Insurance-fraud ring put in dozens of phony claims on homes across Miami-Dade, police say

Dozens of Miami-Dade homeowners and a group of public adjusters are facing charges as part of what authorities say was a ring that put in insurance claims on phony or exaggerated damage to homes.
Dozens of Miami-Dade homeowners and a group of public adjusters are facing charges as part of what authorities say was a ring that put in insurance claims on phony or exaggerated damage to homes. Getty Images

Dozens of Miami-Dade homeowners and a group of public adjusters are facing charges as part of what authorities say was a ring that put in insurance claims on phony or exaggerated damage to homes.

Miami-Dade police officers on Tuesday arrested at least eight suspects, including alleged ringleader Barbara Gonzalez, a public adjuster who ran a company called Rubicon Group in West Miami-Dade. She was booked into a Miami-Dade jail on Tuesday morning.

In all, 35 suspects face criminal charges.

Economic-crimes detectives have been probing Rubicon for more than one year. Gonzalez was first arrested on insurance-fraud charges in May 2018.

According to Miami-Dade police, she also helped another man, a one-time lover named Felix Bravo, file a fake $75,000 claim of water damage to his house in January 2017. When the insurance company investigated, they found that the plumber who supposedly fixed the damage didn’t exist — and the receipt submitted was created at her office, according to the arrest report.

In August, she and her ex-husband, Miami-Dade Police Lt. Alexander Diaz de Villegas, were charged in a second case. In that case, prosecutors allege, the two submitted phony documents to get over $100,000 from Citizens Insurance Company for three separate damage claims dating back to 2013.

Miami-Dade police and prosecutors plan to detail the latest round of arrests at at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.