Four members of Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office honored by International Association of Financial Crimes Investigators during conference

Group was part of Tampa Bay Cyber Fraud Task Force

(From left) Stuart Levine, CEO of the Zelleman Group, U.S. Secret Service Analyst Adam Memoli, Pinellas County Sgt. Erik Zabik, Pasco County Detective Spencer Hubbell, U.S. Secret Service Assistant to the Special Agent in Charge Rick Dean, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Detectives Rhett Campbell and Carlos Verdoni, U.S. Secret Service Agent Bryan Halliwell, and Pasco County Detective Josh Ryle. All except Levine are members of the Tampa Bay Cyber Fraud Task Force. Photo courtesy Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office

Four members of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office were part of a regional group that received the 2021 Task Force of the Year Award, which was presented recently by the International Association of Financial Crimes Investigators (IAFCI), Sheriff Kurt A. Hoffman has announced.

On Aug. 31, during the IAFCI Annual Conference in Chicago, Detectives Rhett Campbell, Carlos Verdoni and Daniel Levanti, along with Digital Forensic Examiner Brooke Buzzell, were recognized for their work as members of the Tampa Bay Cyber Fraud Task Force, a news release says. That group included personnel from several other local law enforcement agencies, the release notes.

“In 2020, the group was instrumental in responding to CARES Act fraud, account takeovers, elder fraud, ransomware, compromised business emails, and other network intrusion investigations,” the release explains. “In one such case, the task force discovered a company attempting to defraud Sarasota County of $3.5 million by filing fraudulent applications for COVID relief,” the release points out.

“Cyber-crimes often involve lengthy investigations,” said Hoffman in the release. “I applaud the dedication of our detectives and civilian examiners to bring these complex cases to successful conclusions. International recognition of their service is well-earned.”