Herald-Tribune by Emily Wunderlich
July 2, 2019
Detectives say more than 2,000 residents were affected by the information leaked by a Miami employee of the Florida Department of Children and Families.
SARASOTA — A Miami employee of the Florida Department of Children and Family Services has been charged with leaking personal data to six other people in an organized fraud ring that made purchases in the Sarasota area, according to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.
The breach affected an estimated 2,000 Florida residents and amounted to about $260,000 in retail theft, with some of those purchases coming from the University Town Center area. And those numbers are only expected to climb as the investigation continues, said Sarasota County Chief Deputy Col. Kurt Hoffman.
“These men and women did not facilitate your traditional retail crimes that we see up and down this Interstate 75 corridor,” Hoffman said. “They went for big purchases, some amounting to more than $8,000 on a single receipt.”
The Sheriff’s Office began investigating in May after Roxana Ruiz, 39, and Eduardo Lamigueiro, 43, opened multiple credit card accounts in the UTC area to make more than $6,000 in purchases. The two were arrested on May 23 and released on bond two days later.
A search of the duo’s cellphones revealed more than 500 photos of personal information linked to Bertanicy Garcia, an interviewing clerk at the Miami DFCS.
Taylor Hatch, an assistant secretary with the Miami agency, said Garcia was fired immediately, and the agency is reviewing identity theft safety measures from private sector companies.