The Florida Department of Law Enforcement has charged two former Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence chief executives with stealing over $3.7 million.
Tiffany Carr, 54, former CEO of Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Patricia Duarte, 57, former CFO of Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence, face felony charges with one count each of organized scheme to defraud, grand theft and official misconduct, according to a report by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation shows Carr and Duarte schemed to reward themselves with personal time off using funds provided through grants intended to help fund domestic violence shelters across Florida.
“These officials were entrusted to run an organization to assist those seeking a safe haven from abuse,” said Ashley Moody, Florida Attorney General.
“Instead of ensuring state funds went to help those in need, they schemed together to steal more than $3.7 million for grossly inflated salaries and vacations.” Moody said, “We previously took civil action to rid the organization’s bad management, and now we are filing criminal charges against these former officials.”
The excessive bonuses and leave payout amounted to $3.4 million for Carr and nearly $300,000 for Duarte.
The investigation began in 2021 after receiving a tip from the Florida Office of the Chief Inspector General, the Department of Children and Families and the Florida House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee.
Mark Glass, FDLE Commissioner, praised the work of the agents and analysts who documented the details saying, “Non-profit organizations exist to improve the lives of others, but during our investigation, it became clear the only thing these FCADV executives were serving were each other. Their selfishness and greed came at the expense of domestic violence victims who needed their organization the most.”
Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence was required to submit an annual budget to the legislature for approval. The report states Carr and Duarte “submitted false quarterly reports, billed the state for vacant positions and charged for services never provided.”
Legislation passed in 2012 made FCADV the official organization for distributing state and federal grants to Florida’s 42 domestic violence shelters, overseeing over $40 million in funding. According to its mission statement, the organization worked “to create a violence-free world by empowering women and children through the elimination of personal and institutional violence and oppression against all people.”
Carr resigned in 2019 amid government probes, and in 2020, Florida ended its contract with the non-profit. Governor Ron DeSantis issued an Executive Order to dissolve the organization in 2021.
Duarte turned herself into Lee County Jail on Wednesday. There is an active arrest warrant for Carr. Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution will oversee the case.
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