County Commission approves proposal to create police network to combat fraud in condominiums

Article Courtesy of El Nuevo Herald

Translated by Google
By Enrique Flor

Published June 14, 2016


A police initiative to create a network specialized in the fight against fraud in Miami-Dade condominiums was approved Tuesday by the county commission.

The proposal to create a network between different police departments in Miami-Dade was approved by the unanimous vote of the 13 commissioners, in the midst of a crisis characterized by abuses against residents of several residential complexes.

"I feel very happy because this is an important measure to combat those who have dedicated themselves to commit these outrages step," said Commissioner Bruno Barreiro, author of the proposal. "This way the eyes of our police be alert against those who for years have dedicated themselves to steal money from people who live in condominiums."

On Tuesday, police chief of Miami Dade, Juan Perez, expressed satisfaction with the approval of the initiative, which he described as "a key step" to stop fraud in the condo.

"The proposal approved [by the commission] allows to further magnifying glass to those who have devoted years to these scams," Perez said. "Our department, especially our Economic Crimes Division, will focus on these investigations and parallel state representatives will contribute to achieve legal reforms".


Miami-Dade prosecutors and legislators seek solutions to fraud in condominiums

In its preamble, the resolution presented by Barreiro refers to the avalanche of complaints of electoral fraud and irregularities in contracts worth millions ended up benefiting some businesses at the expense of residents.

In March, a series of newspaper El Nuevo Herald and Univision 23, revealed the rampant forgery of signatures on the ballots in condominiums The Beach Club at Fontainebleau and dreams in Hialeah.

This fraud favored, for example, a board was kept in power after having benefited a company in a $ 5.2 million to repair roofs at The Beach Club. However, the investigation revealed that the favored company had competed with two other paper companies.

The investigation also documented the notary fraud in dozens of sworn statements, notarized by Carmen Aslan, an employee of FM Law Group, a firm of lawyer Hector Martinez. That law firm generally represents condominium associations managed by Sunshine Management Services.

The investigations led to the massive mobilization of residents outraged by the fraud. In the case of The Beach Club, the then members of the board resigned and canceled its contract with Sunshine Management Services in the administration of the condominium.

The creation of the police network adds to the legislative initiative of the Miami-Dade delegation to present a comprehensive reform to combat fraud condominiums.

State Representative Jose Felix Diaz and Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla plan to present in November substantial changes to criminalize the violations detected in several condominiums.

In fact, the last two lawmakers along with Sen. Rene Garcia and representatives of the legislator Javier Rodriguez this week with Miami-Dade State-attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle, and part of his legal team will develop initiatives to combat fraud condominiums while working on the development of legislative reforms.

One of the proposals Fernandez-Rundle aims to create is an elite team like the prosecution created in 2004 to combat auto insurance fraud in Miami-Dade.