Luis Ramirez, the former majority owner of Aviation Main Services, Inc. (AMSI) who was arrested in March 2016 after a joint investigation by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office and the Miami-Dade County Office of the Inspector General, pled guilty today in Miami-Dade Circuit Court to the charge of Grand Theft.
Ramirez was sentenced to two years of house arrest followed by five years of probation. As part of his plea, Ramirez has paid restitution to the Miami-Dade County Aviation Department (MDAD) in the amount of $376,809 and he must also pay the costs of the investigation which led to his arrest in the amount of $45,000.
Additional conditions include performing 4 hours of community service per month, being debarred from contracting with the county for a period of five years and staying away from any and all MDAD properties unless he is a ticketed passenger.
Ramirez sold his majority interest in AMSI prior to his arrest. However before the sale, both a Miami-Dade County Audit and the subsequent joint criminal investigation found that AMSI/Ramirez had “misstated” AMSI’s gross revenues reported to the Miami-Dade Aviation Department (MDAD) and had underpaid its opportunity fees. While AMSI had provided the services at MIA since 1992, the investigation conducted focused on losses from 2009 to 2015. Those losses to MDAD totaled the restitution amount of $376,809 which Ramirez paid in open court through his attorney during the plea colloquy.
“Mr. Ramirez is now paying a high price for trying to cheat the county,” said State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. “The Miami-Dade County Office of the Inspector General and my prosecutors are excellent at putting these types of criminal cases together for trial. For governmental thieves, the message is, if you steal, be prepared to feel the heat because we’re coming for you.”
“The OIG would like to thank the County’s Internal Audit Department for uncovering the fraud during the course of their audit and for immediately contacting us so that we could initiate an investigation into Luis Alberto Ramirez’s criminal conduct,” stated Miami-Dade Inspector General Mary Cagle.
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