Investigators believe a former University of Florida employee stole $351,000 from the university by creating thousands, a whopping 1,155 in fact, fraudulent checks over the course of four years. The now ex-employee, Tiffany Nichole Robinson, 34, who worked at UF’s Transportation and Parking Services department, was arrested back in March of this year. At the time of her arrest, the University of Florida’s police team said Robinson had issued approximately 25 fake checks over a time period spanning from April 21, 2016 to March 6, 2017.
The fake checks were refunded by the Transportation and Parking Services department, and Robinson’s supervisor said the woman’s job was to issue refunds for returned parking decals and disputed fines. Robinson used a name, driver’s license number and birthday only slightly different to her own on the pieces of paper, and to accomplish her scheme, she had even gone so far as to find a way around software that required approval from a supervisor for the refund checks and approved them herself. Robinson issued the checks to an address associated with someone who co-signed for Robinson’s vehicle. But, the greedy always get caught and this was indeed the case for the university employee. University of Florida TAPS Director Scott Fox reported her theft after a suspicious check was uncovered that was traced back to the university employee.
Little did investigators know at the time of her arrest, however, the extent of the woman’s crimes reached well beyond just 25 pieces of paper. It would soon be discovered they were actually looking at thousands of checks, and seven more people were arrested on Thursday of this week for co-conspiring with Robinson to get extra dough, according to UF spokeswoman Janine Sikes. While the suspects were taken into custody anonymously, their identities are expected to be released soon, and Sikes said Robinson collaborated with what they now believe to be a total of around 12 or 13 others, none of whom were affiliated with the university itself.
Donna May Webber, 37,was arrested back in March after police discovered the woman had received and cashed in on 28 of the thousands of false checks issued by Robinson. The fraudulent checks totaled $7,932.75, and Webber received them from December 2013 to February 2017, according to police records. She told officers at the time of her arrest she cashed them in and returned all of the money to Robinson.
Montrell Leonard Bryant, 20,was also arrested in April for receiving 42 of the same checks from Robinson from July 2014 to November 2016 totaling $12,595.41. Bryant cashed the checks at a Publix, leaving a paper trail leading to his arrest. He was taken into custody in back in November, anyway, after a hit-and-run and was charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving serious injury. He is now being charged with larceny and fraud as well. Bryant is in the Alachua County Jail on a $50,000 bond.
Robinson is also currently being held in the Alachua County Jail on a $150,000 bond and has been charged with fraud and larceny.