The Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office is dedicated to providing accurate information to the public and media. If you are a member of the working media and would like an interview with the State Attorney, or you need information on a case, would like to talk to a specific assistant state attorney or are looking for an expert in a certain area of prosecution, please contact our public information officers Ed Griffith or Terry Chavez.
Below you'll find recent news releases issued by this office.
ED GRIFFITH Public Information Officer PHONE: 305-547-0535
TERRY CHAVEZ Hispanic Media Relations Public Information Officer PHONE: 305-547-0535
Monday, January 13, 2014
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Human Trafficking Unit Successfully Convicts First Known Case Charged Under The New Human Trafficking Statute
Friday, November 15, 2013
VOTERS: PROTECT YOUR BALLOTS, PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS
Miami (November 13, 2013) With the mailing of absentee ballots for the forthcoming runoff elections, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle wanted to remind voters to work to protect the sanctity of their ballot. Some individuals may approach you with some highly questionable propositions regarding your absentee ballot, which you should have already received or which you are about to receive.
• If you received an absentee ballot that you did not request, there may be something else involved. Call my Absentee Ballot Task Force at 305-547-3300 and speak with my staff. Such a small step may help avoid potential election improprieties.
• If someone offers to fill out your ballot for you, get their name and ask them who are they working for but politely refuse their assistance. Then call my Absentee Ballot Task Force at 305-547-3300.
• If someone (a non-family member) offers to mail your ballot for you, they are committing a crime. Again, get their name and ask them who are they working for but politely refuse their assistance. In Miami-Dade County, the ballot postage is already prepaid. Let the U.S. Postal service safely transmit your ballot. In that way, no one can alter your vote or make a decision for you. Then call my Absentee Ballot Task Force at 305-547-3300.
• If anyone offers you money for your vote, they are committing a crime. Again, get their name and ask them who are they working for but politely refuse their assistance. Then call my Absentee Ballot Task Force at 305-547-3300.
“Your vote is your choice,” commentated State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. “Don’t let anyone take that choice away from you with a nod or a wink or a promise. Too many people have struggled too long to put that ballot in your hand. As you vote with an eye to the future, remember those who have sacrificed their blood to put that vote in your hand. Handle it carefully and vote with pride.”
Monday, October 21, 2013
SWORN STATEMENTS TRIP UP EDUCATOR ERNESTO PEREZ
Unacknowledged Prior Criminal Conviction Leads to Charges
Miami (October 18, 2013) At the conclusion of a Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) investigation, Dade Medical College President Ernesto Perez has been charged by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office with felony and misdemeanor crimes relating to his actions undertaken to expunge a criminal arrest and relating to his appointment and re-appointment to the Commission on Independent Education. In both these circumstances Ernesto Perez, also known as Rhett O’Neil, failed to acknowledge his 1990 criminal arrest for the charge of a Second Degree, Sexual Assault of a Child, his pleading “no contest” to the Misdemeanor crimes of Battery and Exposing Genitals to Child, his conviction by a Wisconsin court and his 180 day jail sentence.
Specifics, outlined in the arrest warrant, deal with the following events:
On February 27, 2012, Perez completed an FDLE, Application for Certification of Eligibility to expunge a Miami area arrest. As part of the expungement process, Perez submitted a sworn and notarized “Affidavit in Support to Expunge” to the Court of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida in September 2012, stating that he had never been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense or a comparable ordinance violation. Based upon this sworn affidavit, the Court of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit issued an order expunging Perez’ 2002 arrest on October 16, 2012.
In July of 2013, FDLE conducted a review of Ernesto Armando Perez’ 2009, 2011, and 2012 “Senate Confirmation Questionnaires.” These notarized documents were signed by Perez for appointment and re-appointment consideration to the Commission on Independent Education. On these documents, Perez failed to disclose his arrest and conviction in the State of Wisconsin.
As a result, Ernesto Armando Perez is charged with:
• 1 Count Expungement/False Information On Sworn Statement (3rd Degree Felony)
• 2 Counts Perjury Not In Official Proceeding (1st Degree Misdemeanors)
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
Thursday, April 25, 2013
As part of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week which runs from April 22 through April 26, 2013, Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle received the “Justice For All” award for her efforts on behalf of Human Trafficking victims during the annual ceremony held to commemorate innocent victims of crime.
Assistant State Attorneys Reid Rubin, Christine Zahralban, and Laura Adams, along with Victim Witness Counselors Idalma Gurruchaga and Diane A. Santana, and Senior Trial Coordinator Debbie Gromosaik, were honored for their tireless work and recent successful prosecutions of the remaining defendants who brutally raped and murdered Ana Maria Angel and tortured her boyfriend Nelson Portobanco in what became known as the South Beach Murder Case. State Attorney’s Office Administrator Sandra Lawrence also was recognized during the event with the Florida Network Victim Witness Services Training Award.
State Attorney Fernandez Rundle was the Keynote Speaker at the luncheon event which took place on April 22nd at the Coral Gables Country Club. Many local community leaders, law enforcement personnel, victim advocates and survivors gathered together to celebrate the 29th anniversary commemorating the federal Victims of Crime Act.
“Victims of crime are always the primary concern in all of our cases. My prosecutors and support staff are committed to work tirelessly to ensure that victims' voices will never be silent", commented State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. "Our community is deeply indebted to every individual who has worked on behalf of victims and dedicated so many years of service to those who have fallen victim to crime."
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Charles Leon Cutler, former Chief Executive Officer of Veteran’s Employment Transition Services, Inc., was convicted early Saturday morning by a Miami-Dade County jury of stealing grant money from both the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County. A joint investigation by the Office of the Inspector General and Miami-Dade County State Attorney’s Office revealed that Cutler had diverted funds for his own personal use originally intended to benefit military veterans and the unemployed.
Mr. Cutler was originally arrested in March of 2010 after an 18 month investigation led to the filing of two felony counts of Grand Theft. The City of Miami Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) funds were stolen after a grant restructuring required the return of any unused funds be returned to the CRA. Rather than transferring the funds, Cutler wrote $4,000 in checks to himself and over $2,000 in checks to friends and family, which he disguised as legitimate expenses. When CRA officials detected the theft and demanded reimbursement, Cutler immediately, diverted over $6,000 from a Miami-Dade County Office of Community and Economic Development grant by falsely certifying employee salaries and diverting part of the proceeds to repay the CRA. Additionally, Cutler withdrew almost $4,000 in OCED funds from ATM machines for his own personal use. Cutler, 60, was taken into custody following the verdict and faces up to 5 years prison time for each of the two counts.
Cutler is still awaiting trial for allegedly stealing another $13,000 in Miami-Dade County grant money intended to fund a 2008 veteran’s summit.
“The people of Miami-Dade County determined that Mr. Cutler violated the trust placed in him when he put money intended for veterans and the poor into his own pocket,” commented State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. “Citizens of this community will not tolerate such actions. I applaud the jury for their work and I applaud the staff of the Miami-Dade Office of the Inspector General for their successful investigative activities on this case.
In commenting on the investigation, Inspector General Christopher Mazzella noted that Cutler’s brazen actions enriched himself at the expense of veterans and unemployed citizens in our community. “Whenever funds are stolen from programs intended to train those in need of jobs in our community, it is not just the unemployed, but our community at large that suffers.”