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Ex-Domestic Violence Agency Heads Charged by FDLE in Fraud Case

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced Thursday that it has charged Tiffany Carr, 54, and Patricia Duarte, 57, with three felonies in reference to the theft of thousands and thousands of dollars intended to assist victims of domestic violence.

Duarte of Tallahassee turned herself into law enforcement on Wednesday.

Carr of Port St. Joe served because the Chief Executive Officer, and Duarte served because the Chief Financial Officer, of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

The not-for-profit organization was established by the Legislature in 2012 to award state and federal grants to local groups that provide shelter and look after battered spouses and youngsters.

FCADV oversaw greater than $52 million annually in funding and was required to submit an annual budget to the legislature for approval.

The connection led to 2020, and the state dissolved the organization the subsequent 12 months, following an investigation by the Department of Children and Families Inspector General office, which forwarded information to FDLE, and a six-hour Florida House hearing that gathered public testimony.

Attorney General Ashley Moody stated that the FDLE found Carr and Duarte had participated in a scheme that awarded themselves grossly inflated salaries and paid day without work.

FDLE investigators said the 2 submitted false quarterly reports, billed the state for vacant positions, and charged for services never provided.

Moody pegged the theft at over $3.7 million, which included bonuses and paid vacation that was paid to Carr and Duarte by a compliant Board of Directors.

“During our investigation, it became clear that the one thing these FCADV executives were serving was one another. Their selfishness and greed got here on the expense of domestic violence victims who needed their organization essentially the most,” said FDLE Commissioner Mark Glass.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Carr.

Their alleged scheme began to unravel after lawmakers on the Florida House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee publicly expressed disbelief on the answers provided by the FCADV board of directors and officials.

An investigation by the Miami Herald of the coalition’s spending practices prompted a Florida House hearing, which revealed that Carr was in a position to money in over $7 million in paid day without work earned in lower than 4 years.

Under questioning by committee chair Rep. Tom Leek, R-Ormond Beach, and Rep. Randy Positive, R- Palm Bay, board members either did not acknowledge that they were aware of the generous day without work provisions that Carr and Duarte had received or said they misunderstood the profit package they awarded the 2.

“We, we, miscalculated,” then-Board Chair Melody Keeth told Positive when asked for an evidence of a multi-million dollar paid day without work provision.

Rep. Randy Fine questions Former Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV) Board Chair Melody Keeth on a pair of memos during a meeting of the Florida House Public Integrity & Ethics Committee where members of the FCADV board were publicly interviewed as part of an investigation into the board's mismanagement Monday, Feb. 24, 2020.

“That could be the understatement of this hearing,” said Positive.

The hearing revealed that Carr was paid $7.5 million over three years.

Carr and Duarte face charges of participation in an organized scheme to defraud, grand theft, and official misconduct, all felonies.

Back story: Domestic violence group sues its own insurers over the continuing Tiffany Carr scandal.


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