Crime and Safety

Former Hialeah firefighter is accused of earning hundreds of thousands of dollars by selling American Heart Association certificates to recipients

Hialeah, Florida – An ex-firefighter from Hialeah was taken into custody by police after it was alleged that he made tens of thousands of dollars by selling certifications from the American Heart Association to people who didn’t have the necessary training to use them.

The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office announced on Friday that 60-year-old Carlos Ernesto Rojas was arrested on a charge of participating in an organized plan to defraud.

Prosecutors suspect that Rojas, a retired firefighter from the City of Hialeah with 20 years of experience with the department, issued more than 14,500 certificates on behalf of the AHA throughout the year 2021 at a cost of $60 each card. Rojas worked for the department for the entirety of his career.

According to the authorities, he may have made more than 870,000 dollars over that time period.

Rojas held AHA instructor qualifications in a variety of areas pertaining to the preservation of life, including basic life support and pediatric advance life support, amongst others.

The investigation was initiated after 14 individuals who had been offered jobs or promotions by Jackson Health Systems contacted Rojas seeking training. Rojas was the one who prompted the investigation.

According to the allegations made by these individuals, they paid Rojas a total of $1,140.00 for the required courses with the expectation that they would receive training in return. However, the training never took place.

Instead, they are reported to have gotten electronic documents from Rojas stating that they successfully completed a course or that they participated in the course, according to the authorities.

An undercover cop visited Rojas after the claims were made, and for the sum of sixty dollars, the officer acquired certification in basic life support without receiving any training from Rojas, according to the officials.

The investigation is ongoing, and additional charges might be brought, according to the authorities.

“Falsification of any certification always has the potential of placing people in danger,” State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said in a statement. “However, falsifications of training in life-saving techniques creates an obvious risk if a life-or-death situation arises, something these certifications were intended to avoid.” “I admire the effort that has been done by the Miami-Dade Police Department in putting an end to this nearly undetectable threat, and I am confident that my prosecutors will swiftly bring this case before the judges of our criminal courts.”

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