Miami-Dade Police Officer Indicted on Fraud Charges
A second Miami-Dade Police Department officer was arrested for participating in a fraud scheme arising out of the operation of a series of credit repair businesses.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and J.D. Patterson, Director, Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), made the announcement.
Miami-Dade Police Officer George Price, 42, and Fatima Ruiz, a/k/a “Fatima Cabana,” 45, both of Miami-Dade, made their initial appearances on a superseding indictment yesterday before Magistrate Judge Andrea M. Simonton. Price and Ruiz are both charged by indictment with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, and mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1341, 1343, and 1349, offenses punishable by up to twenty years in prison. A third defendant named in the indictment, Miami-Dade Police Officer Rafael Duran, was previously arrested on April 2, 2015.
According to allegations contained in the superseding indictment, Price, Ruiz, and Duran participated in a scheme to provide false police reports to individuals operating credit repair businesses. A co-conspirator would provide Price with identifying information of credit business customers. Price would then create false police reports, using the customers’ identifying information. The police reports would falsely represent that the customers had reported to the Miami-Dade Police Department facts consistent with having been victims of identity theft. Price would cause the false police reports to become official records of the Miami-Dade Police Department. A member of the conspiracy would cause the false police reports created by Price to be transmitted to credit reporting agencies in order to induce the removal of negative items from the credit histories of the alleged victims identified in the false police reports. Price created the false police reports in order to promote the success of the credit businesses and in return would receive payment from his co-conspirators.
The superseding indictment further alleges that while working at the credit businesses, Ruiz would provide funds to a co-conspirator who acted as an intermediary between Price and the companies. The intermediary in turn would pay Price for his participation in the scheme. According to the superseding indictment, Ruiz would also allegedly transmit to the credit reporting agencies letters claiming that customers of the credit businesses had been victims of identity theft. Ruiz would include false police reports to support the claims made in these letters.
The superseding indictment also alleges that Ruiz conducted a similar scheme while operating her own separate credit repair business. According the superseding indictment, Ruiz would try to repair customer credit by sending letters to the credit reporting agencies claiming that her customers had been victims of identity theft. Ruiz would include false police reports created by Price along with the letters.
U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “This indictment demonstrates that individuals who facilitate the sale of false police reports will be prosecuted accordingly because their fraudulent conduct undermines the public’s trust in the integrity of our law enforcement community.”
“Law enforcement officers are entrusted with a great deal of responsibility and authority and therefore must be held to a high standard,” said George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami. “Unfortunately, the actions of a very few corrupt officers undercuts the public’s trust and they must be rooted out. The FBI’s Miami Area Corruption Task Force was assembled and designed to do just that.”
“The Miami-Dade Police Department is committed to upholding the community’s trust. Integrity is the hallmark of the Department, and we will continue to work in collaboration with our law enforcement partners to ensure that those who violate that trust are held accountable,” said MDPD Director J.D. Patterson.
Mr. Ferrer thanked the FBI Miami Area Corruption Task Force and MDPD Professional Compliance Bureau. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Davis.
An indictment is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.