“Opa-locka Hialeah is the place to go,” goes the familiar jingle. “It’s more than just a market, it’s a great big” center of food stamp fraud, apparently. Multiple agencies raided the iconic Opa-locka Hialeah Flea Market this afternoon and 22 shop owners ended up being indicted. Some were hauled off in zip-tie handcuffs for participating in a widespread scheme that involved exchanging food stamps for cash.
Stealing someone’s identity to become a dinner cruise ship captain might be easier than actually going through the training — but the latter, at least, doesn’t end with a ten-year prison sentence hanging over your head. Cynthia Lyerla has been arrested for using the stolen identity of a dead woman for more than 20 years in order to obtain a mariner’s license and Transportation Security Administration documentation — and also to get paid to live in vacationers’ paradise.
Patricia Perez-Gonzalez, 26, and her boyfriend, Alberto Companioni, 31, were living a life of extravagance in the stereotypical way some outsiders think all Miamians live. But it turns out they may have been funding that opulent lifestyle with a complex criminal operation of credit card fraud.
Beginning in 2014, the couple stole people’s personal information to obtain American Express personal cards, prosecutors say. The victims were primarily senior citizens, and the duo would have the cards sent to random locations. They racked up charges on luxury vacations, designer clothes, and exotic cars.