Couple accused in Collier property management scheme arrested in Puerto Rico

A husband and wife accused of stealing more than $300,000 while working as Pelican Marsh property managers were arrested this week while disembarking from a cruise ship in Puerto Rico, federal authorities announced Wednesday.

Ronald Smaldone, 76, and his wife Sharon Smaldone, 57, were hired as property manages to care for properties in Pelican Marsh between 2006 and 2008, according to the Collier County Sheriff's Office. During that time, the couple hired outside contractors to do work on residents' homes and paid for the services out of the victims' accounts.

They then submitted the receipts to a local realty investment group for reimbursement, the Sheriff's Office reported. Over the two year period, the couple submitted over $400,000 worth of receipts. Of that, over $300,000 was fraudulently turned in and kept by the Smaldones, authorities said.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents arrested the Smaldones on a Collier County warrant after they arrived in Bayamón, Puerto Rico from Florida on Monday. The Smaldones, who live in Weaverville, N.C., are facing grand theft charges.

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