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’OPERATION TITLE WASH’ A CLEAN SWEEP

BSO Case Number: BS01-08-662
PIO Number: 02-3-34
Date: March 20, 2002
Place of Occurrence: Deerfield Auto Tag Agency, 1600 W. Hillsboro Blvd., Deerfield Beach

Victim(s):

  • State of Florida

Suspect(s):

  • (1) Justus R. Peeler, 35, 4/22/66 (2) Jacqueline D. Twiggs, 39, 3/6/63 (3) Cheryl
  • Lynn Keough, 35, 3/18/67 (4) Christine Yvon Diaz, 19, 2/22/83 (5) Dulce M. Garcia,
  • 34, 11/17/67 (6) Johanna Diaz 18, 9/10/83

Description of Incident:

Investigators from the Broward Sheriff's Office Strategic Investigations Division Auto Theft Task Force, along with Auto Theft Task Force members from the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Miami-Dade Police, and Boca Raton Police have closed a Deerfield Beach auto tag agency and arrested several of its staff.

A yearlong investigation came to a head at around 2:00 pm on Wednesday, March 20, 2002 when the task force members raided the privately owned Deerfield Auto Tag Agency inside the North Regional Courthouse at 1600 West Hillsboro Boulevard.

Task Force members say for at least two to three years, the suspects would charge anywhere from $50.00 to $300.00 to produce legitimate-looking titles for stolen or illegally obtained vehicles. For example, one could take a stolen car, put a new and made-up VIN plate on the dashboard, and then get a title made up to match the fake VIN. In another example, one could purchase a used vehicle for tens of thousands of dollars, go to Deerfield Auto Tag, and pay only hundreds to get a new title instead of paying a thousand dollars or more that it would cost if done legitimately.

Over the course of the illegal operation, investigators estimate the state of Florida may have lost millions of dollars in vehicle tag and title revenue.

Those arrested in ‘Operation Title Wash’ face nearly 200 counts ranging from title fraud to criminal use of a person’s ID information. Several more arrests are pending and task force members have so far recovered 12 of the 44 targeted vehicles involved in the title fraud.

Deerfield Auto Tag Agency, which is now closed, was a privately owned business acting as a contractor to the state of Florida.

INVESTIGATORS: BSO SID Auto Theft Task Force, PBSO Auto Theft Task Force, Miami-Dade PD Auto Theft Task Force, Boca Raton PD Auto Theft Task Force,
THIS REPORT BY: Hugh Graf/PIO 3/21/02 12:30 pm

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