Florida Woman Nearly Had License Suspended for 6 Bogus Tickets, Officers Who Wrote Them Arrested

An internal affairs investigation found two Florida officers allegedly responsible for issuing dozens of bogus tickets to at least nine drivers in early 2020, according to court records.

In one case, a Florida woman filed a complaint after she received a letter from the state saying her license was going to be suspended because she had not paid six traffic tickets, all of which were issued on the same day. Records show she had never been pulled over.

In another, a law office asked Reicel Sosa Polo if he wanted help dealing with 10 tickets he had received. He had also never been pulled over, but remembered driving by two Hialeah motorcycle officers. He filed a complaint with the police department.

The Miami Herald reported that Hialeah officers Ernesto Arias Martinez, 23, and Armando Perez, 40, have been arrested and are facing multiple counts of official misconduct. Perez has been with the police department for five years, Arias Martinez for four.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Police Miami Florida
A Miami Beach police officer inspects the inside of a car on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, on March 22, 2021. - The US city of Miami Beach, overrun by crowds of spring break tourists throwing Covid caution to the wind, has extended a state of emergency to stem the chaos -- drawing accusations of unfairly tough tactics against mostly Black revelers. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP/Getty Images

The Herald reports the scheme fell apart when lawyers who specialize in defending drivers who get tickets started soliciting business from people who had no idea what they were talking about.

"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," Miami-Dade County State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement.

Perez's attorney, Michael Greico, said he wants to see what evidence prosecutors have. Arias Martinez's lawyers had no comment.

The officers' union distanced itself from the pair.

"As law enforcement officers, we are entrusted in protecting and serving our residents, and these alleged actions have violated the trust of the people and rightfully so," said Marlon Espinoza, president of the Hialeah Fraternal Order of Police in a statement. "We ask that our community not judge all our dedicated officers by the alleged actions of two."