Miami blogger on crusade against cop

Carlos Miller

Nowadays, it seems that anybody who has an issue with cops has launched a blog.

There is that guy in Phoenix who got raided. That woman in Virginia who got raided.

And a few of us who have not been raided. Yet.

The latest to emerge on the scene is a blogger from Miami who has dedicated his blog to a single cop from the Miami-Dade Police Department.

The cop’s name is Jorge Baluja and he is the subject of The Straw Buyer blog, which was launched a little over a month ago.

The blogger, who is remaining anonymous, claims that Baluja botched an investigation into mortgage fraud last year that resulted in the arrest of three people, including a Miami attorney.

The lawyer, Delaila Estefano, along with John Romney and Michael Martinez, are accused of using identity theft to obtain a mortgage to buy a house for three times more than it was paid for less than a week earlier.

The man whose identity was allegedly stolen is named Bernardo Barreira.

Here is the Miami Herald’s article on the arrest.

The Straw Buyer believes that Barreira is the guilty party in this case even though he is being listed as the victim. The blogger also claims that Barreira has not only has committed mortgage fraud in the past, but has also reported his identity stolen in a previous unrelated case, which in his opinion, only proves his guilt in the latter case.

Baluja, who was assigned to the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Mortgage Fraud Task Force at the time of the arrest, has since been transferred to  the auto theft department, which the blogger claims is a demotion.

The blogger also points out that Baluja also botched a previous investigation involving an auto collision in 2003 in which the Miami-Dade Independent Review Panel recommend he get more training.

Matt Meltzer, my colleague at Miami Beach 411, wrote about that incident recently.

And the blogger claims that Baluja botched his own mortgage, making him unqualified to conduct a proper investigation into any alleged mortgage fraud.

And in that post, the blogger even goes as far as posting a photo of what is supposedly Baluja’s house, which if you remember, that is what got prompted police to arrest a Virginia blogger.

However, he did not list the address and he simply used a Google Images photo instead of taking it himself.

And finally, the blogger claims that Baluja has missed the last four depositions regarding the mortgage fraud case, which you would think would place him in contempt of court. But police officers apparently have their own rules.

The blogger has been persistent in notifying local bloggers and journalists about his crusade and it is likely that Baluja is well aware of its existence.

So don’t be surprised if you hear about another raid on another blogger in the near future.


Citizen Journalism