Source: Federal Indictment Coming for School Administrator Who's a BSO Sergeant

Sources tell me the U.S. Attorney's Office will announce the arrest of a Broward County public official as soon as tomorrow.

Thomas Correa, a longtime Broward Sheriff's Office sergeant and a former administrator at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is expected to be indicted on fraud charges, according to sources.

majorystonemandouglas.jpg
The great Marjory Stoneman Douglas wouldn't approve of any of this.
Correa was terminated from his position as sergeant in the BSO reserve unit last month as a result of an ongoing FBI fraud investigation, Sheriff Al Lamberti's media relations department confirmed.  

Correa, ironically, was a key witness in a sports ticket scam at the school that involved then-Athletic Director David Grad, who is no longer with the school. Grad was accused of pocketing money from tickets he sold on the side. Correa wasn't involved in any wrongdoing in that case and apparently just wanted to clean up wrongdoing and cover-ups at the high school.  

The sports-ticket case was poorly handled by the district -- imagine that -- and a lot of people believed that some of the ineptitude and long delays had to do with the fact that Marjory Stoneman Principal Ann Andersen-Kowalski is married to Craig Kowalski, who was director of the Special Investigations Unit at the time.

Whatever the reason, the whole thing stank. Here's a story about it that was published in the Sun-Sentinel last year. It should come with a laugh track, especially when Stephanie Kraft calls for more oversight and Supt. James Notter says, "It's going to be like all of our investigations. It will be done with the utmost integrity."

Good one, Jim.

Inside, see why someone who apparently wanted to help clean up the School Board is the subject of an FBI investigation himself. 

The case, according to sources, has nothing to do with Correa's official duties.

Sources say it's part of a banking fraud investigation. Apparently the official was trying to get a loan for a development project and is accused of signing false documents during the process. The financial institution in question was under investigation by the feds at the time, and he was swept into the net. One source says the federal prosecutor bringing the case is Ellen Cohen, who works in West Palm. Cohen, whom I left a message with for comment, filed a sizable bank loan fraud case last year. From the federal release:  

According to the superseding indictment, Jason Vitulano and Peter Hartofilis were branch managers of the TopDot Mortgage office in Boca Raton. They allegedly devised a scheme to submit loan applications to numerous lenders that contained grossly inflated statements of loan applicants' earnings and assets on deposit in a local bank. Steve Vento is alleged to have submitted two false loan applications to fund the purchase of two houses, priced at $1.9 million and $1.1 million.

The superseding indictment also alleges that attorney Joseph Miller acted as closing agent and title agent on a number of these loan transactions and that Miller agreed to divert loan proceeds to the personal accounts of Vitulano, Hartofilis and others without disclosing that fact to the mortgage lenders.

According to the indictment, defendant Robert Hofler worked at First Southern Bank in Boca Raton as a vice president. Hofler is alleged to have falsely attested to loan applicants having large balances on deposit at First Southern, ranging from $130,000 up to $600,000. In reliance on these and other false statements in the loan applications, the lenders approved and funded more than $5 million in mortgage loans to purchase residences in Palm Beach and Broward Counties.

It's not known if Correa's case is directly tied to this one, but let's just hope that whatever happens with the federal arrest doesn't stymie any School Board investigation. I left a detailed message on Correa's phone and will update if I hear more.


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26 comments
MSD2009grad
MSD2009grad

Wow who knew Douglas was so corrupt! Plenty of secrets going on.... I wonder how much affected the students directly.

FactSayer
FactSayer

Just as an fyi, when the SIU Director's job was posted in late 2009, the rumor mill was buzzing that Correa was interested and would be seriously considered if he applied.

Pulp, thank you for shining a light on these cockroaches at the BCSB. They waited two years to file these bogus charges against Grad. When Grad was canned, Kowalski hired Mitch Kaufman to take his place. Mitch Kaufman's wife, Vicki Kaufman, is the Director of Non Instructional Staffing.

Back to the SIU DIrector's job: it was handed to Kowalski when Joe Melita retired, in spite of the fact that there were people in SIU with advanced degrees, decades more seniority, and management experience who were never seriously considered. Kowalski, by the way, had no supervisory experience and barely had a 4 year degree. Before the search for a permanent director was launched, the job description was re-written so that Kowalski could qualify. After the Dave Grad story hit the news, and rumors began to fly that investigations cases at the Missus' school were disappearing, hiring Kowalski permanently didn't seem like a good idea anymore. So the Board hired another unqualified cop with no advanced degree to run the SIU and sent Kowalski to the Crystal Palace. Some might wonder if the relationship between the Kowalski's and the Kaufman's had any influence over the way this has played out.

As far as Mr. Correa, if he has connections in the district, Notter and friends will look the other way.

BumFarto
BumFarto

Is the woman pictured in this article still dating or is she married. 'Cause I think she is hot.

Fedupwithbs
Fedupwithbs

There is so much corruption at Douglas and nothing is ever investigated fully. How does a middle school student get possession of the keys at MSD? Once the same student comes to the school, how is he able to graduate when he rarely was in a classroom? How does the same student have his own office at the school while he is a student? How did the same former student manage to get a job in the school? How did the same person manage to escape investigation with SIU even though several complaints were filed? Maybe we need to have an independent investigator look at the shenanigans at the school.

