- The former CEO and CFO of a Florida nonprofit were arrested this week after an investigation showed they engaged in a $3.7 million fraud using the organization's funds, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said in a Tuesday press release.
- Tiffany Carr, the former CEO of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV), and Patricia Duarte, the organization’s former CFO, “conducted a scheme to fraudulently award themselves personal time off (PTO) using funds provided through grants intended to help fund domestic violence shelters across Florida,” the FDLE said Tuesday.
- “These officials were entrusted to run an organization to assist those seeking a safe haven from abuse,” Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody said in a statement included in the release. “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.”
Carr, 54, turned herself into the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office on Sept. 25, while Duarte, 57, turned herself in on Sept. 20. Both executives are charged with one count each of organized scheme to defraud, grand theft and official misconduct, according to a previous news release detailing Duarte’s arrest.
Carr and Duarte’s arrests are the result of an investigation that began with the FDLE’s Office of Executive Investigation in 2021. The investigation comes after the nonprofit was dissolved in 2021 by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, following a settlement with the state, according to a 2021 report by the Miami Herald.
“‘We previously took civil action to rid the organization’s bad management, and now we are filing criminal charges against these former officials,” Moody said in her Tuesday statement.
The FCADV became the official organization tasked with distributing state and federal grants to the state’s 42 domestic violence shelters, and oversaw more than $40 million in funding, according to the FDLE’s press release. The state ended its contract with the nonprofit in 2020 before the company was dissolved.
As part of the civil settlement, Carr was required to pay $2.1 million back to the state, while Duarte and the nonprofit’s former COO, Sandra Barnett, were each required to pay $60,000, according to the Miami Herald.
Carr resigned from the organization, which she led for approximately half of its 40-year history, in November 2019, according to the Miami Herald. Duarte, meanwhile, had occupied the nonprofit’s CFO seat since 2010, according to a 2020 report by NBC Florida affiliate WFLA.
The FDLE issued arrest warrants for Duarte and Carr following its 2021 investigation, which revealed that Carr and Duarte submitted false quarterly reports, “billed the state for vacant positions, and charged for services never provided,” the FDLE asserted Tuesday. The funds were then used for “excessive bonus and leave payouts” for both executives.
Carr took 2,382 days of PTO between 2013 and 2020, according to the probable cause affidavit provided by the FDLE, with a final value of $3.4 million when adjusted for raises. Duarte took 575.4 days of PTO during that same time frame, with a final value of $291,387.52.
Carr’s salary was also increased during that time frame, with a 2017 report finding that Carr received an annual salary of $761,560 — a figure which accounted for approximately 2% of the company’s budget, according to a 2018 report by the Miami Herald.
For 2018, Carr’s compensation as the organization’s president and CEO totaled $4.5 million in reportable compensation and $47,709 in other compensation, according to the nonprofit’s 990 form listed by ProPublica. Duarte, meanwhile, received $249,996 in reportable compensation and $14,214 in other compensation.
Carr did not respond to requests for comment, nor did Christopher Kise, an attorney who is representing Carr, according to the Miami Herald. Kise is also reportedly representing former president Donald Trump in a civil suit filed in New York.
The FDLE declined to comment beyond the details included in its Tuesday release. CFO Dive was unable to contact Duarte.