Department of Citrus worker charged with grand theft

By Laurie Davison, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, March 14, 2018, 11:13 AM EDT

A man in charge of managing computers for the Florida Department of Citrus is accused of using those computers for his own personal gain.

  • Matthew McDermott accused of using state computers for personal gain
  • Audit detected suspicious activity, FDLE says
  • McDermott placed in Polk County Jail

Law enforcement officers say it came at taxpayers' expense.

Matthew McDermott worked as the information technology manager for the Department of Citrus in Bartow. The department is in charge of regulating the state's citrus industry.

Agents with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement were tipped off after an audit showed McDermott made more than $22,000 in purchases for computer graphics cards.

Internal controls detected suspicious activity that led back to McDermott, according to investigators.

"They have a purchasing card which allows their employees to purchase certain items for their job,” said Special Agent Mark Brutnell. “And as any audit would go, they pulled the receipts from those purchasing cards and realized there's a lot of new purchases being made on the computer."

FDLE agents say it turns out McDermott was using multiple computers at the Department of Citrus for a virtual currency business he was doing on the side.

"Every state agency is taxpayer money, and we take that very seriously,” Brutnell said.

The department of citrus issued a statement that said: "This is a breach of ethics that is far outside the character of the Florida Department of Citrus and the industry we serve. We will continue to work with FDLE and the court system through this process."

McDermott faces charges of grand theft. The State Attorney's office will be handling the case.

FDLE agents said McDermott would be booked into the Polk County Jail on $5,000 bond.