Criminal Justice News

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Three Defendants Plead Guilty to Theft of Government Funds

Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Jeffrey C. Mazanec, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office; and Manuel Orosa, Chief, City of Miami Police Department, announce that defendants Chante Sweet, 35, of Miami, Simone West, 22, of Hollywood, and Ashley Rolle, 27, of St. Petersburg, Florida, pled guilty on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 to theft of money from a government program, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 666(a)(1)(A).

During the change of plea hearing, Chante Sweet, an employee of the city of Miami Neighborhood Enhancement Team from 2007 through 2009, admitted to stealing approximately $21,932.43 in federal grant money from the city of Miami that was designated for the Miami ACES program, a program designed to advise members of the community about hurricane and emergency preparedness. Sweet admitted to issuing checks to Simone West and Ashley Rolle from the Miami ACES program even though West and Rolle performed no work for the program. West and Rolle cashed the checks and shared the money with Sweet. During the plea, West and Rolle admitted to their role in the scheme, with West acknowledging that she cashed approximately $9,799 in checks, and Rolle admitted that she cashed approximately $9,603 in checks for work that neither of them performed.

The defendants are scheduled to be sentenced on September 26, 2012 at 11:00 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Marcia G. Cooke.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, the FBI’s Miami Area Public Corruption Task Force, and the City of Miami Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Alejandro O. Soto and John P. Gonsoulin.

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