Liberty City

Ex-CEO sentenced to jail for stealing public money from Liberty City veterans group

The former chief executive officer of a Liberty City veterans assistance organization was sentenced Wednesday to 85 days in jail for stealing taxpayer grant money intended to benefit military veterans.

Charles Leon Cutler was convicted at trial in March of two counts of grand theft. In addition to jail time, he was sentenced to four years of probation, and he will be required to pay restitution costs to Miami-Dade County, according to a memo Interim Inspector General Patra Liu sent Mayor Carlos Gimenez and county commissioners.

Cutler headed the Veterans Employment Transition Services, or VETS, group from 2006 to 2008. The now-defunct nonprofit helped veterans transition into civilian life.

The inspector general and the Miami-Dade state attorney’s office found that, instead of returning the left over portion of a $100,000 grant the organization received from the Miami Community Redevelopment Agency, Cutler diverted $4,000 to himself and $2,000 to his friends and family. When he realized the authorities were onto his scheme, Cutler diverted more than $6,000 from a separate county grant to help pay back the stolen city money.

Prosecutors also said Cutler withdrew nearly $4,000 from the county grant for his personal use.

Cutler is still awaiting trial for a separate charge of stealing an additional $13,000 in county grant money intended to fund a 2008 “Veteran’s Summit.”

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