The road to hell, the saying goes, is paved with good intentions. But what about bad intentions? Well, those could land you in jail. This summer, two South Florida building contractors have cut deals with Federal prosecutors, pleading guilty to charges that they scammed the government out of millions of dollars in affordable housing subsidies by conspiring to inflate costs on construction projects, paying kickbacks to Miami-based developers in exchange for sharing in the loot.
The Miami Herald has the story (see: "South Florida contractor pleads guilty in alleged multimillion-dollar housing scam," by Jay Weaver). "Rene Sierra, 57, founder of Plantation-based Siltek Affordable Housing, a construction company, faces between two and three years in prison at his sentencing this fall after reaching a plea deal on the theft conspiracy charge with the U.S. attorney’s office," the paper reports. "Sierra, who lives in Southwest Ranches, was charged with paying about $6.2 million in kickbacks to Biscayne Housing Group’s founders, Michael Cox and Gonzalo DeRamon, as well as Carlisle Development Group’s CEO, Matthew Greer, and the company’s co-founder, Lloyd Boggio." Another Miami contractor, Arturo Hevia, 63, founder of Doral-based Design Management and Builders Corp., pled guilty to the same charge last month, the paper reports.
The developer in question, Matthew Greer, is also in the hands of the law, the Herald reports (see: "Carlisle’s CEO Greer, founder Boggio surrender to feds on fraud charges," by Jay Weaver). "Other developers charged in the high-profile case are Carlisle's partners in other Miami-Dade affordable-housing deals: Michael Cox, 47, former president of the Biscayne Housing Group, and Gonzalo DeRamon, 51, a company co-founder who was originally arrested in June," the paper reports. "They already pleaded not guilty and received bonds. Cox and DeRamon are accused of pocketing more than $7 million in kickbacks from two contractors who worked on six affordable-housing projects — including a high-rise apartment building in Overtown that was jointly developed with Greer and Boggio, who also received illegal payments in the deal, prosecutors said."