Miami airport official accused in $5M scam worked his way to top

Posted at 2:09 PM, Sep 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-24 19:04:18-04

MIAMI (AP) -- The director of terminal maintenance at Miami International Airport who was charged in a multimillion fraud case owned a Porsche, wore hand-tailored designer suits and rented sky boxes for concerts.

The Miami Herald reports that 46-year-old Ivan Valdes started out cutting grass but was promoted in 2015 to a management job, where he is accused of hatching a scheme to skim $5 million from fraudulent light bulb purchases.

He faces a maximum 10-year prison sentence in a federal case and additional prison time on state charges. His attorney declined comment in an email Friday.

State prosecutor Katherine Fernandez Rundle says Valdes should have been seen as a classic American success story, but instead he got greedy.

Authorities say Valdes conspired with a light bulb vendor and supplier, who manipulated wholesale prices.