BrowardCleansweep
BrowardCleansweep

check the Coral Springs and Parkland commission minutes...lots of visits by Mr Grad and folks for Douglas...everyone always has their hand out

Pineystride
Pineystride

Pulp,I love the added touch and whimsy of the Majorie picture. hah.

Just sayin'
Just sayin'

Hey Pulp: You forgot to mention above that David Grad is the husband of Patti Atkins Grad, the former Tamarac Commissioner who took $ fromthe Chaits. Mr. Grad has been working for LoriParrish, Property Appraiser. Hmmm....how much longer after this article appears?

Hu Flung Poo
Hu Flung Poo

Is it just me or does everyone see Broward as a cesspool with no bottom?

Ms. Tee
Ms. Tee

I have worked with Correa and he treat others with respect. He cares very deeply for the kids well beings. He always try to help others as much as he can, but we have people that are heartless and unconsiderate. He welcomes anyone with open arms, and I will continue to pray for him.

DeathFrog3
DeathFrog3

I agree, I hope this doesn't impede on the investigation into the SIU.

Nucky Thompson
Nucky Thompson

Hardly the Ritters or the Chaits..who are these nobodies ?

Hammerhead
Hammerhead

Supt. James Notter says, "It's going to be like all of our investigations. It will be done with the utmost integrity."

That is some very funny shit. But there is some truth in Notter's statement..."It's going to be like all of our investigations..." Truer words have never been spoken by Notter. All their investigations are executed by cronies and the results are predetermined.

Good One Jim!!!

Fly on the Wall
Fly on the Wall

If all of the investigations were handlled with integrity, I would have never been removed from my position. Actually, the Special Investigative Unit (SIU) found that I did anything wrong to the 7 complainants, other than perform my supervisory duties. One of these complainants is now the Building Official. When I was removed from my position with an armed SIU officer, Associate Superintendent Donnie Carter, the Director of Personnel and an SIU officer met with all of the employees of the Building Department to "fact finding interviews" which resulted in 107 pages of documentation I was given 15 days later and told I had to respond to complaints within those documents, within 10 days or I would be terminated. No investigation was ever performed to confirm those accusations. At the next meeting with Mr. Carter, it was determined the original interviews were conducted in writing, later transcribed by computer and when shown to some of the individuals who were interviewed, many stated the statements were not the ones they made. If my case was an example of the School Board's integrity, everyone has a right to be skeptical about any statement made by Mr. Notter.

By the way, if you look at the Building Department's Mission Statement, it states that inspections must comply with approved plans (not building codes). The Building Department's Code Library has been dismantled and code revisions have not been purchased in more than 5 years or association dues paid to get access to those revisions.

Guest
Guest

Topic change: I happened to catch the televised Commission meeting today. Stacy Ritter (prompted by the AZ tragedy) wanted to have weapon detectors outside the doors of the Commission because she was afraid of what people were saying on the blogs about her. She brought up one comment in particular where she said someone posted that they wished her father were a better shot. Keep up the good work Pulp. It looks like the guilty are running scared. I have a question. If this is the end of arrests in the RRA cast wht wait to send DV to prision? I thought she was supplying the Feds with info for more arrests.

Pulp Fan
Pulp Fan

I know and have worked one on one with Tom Correa. He treats others like dirt on his shoe, I am one of many who is glad to see karma catch up to him.

Best Damned Looking Politico
Best Damned Looking Politico

Let's all give a bow to the West, for in merely 2.5 hours, the great one, ex Commissioner Angelo Castillo, will be re elected in Pembroke Pines, and be able to once again, try to reign in the incompetent and overmatched City Manager, Charlie Dodge. It is up to the savior Castillo, to try and save Pines!

You go, Angelo! and Angelo, is there anything you can do to try and fire Tony Sparano and hire the great one (no, not Jackie Gleason), the one and only in your face/I am the Best, Rex Ryan, from the Jets, to try and turn around the loser Dolphins.

Pulp
Pulp

Atkins-Grad isn't the husband of David Grad. I'm actually not sure if there is a relation at all.

Queen1753
Queen1753

you have no idea what you are talking about...the only 'kids' he treats with respect are the young boys he locks himself in an office with!

Linda
Linda

Just goes to show you Ms. Tee how you never know and why you should not put your faith in everyone just because they're respectful or nice to you. Looks like he fooled you too. Do you think he cares?

Ms. Tee
Ms. Tee

People need to sweep infront of their door before sweeping infront of others. Like I said everyone has their own opinions, and don't ever forget to look into the mirror when passing it. I give my opinions so pity on you if you don't like it....

Ms. Tee
Ms. Tee

Well, I have faith in God only...I said I worked with him and that's what I saw not heard. Everyone have different views and are entitled to. We all have flaws and have to ask for forgiveness. So, you have your opinion and everyone else have theirs. Whether he cares or not my life is not up to him nor you it's up to God. People do not need to pass the mirror sometimes stop and look into the mirror. I feel sorry for some, but we all have choices.

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