HomeCrimeFlorida Domestic Violence Coalition CFO Arrested Following Multi-Year Investigation

Florida Domestic Violence Coalition CFO Arrested Following Multi-Year Investigation

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Patricia Duarte, the previous chief financial officer of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV), was apprehended after a lengthy three-year inquiry. Her arrest was related to alleged financial discrepancies within the coalition, which was previously funded by taxpayers. Duarte, alongside former CEO Tiffany Carr, is accused of misusing organization funds.

Carr, aged 55, stepped down from the FCADV in 2019 due to health concerns and is expected to surrender to officials. Investigations into the organization’s financial dealings began in 2020 and were headed by the Office of the Statewide Prosecutor and the governor’s Office of Inspector General. Duarte faces charges including grand theft, fraud, and document falsification.

The Miami Herald and Herald/Times had previously published a series of articles detailing Carr’s misuse of her authority within the FCADV. Despite being heralded as a champion against domestic violence, Carr allegedly exploited her position to increase her compensation, all while domestic violence survivors in Florida were deprived of essential services.

The FCADV held a significant role in managing an estimated $52 million annually for local agencies dedicated to supporting victims of domestic violence. The misuse of funds was glaringly evident when, under Carr’s tenure, numerous domestic violence centers in Florida faced financial hardships.

It was also uncovered that post her resignation, Carr took a position as a paid consultant for the FCADV. Further investigations highlighted suspicious financial benefits provided to Carr, including excessive paid time offs. Moreover, it was revealed that Carr utilized her inflated earnings to invest in multiple real estate properties.

The Florida House of Representatives initiated an independent investigation in 2020, leading to subpoenas for Carr and 14 other FCADV representatives. It was discovered that Carr’s salary was artificially boosted through unjustified bonuses and over $4 million in paid leaves. Allegations of document forgery and backdating were also brought to light.

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Carr managed to dodge these subpoenas by residing in her property located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina, out of Florida jurisdiction. Following the findings of the House investigation, Gov. Ron DeSantis endorsed House Bill 1087 in 2020. This move officially terminated the state’s contract with FCADV, which subsequently dissolved and handed its responsibilities to the Department of Children and Families.

By August 2021, an agreement was reached with Carr, leading to the recuperation of $5 million from the $7.5 million she was initially paid. This settlement was a resolution to two lawsuits accusing Carr and her associates of defrauding both state and federal governments.

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