BROOKSVILLE — Angela Rose Arcona does business in a high-dollar, niche industry, authorities say.
As owner of Southwest Equipment for Hernando County, Arcona connects buyers and sellers of large commercial printing machinery that weighs 40,000 pounds and costs more than $700,000. But not all of the deals Arcona brokered over the past 18 months have been legitimate, the Hernando Sheriff's Office says.
Arcona, 56, of Weeki Wachee was arrested Aug. 27 and charged with organized fraud. On Wednesday, the Sheriff's Office released details of the case.
From November 2011 through March of this year, Arcona took $376,200 from buyers who gave her money toward the purchase of printing machines totaling about $2.6 million, Detective Tony Aguiar said. The buyers paid deposits on the deals that turned out to be bogus.
"She would basically create fraudulent invoices so the buyer believed the seller brokered the machine to her," Aguiar said. "When the time came to inspect the machines, the buyers found the people supposedly selling them didn't know anything about the sale."
One of the victims was another broker representing about eight buyers who gave him about $210,000 for deals that never happened, Aguiar said. In an interview with detectives, Arcona denied that the invoices were fraudulent, but she admitted to sending the invoices without contacting the selling company to confirm the availability and price of the machinery, among other important information, Aguiar said.
Arcona was released from the Hernando County Detention Center the same day of her arrest after posting $10,000 bail. A message left at her business Wednesday by the Tampa Bay Times was not returned.
Aguiar said he suspects there are other victims. Anyone who suspects they may be one may call him at (352) 797-3723.
Hernando court records show that Arcona was charged with grand theft in 2009. The court withheld adjudication. Aguiar said the circumstances of that case were similar to the current charges.