MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - Three people, including a former Miami Beach procurement official, were arrested as part of a corruption probe.
Former Miami Beach Procurement Director Gustavo Lopez, his wife Maria Pineda, and Pierre Landrin Jr. are all charged. The arrests stem from a seven month investigation by the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office and Miami Beach Police.
"So sorry, so wrong we have connected those dots," said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.
According to investigators, Lopez and Landrin, a Miami-Dade Public Schools employee, started Almani Marketing to solicit companies for bidding contracts.
"Through this Almani corporation, these two old friends, these two men. practiced greed and arrogance and solicited illegal and ill gotten monies," said Fernandez Rundle.
According to the arrest affidavit, Lopez and Landrin made up to $600,000 over the last seven years by encouraging companies to bid on repair or redevelopment work. They exchanged inside information, including who bid what, to the companies in exchange for money.
"The lowest bidder is supposed to win because it's going to be good for the city and, of course, ultimately the taxpayers," said Fernandez Rundle.
"None of those individuals are going to say they compensated me," said Lopez in a surveillance video. Investigators said Lopez was accepting cash for a bribe from Landrin.
"They're not going to be able to draw a line from A to B," said Lopez in the video.
Landrin helped police build a case against Lopez, according to police.
Lopez is charged with 1 count of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO); 18 counts of money laundering less than $20,000; 9 counts of money laundering more than $20,000; 6 counts of bribery; 14 counts of unlawful compensation; 3 counts of bid tampering; and, 1 count of official misconduct.
Landrin is charged with 1 count of RICO; 17 counts of money laundering less than $20,000; 9 counts of money laundering more than $20,000; 6 counts of bribery; 13 counts of unlawful compensation; and, 3 counts of bid tampering.
Pineda is charged with 1 count of money laundering less than $20,000 and 1 count of unlawful compensation.
The bids in question are with the Miami-Dade Public School District. The City of Miami Beach is investigating several bids as a precaution.
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