Three Cops, 5 Others Arrested in Miami Corruption Probe

Charges range from theft and fraud to perjury and violating civil rights

By Brian Hamacher and Todd Wright
|  Thursday, Apr 8, 2010  |  Updated 6:40 PM EDT
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South Florida's Bad Boys - And Girls - of 2009

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Several Miami public officials, including three veteran city cops, have been busted on corruption charges, the Miami Police department announced on Thursday.

Chief Miguel Exposito said police officers Daniel Fernandez, David Valentin and Christian Alvarez-Vega have all been arrested as part of a first wave of probes by the newly formed corruption unit in the PD's Internal Affairs Division.

"This is the beginning of the end of the culture of corruption in the city of Miami," Tomas Regalado said. "This is something we promised the people of Miami."

The U.S. Attorney's Office confirmed that 12-year veteran Alvarez-Vega faces federal charges of identity theft and violating someone's civil rights for stealing someone's ATM card.

Fernandez and Valentin allegedly used their badges to intimidate people at an apartment complex the duo served as property managers for on their spare time.

Valentin, an officer for eight years, had one tenant arrested on false charges as punishment for not paying the rent. It was also an effort to show other tenants what might happen if they didn't pay up on time, sources said.

Fernandez, a 16-year vet, is also being charged with theft and official misconduct in the incident.

Alvarez-Vega, 37, allegedly responded to a car crash and took the victim's ATM card information under the guise he needed it for his report. Then, the 12-year veteran went to an ATM and pulled $460 from the victim's account.

Also arrested in the probe were: city employee Alex J. Martinez; Laura Gonzalez and Fernando Gonzalez of "Vecinos en Accion," a nonprofit group; and Johnnie Brown, grandson of famous Miami civil rights activist Georgia Akers, and Vincent Cobham, employees of the Alternative Program, a nonprofit group that dealt with community service for criminals.

Back in February, in an interview with NBCMiami, Exposito announced that arrests were coming.

“Our unit has been in operation for four weeks and we will have arrests,” Exposito said at the time, when he announced the creation of a corruption unit in the PD's Internal Affairs Division.

NBCMiami.com will update with more details as they become available.

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