Panama City Contractor Arrested for Misuse of Public Funds - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Panama City Contractor Arrested for Misuse of Public Funds

Posted: Updated:

Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and 1st Judicial Circuit of Florida State Attorney Bill Eddins, today announced the arrest of Jeffrey J. Del Monte for grand theft and aggravated white collar crime for the misuse of more than $500,000 in public funds.

"When someone steals state funds for personal gain, it is no different than stealing directly from the pockets of hard-working, honest Floridians," CFO Atwater said. "This type of behavior will not be tolerated. If you do business with the state, you are doing business with 19 million Floridians and it is my mission to put these criminals behind bars."

The arrest, made in Panama City, resulted from a joint investigation conducted by the Florida Department of Financial Services' (DFS) Office of Fiscal Integrity (OFI) and the Office of the State Attorney, 1st Judicial Circuit. During 2008 and 2009 Del Monte, conducting business as Del Monte Construction, Inc., was contracted to perform construction at the Topsail Hill Preserve State Park. The project was funded by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection receiving more than $2.2 million in funds from the State of Florida.

The investigation revealed Del Monte, through the submission of false statements, received state funding and misappropriated $506,855.18 that belonged to the contractors who had completed work at Topsail Hill Preserve State Park.

Del Monte received monthly payments for the project after claiming that he had paid the sub-contractors and employees for the work completed. OFI investigators found that Del Monte misappropriated more than 500,000 that was owed to 18 contractors.