Alejandra Apraez spent eight months planning her wedding, with much of the attention focused on the flowers.
Alejandra Apraez: "My flowers were blue orchids, which I wanted, which are very rare. Everything had flowers, basically." (laughs)
Alejandra talked to us via Skype from Seattle, where she now lives. She is from Miami, and her wedding was here. The florist, a woman who identified herself as Carolina Diaz, met with Alejandra several times and was charging $970 for the wedding flowers.
Alejandra Apraez: "The checks were Carolina Diaz. The bank copies, it shows she signed as Carolina Diaz when she cashed the checks."
Then, on the day of the wedding, Alejandra got worried.
Alejandra Apraez: "'Hey, Carolina, where are you?' [She said], 'I am on my way; I will be there in five minutes."
But the florist never showed up. A friend ran out and got Alejandra and the bridesmaids bouquets, but no flowers at the church, no flowers at the reception. Alejandra's wedding was ruined.
Alejandra Apraez: "It did, it almost did. I planned everything around those flowers. It may be kind of superficial, but the flowers to me were what was bringing everything to life."
No one was able to get in contact with Carolina Diaz. Then, after Alejandra and her husband had left for their honeymoon, an e-mail came from Diaz's account:
"My daughter died, the 3rd of May at 1:45 from a heart attack when I was driving towards delivery of your job."
Was that Carolina's mother letting them know Carolina was dead? Was it Carolina letting them know her daughter died? Either way, there was no record of Diaz or her daughter dying that day. And after that e-mail, Carolina Diaz's floral website shut down and no one answered her phone. Then, a few months later, Alejandra's cousin Angela discovered that a Carolina Diaz was once again advertising her floral skills for weddings.
Angela Mejia: "Anger, yeah, cause she is still doing it."
Angela wanted to know if it was the same Carolina Diaz, so she set up a meeting with the florist who the family thought was dead, telling her she wanted to talk about floral arrangements for a wedding. They met for coffee on Biscayne Boulevard. Alejandra's mother sat in a car beside us, watching.
Patrick Fraser: "You are the mother of the bride. Is that Carolina Diaz?
Elizabeth Larios: "Of course she is; yes, she is. She came to my home the first time to show the flowers."
A few days later the woman once again met with Angela, thinking she was going to get a deposit for flowers. Instead, she got to meet us.
Patrick Fraser: "Carolina, my name is Patrick Fraser from Channel 7. I met a girl by the name Alejandra Apraez. Do you remember her?"
Carolina Diaz: (shaking her head) No."
Elizabeth could not believe that this woman said she had never heard of Alejandra.
Elizabeth Larios (translation from Spanish): "And you never appeared the day of the wedding. You stole the money! You robbed us!"
Carolina Diaz (translation from Spanish): "No, ma'am. I have not robbed anyone."
And I wanted to know whose idea was it to use a death as the reason for not delivering flowers.
Patrick Fraser: "Do you know who sent this e-mail that says you died? You don't know who sent that?"
Carolina Diaz: "No."
The woman who introduced herself as Carolina Diaz, the woman who Alejandra says didn't show up for her wedding, got up and left, leaving Angela fuming.
Angela Media: "She doesn't care. She just disappears, takes the money and that's it."
We then tracked Diaz down again. She didn't want to talk on camera but said there were no deaths in her family, that another florist she knew impersonated her, hacked into her e-mail account and sent the phony death information. When we told her that Alejandra and her mother both said she was the woman they met with, she said they were mistaken, but she'd make sure the impersonator returned Alejandra's money.
A few days later, she did come to Channel 7 with $500 in cash for Alejandra, and said she would return the rest of the money later in November. Back in Seattle, the money can't replace what was missing for Alejandra on her wedding day.
Alejandra Apraez: "Why did you do that? Why did you ruin someone's day, such a special day, for such a low amount of money."
In a wedding they always say, till death do us part. In this one, a claim of death certainly played an incredible part. I'm Patrick Fraser, 7News.
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