The former executive director of a Homestead nonprofit business incubator was arrested after an investigation found a trail of double-billing and fraud.
Hilda Hall-Denis, who led the Business Technology Development Corp. from 2006 to 2012, was charged with organized fraud, grand theft and identity theft.
While providing technical assistance, reduced-rent office space and other services to new businesses in southern Miami-Dade County, Hall-Dennis skimmed off public grant money, according to an investigation by the state attorney’s office and county inspector general’s office.
She paid her employees and vendors less than she was billing for them and double-billed different government agencies for the same services, keeping the excess funds for herself, a county statement said. Hall-Dennis also submitted false documentation to support grants given to her company and failed to notify state and county agencies when the company lost its tax-exempt status in 2010.
Hall-Denis received more than $460,000 in county and city grants, and was seeking a $500,000 county grant when investigators intervened.
“Obtaining government funds intended for legitimate nonprofit groups and putting that cash in one’s pocket is a terrible crime. Like stealing from a donation jar, it deprives those truly working to aid our community of the chance to help Dade’s neediest residents,” State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement. “Stealing from one’s own employees and the handicapped only adds another level to this crime.”