CFO Sink, State Attorney Announce Arrest of Pensacola Man Charged with Fraudulently Obtaining Nearly $70,000
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 7, 2009
CONTACT: Kyra Jennings or Jayme O’Rourke
CFO SINK, STATE ATTORNEY ANNOUNCE ARREST OF PENSACOLA MAN CHARGED WITH FRAUDULENTLY OBTAINING NEARLY $70,000
PENSACOLA -- Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink, together with William Eddins, State Attorney for the 1st Judicial Circuit of Florida, today announced the arrest of an Escambia County man charged with fraudulently obtaining nearly $70,000 in state funds that were intended for payment to local businesses for labor, services and materials provided in an affordable housing program.
Anthony Darnell Sims, 47, president and director of the not-for-profit Youthbuild Pensacola, Inc., is charged with two first degree felonies, aggravated white collar crime and organized fraud. If convicted, Sims could be sentenced to 60 years in prison, fined $20,000, and ordered to pay restitution of more than $65,000 to the state and other victims.
Sims’ arrest is the result of a joint investigation by the Department of Financial Services' Office of Fiscal Integrity and the 1st Judicial Circuit's State Attorney's Office.
Documents filed with the Clerk of Circuit Court show that Sims, on behalf of Youthbuild Pensacola, contracted with Escambia County (Neighborhood Enterprise Foundation, Inc.) to receive State Housing Initiative Program (SHIP) funds for affordable housing. He also contracted with Pensacola Junior College to receive U.S. HUD and U.S. Department of Labor grant funds for the assistance of disadvantaged young adults.
Documents show, however, that Sims co-mingled these federal and state grant funds and converted tens of thousands of dollars for his personal use, or the use of others not entitled to the funds, and attempted to conceal his actions by providing false invoices to the Escambia County (NEFI) for payments. As a result, multiple contractors, primarily small businesses, were not paid tens of thousands of dollars.
The investigation by the Office of Fiscal Integrity and the State Attorney's Office is ongoing.
The Office of Fiscal Integrity is responsible for statewide investigations of allegations of fraud, waste, or abuse involving State of Florida property and money. To report fraud, waste, or abuse of State of Florida resources, call1-800-GET-LEAN (1-800-438-5326) or the Office of Fiscal Integrity directly at 850-413-5514.