A Miami couple was arrested this week for allegedly stealing $2.5M from Keys lobster and stone crab fishermen. IAN WILSON/Contributed

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office reported Friday:

A Miami couple was arrested in Miami-Dade County Friday on warrants related to the theft of an estimated $2.5 million from a Stock Island fish house and multiple commercial fishermen.

Marianela Armenteros, 40, was charged with multiple counts of grand theft over $100,000. Yamir Gonzalez-Betancourt, 49, was charged with one count of grand theft over $100,000.

Both suspects worked for a fish house on the 6000 block of Peninsular Avenue owned by the Valero-Duran Corporation. Armenteros worked as a general manager, while Betancourt was the assistant general manager. The owner of the fish house and three commercial fishermen contacted the Sheriff’s Office in early 2021 and stated the suspects were stealing money.

An investigation spearheaded by Detective Ken Fricke showed that Armenteros had been putting thousands of commercial stone crab and lobster tags in her name as opposed to the names of the commercial fishermen, which prevented the fishermen from fishing legally and profiting from their work. Further investigation showed Armenteros also placed a commercial fisherman’s boat in her name without his permission. The fish house also lost money due to the fishermen being unable to sell their product to the company.

Detective Fricke found that these actions by Armenteros — which occurred over several months prior to the Sheriff’s Office being notified — caused at least $2.5 million dollars in total losses for the commercial fishermen and the fish house.

The case against Gonzalez-Betancourt involves a scam he was operating regarding the sale of lobsters to export buyers. Gonzalez-Betancourt had the exporters buy the lobsters directly from him in cash and not the fish house. The investigation showed the fish house lost more than $100,000 due to Gonzalez-Betancourt’s actions.

Warrants were obtained for both suspects.

They were arrested in Miami on Friday and are expected to be transported to Monroe County, where they will be prosecuted.

Armenteros is being held on $400,000 bail. Gonzalez-Betancourt is being held on $100,000 bail.

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Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. An award-winning writer, reporter and columnist, she's been stringing words together in Key West since 1998. "Local news is crucial," she says. "It informs and connects a community. It prompts conversation. It gets people involved, holds people accountable. The Keys Weekly takes its responsibility seriously. Our owners are raising families in Key West & Marathon. Our writers live in the communities we cover - Key West, Marathon & the Upper Keys. We respect our readers. We question our leaders. We believe in the Florida Keys community. And we like to have a good time." Mandy's married to a saintly — and handy — fishing captain, and can't imagine living anywhere else.