Bal Harbour may be just a small village on the northern tip of Miami Beach, but their police department managed to pull off a huge heist — well, almost.
Bal Harbour PD and the Glades County Sheriff’s Office joined forces with the goal of busting drug cartels and slowing the growth of drug deals in their area. Instead, the two set up a giant money laundering scheme that would soon fall apart when The Miami Herald and federal investigators discovered there was more to their plot.
As the twelve person task force traveled the U.S., they got a taste of the good life enjoying first class flights and luxury hotels with the money. Even the police departments involved were using the money to stock the department with all sorts of fancy new equipment.
Although these purchases were noted as “official” uses of the funds, confidential records show that officers withdrew hundreds of thousands of dollars with no trail of where or when the money was spent.
Dennis Fitzgerald, an attorney and former Drug Enforcement Administration agent who taught undercover tactics for the U.S. State Department did not speak highly of this task force.
They were like bank robbers with badges. It had no law enforcement objective. The objective was to make money.
Here are a few things that were uncovered when the Miami Herald gained access to confidential records of the undercover investigation:
▪ Police routinely withdrew cash — thousands at a time — totaling $1.3 million from undercover bank accounts, but to this day there are no records to show where the money was spent. “In all my years of law enforcement, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Chief Overton said.
▪ Bal Harbour officials say they cannot find receipts for hundreds of thousands in expenses, including five-star hotel bookings, dinners that ran up to $1,000 and scores of purchases like laptops, iPads, electronic money counters, flower deliveries, and even iTunes downloads.
▪ While posing as launderers, police delivered nearly $20 million to storefront businesses in Miami-Dade to launder the money for drug groups — gathering critical evidence against the business owners — yet took no action against them. Years later, the businesses are still open, some still suspected by federal agents of laundering for the cartels.”
This whole thing is like something out of a movie, only it’s real and being done by people who swore to serve and protect, not go into business with criminals.
Check out the clip below for more:
Image via video screenshot