More details revealed in Hallandale condo kickback case

Another contractor has talked with prosecutors about how he helped a handful of men accused of bilking more than $1.4 million from a South Florida condominium.

Article Courtesy of The Miami Herald


Published April 11, 2008 

Another tale of secret meetings and inflated bids has come to light in the saga of a South Florida condominium that allegedly was bilked out of more than $1.4 million.

The criminal case came to light in May. That was when Hallandale Beach police said former maintenance man Angel Ramos, 78, contractor Ira Silver, 63, and building manager Robert Hittner, 60, crafted a scheme in which the Parker Plaza Estates condo board approved inflated estimates for work at the Hallandale Beach building.

Police said the extra money was kicked back to a few condo employees.

Since then, contractor Brian Atwood of Borat Holdings/Hunihan Painting has talked with prosecutors about his experience inflating bids and turning over the extra money to a few men who ran the building, according to court documents released Thursday.

Hittner and Ramos face three counts of fraud; Silver faces one.

Attorneys for all three men said they were moving ahead with preparations for the trial.

Here is what Atwood told investigators in November, according to court documents: Atwood heard about a bid coming up for Parker Plaza in 2004. He submitted a bid for work through a contractor, knowing 'he would be supplying a commission to this contractor in the way of a `finders fee,' '' the documents stated.

Atwood's original bid was $215,000. The final bid that went to Parker Plaza was nearly $800,000, with the extra going back to Parker Plaza employees.

And when circumstances meant the price of the work was going to go up about $100,000, Atwood was told to go ahead and up the contract by $200,000 to $225,000. Anything after the $100,000 would go to the condo employees.

Several times throughout the job, Atwood would meet with then-condo president Joseph Greenberg at various check-cashing stores, where Atwood would sign checks and give them to Greenberg, Atwood said.

Greenberg, 84, has since pleaded guilty to one charge of organized fraud.

Man, 83, pleads guilty in $1.4 million condo kickback scheme