5 arrested, 4 sought by Miami Beach police in Sugar Factory fraud investigation

Suspects accused of stealing more than $86,000 from restaurant


MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Five people have been arrested and four others are being sought by Miami Beach police in connection with a fraud investigation involving the Sugar Factory.

Those arrested this week were identified as Patricia Noorazi, 46, Marija Kovacheva, 28, Ricardo Stummo, 31, Jocelyn Johnson, 22, and Nicole Tourino, 22.

Miami Beach police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez said the general manager of the restaurant at 1144 Ocean Drive did an internal investigation and discovered that several employees had stolen more than $86,000 over the course of a month and a half.

Rodriguez said the manager provided detectives with the names of several employees who worked from May through June.

"The documents which he provided were the transaction history of ex-employees, whose employee numbers were being reactivated and used by current employees to transfer cash transactions for tables that they served that evening," Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez said the suspects were clocking in and clocking out former employees so that the transactions could be transferred to the ex-employee's account and not be tracked.

The general manager told detectives that each time an ex-employee was clocked in and out, it was erased from the system.

He said only an on-duty manager could have erased it from the system.

The suspects face charges of grand theft and organized fraud. Rodriguez said detectives already know the identities of the other four suspects and warrants have been issued for their arrests.

He said the remaining suspects are expected to be taken into custody within the next few days.

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