$35 Million in Fraudulent Transactions Took Place at Money Service Business in Miami-Dade: Authorities

Diaz Supermarkets owner John Diaz faces numerous charges, and he and Mercedes Avila-Diaz, his business partner in Diavila Enterprises Inc., also face 2 counts of workers' compensation fraud: authorities

Tuesday, Apr 16, 2013  |  Updated 2:18 AM EDT
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John Diaz, 45

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A Pinecrest man was arrested after an investigation found that $35 million in fraudulent transactions occurred at his licensed money service business, authorities said.

The transactions took place at Diaz Supermarkets, a money service business owned and operated by John Diaz, 45, since 2006, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced.

Diaz faces charges of money laundering, organized scheme to defraud, and multiple money service business violations and two counts of workers’ compensation fraud, Atwater said in a statement.

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A total of $640,000 and three vehicles were seized after search warrants were executed at four Diaz Supermarkets locations and one administrative office in Miami-Dade County, Atwater’s press office said.

Atwater also announced on Monday the arrest of Pinecrest resident Mercedes Avila-Diaz, 44, Diaz’s business partner in Diavila Enterprises Inc. Diaz and Avila-Diaz face two counts each of workers’ compensation fraud after the Workers’ Compensation Fraud Task Force investigation found that their firm had been operating for nearly 10 years without the required workers’ compensation coverage, authorities said. The business, which they jointly owned and operated since 2003, was advertised as a tax preparation company, according to Atwater’s press office.

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It wasn’t immediately known whether Diaz or Avila-Diaz have attorneys. The charges will be prosecuted by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.

Diaz was being held on no bond Monday night, according to online Miami-Dade Corrections records.

Authorities ask anyone with information on the above incidents or other incidents of suspected insurance fraud to call 1-800-378-0445.

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