Miami-Dade public adjuster arrested on federal arson charges

A Miami-Dade public adjuster was arrested Friday on charges of conspiring to burn down at least three houses to bilk more than $2.3 million from insurance companies for the alleged arsons.

Jorge Fausto Espinosa Sr., charged with conspiring to commit wire fraud and using fire to commit a felony, had his first appearance in Miami federal court Friday.

Espinosa is accused of conspiring with another Miami-Dade man, Felipe Ruiz, who was recently sentenced to eight years in prison for committing both insurance and Medicare fraud.

Ruiz was assisted by Espinosa in setting fire to Ruiz’s home and filing a fraudulent insurance claim, according to federal prosecutor Ron Davidson. An insurance company paid out $1.4 million on Ruiz’s false claim, he said.

The criminal cases were built upon cooperation from a convicted Medicare fraud offender, Jose Luis Perez.

Perez also helped prosecutors develop a major money-laundering case against convicted check-cashing store owner Oscar Sanchez. He was involved in a ring that laundered tens of millions of dollars that ended up in the Cuban banking system.

On Friday, in exchange for the help, Davidson filed a motion to reduce Perez’s 13-year prison sentence to about nine years.

Espinosa is the father of former Miami-Dade police officer Jorge A. Espinosa, who drew scrutiny in 2004 after he shot and killed an unarmed teenaged burglar. He wasn't charged in that controversial case but resigned and took up work as a licensed public adjuster.

In 2010, the younger Espinosa was charged by state prosecutors with theft, fraud and other schemes, including allegedly pumping up claims by tens of thousands of dollars. The case is still open.

Read more Miami-Dade stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category