Pasco fugitive arrested in Ocala

OCALA — When on the lam, it's best not to bring attention to yourself.

This was apparently not running through the mind of Eugenio Riviera — wanted for skipping bail in Pasco County — when he allegedly slammed his wife against their Ocala mobile home Tuesday evening.

Warrants for Riviera, 39, have piled up since his release four months ago from the Land O'Lakes jail. Riviera served more than a month on charges that he conned illegal immigrants out of their property and personal information while posing as a law enforcement officer.

Now, Riviera is back behind bars, this time at the Marion County Jail. He is accused of domestic battery and giving a false name to the Marion County Sheriff's Office. He was also wanted on three Pasco County warrants for failure to appear.

Pasco deputies arrested Riviera and his wife, Starann, 28, in March. The couple was charged with scheming to defraud and criminal use of personal information after several illegal immigrants said the Rivieras opened bank accounts and obtained credit in their names.

A search of the Rivieras' home revealed dozens of forged power of attorneys, along with documents Eugenio Riviera allegedly used to obtain credit in the names of numerous victims, according to a report.

Starann Riviera was released from the Land O'Lakes jail April 28. The charges against her were dropped, but the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office did not comment on why at the time. No one there could be reached for further comment Thursday.

In May, Eugenio Riviera was released on $21,500 bail. He disappeared soon after.

"He fled and never showed up for any of his hearings," said Kevin Doll, a spokesman for the Pasco Sheriff's Office.

A Pasco detective located Riviera in Ocala and worked with the Marion Sheriff's Office to arrest him.

Wednesday, in their attempts to find Riviera, deputies met his wife. She told Marion deputies that Riviera had thrown her against the side of their home the day before, after she said she was not hungry, according to the arrest report.

Deputies said the mobile home was dented from the impact.

Her husband also drew his fist back as if to punch her, Starann Riviera told deputies, but couldn't follow through because he was struck by a coughing fit.

Eugenio Riviera is at the Marion County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail. Information on whether he would be transported to Pasco County was not available Thursday.

Helen Anne Travis can be reached at htravis@sptimes.com or (813) 435-7312.

Pasco fugitive arrested in Ocala 09/04/08 [Last modified: Monday, September 8, 2008 12:54pm]

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