FDLE arrests former DEO employee and spouse for organized scheme to defraud


For Immediate Release

January 5, 2016

ORLANDO, Fla. - The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, in conjunction with The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO), arrested Sharon Echeverri, 26, and Alberto Echeverri, 27, of Orlando, Florida, for organized scheme to defraud and criminal use of personal identification.

Investigators believe Sharon Echeverri, a former DEO employee, and her husband, Alberto Echeverri, defrauded DEO reemployment assistance accounts by reactivating dormant accounts and changing the pin number and bank account information so they would receive the funds. The Echeverris then filed hundreds of fraudulent claims for reemployment assistance and forwarded the funds to 22 identified bank accounts under their control.

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Executive Director Jesse Panuccio said, “Public benefits fraud is at crisis levels, and DEO has become a national leader in preventing and detecting this crime. Most often, this fraud is committed through the use of stolen identities obtained by criminals outside of DEO’s system, but in this case, a DEO employee allegedly was part of the criminal conspiracy. Our cyberfraud detection unit discovered this crime, and the employee now faces felony prosecution. DEO is committed to fighting this crime wherever it occurs.

The investigation began in February 2015 after the Department of Economic Opportunity’s Fraud Initiative Rules Rating Engine (FIRRE) Unit identified a pattern of suspicious reemployment assistance claims being deposited into numerous bank accounts, under the control of the above subjects. Losses to the State of Florida totaled $189,175.

Sharon and Alberto Echeverri were booked into Orange County Jail on $50,000 bond each. Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution will prosecute the case. 

The investigation is on-going and there could be additional arrests.

For Further Information Contact:
Gretl Plessinger, Molly Best or Steve Arthur
FDLE Office of Public Information
(850) 410-7001