News, Transport

Shrewd airport worker steals millions with LED scheme

Ivan Valdes purchased 9,000 LED luminaires worth $3.5 million…for $8.8 million and pocketed the change.
Even  Lieutenant Columbo would have had to think twice before cracking the Valdes case, such was the careful manner by which he covered his tracks. 

It’s a well known fact that LED can save you money and breaking the law is generally not required to do this. Some people take things too far though. The director of terminal maintenance at Miami International Airport has been charged with fraud after it was discovered that he had purchased 9,000 LED luminaires worth $3.5 million…for $8.8 million and pocketed the change.

He did not opt to bank the remaining $5.2 million and keep it quiet in the hopes of avoiding attention though, but instead chose to adopt a lavish lifestyle hardly befitting a cleaner at Miami Airport.

He bought a Porsche, started to turn up at work every day in hand cut Italian suits and rented entire sky boxes, complete with buffet, for concerts and football games.

Ivan Valdes, 46, began his career cutting grass, but was promoted in 2015 to a $98,000-a-year management job overseeing 100 Miami Airport cleaners. He now faces up to a decade in federal prison for his LED swindling scheme.

Florida State prosecutor Katherine Fernandez Rundle commented that Valdes should have been seen as a classic American success story, working his way up from cutting grass to a well paid management position.

Instead of sitting back and appreciating his success, he got too greedy.

Valdes conspired with a luminaire manufacturer and supplier, who manipulated wholesale prices and sold the luminaires in twenty bulk purchases over five years. Because of the participation of the manufacturer and the supplier Valdes was able to cover his tracks, fooling the county’s inspector general who oversees corruption at the airport.

  • If you want to discover ways to make money from LED (legally) then drop by this year’s Lux Live. The exhibition will take place in London on Wednesday 23 November and Thursday 24 November 2016. You can find out more by clicking here