A first-hand look at the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Public Corruptions Investigation Bureau reflected how its vigilance in uncovering criminal acts has led to more than 350 arrests out of over 1,200 cases since its organization in 1998.
“Details are necessarily kept confidential in most cases, since the extent of our investigations has covered a wide range of county and city officials, employees, lobbyists, contractors and vendors,” described veteran Det. Giovanni Poveda during a Miami-Dade Police Hammocks District Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) meeting on Apr. 24.
“While bid tampering, bribery and misconduct are the most common complaints, fraud and theft involving contractors and employees are by far the most common incidents leading to criminal charges,” he noted, accompanied by fellow officer Dawn Colon. Together they summarized the Bureau’s 15-year history and objectives.
“Bureau investigations today can take as long as two years to uncover violations criminally chargeable by either the U.S. Attorney or, in most cases, the State Attorney’s office in Miami,” Poveda explained.
Emphasizing quick reporting of incidents, the officers urged citizens to contact the Bureau whenever suspicious actions appear to be criminal in nature.
“Do not try to make further inquiries yourself that might interfere with a potential criminal prosecution,” Poveda warned. “Be ready to provide any new information or documents to Bureau investigators as soon as possible.
“Above all, never divulge your suspicions or your contact to the Bureau to anyone. Maintaining complete confidentiality is paramount if what you observe turns out to be a criminal action for prosecution.”
If investigators find no wrong doing, the information provided by a caller still will be referred to the appropriate department involved, along with a suggested course of action, he added.
“Once an investigation uncovers a criminal action, the case is turned over to the State Attorney’s office for legal procedures leading to an indictment,” he advised.
Asked how the Bureau combats insurance “scams” involving faked automobile collisions, Poveda said that evidence should be reported to the Miami-Dade County Economic Crimes Unit that conducts investigations into reported crimes inflicting serious financial hardship.
Economic investigators also review cases involving major fraud and auto thefts, as well as following up complaints of identity theft, nuisance abatement and mortgage fraud.
“In any instance, we will be glad to advise any caller where a report of suspicious behavior or potential crime is best handled,” concluded Poveda.
For information on corruption reports, visit online at www.miamidade/police/corruptions.com or call 305-599- 3121.