PLANTATION KEY, Fla. – A Miami Lakes man was arrested after it was discovered he fraudulently claimed a homestead exemption on a Florida Keys property, even though his primary residence was in Miami-Dade County, prosecutors said.
Yusmel Bocalandro, 39, was arrested Monday by the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.
According to an arrest affidavit, Bocalandro "knowingly and willfully" gave false information so he could receive a tax exemption.
Prosecutors allege Bocalandro called the property appraiser's office Nov. 4 to inquire about receiving an exemption for his new home on Long Key. During the call, Bocalandro asked, "What if I lie?" when specifically speaking about the marital information on the application.
Later that day, prosecutors claim, Bocalandro went to the property appraiser's office on Plantation Key and turned in a completed homestead exemption application. He wrote "single" in the marital status box.
An investigation revealed that Bocalandro had gotten married in Miami-Dade County in June 2016 and owned a home with his wife in Miami Lakes, contrary to what he wrote on the application. The investigation also uncovered that his wife was receiving a homestead exemption on the Miami Lakes house.
Florida law allows a $25,000 exemption to be applied to the first $50,000 of a homeowner’s assessed property value to a primary residence.