CLAIM: Firefighter/Paramedic, Assigned To Airport, Operated Car Rental Business With Broward County Resources…
BY: STAFF REPORT | BocaNewsNow.com
BROWARD COUNTY, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2022 MetroDesk Media, LLC) — A Broward County Firefighter/EMT, assigned to the Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport, is accused of running a private car rental business at the airport — using Broward County resources. An alert parking lot attendant apparently uncovered the scheme.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office arrested the Firefighter, and explains the alleged crime this way:
OFFICIAL BROWARD SHERIFF’S OFFICE STATEMENT:
The Broward Sheriff’s Office Public Corruption Unit arrested a Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue (BSFR) firefighter/paramedic on Tuesday for grand theft of less than $5,000 and scheme to defraud.
According to investigators, firefighter/paramedic Mario Artze-Ordiales operated a side business renting personal vehicles through a carsharing service. The cars were parked and picked up at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL). Records obtained by BSO detectives show that from January 2020 to January 2022, Artze-Ordiales, who was assigned to the airport, defrauded the Broward County Aviation Department out of more than $3,000 by providing his customers with prepaid BSFR parking vouchers available only to employees.
BSO began investigating Artze-Ordiales in January 2022 after one of his carsharing customers attempted to use a BSFR voucher to leave the airport without paying. The customer indicated that he rented the vehicle from Artze-Ordiales. The parking garage attendant confiscated the parking voucher, requested payment from the driver and contacted her superiors. The investigation revealed that from January 2020 to January 2022, on dozens of occasions, Artze-Ordiales provided a prepaid voucher for his carsharing clients to use as payment for parking at FLL.
On June 8, Artze-Ordiales was suspended with pay by BSO’s Division of Internal Affairs. Detectives arrested Artze-Ordiales for the crimes Tuesday afternoon at BSO’s Public Safety Building.
“Taking advantage of one’s trusted public position in order to enrich oneself is not only ethically wrong, but in this case, it’s also a crime,” Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony said. “This employee will be held accountable for his actions. These crimes are a poor reflection on this individual but not on the dedicated, hard-working men and women of the Broward Sheriff’s Office.”
Following his arrest, Artze-Ordiales’ status was changed from suspended with pay to suspended without pay. He began working for BSFR in September 2012. The Public Corruption Unit investigation also revealed that Artze-Ordiales did not have a required off-duty employment form on file with BSO.
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