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Former MIA Assistant Aviation Director and Wife Plead Guilty in Airport Corruption Case

Ricardo Mendez, former assistant aviation director for the Miami-Dade County Aviation Department, and his wife, Mirta Mendez, pleaded guilty to corruption in awarding contracts for work at Miami International Airport (MIA). Ricardo Mendez's plea covered 34 counts of bribery, money laundering, tax evasion, and false tax returns in connection with letting contracts to clean contaminated soil at the airport and service orders to provide computer simulations of MIA facilities. Mirta Mendez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery. As a part of this investigation, two others pleaded guilty last year to paying the Mendezes over $226,000 in bribes in 1997 and 1998 to win work at MIA. The Mendezes face possible prison terms and fines totaling over $1 million. A sentencing date has not been set. The investigation was conducted jointly by OIG, IRS, Miami-Dade Police Department, and Florida State Attorney's Office.