Crime

Police say jail inmates conspired on insurance fraud scam

Two men who met while inmates in the Plantation Key jail conspired with a woman to make a $36,000 car "disappear" and then put in an insurance claim reporting it stolen, says the Monroe County Sheriff's Office.

Ricardo Jimenez, 48 of Cape Coral -- who was scheduled for a pretrial hearing Tuesday in a separate case -- was served with a warrant in jail Monday charging him with conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.

Tuesday, the car's owner, Caroline Madruga, 34, of Cape Coral was charged with the same thing -- as she left the Upper Keys jail after visiting Jimenez. Also charged is Amaury Medero, 40, of Miami. He wasn't in custody as of early Tuesday afternoon.

Jimenez is already awaiting trial for larceny, fleeing police, habitually driving with a suspended license and resisting arrest stemming from an attempted boat theft in May in Islamorada.

Medero was arrested in December, accused of fraud for allegedly accessing a computer without permission at Advanced Discount Auto Zone in Key Largo. He apparently pleaded guilty to one count in July and was released.

Deputy Becky Herrin provided details of the insurance case, investigated by Sheriff's Office Detective Francisco Gaete and Detective Laura Migala with the state Division of Insurance Fraud:

While in jail, Medero arranged with someone else -- the Sheriff's Office didn't say who -- to get rid of the car for Jimenez and Madruga. After he was released from the Keys jail, he picked up the car on July 22.

On Aug. 28, Madruga reported the Infinity stolen to the Lee County Sheriff's Office. The following day, she filed a stolen-car claim with 21st Century Centennial Insurance Co.

The car hasn't been found. Herrin said the case was initiated when a detective overheard a conversation between Medero and Jimenez while they were jailed.

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