(Miami “ February 5, 2015) – Ram A. Schratter, a former County supervisor with 20 years` experience in the Internal Services Department`s (ISD`s) former Alarm Unit, was charged today with one count of First Degree Organized Scheme to Defraud and surrendered in Circuit Court. The charges stem from a joint investigation conducted by the Miami-Dade Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and the Miami-Dade State Attorney`s Office (SAO). The investigation uncovered that Schratter was purchasing security alarm system equipment intended for use in County facilities and diverting the equipment to his private security alarm business, Moon Security Systems, Inc.
Schratter was immediately sentenced and will serve six months in jail followed by six months of house arrest (technically, a total of 12 months of community control), followed by two years of probation. As part of an agreement with the State Attorney`s Office, Schratter was required to pay $200,000 in restitution to the County and costs of investigation to the OIG. Schratter will also forfeit his 20 year County pension and any leave he had accumulated prior to his resignation. In addition, Schratter will be debarred from contracting with the County for a period of 5 years, have to perform 75 hours of community service and cannot hold any public employment until the expiration of his probationary period.
I want to congratulate the Miami-Dade Office of the Inspector General for uncovering this slick employee theft case and also for finding the flaw in the county payment process which allowed this crime to occur, commented Miami Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. No public employee should feel that theft will ever be tolerated or accepted.
The thief has been arrested, convicted and sentenced, stated Miami-Dade County Inspector General Mary Cagle. The OIG is putting the County on notice to aggressively shore up internal controls and supervision so that corrupt employees are weeded out before they have the opportunity to carry out a fraudulent scheme of this magnitude.
The OIG discovered that Schratter was able to manipulate supply purchases because the existing dual payment approach, one being used by the Finance Department to pay vendors and the other internal system used for intra-departmental payment of services, were completely separate and not reconciled.
The OIG found that Schratter purchased larger quantities of alarm equipment and supplies than was actually needed for many of the County jobs. He was able to skim the materials by falsifying service ticket numbers on invoices, passing off purchases as stock, or simply not detailing the specific jobs corresponding to purchases. Further enabling his scheme was the fact that the vendor invoices did not contain serial numbers or other identifying information that would assist in a reconciliation of what was purchased and what was actually used.
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