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Miami Couple Arrested For Generating Fraudulent Public Assistance Accounts for Profit


Contact: Ashley Carr
(850) 413-2842
MIAMI, Fla. - The Florida Department of Financial Services’ Division of Public Assistance Fraud (DPAF) today announced the arrest of former Department of Children and Families employee, Clara T. Builes, 54, and her husband, Gonzalo A. Builes, 56, on charges of grand theft and public assistance fraud among many after Mrs. Builes allegedly used her official position with DCF to misappropriate public assistance benefits for a total more than $19,000 between May 2011 through April 2015.
A DPAF investigation revealed that the 16-year state employee conspired with her husband to defraud the Department of Children and Families by reopening closed public assistance cases of individuals Mrs. Builes knew resided outside of the United States. She is accused of manipulating public assistance records and providing her husband with specific demographic information to help him complete and submit online web applications with the victims' personal information to generate fraudulent EBT cards. 
Gonzalo A. Builes mailed the fraudulent EBT cards to a co-worker’s address, and used them at various ATM machines to access the cash benefits.  Food assistance benefits were redeemed by Builes at Publix Supermarkets and Costco Wholesale. 
Yesterday afternoon, Clara T. Builes and her husband turned themselves into the Miami Division of Insurance Fraud where they were placed under arrest and transferred to the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Facility in Miami. Clara Builes will be charged with Official Misconduct, Grand Theft, and Criminal Use of Personal Identification Information. Criminal charges for Gonzalo A. Builes include Grand Theft and Public Assistance Fraud for his role in the scheme to defraud the State of Florida.
This case will be prosecuted by the Office of Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.
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Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official, oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses, and providing transparency and accountability in spending. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).