Janet Maria LeGrand of Homestead, Florida was arrested on July 19 after she allegedly created a fake engineering company to trick the city of Homestead into awarding her a $33.3 million construction project.
LeGrand, 47, is being charged with one count of organized scheme to defraud. She was booked into Miami-Dade County Jail and is being held on $50,000 bond. The press did not provide any attorney information.
According to the arrest warrant, LeGrand allegedly submitted a bid for a publicly funded city project on behalf of her firm, Bleu Network Inc. The construction project, officially known as Homestead Station, is the city of Homestead’s attempt at restoring its central business district with a bowling alley, upscale movie theater, shops, a parking garage, restaurants, and a transit center.
City officials reportedly received three bids for Homestead Station, but when they reviewed the Bleu Network bid they found a “plethora of misrepresentations and falsehoods,” the warrant said.
LeGrand allegedly claimed to be a civil engineer licensed in Florida with an engineering degree from the University of Miami, but both claims are false. She reportedly said Bleu Network Inc. has offices in Buenos Aires, Madrid, Montreal, and Miami, but those offices don’t exist, according to the warrant.
LeGrand also claimed her firm has a financial relationship with the contractors who handled the Port of Miami tunnel project (valued at $942 million) and the Ohio State parking garage project (valued at $483 million), but those claims are also false, the warrant said.
Investigators performed a background check and learned that LeGrand did not report eight civil suits she was involved in and over a dozen wage complaints filed against her. She was also arrested 20 years ago for issuing bad checks, for which she was placed on probation.
To give her engineering firm legitimacy, she reportedly created a letter to Homestead from BBVA Compass bank that indicated the bank financially supported her business. Bank officials said the letter was a forgery, the warrant said.
The warrant also said LeGrand’s references did not recognize her or her company, and the pictures and renderings she included in her bid and uploaded on her firm’s website, which she claimed to be her work, were sourced from the internet
“LeGrand has methodically created an elaborate facade to make the Bleu Network Inc. appear as a large reputable company with multiple partners in the construction and financial industry,” the arrest warrant said.
After Bleu Network Inc. lost the bid, LeGrand reportedly filed a protest alleging the bid selection process was not done fairly. She offered to let the matter go if the city paid her $155,000 for expenses she purportedly incurred, and later filed a civil suit against the city over the issue.
“Hopefully, this arrest will send a clear message to anyone who mistakenly thinks that they can get away with taking advantage of the city of Homestead,” Homestead spokesperson Zackery Good told the press.