Pons, a former board member at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, was a high-level GSA manager overseeing the Data Industries contract.
The probe began when a subcontractor, Anthony Mei, of Monodnock Consulting, was cut out of a deal and became suspicious of the figures. He relayed his concerns to private investigator Joe Carrillo, who later told to police.
Mei’s allegations to Miami-Dade police were outlined in a search warrant, first reported by The Miami Herald in April 2012.
He told police he charged Data Industries $125 an hour, and the company turned around and billed taxpayers between $230 to $275 an hour – markups he felt were “inappropriate.”
Mei also alleged the company paid a web designer $30 an hour, but billed taxpayers $175 an hour for her services. Another woman earned $35,000 annually through Data Industries, which billed the county $350,000 a year for her work, he told police.
Soon after The Miami Herald reported on the investigation, the head of Data Industries, Paul Raifaizen, agreed to cooperate against Pons in exchange for immunity. He allowed investigators access to his financial records and computers while detailing how the scheme unfolded.
Raifaizen said he met Pons through his own father, Phil Raifaizen, who told him to “take care of Jay.”
Investigators learned the company had long been paying Pons for “inside information” on county technology contracts dating back to the 1990s. Pons’ reach was unfettered.
“He touched every sector and he influenced every single technology contract at GSA,” according to a warrant by Detective Luis Rodriguez and prosecutors Breezye Telfair and Christine Zahralban.
According to the warrant, Pons steered a lucrative 2006 contract to Data Industries, then demanded 50 percent of the gross profit. To avoid suspicion, Raifaizen set up a Florida company, Paradyne Consulting Services, solely to “funnel money” to Pons.
They began billing for “ghost employees” who never worked on the contract, seven of whom cost taxpayers over $1 million. Pons received the bogus timesheets and looked the other way as Miami-Dade County paid the bills.
Using the moniker “Meyer Lansky,” Pons arranged the deals via e-mail to Raifaizen, who went by “Beth Goldberg.”
The men tried to hide the deals by emailing “in a pseudo amorous manner, but plainly communicated numbers, payments and initials for payees,” the warrant said.
On another occasion, Pons said he needed a “Christmas-time bonus” and created a scheme to bill for phantom overtime hours. Pons got the bonus: $100,000 in cash.
Usually, Raifaizen flew to Miami to deliver the case to Pons in paper bags at a Coral Gables Starbucks, or the Biltmore hotel, where Pons was a golf member.
At one point in 2010, as the economy was in shambles, Pons threatened to sever the contracts if more payments didn’t come in. Raifaizen responded with over $400,000 in checks.
By 2011, Raifaizen “couldn’t stand to look at Jay” anymore, according to the warrant. The reason: he found out that Pons was having an affair with his fiancé and now-wife, Erica Nagy.
“Although he discovered the affair, Mr. Raifaizen never confronted Pons and instead continued to pay,” according to the warrant.
After Anthony Mei came forward and detectives raided Pons’ desk, Raifaizen and Pons met in the Keys. Pons claimed he would “take care of Tony when things blow over” - a veiled threat toward the whistleblower, police say.
Miami Herald staff writer Patricia Mazzei contributed to this report.