U.S. Attorney: Six Defendants Charged in Arson Scheme To Collect on Home Insurance Policy

Nov 10, 2008

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida issued the press release below regarding six defendants (one still at large) charged with conspiracy to commit arson. 

A copy of the complaint filed with the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida is attached for your review.


Should you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact Colodny Fass.


Six Defendants Charged in Arson Scheme To Collect on Home Insurance Policy

R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Hugo Barrera, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and Robert Parker, Director, Miami-Dade Police Department, announced on October 24, 2008 that defendants Iraida Alvarez, Adiaris Figuerola, Alexis Perez, Erlin Oswaldo Perez, Carlos Stewart and Rosa Stewart, were charged in a criminal complaint with conspiracy to commit arson in connection with an insurance fraud scheme. Five of the six defendants were arrested; defendant Erlin Oswaldo Perez remains at large.

According to the criminal complaint, the defendants worked together during the three-month period from August to October 2008, to plan to burn a home in Sunrise, Florida, to collect the insurance proceeds. The target home’s coverage on the policy with State Farm Insurance Company amounted to almost $400,000. According to the complaint affidavit, the defendants claimed to have experience burning homes. Alexis Perez and Figuerola confirmed that they were efficient and competent at this scheme, and Figuerola bragged that they “do this all the time,” and that some fires had been used to conceal other crimes, including murder. One defendant, Alvarez, even admitted to burning down her own home in June 2007 to walk away from the mortgage and to collect the insurance proceeds. As payment for their services, the defendants would receive a total of $6,000 plus 20% of the insurance settlement.

Under the scheme, the homeowners were to retain defendant Rosa Stewart and her son, Carlos Stewart, who were employed as public adjusters at Florida Claims Experts, Inc., 16155 SW 117th Ave., #B17, Miami, FL. Rosa Stewart indicated that the fire would be started in one of the home’s bedrooms using an iron that did not have an automatic shut-off switch. On the day of the planned fire, Carlos Stewart arrived at the home with rubber gloves and an iron, but was arrested on scene before any fire was started.

Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Miami-Dade Police Department Economic Crimes Bureau, Arson Squad. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joseph B. Shumofsky.


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