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.”