Arson, hit-and-run, fentanyl poisoning? What we know about allegations against Sergio Pino

Pino’s wife claims her estranged husband is “the only possible suspect” who would have poisoned her

Inside Poison Allegations, FBI Investigation into Sergio Pino
Sergio Pino (center) with Tatiana Pino and 142 Isla Dorada Boulevard (YouTube, Google Maps, Facebook)

Prominent South Florida homebuilder Sergio Pino has been accused of poisoning his wife with fentanyl and bath salts, as the FBI investigates whether Pino had one of his part-time employees target his wife and her sister.

Sergio Pino is founder and president of Century Homebuilders Group, which considers itself the largest Hispanic-owned homebuilder in the country, with more than 16,000 completed homes. A former president of the Latin Builders Association and ex-vice chairman of U.S. Century Bank’s board of directors, Pino, is also a major Republican donor. 

The explosive allegations, included in depositions in the couple’s divorce, and the FBI investigation became public last week after the FBI raided Pino’s waterfront Cocoplum estate and his Coral Gables office, the Miami Herald first reported.

Pino’s wife, Tatiana Pino, filed for divorce in 2022, court records show. 

She began having unexplained health problems in 2019 that persisted until she moved out of their home in 2022. She stopped breathing, was found with foam coming out of her mouth, and had bouts of diarrhea, according to her deposition. She went to local hospitals that included Mercy Hospital, South Miami Hospital and Doctors Hospital, as well as traveled to the Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins Hospital. 

It was at Johns Hopkins where an epidemiologist found fentanyl in her system, Tatiana said in a deposition recorded in December. Additional testing also revealed bath salts in her medication. 

Her estranged husband was “the only possible suspect” who would have poisoned her, said Tatiana Pino, 55. 

In a deposition, Sergio Pino, 67, denied that he poisoned his wife. He did not respond to a request for comment. 

His divorce attorney, Deanna Shifrin of Buckner, Shifrin, Etter, Dugan & Bradfute, wrote in a statement provided to The Real Deal that “there is absolutely no evidence to support this claim” that Sergio Pino poisoned Tatiana Pino. 

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“To be clear, Mr. Pino is devastated by attacks against him and his family and denies any suggestion that he is responsible for them,” Shifrin’s statement continues. She said that Pino has also “been the victim of threats and acts of vandalism” during the divorce. In his November 2023 deposition, he referred to one instance when he said his car was set on fire. 

In addition to the alleged poisoning, the Miami Herald confirmed that the FBI is probing whether Bayron Bennett, a part-time worker at the Pinos’ Coral Gables home, was hired by Sergio Pino to target his wife and her sister in the summer of 2022, just two months after Tatiana Pino filed for divorce. Bennett and his three accomplices are being charged with stalking Tatiana Pino. Bennett and three of them were charged with arson and a vehicle crash, according to the criminal complaint filed in March. 

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On the same day as a hearing in the divorce, Bennett rented a truck from the Coconut Grove Home Depot, court records show. 

“They waited for [Tatiana] to come back from the hearing, and they shoved it in reverse when she came into her driveway, slammed into her car and took off,” said Tatiana Pino’s attorney, Raymond Rafool, during a deposition of Sergio Pino. 

A spokesperson for the FBI declined to comment. 

Sam Rabin of Rabin & Lopez, Sergio Pino’s criminal defense attorney, said his client is cooperating with the authorities. 

“Mr. Pino was confronted with these allegations during a deposition in the divorce case and denied them as untrue and unfounded,” Rabin wrote in an email. “We are unaware of any evidence that links Mr. Pino to any of the conduct described in the allegations.” 

Court records describe issues in the couple’s marriage that predate Tatiana Pino’s illness. 

Tatiana, who met her husband when she was a senior in high school and he was about 12 years older than her, said she discovered in 2017 that her husband had been having an affair. They saw a handful of counselors, including their pastor, she said in a deposition. The divorce and the investigation into Sergio Pino are continuing, Rafool, Tatiana Pino’s attorney, told TRD. A trial tied to the couple’s prenuptial agreement is set to begin July 15.

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