Police Officers Arrested In Miami In Sweeping Fraud Case

C-MC-CB-6051GThere 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.

11 thoughts on “Police Officers Arrested In Miami In Sweeping Fraud Case”

  1. When you are a pig, your’re a pig, your’re a pig all the way.
    From your first donut, till your last dying day.

    –Westside Story.

  2. I have the following hypothesis (my own assumption) on how the officers were caught:

    Reports written per officer was grossly higher than average per officer in Miam-Dade County MSA.

    Keep in mind these are approximate numbers but close enough to give at least some rough idea. I did all of the data research and calculations after I made my hypothesis. This includes the reading of the Miami-Herald article.

    Here are the ID Theft specific numbers I’m using (based on data available in 2013) https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/reports/consumer-sentinel-network-data-book-january-december-2013/sentinel-cy2013.pdf

    From the Miami-Herald article we have this information:

    “At least four officers and an unnamed person wrote 215 falsified police reports for $200 to $250 a pop that the couple used to claim their customers were victims of identity theft — when they were not.

    The four officers produced more than 130 of those fabricated reports, according to federal prosecutors.”

    (All data from 2013; Metropolitan Statistical Area = MSA)
    Miami-Dade County MSA Population – 5.5m
    Miami-Dade County MSA Officer Count – 3500
    Miami-Dade County MSA ID Theft Complaints – 18,941
    National Avg of ID Thefts reported to LE w/ Report Taken – 61%

    Here are the calculations that matter, Miami-Dade County MSA specific.

    Number of ID Thefts reported to LE w/ Police Report: 61% of 18941 = 11554.01
    Avg # Complaints per Officer: 11554.01/3500 = 3.3
    Avg # False Reports per (4 Officers + 1 Unnamed Person): 215/5 = 43
    Avg # False Reports per (4 Officers ONLY): 130/4 = 32.5

    As you can see, even if you remove the “Unnamed Person” the number of false reports submitted by each Officer is almost 10 times the average we calculated over all officers in the MSA. I readily admit that there are a number of caveats and issues with the final numbers. However, even keeping that in mind it’s fairly obvious that the officers weren’t hiding their tracks very well. Even if you scaled this over a number of years the behavior would stick out like a sore thumb.

    Ok, I’ve scratched my itch for the evening. Thanks for reading.

    RFB

    PS: Had this all nicely formatted but WordPress removed it all.

  3. This kind of police activity is much worse than killing the bad guys.

  4. I’ve long thought architects, particularly foreign born ones, need to have their feet held to the fire for their corrupt practices.

    The cocaine industry that infected south Florida back in the 70’s has residual effects. Cocaine $ built the Miami skyline and corrupted the entire culture of south Florida.

  5. There should be an enhanced penalty for those caught breaking the law while holding positions of trust and authority. Instead of a good lawyer and a plea bargain to a suspended sentence stemming from any combination of the ‘greater good’ regarding nullifying arrests and convictions, or whatever; the police officers should have the typical sentence doubled. This would replace the ‘get out of jail free card’ with a substantial deterrent, one of many ways to stop corruption by the police and those in authority. Now if we can just go after the crooks on Wall Street and in the government.

    Hopefully this affair will be followed up on this blog. It would be interesting to see what happens to these crooks.

  6. I particularly liked the mention of voter fraud. Speaking of which, we need to have better protections against the many ways of voter fraud.

    Whenever anyone in authority, be it a police officer, judge, doctor, or nurse, betrays the public trust, it is especially shocking. And has been mentioned, this could unwind criminal convictions were their testimony played a part.

    What a mess.

  7. If those police officers’ testimony helped convict people, there might be grounds for appeal.

    Police departments need to worry less about protecting “brothers in blue” and more about justice and upholding the law (not necessarily the same thing).

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