Convicted felon with fraud history faces 2 more cases in Miami-Dade

Police officers arrested Michel Santana on Wednesday in Miami-Dade County. (MDCR)

MIAMI – A 43-year-old man — who has been in and out of Florida prison for fraud — was arrested yet again in Miami-Dade County for two new cases while on probation that was set to end in 2024, records show.

Michel Santana, also known as Michael Santos, appeared in front of Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Victoria S. Sigler wearing an orange jumpsuit on Thursday to face six charges. He had to surrender his earrings and chains when corrections officers booked him on Wednesday night at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.

Santana’s probation while living in Miami-Dade’s West Little River neighborhood, near Gladeview, stems from a March 2021 case of fraud, state records show. But his criminal record in Dade goes back to when he was 23 years old and a police officer arrested him for trespassing, but the case was dropped.

When he was 27 years old, in Escambia County, detectives had two cases against him. One was for trafficking in stolen property and grand theft, and the other was for four counts of credit card fraud. He was convicted and sentenced to one year, one month, and 17 days in prison.

State records show he was in the custody of the Florida Department of Corrections for about 10 months in 2009, and he went back to prison about two years later.

Michel Santana served two prison sentences in Florida from 2009 to 2013. (FDOT)

When he was 31 years old, in Lee County, detectives arrested him for fraud again.

Santana was convicted of five counts of credit card fraud, five counts of unauthorized use of ID, and two counts of fraudulent use of a personal ID. A Lee County judge sentenced him to one year and one month in prison. He marked his 32nd and 33rd birthdays while in the custody of the FDOC from Nov. 3, 2011, to Jan. 12, 2013.

Santana was in Miami-Dade when he was arrested again twice in 2015 for aggravated battery and grand theft, court records show. There were also arrests for possession of a controlled substance in 2016 and aggravated assault in 2018. Prosecutors dropped the cases.

In 2019, Santana was arrested twice for two cases in Miami-Dade. Prosecutors dropped the charges of possession or use of an ID in fraud and dealing in stolen property, but he was convicted and sentenced to credit for time served on the charges of battery on a law enforcement officer, and resisting an officer without violence.

In 2021, Santana had two more cases in Miami-Dade.

Police officers accused him of aggravated assault with a firearm, domestic battery, and battery with a prior conviction, but those charges were dropped. That same year, he was arrested for possession or use of an ID in fraud, obtaining a vehicle by trick, second-degree grand theft of more than $20,000 and less than $100,000, and organized fraud of $50,000 or more.

Santana was convicted and Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Ariel Rodriguez sentenced him to a two-year probation that began on May 2, 2022, county court and state correction records show. Rodriguez is presiding over the new Miami-Dade cases.

On Thursday, Santana was facing two counts of an organized scheme to defraud, two counts of second-degree grand theft of more than $20,000 and less than $100,000, and two counts of fraudulent use of ID info in fraud of more than $5,000, Miami-Dade records show.

Detectives were asking anyone with information about the cases to call Miami-Dade County Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.

Raw video: Santana appears in court

About the Author:

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.