North Miami Beach mayor accepts plea deal in corruption case

George Vallejo to resign from office, serve 90 days of house arrest


NORTH MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – North Miami Beach Mayor George Vallejo has accepted a plea deal for actions carried out at the time of the 2015 North Miami Beach municipal elections, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle announced Tuesday in a news release.

As part of the deal, Vallejo will plead guilty to two counts of violating campaign finance laws and he will resign from office.

He will serve 90 days of house arrest with a GPS monitor and complete 500 hours of community service. Prosecutors said Vallejo will also be sentenced to 18 months of probation and will be prohibited from seeking federal, state and local elected office during the time of his probation.

According to the news release, the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Public Corruption Task Force began investigating the mayor after they learned about suspicious financial activities by a political committee named Floridians For Progress (FFP), which was created in January 2015 by Vallejo's aunt, Denise Corredeira, at Vallejo's request. 

Prosecutors said donations solicited by Vallejo were made to FFP before the mayor's unopposed re-election in 2015.

Prosecutors said the FFP's treasurer wrote a check for $5,000 to an entity called JATC, Inc. in May 2015 as payment for "fundraiser consulting."

"The investigation showed that this statement was false," the news release stated. 

According to the release, JATC, Inc. is a Florida corporation formed in 2014 by Vallejo and his wife, Sandra Shinego.

Shinego's longtime friend was listed as the sole incorporator and registered agent, prosecutors said. 

"Between mid-May and early June 2015, $5,000 moved from FFP to JATC, Inc. and then to Creations Unlimited LLC, a Wyoming corporation formed in 2013 and subsequently purchased by Vallejo and Shinego," the news release stated. 

Prosecutors said bank records show that the JATC, Inc. money received by Creations Unlimited was largely spent on personal expenses for the mayor and his wife.

As part of the plea deal, Vallejo must also write a letter of apology to the North Miami Beach community, prosecutors said. 

City officials said in a statement that Vice Mayor Beth E. Spiegel will serve as mayor following Vallejo's resignation.

"Residents should know that we will continue city business as usual and operate under the processes defined by the city charter," the statement read. 

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