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A woman who state police say used her fake engineering firm to try to trick a South Florida city into giving her a $33.3 million construction contract was arrested Friday and booked into Miami-Dade County jail, records show.
But it’s not her first time behind bars in this case.
Janet LeGrand bonded out of jail in July; facing a charge of organized scheme to defraud. On Friday, state insurance investigators accused her of the same crime and added a charge of failing to provide worker compensation coverage as required by law, an arrest warrant shows.
LeGrand’s recent arrest comes months after Homestead police say she duped dozens of employees into working for her fake engineering company, the Bleu Network. Over the years, LeGrand ultimately stiffed several people out of thousands of dollars, according to Miami-Dade County’s wage-theft office.
LeGrand had persuaded professionals to move to Homestead from other countries, stiffing her staff into believing they scored six-figure-salary jobs along with relocation reimbursements, health insurance and retirement benefits.
But those were all lies, cops say.
LeGrand “methodically created an elaborate facade to make the Bleu Network Inc. appear to be a large, reputable company,” police said in an arrest report. She is now facing charges of not having worker compensation coverage in place as required by Florida law.
According to court records, LeGrand’s company website depicts multiple construction projects, implying that the Bleu Network built several structures, tunnels, bridges and high-speed rail systems around the world.
Again, all lies, investigators say.
The businesswoman falsely portrayed herself as a licensed civil engineer, lied about graduating from the University of Miami with a bachelor’s degree in engineering, and about having offices in Spain, Argentina and Brickell, police said.
Also untrue, police said: that the Bleu Network was a financial partner in the $942 million Port of Miami Tunnel project and in a $483 million development project in Ohio.
Police say LeGrand also failed to disclose eight civil lawsuits and 15 wage complaints filed against her. She is also accused of forging a fictitious letter from a bank and listing fake references. Twenty years ago, she was arrested for issuing bad checks, then rearrested for violating probation by issuing more.
“She can pump sunshine like no tomorrow. She promised people things; promised them the world,” former employee Spencer Merryman told the Miami Herald in August. “But then produced nothing.”
Using the fake company, LeGrand applied to be a bidder for Homestead’s latest development, Homestead Station, earlier this year.
The project is aimed at reviving the city’s ghostly urban core. In the plans? A 10-screen movie palace, bowling center and retail complex with a 1,000-space parking garage and a location next to the South Dade busway.
The Bleu Network told the city it had access to billions of dollars in investment capital — also lies, police said.
LeGrand ultimately lost the bid after ranking third of three proposals. The winning bidder was awarded $33.3 million in public funding for the project. LeGrand later filed a protest and a lawsuit against the city, saying the bid wasn’t done fairly.
Shortly after, she was arrested while waiting to get a wax.
After posting bond for her release, LeGrand returned to the office and got back to her fake work, police say.