Miami Cop Charged With Running Ponzi Scheme, Arrested Fleeing Country

City of Miami Police Officer Dermis Hernandez casually tried to board a plane yesterday en route from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport to Costa Rica. He nearly made it.

But instead, federal officials say, he was arrested just before boarding the flight for running a Ponzi scheme while working as a cop. According to federal prosecutors, the 41-year-old had sold multiple investors on a Costa Rican investment scheme. In reality, the feds say, Hernandez was living off the funds and using new investments to pay off the people he'd previously fleeced.

He's been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, which could carry up to 20 years in prison. Officials say both the FBI and Hernandez's own department worked together to investigate him. The feds say he told investors he was collecting money to loan to Costa Rican property owners, who would then repay the money with a huge lump of interest on top.

"In truth, Hernandez and his co-conspirators used the majority of investor funds for personal enrichment and to pay the returns of other investors," federal officials announced today.

Newly minted Miami Police Chief Jorge Colina will hold a news conference later today to release more details about the case:

At the moment, not much else is known about the scheme, including how much money Hernandez wound up swiping from his alleged victims.

This isn't the first time the cop has been accused of breaking the law.

Civilian Investigative Panel (CIP) documents show Hernandez was accused of sexual misconduct in 2009. On February 14, 2009, an alleged victim told MPD's internal affairs unit that Hernandez arrested her and another woman at Club Space for underage drinking — and claimed Hernandez offered to let them off the hook if he could take them to a hotel room to watch the two women have sex. Internal affairs dropped the case after the complainant withdrew her claim — she later filed a separate complaint with the CIP but then failed to return phone calls from investigators.

City documents also show he was suspended for 40 hours in September 2012 for an unspecified infraction.

Hernandez's arrest comes three weeks after another MPD officer, Adrian Santos, was charged with cocaine possession for allegedly snorting coke on-camera inside the popular downtown nightclub E11even.

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