Crime

FBI Arrests Six in Pirate Towing Scam

Settle down, this has nothing to do with towing on the Beach. But the FBI did just make six arrests for local towing corruption involving city of Miami police officers and public safety aids. 

In Miami, when you get into a car accident and an officer arrives on the scene you have the option of calling for your own tow truck or allowing the officer (or a public safety aid) to call a tow truck for you. If the officer calls, there's a system in place in which one of eight tow truck companies that the city has contracts with comes to retrieve your vehicle. 

Well, turns out some tow truck operators unaffiliated with those eight companies wanted a piece of the action and were bribing police officers and public safety aides to send work their way. 

According to the Miami Herald, tow truck operator Jesus Tello, Reinaldo Martin Cruz, Ronald Alfaro, and Michael Perez are accused by the FBI of conspiring to bribe public officials. Public service aides Aristides Paulino and Keri Dixon are accused of taking those bribes. However, arrests of Miami police officers may also be forthcoming, and the investigation may also eventually nab police officers and public servants in other local municipalities as well. 


The truck operators essentially promised officers and safety aids kickbacks in exchange for calling them to the scene of an accident. When a tow truck from one of the contracted companies shows up, it's the city who gets a kickback, generally $26 per tow. 

The arrests follow news in December that three Miami police officers and two other public service aides were relieved of duty under suspicion that they had taken tow truck kickbacks. 
KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Kyle Munzenrieder