For Immediate Release: July 6, 2017
CONTACT: James Miller This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

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.

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Published in Media Relations

For Immediate Release: June 29, 2016
CONTACT: James Miller This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Volusia County Sheriff’s Investigator Jayson Paul selected as the 2016 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year; Marion County Sheriff’s Detective Thomas Tingue selected as Runner-Up

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, announced today the winners of its annual law enforcement officer of the year awards. Investigator Jayson Paul (pictured left) of the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office was selected as the 2016 Florida Retail Federation Law Enforcement Officer of the Year (LEOY). Selected as the Runner-Up was Detective Thomas Tingue of the Marion 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 Friday, July 29, at the Orlando Marriott World Center.

“Florida’s 270,000 retailers and their millions of customers rely on the safety and protection that our incredible law enforcement officers provide every day, and we’re proud to once again recognize these dedicated and courageous heroes,” said FRF President and CEO Randy Miller. “We are grateful for the work of all of our law enforcement professionals around the state and we hope this award not only brings recognition to the winner, but also to all of the brave men and women who keep us safe.”

Investigator Paul will receive a cash award and a custom-crafted medallion and plaque, in addition to his name being added to an official plaque that lists each LEOY recipient since the program’s inception in 1974. Four officers were selected to receive Honorable Mentions and will be recognized locally. They are: Sgt. Grisleem Casas of the Miami-Dade Police Department, Sgt. Eric Fernandez of the City of Doral Police Department, Detective Todd Herb of the Orlando Police Department and Detective Mark Marland of the St. Petersburg Police Department.

2016 WINNER: INVESTIGATOR JAYSON PAUL
Investigator Paul initiated an investigation into a large-scale racketeering case that became known as “Operation Plastic Paradise.” It involved multiple criminal groups that were entering large retail stores, stealing thousands of dollars’ worth of property on a daily basis, and then returning the stolen property in exchange for gift cards that were then sold to a local gift card buying business. The business was so lucrative that it showed nearly $2 million flowing through it in less than a year. Leading a team of approximately 40 investigators, Investigator Paul successfully helped dismantle the multiple organizations involved with results that included 23 arrest warrants, five search warrants, and six seizure warrants.

RUNNER-UP: DETECTIVE THOMAS TINGUE
Detective Tingue is an active member of the Hostage Negotiations Team as well as the Honor Guard. He has been a Property Crimes Detective for 11 years and became an ORC investigator in 2014. Most notably, he helped solve an OTC health and beauty theft ring that cost retailers millions of dollars in losses and spanned 15 counties throughout Florida. The stolen products were then sold on eBay. Detective Tingue plans golf tournaments that benefit cancer victims: Making Strides Against Breast Cancer that raised nearly $10,000 and for Heartfelt Unconditional Giving (HUGS), which supports families whose children have cancer.

The Law Enforcement of the Year Award Dinner is held in conjunction with the 2016 FRF Loss Prevention Conference also taking place July 29. This annual event attracts close to 300 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 2016 Sunshine EXPO taking place July 29-August 1, which also includes the popular EXPO Tradeshow, featuring 2,000 attendees and 350 exhibitors on July 31, as well as a full day of Education Sessions taking place July 30.

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 FRF’s 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. For more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.

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Published in Media Relations

For Immediate Release: October 5, 2015
CONTACT: James Miller This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., (850)701-3015

Sarasota County Sheriff’s Detective Jason Friday selected as the 2015 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year; Orange County Sheriff Master Deputy Jeffrey Newcomb selected as Runner-Up

TALLAHASSEE, FL – The Florida Retail Federation (FRF), the state’s premier trade association representing retailers for over 75 years, announced today the winners of its annual law enforcement officer of the year awards. Detective Jason Friday of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office was selected as the 2015 Florida Retail Federation Law Enforcement Officer of the Year (LEOY). Selected as the Runner-Up was Master Deputy Jeffrey Newcomb of the Orange 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 Monday, October 12, at the Hilton Tampa Downtown.

“The Florida Retail Federation is proud to continue its tradition of honoring our state’s law enforcement community and recognizing some of Florida’s finest law enforcement professionals,” said Rick McAllister, FRF President/CEO. “We are grateful to not only these officers selected for special recognition, but to each of the many outstanding nominees from across Florida. We applaud their service and commitment to their communities and profession and appreciate their numerous contributions to our state.”

Detective Friday will receive $3,000 and a custom-crafted medallion and plaque, in addition to his 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 Kenneth DeWeese of the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and Detective Marcos Rodriguez of the Miami-Dade Police Department.

The Law Enforcement of the Year Award Dinner is held in conjunction with the 2015 FRF Loss Prevention Conference taking place the next day, October 13. This annual event attracts close to 300 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.

2015 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year
Detective Jason Friday
Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office
Sarasota

Since becoming a detective in 2011, Detective Friday has immersed himself in developing his skills and expertise in working economic crimes of all matters. He has taken a proactive role in investigating organized retail fraud and theft and coordinates formal training for law enforcement in areas such as identification and handling of fraudulent credit cards. During the award period, Detective Friday led his agency and the Department of Agriculture in “Operation Skimmer Sweep” in response to the increasing criminal deployment of credit card skimmers in gas stations across southwest Florida. The information hijacked is then used to create cloned credit cards that are used by organized retail crime rings. Overall, 78 gas stations containing over 450 gas pumps were inspected. Detective Friday also serves as liaison to Asset Protection managers at all major stores in the The Mall at University Town Center. This has led to several successful large-scale, multijurisdictional Organized Retail Crime investigations this past year. Detective Friday has worked in law enforcement since 2005 and has been with the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office since 2008.

Runner-Up
Master Deputy Jeffrey Newcomb, Agent
Orange County Sheriff’s Office
Orlando

As a member of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Intelligence Unit, Agent Newcomb’s primary responsibilities are to monitor and track crime trends occurring in the retail market and share the information with all law enforcement agencies as well as working with the area’s major retailers. This past award year, Agent Newcomb helped to successfully investigate a large Organized Retail Crime ring that was responsible for numerous thefts all over Florida followed by subsequent fraudulent returns through altered receipts. Upon further investigation, it was determined that several retailers were being targeted by this ring. Agent Newcomb has been with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office for 16 years and in law enforcement for 21 years.

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 FRF’s website at www.frf.org.

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. For more information, visit the FRF website, and follow FRF on Facebook and Twitter.

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Published in Media Relations