Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater on Wednesday announced the arrest of Jacques Albert Calixte, owner and operator of the Haitian American Association against Cancer in Miami, for stealing nearly $300,000 intended to help screen Haitian American women for cancer, according to communications director Chris Cate.
An investigation by the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Office of Fiscal Integrity found that between 2011 and 2013, Calixte provided fraudulent bank statements and payroll checks to the Florida Department of Health in order to receive payments.
“Stealing state funds intended to help prevent a vulnerable population of Floridians from suffering the consequences of cancer is unconscionable,” CFO Atwater stated in a prepared release. “I am proud of our investigators for their work to put this selfish fraudster behind bars where he belongs.”
According to the complaint, Calixte is also accused of providing information about clients who never received treatment, complete with fabricated healthcare clinic reports.
In 2011 - while doing business as the Haitian American Association Against Cancer - Calixte is alleged to have spent as little as $16,000 for client screenings. Investigators found no evidence of expenditures for clinical screening or testing for Haitian American women as required by the contracts in 2012 or 2013.
“When mammograms and early cancer screenings are matters of life and death for low-income women, stealing the money intended to save their lives is a new low,” said Miami Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, whose office will prosecute the case. “Ending these thefts will mean that future funding will go to individuals and agencies intent on saving lives, not lining one’s pocket.”
As Chief Financial Officer, Jeff Atwater is a statewide elected official and officer of the Florida Cabinet. He oversees the Department of Financial Services, including the Division of Accounting and Auditing Office of Fiscal Integrity. Priorities of the agency include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses, and providing transparency and accountability.
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