Miami (April 21, 2021) – Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle and Hialeah Police Chief Sergio Velázquez announce the charging of Hialeah Police Officers Armando Perez and Ernesto Arias-Martinez with Official Misconduct and Falsifying Public Records for allegedly writing false tickets and submitting those tickets as evidence of traffic violations. Armando Perez has served 5 years with the Hialeah Police Department and Ernesto Arias-Martinez is a 3 1/2-year member of the department. The victims of the alleged false tickets received multiple traffic citations without ever having knowledge of having committed a traffic violation.
“Honesty and integrity must always be central values of every effective police agency,” said State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. “When police officers create false traffic tickets, as we are alleging happened here, they damage the reputation of their own department and the reputations of every police officer working to serve our Miami-Dade community. In the case of Hialeah Officers Perez and Arias-Martinez, we are alleging that their actions were not errors or mistakes, but crimes. The Hialeah Police Department deserves credit for working diligently to uncover and correct the actions of these two officers.”
One victim “officially” received 18 citations on February 13, 2020, and then received 6 others the following day, all allegedly without his knowledge or without his ever having received a tangible citation. The victim recalled being stopped by Hialeah motorcycle officers, being asked for his vehicle’s documents, and then being told he would receive a citation in the mail. No actual traffic citation allegedly ever appeared. Mail solicitations for legal representation in traffic court led to the victim’s discovery of the situation and he contacted the Hialeah Police Department.
An audit was conducted of the officers’ activities from January 1, 2020, to June 8, 2020. During the audit, 8 additional alleged victims were discovered with similar patterns of citation activity being indicated. In some cases, false names were allegedly used in writing the “official” citations combined with actual information taken from the targeted vehicle drivers.
Armando Perez has been charged with:
• 5 counts of Official Misconduct – 3rd Degree Felony
• 5 counts of Falsifying Public Records – 1st Degree Misdemeanor
Ernesto Arias-Martinez has been charged with:
• 4 counts of Official Misconduct – 3rd Degree Felony
• 4 counts of Falsifying Public Records – 1st Degree Misdemeanor
For media availability, please call the Office of the State Attorney at 305-547-0535.###
For more information, contact Ed Griffith, Public Information Officer, at (305) 547-0535 and EdGriffith@MiamiSAO.com.