Miami-Dade County

He filed bogus home insurance claims, cops say. He’s also a Miami-Dade police lieutenant

Alexander Diaz de Villegas
Alexander Diaz de Villegas Miami Herald

Miami-Dade Police Lt. Alexander Diaz de Villegas filed a police report with his own department in October 2016, claiming his ex-wife had forged his signature on documents and checks relating to an insurance claim on a water leak in his home’s upstairs bathroom.

Detectives began to investigate — and wound up arresting Diaz de Villegas himself on allegations that he and his wife both submitted phony documents to get over $100,000 from Citizens Insurance Company for three separate damage claims dating back to 2013.

The former couple was charged with organized scheme to defraud, filing false insurance claims and grand theft. It was unknown whether Diaz de Villegas had retained a defense lawyer.

Diaz de Villegas, most recently of Miami-Dade’s communications bureau, has been charged with scheme to defraud, insurance fraud and grand theft. He has already been relieved of duty with pay as the department’s economic-crimes bureau investigated him.

“Today, we arrested one of our own,” Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez wrote on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon. “This serves as a reminder that we will always rigorously investigate allegations against our personnel in the pursuit of justice. No one is above the law.”

Also charged was his ex-wife, Barbara Gonzalez, 30, a public adjuster who was previously arrested for insurance fraud in May.

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.

Barbara Gonzalez ran Rubicon Group, a West Miami-Dade public adjusting firm.

In the first case, police said, Diaz de Villegas and his then-wife filed a series of erroneous documents to Citizens over damage supposedly caused by an air-conditioning leak. They got over $20,000 from the insurance company; the couple provided documents falsely saying there was no mortgage, the warrant said.

The following year, they filed a second claim over water damage in the kitchen, submitting a receipt for plumbing work supposedly done by someone named Johnny Oru, according to an arrest warrant by Miami-Dade Detective Rebeca Perez. The detective could not find a trace of someone by that name.

Citizens wound up paying out $40,000 for that claim.

The third insurance claim came in September, when Diaz de Villegas was out of town, and his now-ex wife said she found yet another leak on the second story. He later went to police to say she had forged his signature to endorse three settlement checks from Citizens totaling over $25,000.

But Diaz de Villegas later admitted he knew the documents submitted “on his behalf” were phony and yet he never notified Citizens. “On the contrary, he continued with the claims process and benefited financially from the fraud,” Detective Perez wrote in the warrant.