Couple arrested in overbilling scheme at Miami International Airport Hotel
07/15/2013 4:52 PM
07/15/2013 6:58 PM
A husband and wife hired to oversee the purchase of supplies at the Miami International Airport Hotel were arrested Monday, accused of bilking Miami-Dade County out of $222,000 by jacking up prices and lying about the quantities of items purchased.
Jorge Isaac Maquilon and his wife, hotel employee Ivy Evans-Maquilon, both 54, were taken into custody by Miami-Dade police and charged with a single count of organized fraud and two counts of grand theft. Peruvian nationals, both were required to turn in their passports. They were behind bars at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center late Monday afternoon, with bond set at $60,000 each.
County jails spokeswoman Janelle Hall said there was no indication the West Kendall couple, of14728 SW 108th Ter., had hired a lawyer by late Monday.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office contends Ivy Evans-Maquilon used her job with the hotel’s management team to allow her husband — who owns two supply firms that outfitted the hotel with items like wallpaper, tiles and carpeting — to overbill for more supplies than were actually ordered. Ivy Evans-Maquilon was in charge of purchase orders for the hotel, and inspected guest rooms for damages to determine what needed replacing.
Investigators believe the two went as far as concealing their relationship so as not to arouse suspicion from co-workers or auditors. The 22-page arrest affidavit also claims the couple produced fake bids so it appeared Jorge Maquilon’s companies, Decomax and Emporium Supplies, were the best supply source for the airport hotel. In some instances, the affidavit says, Jorge Maquilon ordered supplies — primarily wallpaper — that the hotel had four years’ worth of in storage.
State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle, in a prepared statement, said, “Miami-Dade County’s business of running an airport hotel relied entirely on having a competent management team in place. Sadly, that competency appears to have been lacking.”
The county’s inspector general’s office also worked on the probe.
Nestor Aznar, 61, the hotel’s chief engineer and maintenance supervisor, turned himself in at the end of February and agreed to cooperate with investigators on the case. Aznar, of Cooper City, pleaded guilty to a single count of organized scheme to defraud over $50,000.
The affidavit says Aznar, who worked at the airport for 19 years, was approached by Ivy Evans-Maquilon some time after a hotel renovation began in 2004 and was told he would be paid commission if he bought maintenance supplies from Decomax or Emporium. Between 2007 and 2010, Aznar signed off on 81 requisitions for purchases from Emporium.
Investigators also found Decomax issued invoices for 250 rolls of relatively expensive wallpaper that were delivered to the airport, though the airport had no record of ordering the product. Aznar, the affidavit notes, told investigators it wasn’t unusual for hotel workers to go to a garage where Ivy Evans-Maquilon had parked her car and unload rolls of wallpaper.
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