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Prominent Miami developers plead guilty for $36M affordable housing scheme

Involved inflated construction costs and kickbacks

Several prominent Miami property developers and a well-known Fort Lauderdale contractor pleaded guilty this week to charges that they conspired to steal government funds intended for affordable housing projects.

According to a report from the Miami Herald, Michael Cox and Gonzalo DeRamon, co-founders of the Biscayne Housing Group, agreed to plea deals in Miami federal court for their roles in the scheme that cost taxpayers $36 million.

From the Miami Herald report:

They (Cox and DeRamon) now stand convicted of conspiring with the top two principals of the Carlisle Development Group — once the state’s biggest affordable housing developer — as well as two South Florida contractors who already pleaded guilty.

Combined, Cox and DeRamon pocketed between $7 million and $9.5 million in illegal kickbacks from contractors in their Miami-Dade affordable-housing developments, according to their plea agreements.

In addition to Cox and DeRamon, Michael Runyan, president of BJ&K Construction Services in Fort Lauderdale, agreed to a plea deal for paying millions of dollars to Carlisle’s senior executives in the form of kickbacks.

The former chief executive officer of the Carlisle Development Group, Matthew Greer, and the company’s co-founder, Lloyd Boggio, are also set to plead guilty to their parts in the scheme.

Again, from the Miami Herald:

Overall, Greer and Boggio are accused of conspiring with Biscayne’s Cox and DeRamon as well as Runyan and another contractor to steal a total of $36 million in federal housing subsidies by inflating construction costs and receiving kickbacks, charges filed in Miami federal court in July revealed.

In total, Greer, Boggio and the other defendants are accused of plundering U.S. tax credits to line their pockets from 14 government-subsidized projects built mostly for the poor in Miami-Dade County. All but one were built in the low-income Brownsville, Little Haiti and Overtown neighborhoods between 2007 and 2012.

Cos faces five years in prision for his role in the scheme, DeRamon faces 10 years, Runyan faces five years and each must pay back millions of stolen funds.

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