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Federal prosecutors say father, daughter worked together in kickback scheme

TAMPA — A former union leader was arrested Thursday on federal charges of orchestrating a kickback scheme with his daughter, court records show.

The two netted at least $250,000 by steering injured government employees to a local clinic, according to an indictment unsealed the same day.

Lenin V. Perez, a longtime president of the Tampa letter carriers union, coached injured government employees through the process of filing claims while working in his role as an owner of Federal Workers Compensation Consultants, the indictment said.

His daughter, Liane M. Perez-Rodriguez, who also was charged, has worked as a legal assistant at the Hillsborough County Public Defender's Office since 2002, records show.

Prosecutors say Perez made an agreement around November 2012 with the clinic, where his consulting firm guided "virtually every customer." In return, they say, Perez and Perez-Rodriguez received 15 to 20 percent of the profits from each referral.

The name of the clinic was not included in the indictment.

From that November until April 1, 2014, the clinic made 37 payments to Perez-Rodriguez's bank account, prosecutors allege. Those payments came in $6,750 chunks totaling more than $250,000.

Perez-Rodriguez then withdrew the payments and gave them to her father, keeping $50,000 for herself, the indictment states.

Hillsborough County Public Defender Julianne Holt — Perez-Rodriguez's employer — could not be reached for comment late Thursday. Records show a history between Holt and Perez.

In 2000, a Florida Department of Law Enforcement inquiry delved into allegations that Holt used her office to help friends take care of traffic violations. In particular, they asked about Perez — Holt's friend and former process server who contributed to her campaigns — and his requests for help to clear up tickets and other traffic violations for his carriers.

No one was arrested in connection with that case.

Perez and Perez-Rodriguez face two charges: conspiracy to receiving a kickback and falsification of records, documents or objects. The government also intends to seek repayment of $250,000.

This is not the first time that Perez was connected to a kickback scheme, and not the first time a daughter came up in court records.

Perez was sentenced in 2003 to 21 months in prison for receiving kickbacks after referring postal workers to a doctor, a chiropractor and a massage therapist.

On appeal, Perez claimed he was coerced into confessing to protect his daughter from prosecution. Family members, who spoke during his proceeding, said the government had been seeking the daughter's fingerprints and handwriting samples.

An appellate court upheld the conviction.

Contact Zack Peterson at Follow @zackpeterson918.

Editor's note

This story has been updated to reflect the following clarification: Lenin Perez, who was arrested Thursday in connection with a kickback scheme, was president of the Tampa National Association of Letter Carriers. An article published Friday was unclear on this point.