Four months after state investigators stepped up action against instructors accused of issuing fraudulent certifications to armed security guards, several have had their days in court.
The Team 6 Investigators revealed in April that a security guard who shot and killed a barber shop owner in a Little Haiti parking lot in 2013 obtained his certification from one of about 20 instructors under investigation for issuing fraudulent certificates to about 2,400 armed guards. The guard, Ruben Pupo, was shot to death by a Miami police officer who responded to a dispute between the guard and business owner.
Since then, the state Division of Licensing and prosecutors have taken action against several South Florida instructors, among them:
Jose Gonzales, of Miami Beach, who was investigated for selling more than 110 fraudulent licenses. He was arrested in April and reached a deferred prosecution agreement with prosecutors. That means he will not have a criminal conviction if he stays out of trouble for a year.
Therone McDonald Jr. reached a similar deferred prosecution agreement after being charged with 10 counts of fraudulent possession or sale of security certificates.
Calvin Sweeting, an instructor charged with organized scheme to defraud for his role in handling fraudulent certificates, pled guilty to that third-degree felony and was ordered to pay $753 in fees and costs.
All three men forfeited their instructor certificates to the state.
A fourth man arrested – Frank Abay, of Miami Guns and Range in Hialeah – had his charge dismissed after prosecutors said they uncovered credibility problems with a state investigator involved in Abay’s case.
Abay had told Team 6 he only certified those guards who properly qualified on his range.
Abay did not respond to our request for comment on the dismissal of his criminal charge. His instructor license is under review, according to the state Division of Licensing.