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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, Terry Chavez or Lissette Valdes-Valle.

ED GRIFFITH Public Information Officer PHONE: 305-547-0535

LISSETTE VALDES-VALLE Hispanic Media Relations Public Information Officer PHONE: 305-547-0535

TERRY CHAVEZ Hispanic Media Relations Public Information Officer PHONE: 305-547-0535

Below you'll find recent news releases issued by this office.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ex Program Head Convicted in Theft

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.”

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Statement From Katherine Fernandez Rundle Regarding Today's Michael Hernandez Opinion

Today’s Third District Court of Appeals decision which requires a new sentencing hearing for
Michael Hernandez does not impact the jury’s finding of guilt for the first degree murder of

fourteen year old Jaime Gough. We are currently reviewing that decision to understand its impact
on this case and future cases.

This decision forces the Gough family to relive the brutal murder of their son Jaime while a new
sentencing hearing will allow Hernandez’ attorneys to present evidence in an effort to lessen his

sentence. However, and as we always do, we must honor the directions of our Appellate Courts as
we begin preparing for this hearing whenever it is scheduled by the Court.

Statement From State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle Regarding Dennis Escobar Trial

The preservation of democracy and our nation rests on the foundation of public order and the
rule of law. Nothing attacks these pillars like the murder of a law enforcement officer entrusted

with protecting our citizenry. This crime strikes at the very core of the American identity.

For a quarter of a century we have labored to hold responsible the individuals we believe caused
the death of Miami Police Officer Victor Estefan. Officer Estefan died a hero protecting our

community. Our hearts go out to Officer Estefan’s widow, family members, friends, and the
entire law enforcement community who have stood by our side for all of these years.

Now, with the declaration of a mistrial in the prosecution of Dennis Escobar for Officer Estefan ‘s
murder, I wish to make it clear that the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office has every intention of

retrying this case.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Statement From State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle Regarding Geralyn Graham

During her very brief life, Rilya Wilson was too often abused and forgotten. No child should ever be treated as she was.

We have spent a decade on a journey to secure true justice for Rilya and to ensure that her pain and suffering is never forgotten. We are relieved that through our efforts the person responsible for Rilya’s death already faces a significant penalty.

However, the murder of a child is such a terrible crime that we intend to continue to seek justice for Rilya Wilson.