Sarasota Commons shooting stemmed from bank fraud scheme, police say

Note: Video above is from previous coverage

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) — A January shooting at Sarasota Commons stemmed from an argument among people involved in a bank fraud scheme, according to a Sarasota Police Department affidavit.

Juan Claudio, 26, of Bradenton, was allegedly with Joseph Brice Jr. and Jamez White going around to different banks and withdrawing cash from fake accounts, according to police. Claudio was allegedly running the operation.

Claudio allegedly owed Brice a “large amount” of money from a previous bank fraud scheme and Brice was planning to rob Claudio, according to the affidavit.

Claudio said in a police interview that he and the group were driving around to different Chase Bank locations, where Brice would go inside the bank and come back with envelopes of money, according to the affidavit.

At one bank, Claudio was asked by Brice to go inside the bank with him, where they left with $3,500, police said. Claudio said he didn’t know which Chase location it was, but that it was in Sarasota.

The group went to the post office at the Sarasota Commons plaza after the last bank. Claudio went into the post office while Brice and White stayed in the car, according to police. While inside, Claudio said he heard five gunshots. He went back outside to find his car was gone and White was on the ground bleeding.

White was taken to a hospital where he died, police said.

White’s sister told police that Claudio had called her and told her that Brice shot her brother, according to police.

Screenshots from Claudio’s phone showed him and another woman talking the day after the shooting about making a “Money Drop,” according to police.

Records showed Brice also made a phone call to Claudio after the shooting that wasn’t answered, despite Claudio telling police he didn’t have Brice’s number, police said.

Claudio was placed on felony probation in September 2022 until Aug. 31, 2024, according to the affidavit. Claudio’s probation officer said Claudio didn’t report any contact with law enforcement on Jan. 19, the day of the shooting. He also didn’t mention being involved in bank fraud that resulted in White’s death.

Claudio was charged with felony murder because police allege that White was killed during the scheme that was arranged and participated in by Claudio, according to the affidavit.

Police have not said if anyone else has been arrested in connection with the shooting.

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