Todd Stephens and Stacy Cliett of Palm Beach, Florida were arrested last week for allegedly stealing art worth over $10 million from a home in Lantana. Stephens, 52, and Cleitt, 43, face charges for grand theft over $100,000. Court records show that they were both released from Palm Beach County jail on September 24 after they each posted a $15,000 bail. News sources did not name attorneys for the pair.
According to the police report, Cliett and Stephens allegedly stole “millions of dollars” worth of art from an unnamed Lantana homeowner who was romantically involved with Cliett. The victim of the alleged theft reported the incident to police on September 20.
On September 22, the victim’s lawyers met with Cliett and Stephens, who reportedly told police that they removed the art pieces from the house because of a “mold issue,” but they refused to say where they hid them.
A few days later, a private investigator hired by the victim informed police that Stephens and Cliett owned a warehouse in Lake Worth. Another man who was reportedly trying to serve a subpoena to Cliett at the Lake Worth warehouse told police that he saw pieces of art through the warehouse’s glass door. News sources did not say what the subpoena was for.
Police said undercover surveillance units were already installed in the area and they used them to watch the warehouse. The cameras reportedly revealed a Caucasian man, who was later identified as Stephens, loading pieces of art into a vehicle.
Police found Stephens soon after the surveillance sighting with the loaded vehicle at a gas station, and he purportedly told them that he was helping Cliett move the art to another location. The police report states that Cliett corroborated Stephens’ story and told investigators that she was moving the artwork, but did not specify where she was taking it.
Police records also show that Stephens was out on bond for a separate money laundering case. Together with 15 other residents and medical professionals of Broward and Palm Beach counties, Stephens was charged in federal court for defrauding over $175 million from medical insurance companies.
Clifford Carroll of Boca Raton, Florida, was identified as the ringleader of the group and faces charges for racketeering conspiracy and filing false income tax returns. The other members of the group are charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud.
According to the criminal complaint, the group operated the alleged fraud scheme through companies based in Boca Raton and two pharmacies in Nevada and Texas. Stephens and his co-conspirators purportedly paid out illegal kickbacks to corrupt medical professionals who issued prescriptions for their overpriced tailor-made prescription creams. The group reportedly used telemarketing call centers to falsely convince patients to ask their doctors for the prescription creams.
As the ringleader of the group, Carroll faces a maximum fine of $500,000 and up to 23 years in federal prison. Stephens and the other 14 also face fines and between five to 10 years in federal prison. Prosecutors handling the case also want businesses and residential properties linked to the fraud scheme as well as any cash seized by investigators to be forfeited.