3 Charged in Airport Money Laundering Scheme

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Police said a money-laundering scheme run by three people was run out of a business lounge at Miami International Airport. NBC 6's Willard Shepard reports.

    Three people have been charged with stealing more than $2 million from Miami-Dade County's aviation department, according to investigators.

    Elena Iglesias, 45, husband Lazaro Iglesias, 47, and coworker Malena Rodriguez, 47, were each charged with organized fraud, grand theft and money laundering, online jail records show.

    Prosecutors said Elena Iglesias, an account manager with International Airport Management Inc., and Rodriguez handled money paid by 11 international airlines to let flyers into the first-class Club America Lounge at the airport. But instead of turning the required portion of the fees over to county's aviation department, they, along with Lazaro Iglesias, allegedly deposited the funds into personal accounts at Wells Fargo.

    "They became greedy and they stole more than $2 million from the Miami-Dade Aviation Department," Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said. "Their planned thefts went unnoticed because trusted employees worked together, conspired to steal from the county."

    The three used the money to buy homes and to pay off a whopping $548,000 credit card bill, car loans and set up pre-paid college tuition accounts, according to Miami-Dade Police.

    Airport accountants discovered the missing money after conducting an audit.

    There is no indication the Club America brand or any of the airlines, which don't have their own lounges at MIA, knew about the money-laundering scheme.

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