 38 year old, who had been employed in this position since July 2005, has been charged with grand theft, unlawful compensation and official misconduct.
The authorities claim he took $1,000 worth of cash to take on an employee who never had to show up for work, but then demanded illegal kickbacks from him.
Public corruption investigators apparently started to focus on the activities of Ridore after anonymous complaints had been received claiming that the Night School’s Principal had hired up to 20 “ghost employees” who never actually came to work but were still being paid. It is alleged that investigators with both the Miami-Dade Inspector General’s Office and the State Attorney’s office had suspected that Ridore had the help of other employees to input false hours into the payroll for these so called “ghost employees”.
Investigators and prosecutors with the Miami-Dade County Inspector General’s Office allege that they have discovered that more than $14,000 in total had been paid out to two ex employees who were not residing in the country at the time they should have been working.
Prosecutors arrested Ridore after a confidential informant introduced an undercover detective to him. Ridore is alleged to have told the man that he would be officially vetted using the school district’s website. The undercover detective pretended to be a handyman and Ridore took him on. Later, it is alleged that the two men met in Ridore’s SUV and $1000 was paid to the Principal by the “handyman” who was told that he was not expected to do any work.
Finally, the undercover officer met up with Ridore again and it is alleged that he paid the Principal 50 percent of his salary. According to the officer’s report, when Ridore accepted the money, he was then quickly arrested.
Cases of defrauding the state out of money are taken seriously and prosecutors won’t hesitate to demand that the full penalty be enforced and will attempt to get a conviction.
Under Florida state law, grand theft is classified as any unlawful removal of property which has a value that exceeds $300. It is a felony offense, attracting penalties that could include a prison term, fines, probation, restitution, as well as a criminal record that could remain with the convicted person permanently. The penalties for grand theft depend on how much is stolen, with sentences up to fifteen years and $10,000 in fines. Obviously, anyone convicted of such a charge is likely to lose their job, promotion and other benefits and will be unlikely to easily find work again.
So far, it has not yet been fully revealed the value of the amount allegedly stolen by Ridore. Given the seriousness of the charges and the long term consequences, he will need to hire an experienced Florida defense attorney to ensure all alleged facts and evidence supplied by the prosecution are correct and that he does not get punished for something he didn’t do.
An experienced Miami defense lawyer such as Albert Quirantes, would look deeply into the evidence, interview witnesses and ensure Ridore receives a fair trial.
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If you have any questions about this or any other criminal accusation, call Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer Albert Quirantes at: 305-644-1800 or visit our homepage www.CriminalDefendant.com for a direct link to the office or a text message or a map and directions to our office.