Nearly a dozen people are facing charges in Miami-Dade in connection with a scheme to falsely obtain certificates required to repair building elevators, prosecutors said Thursday.
The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office said two suspects, Gabriel Alfonso and David Valles-Gomez, would take an online competency exam that’s required by the state for elevator mechanics, in exchange for a fee.
The tests were taken under the name of another person who then received a Florida Certification of Completion, allowing them to be officially certified by the state for elevator repair, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said Alfonso acted as the middleman, collecting a fee ranging between $250 to $400, of which $200 to $300 would go as payment to Valles-Gomez for taking the test.
Most of the mechanics had previously worked on elevators, escalators and moving sidewalks in areas where certification of the type required in Florida was not a requirement, prosecutors said.
But when the scheme was discovered, all work done by the mechanics on Miami-Dade County property was re-inspected by Florida Certified elevator mechanics, officials said.
“The personal safety of every individual in Miami-Dade County must always be a paramount concern. When someone tries to shortcut a public safety requirement or certification, they go out of their way to create an unnecessary risk,” Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement. “This alleged cheating scheme by trained technicians cannot and will not stand.”
In addition to Alfonso and Valles-Gomez, prosecutors charged Xael Concepcion-Vargas, Jose Cuevas-Romero, Ramon Fleitas, Marcos Garcia, Hugo Marte, Gabriel Ortiz, Jose Tirado-Blanco and Frederick Williams with charges including organized scheme to defraud and criminal cheating.