Attorney General Charlie Crist News Release
June 24, 2005
Contact: Jenn Meale
Phone: (850) 245-0150
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Crist: Home Invaders Who Impersonated Police Sentenced to Life, 50 Years

TALLAHASSEE - Attorney General Charlie Crist today announced the sentencing of two Miami-Dade County men for their involvement in an armed home invasion and robbery in Pembroke Park following prosecution by the Attorney General's Office of Statewide Prosecution. A Broward County judge sentenced Israel Frometa Lake, 33, to life in prison. His co-defendant, Reinaldo Diaz, 32, was previously sentenced to 50 years in prison. Both men were convicted in May of impersonating an officer, breaking into a home, and committing an armed robbery while threatening the residents of the home with deadly weapons.

On February 7, 2003, Lake and Diaz gained entry into the victims' Broward mobile home after Lake identified himself as a police officer, wearing a badge around his neck and carrying a gun holstered at his side. Once inside the mobile home, Lake pulled his gun on the victims – a man, his girlfriend and the man's elderly mother – and bound them with plastic handcuffs. The victims were placed in a small bathroom while Lake and Diaz ransacked the home, stealing money, jewelry and the man's handgun. At one point, Lake put his firearm in the man's mouth and demanded more cash and jewelry. Lake and Diaz were later identified by the victims and arrested. At the time of his arrest, Lake had a handgun, badge and plastic handcuffs similar to those used in the robbery.

"The crimes these two men committed were nothing short of horrific," said Crist. "They abused the notion of trust placed in law enforcement officers, and terrorized individuals and families. The courts made wise choices in removing these criminals from the communities of South Florida."

Lake and Diaz were found guilty by a jury of armed burglary with assault and battery, two counts of armed robbery and two counts of armed kidnapping. Lake was also found guilty of falsely impersonating a police officer during the commission of a felony. Lake and Diaz have also been charged for similar actions in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties, with trials pending in those cases.