Firefighter Arrested in Fort Lauderdale Airport Rental Car Scheme

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CLAIM: firefighter/paramedic, assigned to airport, rental car business operated with Broward County resources…

BY: STAFF REPORT | BocaNewsNow.com

BROWARD COUNTY, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) (Copyright © 2022 MetroDesk Media, LLC) – A Broward County firefighter/EMT assigned to Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport is charged with running a car rental business private cars at the airport – using Broward Departmental Resources. An alert parking attendant apparently discovered the scheme.

The Broward County Sheriff’s Office arrested the firefighter and explains the alleged crime this way:

OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM THE OFFICE OF THE SHERIFF OF BROWARD:

The Broward Sheriff’s Office Public Corruption Unit arrested a Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue (BSFR) firefighter/paramedic on Tuesday for theft under $5,000 and a fraud plan.

According to investigators, firefighter/paramedic Mario Artze-Ordiales operated a parallel business of renting personal vehicles through a car-sharing service. The cars were parked and picked up at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL). Records obtained by BSO detectives show that from January 2020 to January 2022, Artze-Ordiales, who was assigned to the airport, defrauded the Broward County Aviation Department of more than $3,000 by providing its customers with prepaid BSFR parking vouchers available only to employees.

BSO began investigating Artze-Ordiales in January 2022 after one of its car-sharing customers tried to use a BSFR voucher to leave the airport without paying. The customer indicated that he rented the vehicle from Artze-Ordiales. The parking attendant confiscated the parking voucher, demanded payment from the driver and contacted his superiors. The investigation revealed that from January 2020 to January 2022, on dozens of occasions, Artze-Ordiales provided a prepaid voucher to its car-sharing customers to use as payment for parking at FLL.

On June 8, Artze-Ordiales was suspended with pay by BSO’s Home Affairs Division. Detectives arrested Artze-Ordiales for the crimes Tuesday afternoon at the BSO Public Security Building.

“Taking advantage of one’s public position of trust to enrich oneself is not only ethically wrong, but in this case is also a crime,” Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony said. “This employee will be held accountable for his actions. These crimes are a poor reflection on this individual, but not on the dedicated and hardworking men and women of the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

Following his arrest, Artze-Ordiales’ status changed from suspended with pay to suspended without pay. He began working for BSFR in September 2012. The Public Corruption Unit investigation also revealed that Artze-Ordiales did not have a required off-duty employment form on file with BSO.

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