FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A Broward County firefighter is facing a charge of grand theft after deputies said he gave customers of his unauthorized car rental side hustle free airport parking passes meant solely for employees.
According to a news release from the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Mario Artze-Ordiales, 33, worked as a firefighter/paramedic for the Broward Sheriff’s Fire Rescue division that mans the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
The news release said Artze-Ordiales, who has worked as a BSFR firefighter since 2012, ”operated a side business renting personal vehicles through a carsharing service” based out of the airport.
Deputies said records obtained by BSO detectives show that from January 2020 to January 2022, Artze-Ordiales defrauded the county’s aviation department out of more than $3,000 by providing customers with prepaid BSFR parking vouchers meant solely for employees.
“BSO began investigating Artze-Ordiales in January 2022 after one of his carsharing customers attempted to use a BSFR voucher to leave the airport without paying. The customer indicated that he rented the vehicle from Artze-Ordiales,” the news release said. “The parking garage attendant confiscated the parking voucher, requested payment from the driver and contacted her superiors. The investigation revealed that from January 2020 to January 2022, on dozens of occasions, Artze-Ordiales provided a prepaid voucher for his carsharing clients to use as payment for parking at FLL.”
BSO suspended Artze-Ordiales on June 8 and arrested him Tuesday afternoon at its headquarters and the department changed his status from suspended with pay to suspended without pay.
According to BSO’s Public Corruption Unit, Artze-Ordiales did not have a required off-duty employment form on file with BSO.