Miami-Dade County

Miami-Dade marriage clerk charged with pocketing license fees

Love is patient, love is kind. And love can be a pretty good basis for a minor embezzlement scam at the marriage-license office, according to charging documents.

A Miami-Dade clerk, Aurora Roig, faces jail time on allegations she pocketed marriage-license fees from some couples after conducting their civil ceremonies at the county’s Coral Gables branch. She allegedly targeted couples paying cash for the $30 ceremony, and kept supervisors from discovering the scam by tacking extra fees onto ceremonies paid for by credit cards.

She’s accused of stealing about $450 from Miami-Dade, and faces a single felony charge of organized scheme to defraud. Investigators from Miami-Dade’s Office of the Inspector General said the scam started in early 2013 and that Roig confessed in July 2014.

“While the amount of money stolen by this trusted employee may appear small, she pilfered a large reservoir of trust and respect from our court system,” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement. “Such thefts can darken a treasured memory and moment for those victimized.”

In charging documents, investigators said Roig’s technique relied on two marriage ceremonies happening on the same shift — one paid for in cash, the other on a credit card. Investigators said Roig would void out the cash transaction, and then tack the fee onto the second couple’s credit-card bill.

Roig would encourage the second couple to buy extra certified copies of their marriage certificate for $7 each, according to charging documents. Once they agreed, Roig would make the copies but not charge them for it. Instead, the extra certificates would be billed as a ceremony, investigators said.

Supervisors didn’t catch the oddity of two ceremonies showing up on a single credit card because the register showed the correct amount of revenue at the end of each shift.

Roig could not be reached for this story. In the charging documents, investigators said Roig admitted to running the scam and that nobody else was involved. Investigators said she stole money about 20 times.