Miami-Dade police lieutenant, ex-wife accused in insurance fraud scheme

Lt. Alexander Diaz de Villegas is 25-year veteran of MDPD

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor, Terrell Forney - Reporter

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - Miami-Dade police Director Juan Perez took to Twitter Tuesday to announce that one of his officers had been arrested.

Lt. Alexander Diaz de Villegas and his ex-wife, Barbara Diaz de Villegas, also known as Barbara Gonzalez, are charged with organized fraud, filing false insurance claims and grand theft. 

"This serves as a reminder that we will always rigorously investigate allegations against our personnel in the pursuit of justice," Perez wrote. 

Perez also thanked the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office for assisting the department in the case.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle called Perez a "true leader."

According to an arrest warrant, Diaz de Villegas filed a police report on Oct. 31, 2016, claiming that Gonzalez, who is a licensed public adjuster in Florida, had forged his signature on several documents related to a 2015 insurance claim that had been filed for damages that occurred inside his home.

He also claimed his ex-wife forged the endorsements on several settlement checks issued by Citizens Property Insurance. 

The checks totaled more than $25,000.

According to the warrant, Diaz de Villegas told a detective assigned to his complaint that he had been out of town from Sept. 4 to Sept. 9, 2015, yet receipts dated Sept. 7, as well as forged contracts, were submitted on his behalf to Citizens in support of his claim.

Authorities said Diaz de Villegas said he discovered that the three settlement checks with his forged signature on the endorsement had been deposited into the bank account of his ex-wife's company, The Rubicon Group. 

Authorities said Diaz de Villegas later provided the detective with a "chronological order of events" about the insurance claims and admitted that he knew that fraud was being perpetrated against Citizens.

Authorities said he also admitted to knowing that documents and receipts submitted to Citizens on his behalf in support of an alleged water claim were fraudulent, "as either the date of loss was not accurate or his signature had been forged."

According to the warrant, the lieutenant never made an effort to notify Citizens about the fraud and instead benefited financially from the fraud. 

Investigators said the former couple conspired together since 2012 to file numerous deceitful claims on the home owned by the officer.

Gonzalez acted as a public adjustor on the claims, never letting on that she was married to Diaz de Villegas, authorities said.

According to the warrant, conflicting statements given to detectives, Citizens insurance agents and the money trail proved that Diaz de Villegas was in on the scheme. 

Records show that Diaz de Villegas and Gonzalez married in June 2015. Authorities said Gonzalez moved out of the lieutenant's home in April 2016 and they divorced in July 2016. 

Diaz de Villegas bonded out of jail Tuesday afternoon and covered his face as he dodged questions from reporters. His ex-wife remains behind bars. 

According to his LinkedIn profile, Diaz de Villegas has worked for the Miami-Dade Police Department for more than 25 years. 

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