2 Miami-Dade County employees accused of stealing from poverty program

Program intended to help low-income individuals with paying energy bills

From left: Iraida Macias and Earlene Finney
From left: Iraida Macias and Earlene Finney

MIAMI – Two Miami-Dade County employees were charged Friday with stealing from a program that is intended to help low-income individuals with paying their energy bills, State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rudle said.

The employees, identified as Iraida Macias and Earlene Finney, are employed by Miami-Dade County's Community Action Agency, which is an agency within the county's Community Action and Human Services Department.

"Every theft by a governmental employee is a betrayal of the public trust. It is particularly disappointing when workers charged with helping the poor steal some of that money for themselves," Fernandez Rundle said. "With the filing of criminal charges, I'm certain that these individuals now understand that they have committed serious offenses just to put a few extra dollars into their pockets."

According to prosecutors, the employees were circumventing the application process of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to personally obtain cash meant for the people in the program.

Prosecutors said Macias' Florida Power & Light account was credited with about $4,100 in LIHEAP funding, and Finney received about $6,200 illegally from the program.

LIHEAP is a federally funded program administered locally by Miami-Dade County.

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