DOZENS OF FLORIDIANS ACCUSED OF FRAUDULENTLY OBTAINING DRIVER
LICENSES, RISKING NATIONAL SECURITY
Seven arrested in ongoing investigation that may lead to hundreds of
Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink announced the arrests of seven
Floridians accused of posing a risk to Florida’s and the nation’s security by
fraudulently obtaining Florida Commercial Driver Licenses (CDLs). The
investigation is ongoing and authorities believe hundreds of individuals are
involved, with additional arrests anticipated. Some will also be charged with
insurance application fraud.
Between November 2005 and April 2007, civilians who had never been in the
military fraudulently obtained a United States Department of Defense waiver
form. The waiver indicated that the holder had been trained by the United States
Army to operate heavy vehicles. Some of these individuals, who had never
received or completed the required training, used these fraudulently obtained
CDLs to obtain either personal or commercial vehicle insurance.
“This scheme posed a risk to our nation’s security and put others on the road in
jeopardy because these drivers did not have the training they claimed to have,”
said CFO Sink. “I thank all of the law enforcement agencies involved for working
together to protect Floridians and our nation.”
CFO Sink, who oversees the Department of Financial Services’ Division of
Insurance Fraud (DIF), said that today’s arrests follow an investigation by DIF,
the U.S. Department of Defense - Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS);
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE); the Florida Highway Patrol, and
the Florida Department of Transportation Motor Carrier Compliance Office.
Steven Baez, a sergeant with the Army National Guard stationed at the Homestead
Air Reserve Base in Homestead, sold each waiver form, Operator Qualification
Record DA FORM 348-E, for as little as $400 and as much as $1,300. Baez pled
guilty in October to one count of conspiracy to cause the production of false
identification documents and two counts of bribery of a public official and
faces up to 15 years in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for January 16,
2008, before U.S. District Court Judge Marcia G. Cooke. Today’s arrests are
being prosecuted in Miami-Dade County and sentences upon conviction could range
from five to 10 years in prison.
“Today's arrests clearly demonstrate our commitment to thwarting identity theft
and document fraud,” said Anthony Mangione, special agent-in-charge of ICE
investigations in Miami. “Document fraud involves efforts to obtain genuine
identity documents through fraudulent means and the alteration of valid
documents to be used for fraudulent purposes. Identity and document fraud pose a
clear national security threat and we will continue working tirelessly to
identify, arrest and bring to justice those involved in these illegal schemes."
Special Agent in Charge Christopher Amato, of the Pentagon's Criminal
Investigative Service, Southeast Field Office, stated, "The fraudulent use of
Department of Defense resources by a military member to violate the integrity of
our infrastructure is taken very seriously by the DCIS. The DCIS will continue
to play a vital role in the ongoing efforts to better secure and protect our
nation from both external threats and internal corruption."
Anyone who purchased one of these fraudulent waivers or has additional
information is urged to cooperate with the investigation by calling DIF Lt. Bill
Santner at 305-536-0355.
Those arrested today are:
DIAZ, GREGORY – DOB 11/27/1984, Miami
DIAZ, LINA BELKIS - DOB 12/19/1964, Miami
DIAZ, LUIS ENRIQUE - DOB 4/12/1969, Miami
FERNANDEZ, JOSE – DOB 12/19/1983, Homestead
MONTESINO, JESUS LUIS - DOB 8/15/1959, Miami
RAMOS, ADALBERTO – DOB 11/28/1967, Miami
RAMOS, JACINTO – DOB 9/11/1968, Homestead
These individuals were booked into the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional