Before we get back into discussing the Airways Auto Tag Agency story, I think it's best to do a recap of the story as we've told it to date. In a nutshell the state is alleging that three tellers that were employed by Airways Auto Tag Agency were stealing tens of thousands of dollars in a matter of days by voiding transactions after the customers had left and subsequently pocketing the money at the end of the day which created massive shortages in the tax revenues that the agency had to turn into the state at the end of the month. Here is a quick glance at our various posts over the last couple of months with the links to the posts highlighted...
- We start off by learning that our old friend, MDPD Detective Jorge Baluja, is still busy screwing things up.
- Off to the friendly neighborhood tag agency to renew our tag only to find out that three of the tellers in the tag agency had recently been arrested by none other than Detective Jorge Baluja who has the dubious distinction of not being able to investigate his own way out of a wet paper bag.
- A little digging nets us a police report where Detective Baluja alleges that three tellers from the tag agency were stealing tens of thousands of dollars from the agency by collecting money from the clients then voiding out the transactions afterwords and pocketing the money.
- Now we realize how improbable it is for tens of thousands of dollars to be missing in one day from such a small tag agency.
- We go through some of the accounting procedures at this tag agency and once again come to the conclusion that stealing anything let alone tens of thousands of dollars would be near impossible from such a small, tightly controlled operation.
- A quick glance at some of Detective Baluja's previous less than stellar investigative work.
- Now we realize that the owner of the tag agency is married to none other than the Police Chief of the City of South Miami, therefore calling into question the impartiality of any detective investigating the tag agency case.
- We ask whether or not there was probable cause to arrest the tellers that were charged.
- Strangely enough now we find out that there were several other people that had access to the accounting software other than the tellers that were arrested and that the owner of the tag agency also owns the company that wrote the accounting software and therefore had access to the tellers confidential access codes.
- The tag agency owners own testimony reveals that the company's finances were in such bad shape that she was looking to "turn it in" and walk away from the business.
- Things get even more bizarre, we learn that the tag agency owner's daughter in law abruptly left the her job at the agency right after the money went missing and that her son is also one of the owners of the company that writes the accounting software that the agency uses therefore adding one more person to the list of people other than the tellers that knew their confidential access codes.
- Even worse, despite the tag agency having security cameras all over the place, somehow they didn't catch any of the alleged thefts.
- The height of stupidity, the prosecutor in the criminal case against the three tellers tries to convince the court that this blog is in some way shape or form working in concert with the three tellers to harass the owner of the tag agency and therefore wanted the court to revoke the three tellers bonds.
Well then! Let's go back to the states motion to revoke the tellers bond from last week...
The crux of this motion is the allegation that the defendants violated the terms of their pre trial release by contacting the victims, specifically through the testimony of a current employee of the tag agency, Nydia Espana, the state alleges that the tellers told her that "...the victim was going to "pay now" and that everyone would know through the use of the internet who the victim "really was".
The state goes on to say that the defendants were seeking to harass and intimidate the victim(s) through this blog and "coupled with the statement made to the tag employee (Nydia Espana) by one of the defendants" that this violates the terms of the Pre Trial Release. So what happened in court last Thursday? Well, being the asshole that I am, I decided to clear my schedule and go over to the courthouse that morning and see whats going on. When I arrived on the sixth floor just outside Judge Bloom's courtroom, I saw the owner of the tag agency, Ileana Martinez de Castro, her mother (who the state also claims was harassed by the defendants) and another older lady who I later learned was none other than the tag agency employee, Nydia Espana, who was there prepared to testify before the court against the three tellers.
There was a slight problem though, something I noticed immediately, Ms Espana was there sitting outside the courtroom trembling. She looked scared shitless. At first I chalked it up to a simple case of nerves from someone who's never been before a judge, but that changed quickly. I watched one of the defense attorneys asking her some questions outside, instead of simply answering the questions the poor woman would look over at the tag agency owner before she'd answer. That seemed rather strange till I realized that this woman didn't know what to answer! The attorney picked up on this strange dynamic as well and asked to question her without the tag agency owner, Ileana Martinez de Castro, present. Strangely enough under questioning without her boss present, Ms Espana recanted her testimony regarding the alleged threats from the defendants!
Now what?! The whole basis for the state's motion to revoke the defendants bond just went out the window! So at this point the only thing that the "victims" have managed to do is suborn perjury by making their employee give this bogus statement against the defendants and have made the prosecutor, Warren Eth, look like a complete douchebag before the court. NICE GOING! If that wasn't bad enough, later in court when the prosecutor pressed on about the blog being used to "harass" the "victims" the judge had to remind him about some obscure concept called the "first amendment" thereby making the prosecutor look like even more of a tool!
|Prosecutor Warren Eth|
Don't get me wrong, Prosecutor Eth seems like a nice enough guy but I think that in this instance he was royally screwed by the alleged "victims". You have to feel for the guy considering the pinch he was in, he puts together this motion whose sole intention was to get these girls who couldn't afford their ridiculous six figure bond amounts, locked up till their trial rolled around, all based on the statement given by a current Airways Tag Agency employee who claimed that the defendants had made some sort of threats against them. Now, after the current employee recants her injurious statement against the defendants, what is the poor prosecutor left to do other than to withdraw his motion? What this prosecutor should have done after being embarrassed and used like a worthless tool by the owners of the tag agency was to turn around and throw a perjury charge against the woman who recanted her statement as well as whoever put her up to making the statement!
|Lonnie Richardson, Esq|
I hope that after this incident, prosecutor Eth thinks twice before filing this kind of motion and will properly vet a statement that could ultimately cause innocent people to be thrown behind bars before they have their day in court. After all, the only thing the alleged "victims" in this case have done here is manipulate a young, gullible prosecutor into filing a bogus motion that ultimately did nothing but embarrass himself and the office of the state attorney.