A New York man who admitted to stealing public funds from Miami Beach to buy football tickets has been sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for pilfering $3.5 million from a city bank account.
On Friday, a federal judge in Miami gave David J. Miller, 45, a 124-month prison sentence and ordered him to pay more than $1.5 million to the victims — City Hall, the bank where Miami Beach had its account and the website where Miller spent the money.
The scheme dates back to July 2016, when Miller began taking money from a Miami Beach account at SunTrust Bank using account and routing numbers he had somehow obtained, according to court records.
Miller used the funds primarily to buy football tickets and pricey “seat licenses,” which allow the holder to purchase season or individual game tickets, at NFL stadiums across the country.
The seat licenses were purchased through a website called STR Marketplace with an account Miller had created using a Chicago man’s stolen identity, according to court records. He also used the stolen funds to pay utility bills in Syracuse, New York.
Miller started with small electronic bank transfers, moving roughly $7,500 out of the city account in July 2016, but by September he had worked his way up to transfers of more than $100,000. On a single day in October, Miller took $352,000. It was weeks before the finance department at City Hall reported any problems.
Miller was indicted for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft last August and pleaded guilty in January.
“I think he was a danger and I’m proud of both the investigators and the prosecutors,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, a former federal prosecutor. “This is a career scamster who needs to be in jail.”
Gelber said Miami Beach received a report about how the theft was carried out and has taken measures to protect city accounts against future heists. The city was able to recover all of the stolen funds last year through settlements with STR Marketplace and SunTrust.
Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales thanked prosecutors, the FBI and the city’s police department for their work on the case. “I applaud the partnership between the U.S. Attorney’s Office, FBI and the Miami Beach Police Department and their efforts to ensure that justice was served on this case,” he said in a statement.
This won’t be Miller’s first time behind bars. When the U.S. Attorney’s Office charged him in the Miami Beach theft last May, Miller was already in custody in New York on unrelated identity theft charges.
Miller also was convicted of identity theft in 2013 in New York, according to court records. In addition, he served time for grand larceny and criminal possession of a forged instrument, according to records from the New York Department of Corrections.
Miami Herald staff writer Joey Flechas contributed to this report.