News Release: Florida CFO Office
July 2, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater today announced the arrest of Thomas Tomblin, of Ocoee, for the theft of more than $1.5 million in state funds intended to feed inmates in state correctional facilities. Tomblin is charged with grand theft and other felony charges after he, along with husband and wife Tyrone and Christy Walker, of Gainesville, devised a scheme to fraudulently insert a third party manufacturer into the Department of Corrections’ food procurement process in order to siphon funds through kickbacks. Arrest warrants have been issued for Tyrone and Christy Walker.
“To steal from the state of Florida is to steal from every hardworking taxpayer in this state and such acts will not be tolerated,” said CFO Atwater. “I applaud this partnered effort and each office’s continued work to stop this kind of fraud, waste and abuse from happening in our state.”
This arrest is the result of a joint investigation by CFO Atwater’s Office of Fiscal Integrity, the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) that revealed M&S Foods’, owned by the Walkers, presence in the procurement process brought no value and served only to increase FDOC’s food costs paid under its contract with US Foods. Additionally, US Foods’ contact manager, Thomas Tomblin, received more than $700,000 as payment from the Walkers for keeping M&S Foods on board as a vendor.
"They robbed the taxpayers of $1.5 million," said FDLE Commissioner Gerald Bailey. "My appreciation to each who played a part in the investigation."
“I am pleased that these arrests have now been made and a strong message has been sent that we will not tolerate theft of funds that support our mission of providing care for the inmates in our Department’s custody,” said Michael Crews, Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections. “We are proud of the diligence of the Department’s Office of Inspector General in its commitment to this case and deeply appreciate the dedication of our state partners at FDLE and CFO Atwater’s Office of Fiscal Integrity in working together to combat this criminal activity.”
If convicted, Tomblin faces a maximum penalty of 75 years in prison and repayment of more than $1.5 million in restitution to the state. The cases will be prosecuted by the Office of the Statewide Prosecutor.
CFO Atwater’s Office of Fiscal Integrity is responsible for statewide investigations of allegations of fraud, waste and abuse involving State of Florida property and money.