Group accused in Hialeah insurance fraud scheme forgot 1 thing, police say, Chris Gothner, August 2, 2023

HIALEAH, Fla. – At least four people are suspected of defrauding auto insurance companies out of nearly $48,000 after staging a car crash in Hialeah, according to police.

The bogus crash happened on the morning of Aug. 15, 2022, at West 10th Avenue and 30th Street, police said.

But, according to arrest reports obtained by Local 10 News on Wednesday, social media photos posted about a month before the wreck caught the attention of insurance investigators.

The four suspects facing multiple felony charges in the case are:

Alejandro Pardo Ares, 29, of Hollywood; arrested Saturday

Alfredo Santi Ares, 23, of Miami Gardens; arrested Tuesday

Amaury Vazquez Hernandez, 46, of Hialeah Gardens; arrested July 24

Annie Zaballa Hernandez, 30, of Hollywood; arrest date unavailable

Police said Vazquez Hernandez and Pardo Ares were the drivers in the crash.

According to the arrest reports, far from being strangers who met through a mishap on the road, insurance investigators found Facebook and Instagram posts, including one on July 6, 2022, showing “both parties had known each other prior to the collision.”

Insurance investgiators brought their evidence to Hialeah police about five months later on Dec. 12.

Vazquez Hernandez, police said, has a history of being flagged as a “fraudulent and suspicious driver,” so, knowing that if he filed any claims, they would be denied, involved Pardo Ares in the scheme in exchange for a kickback from whatever the insurance companies paid out.

Investigators said the damage to both vehicles were inconsistent with the claims and said that Vazquez Hernandez claimed to be unaware that his Kia was equipped with a collision avoidance system.

The reports state that body camera footage taken after police responded to the staged crash showed that none of the parties involved reported any injuries at the time. However, Pardo Ares and Zaballa Hernandez, despite living in Hollywood, claimed to have been traveling to Miami via Uber or Lyft to receive “treatment” at what police described as a “very suspicious clinic” that has been previously flagged.

Police said the two filed a total of $47,822 worth of fraudulent claims.

Experts say insurance fraud is one of the reasons Floridians pay 37% more on auto insurance than the average American.