Attorney General Bondi's Weekly Briefing
Synthetic drugs cause hallucinations, paranoia, seizures, and more. These dangerous drugs are being marketed to our youth with bright packages and innocuous names, such as “scooby snax."
Since taking office, I have worked with the Florida Legislature each legislative session to add dangerous synthetic compounds to the Schedule I of controlled substances. This legislative session, I am working with bill sponsors, Senator Rob Bradley and Representative Clay Ingram, and the Florida Legislature to add an additional six synthetic substances to the Schedule I of controlled substances, making it a third-degree felony for an individual to “sell, manufacture, or deliver, or possess with intent to sell, manufacture or deliver" these dangerous drugs. Additionally, we are working to add three extremely lethal synthetic compounds, which are commonly found in the street drug “molly,” to the trafficking statute. On Wednesday, the Controlled Substances Bill passed the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee.
I encourage anyone who sees synthetic drugs being sold on store shelves in Florida to contact their local law enforcement agency immediately. We will continue to do whatever it takes to protect Floridians from these dangerous substances.
In closing, my prayers are with the family and friends of Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy Jonathan Scott Pine who was killed this week in the line of duty. He is a true hero who died protecting his community.
17,000 Telephone Charges Settlement Refund Claim Forms Mailed This Week
Attorney General Bondi announced that claim forms have been mailed to more than 17,000 Florida consumers who were allegedly billed for unauthorized charges on their telephone bills by DADATA, Inc., a Pinellas County-based company, and its client companies. In December, Attorney General Bondi announced a settlement with DADATA, Inc. and others resolving allegations that they charged customers' telephone bills for voicemail, e-fax, and other services without the customers’ consent. The agreement requires the companies to refund all charges billed since July 1, 2009 to eligible Florida customers who did not consent to the service for which they were charged. Refunds may total approximately $2.3 million depending on the number of claims made. Individual refund checks are estimated to average $134, and they may be as high as $700. Claim forms must be submitted by April 12. More
Lee County Man Arrested for Elder Abuse
Attorney General Pam Bondi announced that the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a former Lee County respiratory therapist at HealthPark Medical Center on battery charges. According to the investigation, Peter Bernat allegedly abused a 68-year-old intensive care unit patient by severely bending his fingers back resulting in a bone fracture in his hand, while the man’s arms were restrained. The Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit’s investigation led to the MFCU issuing a warrant for the arrest.
Bernat was charged with battery on a person over the age of 65, a third-degree felony. If convicted, he faces a minimum term of three years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. The case will be prosecuted by the Lee County State Attorney’s Office.
In addition to investigating Medicaid fraud, the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigates abuse, neglect and exploitation of elderly or disabled persons in health care facilities. The Patient Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation (PANE) Team plays a key role in helping to ensure that efficient and effective health care is being provided.
University of South Florida Bulls Day at the Capitol
On Tuesday, Attorney General Bondi visited with members of the University of South Florida Student Government, including Solicitor General Shaheen Nouri, Brandi Arnold, Senate President Pro-Tempore Adam Aldridge, and Deputy Chief Financial Officer Justin Lengyel. Attorney General Bondi is an alumna of the University of South Florida.
Pam Olsen, Director of the International House of Prayer
Also on Tuesday, Attorney General Bondi visited with Pam Olsen, Director of the International House of Prayer.
Hillsborough County Medical Association
Attorney General Bondi spoke to members of the Hillsborough County Medical Association on Tuesday, and she thanked them for their commitment to enhancing health care in our communities.
Bob Graham Leadership Series at the University of Florida
On Thursday, Attorney General Bondi spoke at the Bob Graham Leadership Series at the University of Florida Bob Graham Center for Public Policy. Former UF Provost and Senior Vice President Dr. David Colburn and UF Law School Dean Bob Jerry hosted the event. Dean Jerry honored Attorney General Bondi as an "Honorary Law Gator."