There is an interesting scandal growing in Miami where more than ten police officers have been implicated in a fraud conspiracy to clear the bad debt records of individuals with the filing of false police report. At the center of the conspiracy, according to police, were Vanessa and Mario Perez who reportedly made more than $322,000 from the fraud. The officers allegedly received $200 to $250 per report to record identity theft — which the subjects could then show companies to disclaim debt. The officers also allegedly were able to use the system to clear the records of themselves and family members.
Four officers alone produced more than 130 fabricated reports, according to prosecutors. The clients of the Perezes allegedly paid $1,500 each to get their purchased items and debts removed from their reports. Among the arrested were Miami-Dade police officers George Price, 42, and Rafael Duran, 43 and are now facing charges of conspiracy and fraud charges.
Duran is also accused of writing additional police reports for himself and a “personal associate.”
The accused could not be in a worse legal position. Two other former veteran police officers, Richard Muñoz, 45, and Lazaro Fernandez, 40, from the departments in South Miami and Miami, have already pleaded guilty to participating in the couple’s scheme. Worse yet for the officers, Vanessa Perez, 46, and husband Mario Perez, 51, have also pleaded guilty. Also pleading guilty was Vanessa Perez’s “intermediary” Mitchell Page, who would deliver bribes to “Officer # 1.” That officer is allegedly Price. That array of cooperating witnesses allows the prosecutors to build a pretty bad case.
Vanessa Perez started the business after she was convicted of absentee ballot fraud along with dozens of others after Miami’s infamous 1997 election.
This has the makings of a massive prosecution since one would hope that those paying for the fraud would also be charged — a conspiracy that could involve dozens of such cases.