A Miami couple was arrested Friday after an investigation found they stole $2.5 million from a Florida Keys fish house they managed and from several commercial fishermen, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office said.
Marianela Armenteros, 44, and Yamir Gonzalez-Betancourt, 53, were booked into a Miami-Dade detention center.
They are accused of spending several months running scams to cash in on other people’s work on Stock Island.
Armenteros was charged with multiple counts of felony grand theft and Gonzalez-Betancourt was charged with one count of felony grand theft.
The pair had worked for a fish house in the 6000 block of Peninsular Avenue owned by the Valero-Duran Corp. — Armenteros worked as general manager while Betancourt was the assistant general manager — said sheriff’s office spokesman Adam Linhardt.
Armenteros put thousands of stone crab and lobster tags in her name instead of the names of the commercial fishermen, preventing the fishermen from fishing legally and profiting from their work, Linhardt said.
Armenteros also placed a commercial fisherman’s boat in her name without his permission, and the fish house lost money due to the fishermen being unable to sell their products to the company, Linhardt said.
Meanwhile, Gonzalez-Betancourt ripped off the fish house by selling lobsters directly to export buyers for cash instead of the fish house, costing the business more than $100,000, investigators said.
In early 2021, the owner of the fish house and three commercial fishermen contacted the sheriff’s office and said the two were stealing money.
On Friday, Armenteros was being held on $400,000 bond while Gonzalez-Betancourt was being held on $100,000 bond, Linhardt said.
It was unclear whether they had legal representation. They are expected to be brought to Monroe County to face prosecution, Linhardt said.
Rafael Garcia is listed as the president of the Valero-Duran Corp., 6011 Peninsular Ave., in online reports on the Florida Department of State’s Division of Corporations’ website. Garcia’s address is in Miami, the reports state. The business is also listed as Key West Fisheries in state records.
Garcia could not be reached for comment Friday. Phone calls to the business number in the records went unanswered.