TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A Miami man faces 114 counts stemming from an alleged scheme to defraud Florida’s Division of Unclaimed Property.
Alvero Abreu was taken into custody and was released on $1780,000 bond while awaiting court proceedings in the case.
According to charging documents provided by the Department of Financial Services, Abreu is accused if illegally claiming more than $2 million from the Division of Unclaimed Property in a fraud scheme that spanned over a decade.
State Attorney Jack Campbell, who oversees criminal prosecutions in Florida’s Second Judicial Circuit, said he anticipates filing formal charges against Abreu within the next week.
“This is the first time I’ve seen anything involving the unclaimed property particularly. And certainly it’s a large fraud in general,” Campbell said.
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The Division of Unclaimed Property is responsible for holding onto and facilitating the return of money or valuables Floridians might have forgotten about, such as old bank accounts or abandoned safe deposit boxes.
Campbell said he himself has taken advantage of the service provided by the state agency.
“I think I had a utility deposit from when I was in college,” Campbell recalled. “I never realized that I didn’t get that money back. Twenty years later it was sitting in the bureau of unclaimed property.”
Campbell said the crimes alleged in this case aren’t just a concern for the state’s coffers. He said anyone who defrauds the state agency also is taking money from the rightful owner of that property.
“Just like with my utility deposit when I got that back,” Campbell said. “It was my money that I put down and I just failed to get it back when I moved.”
The Department of Financial Services had been working on the case since 2017. The charging documents also list a second suspect, Christopher Abreu, whose last known address is listed in Venezuela.