Founder of Haitian breast cancer awareness group accused of frau - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Founder of Haitian breast cancer awareness group accused of fraud

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44-year-old Jacques Calixte 44-year-old Jacques Calixte

MIAMI (WSVN)-- The founder of a Haitian breast cancer awareness group was arrested after he was accused of running an elaborate health care scam.

Forty-four-year-old Jacques Calixte was arrested on multiple charges, including grand theft. Officials said he stands accused of stealing more than half of nearly $400,000 of state money intended to help screen women for cancer.

Calixte, the president of the Haitian American Association Against Cancer, Inc., faced a judge Thursday morning. While in bond court, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge William Thomas read Calixte his charges. "You're being charged with one count of white-collar crime, aggravated, one count of grand theft first-degree of $1,000 or more, one count of organized fraud by $55,000 or more and one count of forgery," said Thomas.

According to arrest forms, from 2011 to 2013, Calixte's organization was supposed to arrange and pay doctors to perform breast cancer screenings for women, but officials said, he instead stole $287,249.71 in state funding.

His organization, based out of Wynwood, received funding from the Florida Department of Health. The department performed an audit where Calixte returned fake bank statements and forged the signature of doctors and made-up patients.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said, "Instead, he put it in his own pocket. It's unfathomable. It's unspeakable ... When you want to fraud somebody, when you want to be greedy, when you want to steal, they are always finding ways to do it. It's up to us to cut them off at their knees and make sure that bleeding stops."

Officials also found that in 2011, the organization only spent about $16,000 for health care screenings. The rest of the money, they said, Calixte allegedly pocketed.

Calixte's mother-in-law answered the door at his North Miami home Thursday, where she told 7News she did not know anything. "Police came here, and I don't know anything about what happened. All I know is that it is something having to do with his job at the cancer association," she said through a translator.

In court Thursday, Calixte admitted to falsifying some of those documents but also said he spent a lot of his own money to help dozens of women.

The judge set Calixte's bond at $40,000 and also placed him on house arrest. The judge also ordered he provide proof of where his funds come from to make sure he is not using stolen money to bond out of jail. He remains behind bars.


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