Pursuant to a joint criminal investigation by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office with the Miami-Dade County Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and stemming from a complaint by the Miami-Dade Aviation Department (MDAD), Eric Hanson pled guilty today to 2 counts of Petit Theft for fraudulently obtaining and renewing both a MDAD Permit and an Identification Badge.
“As one of this community’s economic engines, Miami International Airport must have clear and strict ongoing policies to protect the integrity of our for-hire and chauffeuring services available to our travelers,” commented State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. “Individuals who try to circumvent these established policies by using fraudulent documents and fake contracts harm our legitimate contractors and may endanger our visitors and residents. There can be no excuse for such behavior.”
The County’s Passenger Transportation Regulatory Division had cited Eric Hanson at least three times, each after observing him approach international passengers who were exiting the Customs area. When confronted, Hanson claimed to work for several delayed baggage service companies. He was cited for Solicitation or Carrying on Business without Proper Licenses. It was noted that while Hanson had a permit to conduct business on MDAD property, the permit did not cover chauffeuring services.
After the third citation, MDAD moved to revoke his permit. During this process, it was discovered that Hanson obtained his MDAD permit and identification badge based upon fraudulent documents. The investigation also revealed that Hanson provided MDAD with a fake contract between his business and Lufthansa German Airlines to supposedly provide delayed baggage services. The case was referred to the OIG for follow-up investigation. The airline identified the contract as a total fabrication. The OIG also determined that fraudulent Certificates of Insurance were also submitted by Hanson to MDAD. The OIG confronted Hanson, who admitted his crimes and took full responsibility. As part of the investigation, the OIG confirmed that MDAD never granted Hanson access to any secure area of MDAD pursuant to his permit/identification badge. Further, a review of security swipes of his identification badge revealed that he had never attempted to gain access to MDAD secure areas. In commenting on the case, Miami-Dade County Inspector General Mary Cagle stated, “I would like to thank the vigilant County employee who identified the fraudulent permit application. Ensuring proper credentials is key to airport security.”
Hanson was sentenced to 2 year probation. He must pay for the costs of investigation, perform48 hours of community service, stay away from MDAD properties unless he is a ticketed passenger, and stipulate that he is debarred from contracting with the County for 5 years, pursuant to County Code.
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