Car dealer employee forged signature to score commission, cops say

Sofia Pinedo, a finance manager at Tropical Chevrolet in Miami Shores, was arrested Thursday, charged with forging someone’s signature on a document for a car purchase worth more than $50,000.

MIAMI SHORES, Fla. – A finance manager at a South Florida car dealership is accused of forging the signature of a woman who never agreed to co-sign on the purchase of a vehicle, so she could earn a commission.

Sofia Pinedo, 31, was arrested Thursday, charged with forging someone’s signature on a document for a car purchase worth more than $50,000.

Pinedo works as a finance manager at Tropical Chevrolet in Miami Shores.

On Sept. 20, a man came in to buy a car and his credit wasn’t good enough to buy it on his own, so he used his ex-girlfriend as a co-signer, investigators say.

Both of their signatures are on the documents, but the man’s ex said she never agreed to co-sign, never went to the dealership and never signed any documents.

In Pinedo’s arrest report, police say that the victim provided two notarized documents with her signature on them and that those signatures clearly don’t match the one on the documents provided by the dealership.

Police also checked license plate readers in Miami Shores and on expressways across South Florida, and found no sign of the victim’s vehicle entering the area on Sept. 30. In fact, the victim’s boss confirmed she was at work that day in Cape Coral, on the other side of the state.

So, how did her signature get on those documents?

Police say Pinedo told the man she would send the documents to his ex for her to sign but instead forged the signature herself and submitted them, because she earned a commission on every car she helped sell.

Detectives say that when they asked Pinedo about it, she lied, saying ”the defendant advised the victim was present and signed the documents in front of her.”

Tropical Chevrolet says it is taking this situation seriously and cooperating with the investigation. They say Pinedo has been an employee there for six years and has been placed on leave as the investigation plays out.

“We have recently learned of an alleged falsified identification used in the purchase of a vehicle several months ago from our dealership,” Tropical Chevrolet General Manager Daniel Sanguilly said in a statement. “We are cooperating with authorities fully and conducting our own investigation. In the meantime, the employee who has been identified with financing the transaction has been placed on a leave of absence while the investigation continues. We pride ourselves on providing great vehicles and have placed literally tens of thousands of individuals in cars without incident. We are taking it very seriously and responding accordingly but we cannot comment further as it could compromise the investigation.”

Police are investigating whether Pinedo has done this on other deals before. If convicted, she could face a minimum of 10 years in prison.

About the Author:

Ian Margol joined the Local 10 News team in July 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Born in Miami Beach and raised in Broward County, Ian is thrilled to be back home in South Florida.