FLORIDA – The former Chief Financial Officer of the Coalition Against Domestic Violence has been arrested, and a warrant has been issued for the former Chief Executive Officer of the organization. The two women are suspected of being part of a multimillion-dollar fraud scheme.
Last week, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced felony charges against Tiffany Carr, 54, of Port St. Joe, and the arrest of Patricia Duarte, 57, of Tallahassee. The suspects led the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV). Both are charged with one count each of organized scheme to defraud, grand theft, and official misconduct. Each is a felony.
The FDLE said its investigation revealed that Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Carr and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) 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.
“These officials were entrusted to run an organization to assist those seeking a safe haven from abuse,” said Attorney General Ashley Moody.
“Instead of ensuring state funds went to help those in need, they schemed together to steal more than $3.7 million for grossly inflated salaries and vacations.”
The case was started by the FDLE’s Office of Executive Investigations in 2021 after inspectors got information from the Florida Office of the Chief Inspector General, the Department of Children and Families, and the Florida House Public Integrity and Ethics Committee.
The FDLE said that the investigation shows that Carr and Duarte gave the state false quarterly reports, charged the state for jobs that were not filled, and charged for services that were never done.
The FDLE alleges the funds were used to give Carr and Duarte large bonuses and leave payouts. Carr is said to have received $3.4 million, and Duarte got $291,000.
“Their selfishness and greed came at the expense of domestic violence victims who needed their organization the most,” said FDLE Commissioner Mark Glass.
Duarte turned herself into Leon County Jail. An arrest warrant has been issued for Carr. Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution will prosecute this case.
The FCADV was a not-for-profit organization. In 2012, legislation was established making FCADV the official organization in charge of distributing state and federal grants to Florida’s 42 domestic violence shelters. Its mission was “to create a violence-free world by empowering women and children through the elimination of personal and institutional violence and oppression against all people.
In 2020, Florida ended its contract with FCADV, and in 2021, Governor Ron DeSantis issued an Executive Order to dissolve the organization.