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Fort Myers Criminal Law Blog

White collar crimes: 70-year-old man pleads guilty to fraud

Along with 11 others, a Florida man pleaded guilty in federal court to his role in a $63 million fraud scheme. Authorities say these white collar crimes were conducted between Jan. 2006 and June 2012. The scheme involved a mental health clinic in Miami that no longer exists.

The 70-year-old Boca Raton man admitted in court that he referred individuals in Miami Dade to report to the mental health clinic. He admitted that these people did not need the treatment for which he referred them. He further admitted to receiving money in exchange for these referrals -- the total estimated to be between $9.5 and $25 million. 

How police can overstep their boundaries during traffic stops

Sirens in your rearview mirror make your heart jump, and fortunately, many times, they are meant for another driver. However, once in a while, you could be the one who gets pulled over.

Police pull drivers over for many reasons, including a broken light, suspected speeding or unsafe driving. Sometimes, these stops proceed as they should, but other times, police overstep their boundaries. Here is a look at several ways how. 

Burglar arrested for the credit card fraud he reported

A twisted tale was unraveled after Florida police arrested a suspected burglar in Fort Lauderdale recently. What started as a burglary investigation led to credit card fraud charges against a man and a woman. According to a police report, the man said he saw evidence of credit card manufacturing at a home he had allegedly broken into.

Police say they revisited the house but pretended to seek more information about the burglary. The homeowner led them through the house where police say they saw many debit and credit cards along with gift cards and prepaid store cards in plain view in different areas of the home. They arrested the woman after also finding an embossing machine for card making and a large number of merchandise valued at thousands of dollars allegedly paid for with fraudulent cards.

DUI charges filed against Florida woman on horse back

An unusual case is unfolding in Florida that involves a Polk County horse owner. According to the sheriff's office, a call came in to report a horse with a seemingly confused rider on a busy road in Lakeland on a recent Thursday afternoon. Deputies responded and pulled over the horse rider. She was arrested for DUI, and she is also facing a misdemeanor charge of animal neglect.

The sheriff alleges the 53-year-old woman's eyes were watery, she staggered and they could smell alcohol on her breath. According to the arrest record, the results of a breath-alcohol test indicated a level more than double the allowed legal limit. The sheriff claims she endangered the lives of herself, her horse and other road users.

Seniors face higher risk of receiving of DUI charges

There is a common misconception that older people do not have to worry about DUIs because they do not drink as much alcohol as younger motorists. Unfortunately, seniors in the Fort Myers and Cape Cod areas and across the country are just as likely to receive DUI charges. They may have more driving experience and cause fewer accidents, but their age makes it easier for alcohol to remain in their bodies longer, increasing the risk of them driving while impaired. 

Possession and other charges filed against mother, 2 daughters

Florida law enforcement in Charlotte County recently executed a search warrant at a residence in Port Charlotte. The circumstances that led to obtaining the warrant are unknown. A report by the sheriff's office indicates that upon entering the home, detectives found a 23-year-old mother in bed along with two young children. A body search purportedly yielded some Dilaudid pills and a syringe in her possession. More syringes, opiate residue coated spoons, a rope along with a small quantity of marijuana were allegedly found in her bedroom as well.

Detectives say the young woman's mother was also present and upon a search of her bedroom, they allegedly found significant amounts of Dilaudid pills, zip lock baggies, Suboxone and a spoon and baggie containing methamphetamine residue. During the search, the woman's other daughter arrived at the house. Officers arrested this 24-year-old woman for possession of drug-related paraphernalia and the sale and delivery of controlled substances.

Juvenile crimes: Civil citations underutilized

Lawmakers in Florida and across the country believe that prison and the company of adult criminals are not the best places for children. Their opinion is that aberrant behavior in most minors can be rehabilitated if caught at a young age. For that reason, accusations of juvenile crimes are treated in a different way than charges for adults under the criminal justice system.

The juvenile justice system suggests that juvenile offenders should receive civil citations rather than being arrested for less serious crimes. These include typical youth misbehavior, petty theft, minor alcohol and drug offenses and fighting. It is suggested that community service and letters of apology to victims may be sufficient.

County alleges employee committed white collar crimes for 9

Following a forensic audit, a 57-year-old Florida woman was fired from her job with the Okaloosa County's Water and Sewer Department in May. Although the investigation is ongoing, the woman was recently charged with various white collar crimes. According to the county's Inspector General, the audit revealed 83 billing irregularities that allegedly occurred from April 2008 through February this year, benefiting three contractors in the majority of the cases.

Other charges include grand theft, unlawful compensation and communications fraud. Authorities allege the crimes involved over $223,000 in total. They say witnesses have reported hearing conversations by the defendant and having conversations with her that indicated fraudulent actions. One claims to have seen cash being exchanged in one such a transaction, and another witness says the accused woman explained to her how she went about using old log books to allocate unused water meter numbers and collecting the cash for it.

Driver accused of hit and run, DUI with children in car

The Florida Highway Patrol arrested a driver in Volusia County on a recent Tuesday. It was alleged that the man was involved in a hit-and-run incident. He was also accused of DUI with children in his vehicle. According to an official report, witnesses saw the man leaving the scene of an accident.

Reportedly, a witness claims to have followed the driver and then provided officials with the vehicle's license plate number. Police later pulled the accused driver over and say that he smelled of alcohol. Police noticed three children in the van and claimed the driver walked away to be with the children while the police were reading him his Miranda rights. They say he consented, then refused to submit to a field sobriety test.

Drug crimes: 8-year-old found in company of alleged drug dealers

Convictions on any charges in Florida can have a severe impact on any person's life. If they are convicted, this might also be the case for a man and woman who were arrested on a recent Saturday night. The severity of their drug crimes accusations is exacerbated by the fact that they had an 8-year-old child with them when they were allegedly involved in a drug transaction.

An arrest record indicates that a 27-year-old man and a female companion were arrested after supplying a confidential informant with crack cocaine in exchange for $200. Reportedly, this transaction took place in a parking lot around midnight on a recent Saturday. The informant who paid for the drugs claims he saw the child in the rear seat of the car when the exchange took place through the open car window.

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