TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The former head of a nonprofit domestic violence agency is charged with fraud and grand theft two years after she and the agency agreed to pay Florida $5 million to settle a civil lawsuit, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement announced Thursday.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement issued an arrest warrant for Tiffany Carr, the former CEO of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The state began investigating the agency after learning Carr received $7.5 million in compensation, much of it in paid time off, for the three years before she resigned in November 2019.
The department also arrested former Chief Financial Officer Patricia Duarte. Both are charged with fraud, grand theft and official misconduct, all felonies. Carr and Duarte submitted false reports, billed the state for vacant positions and charged for services never provided, investigators said. The money was used for excessive bonus and leave payouts totaling $3.4 million for Carr and $291,000 for Duarte, the department said in a press release.
“These officials were entrusted to run an organization to assist those seeking a safe haven from abuse. Instead of ensuring state funds went to help those in need, they schemed together to steal more than $3.7 million for grossly inflated salaries and vacations," Attorney General Ashley Moody said in a press release.
Duarte turned herself in at the Leon County Jail on Wednesday. Online jail records didn't list a lawyer for her. A phone listing for Carr wasn't immediately available. A Florida Department of Law Enforcement spokeswoman wouldn't comment on whether the department knew Carr's whereabouts.