Beach Cop Arrested on Racketeering Charges

September 12, 2012

A veteran police officer was arrested and appeared at his bond hearing last week. George Navarro, Jr. surrendered last week and is facing charges of racketeering, fraud and official misconduct. His initial bond was set at $150,000. The Miami criminal lawyer representing Navarro filed a motion for bond reduction which was granted in part by the judge. After hearing argument from the prosecutor and defense attorney, the judge presiding over the bond hearing reduced the amount to $88,000. Navarro's lawyer argued that he had been an exemplary and extraordinary police officer and that his professional record merited the reduction. Before posting the bond, Navarro was required to surrender his passport and any other travel documents that he had in his possession.

Each county in the State of Florida has standard bonds for certain offense. Bonds in Miami-Dade County range from $500 to $500,000 depending on the charges making up the arrest. The largest bond requirements are generally found in drug trafficking and large-scale fraud cases. Not only are bonds extraordinarily high in those cases, but almost always are accompanied by what is known as a "Nebbia" requirement. Simply put, a defendant with assistance of his defense lawyer, must prove to the prosecutor and the judge that the money for the bond, both the premium and the collateral, do not come from illegal proceeds. Once the bond has been posted and the "Nebbia" requirement has been satisfied, a defendant will be released from custody pending the conclusion of the case.

The arrest warrant alleges that Navarro was involved with several other individuals in a fraud scheme involving the buying and leasing of automobiles. He is specifically accused of providing false information on his credit application to buy a car at Lexis of North Miami. He is accused of defaulting on the loan and falsely reporting that he was a victim of grand theft of a motor vehicle. He is also accused of being a member of a ring of individuals that purchase or lease cars, report them stolen, and then sell the cars in whole or in parts. Pending the investigation, Navarro remained on duty, but at the time of the arrest he was relieved of duty, but still receiving pay.

The defendant is the son of former Miami Beach Police Chief George Navarro, Sr. Sr. was the lead homicide detective in the infamous Gianni Versace murder case. He also investigated the suicide of the alleged murderer, Andrew Cunanan. He is currently employed by Miami Beach as the city's emergency manager. The current Miami Beach police chief said that it is the job of his department to weed out corruption. While the police chief's words are an encouraging sign, the department has a long way to go before correcting its problems.

Miami Beach Officer Arrested on Racketeering Charges Bonds Out of Jail, CBSlocal.com, September 6, 2012.