Hialeah

Her paperwork magic made $2.6 million disappear. Now, she’ll disappear for 3 years.

The Hialeah duplex in which Carmen Rodriguez lived belied her prolific side career as a thief who swiped $2.6 million over six years..

Rodriguez’s new home for the next three years will be federal prison after she was sentenced Friday on one count of wire fraud. The 55-year-old pleaded guilty to the charge in relation to the scheme that siphoned money other than her paycheck to her bank account from her employer, Starboard Cruise Services.

Rodriguez’s admission in court documents says while she worked in Starboard’s finance and administration department in April 2010, she changed the bank account information for a dormant vendor’s account (Vendor #1) to the routing and account number for one of her Bank of America accounts. She did the same in February 2015 on another dormant vendor’s account (Vendor #2), this time changing it to a Wells Fargo account.

From April 1, 2010 to May 31, 2016, Rodriguez manufactured phony internal invoices that either showed items bought that really weren’t or inflated shopping costs of items actually bought.

“For most of the inflated and/or false internal invoices, the defendant created and/or approved a false purchase order, listing either (Starboard) Vendor #1 or (Starboard) Vendor #2 as the payee, for the difference between the money actually owed by SCS, if any, and the inflated and/or false invoice price,” according to court documents in the case. “By creating false purchase orders and making them payable to (Starboard) Vendor #1 and/or (Starboard) Vendor #2, the defendant caused approximately $2,669,372.30 in electronic payments to be transmitted from (Starboard’s) Citibank account ending in 0526 to the defendant's Bank of America and Wells Fargo accounts.”

Rodriguez admitted the scheme when caught. In addition to jail time, she’s ordered to pay the $2,669,372.30 in restitution. Rodriguez has no prior criminal record, but did file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2005.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal

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