For Immediate Release: July 6, 2017
City of Aventura Police Department’s Marquez selected as the 2017 FRF Law Enforcement Officer of the Year; Joseph LeSerra of the Leon County Sheriff’s Office selected as Runner-Up
TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association celebrating its 80th year of supporting Florida’s retailers, announced today the winners of its annual law enforcement officer of the year awards. Detective Sandra Marquez of the City of Aventura Police Department was selected as the 2017 Florida Retail Federation Law Enforcement Officer of the Year (LEOY). Selected as the Runner-Up was Detective Joseph LeSerra of the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. Both are being recognized, in part, for their work in preventing organized retail crime, and will be honored at a prestigious law enforcement awards dinner on Thursday, July 20, at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee in conjunction with the 2017 Loss Prevention Conference.
“The men and women of Florida’s law enforcement community put their lives on the line each day to keep Florida’s 270,000 retailers, their employees, customers and merchandise safe,” said FRF President/CEO R. Scott Shalley. “We are thankful for their dedicated service to protecting all of us, and we are honored to be able to recognize both Detective Marquez and Detective LaSerra on behalf of the thousands of law enforcement professionals throughout our state.”
Detective Marquez will receive a cash award and a custom-crafted medallion and plaque, in addition to her name being added to an official plaque that lists each LEOY recipient since the program’s inception in 1974. Two officers were selected to receive Honorable Mentions and will be recognized locally. They are: Detective Lazaro Daniel of the Miami-Dade Police Department and Detective Ismael Hau of the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office.
2017 WINNER: DETECTIVE SANDRA MARQUEZ Detective Marquez is a 10-year veteran of law enforcement and the Aventura Police Department. She has been instrumental in the success of their new economic crimes unit and having a positive impact on retail crimes and fraud investigations. Case examples during this year’s award period include: a self-initiated fraud investigation in which she worked with a regional loss prevention investigator to identify several store employees who were working to commit credit card fraud; used various techniques to identify a restaurant employee who was skimming customers’ credit cards; identified a multi-jurisdictional email phishing wire fraud ring that so far has uncovered more than $3 million in fraudulent wire transactions spanning multiple states; and an identity theft case involving medical benefits.
RUNNER-UP: DETECTIVE JOSEPH LESERRA Detective LeSerra is a senior detective in the Financial Crimes Unit, a Certified Fraud Examiner, and a Task Force Officer with the United States Internal Revenue Service. To date, Detective LeSerra is responsible for arresting various individuals who have cost their victims over one million dollars during the current award year and that number is still growing. He helped crack a Racketeering, Money Laundering and Organized Scheme to Defraud, Illegal Gambling and Illegal Lottery case that led to the discovery of public assistance fraud. The investigation resulted in over 130 defendants who were issued warrants in this case including the seizure of three trucks, more than 100 illegal gambling machines and approximately $270,000 in funds. Other cases included a prostitute who was extorting more than $400,000 from a victim, and a caretaker who was stealing funds from her elderly client. Volunteering in his community, Detective LeSerra coaches a youth flag football team and last year was team captain of the Leon County Sheriff’s Office American Heart Campaign.
The Law Enforcement of the Year Award Dinner is held in conjunction with the 2017 FRF Loss Prevention Conference taking place July 21. This annual event attracts close to 200 of the state’s loss prevention and law enforcement professionals gathered to learn the latest news, trends and technology to help them keep their businesses, employees and their customers safe. Both events are important parts of the 2017 Sunshine EXPO® taking place July 20-23, which also includes the popular EXPO Tradeshow, featuring 2,000 attendees and 350 exhibitors on July 23, as well as a full day of Education Sessions taking place July 22.
ABOUT THE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER OF THE YEAR PROGRAM The Florida Retail Federation Law Enforcement Officer of the Year program has been an annual event since its inception in 1974. The purpose of the program is to support and encourage outstanding law enforcement work throughout the state, and to recognize the important contributions made by Florida's law enforcement professionals, particularly as it relates to the retail industry. The program’s time-tested campaign theme, "Often taken for granted, they never stop serving ...because they care," remains as relevant today as when the LEOY was first introduced. For more information on the award winners, the event or the LEOY program, visit LEOY section of the FRF website.
ABOUT THE FLORIDA RETAIL FEDERATION The Florida Retail Federation is the statewide trade association representing retailers -- the businesses that sell directly to consumers. Florida retailers provide one out of every five jobs in the state, pay more than $49 billion in wages annually, and collect and remit more than $20 billion in sales taxes for Florida’s government each year.