Warrants Issued for Former Domestic Violence Officials
Last updated 9/21/2023 at 3:49pm
TALLAHASSEE – Today, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued arrest warrants for 54-year-old Tiffany Carr and 57-year-old Patricia Duarte, the former CEO and CFO, respectively, of the now defunct Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV).
Carr and Duarte are accused to stealing more than $3.7 million while overseeing the FCADV, but that all came to an end in 2021, when the FDLE began investigating allegations of fraud.
According to a statement from the FDLE, the investigation shows Chief Executive Officer Carr and Chief Financial Officer Duarte 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.
Officials say, Carr and Duarte submitted false quarterly reports, billed the state for vacant positions, and charged for services never provided. The ill-gotten funds were used for excessive bonus and leave payouts to Carr and Duarte in the amounts of $3.4 million to Carr and $291,000 for Duarte.
FDLE Commissioner Mark Glass said, "Non-profit organizations exist to improve the lives of others, but during our investigation, it became clear the only thing these FCADV executives were serving were each other. Their selfishness and greed came at the expense of domestic violence victims who needed their organization the most. I appreciate the work of our agents and analysts, exploring years of documentation to detail these crimes as well as DCF who assisted on this case."
The FCADV was the non-profit that disbursed federal funding to all 42 domestic violence shelters throughout Florida, which includes Dawn Center in Hernando County. Dawn Center has been under fire for several years due to allegations of officials engaging in federal fraud.
In recent years, former employees have reported that Dawn Center is forging temporary housing vouchers for women who are no longer in the program. Families can receive thousands every month to pay for rent, utilities, and other living expenses if they claim to be domestic violence victims. Because the process does not require more than a signature, Dawn Center has allegedly stolen thousands, possibly millions over the years.
R News and the former Real News Real Fast published reports on the allegations, but Sheriff Al Nienhuis refuses to investigate the claims. Nienhuis, Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, and other top county officials have all served as Board Presidents for Dawn Center, which leads many to believe he is covering up the crimes.
Some say Dawn Center is not serving the community as it should, and that administrators and politicians use the gender politics to win elections.
Dawn Center isn't the only agency to face allegations of conducting fraudulent activity. The Department of Justice has prosecuted hundreds of administrators around the country for stealing millions in federal funding.
Joe Biden ordered the DOJ to stop all investigations into fraud allegations in 2021, immediately after he took office. Joe Biden championed the Violence Against Women's Act, which is the law that provides billions in funding to shelters around the country. Some believe the move to end oversight was an effort to prevent criticism that may arise from non-profits stealing billions in funding each year.
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