Attorney General Bondi's Weekly Briefing
Stopping human trafficking in our state is a top priority of mine, and has been since I became Attorney General. Florida is a zero-tolerance state for this terrible crime that robs victims of their freedoms, and my office and our partners are working diligently to rescue victims and lock up the monsters who traffic them. Just this week, working with local, state and federal partners, we arrested a man charged with recruiting women online and then forcing them into the sex trade.
The facts of this case are appalling. The defendant is charged with preying on women and, in some cases, using violence to force them into sex trafficking—all while depositing large amounts of cash into his bank account. According to the investigation, the defendant recruited victims using online advertisements seeking to hire young women to work as dancers or companions. Victims who answered the ads, in some cases, were forced through violence to perform sex acts to profit the defendant.
Sadly, this is just one example of what takes place in our country every day, but working together I believe we can eliminate human trafficking and save lives. I want to thank the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Broward Sheriff's Office, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Palm Beach County Human Trafficking Task Force and the State Attorney's Office for the 15th Judicial Circuit for their partnership in this case. I look forward to continuing to work side-by-side with all stakeholders to eliminate human trafficking in Florida.
$120 Million Settlement Reached with General Motors for Defective Ignition Switch
Attorney General Pam Bondi, 48 other state attorneys general and the District of Columbia announced a $120 million consumer protection settlement with General Motors Company regarding allegations that GM concealed safety issues related to ignition-switch-related defects in GM vehicles. The settlement concludes a multistate investigation into the auto manufacturer’s failure to timely disclose known safety defects in several models of GM vehicles. More.
Lee County Man Sentenced to 20 Years for Exploiting an Elderly Person
Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit announced the sentencing of a Lee County man for exploiting an elderly relative residing in a nursing home. Last month, a jury found Ryan Todd Powers, 41, guilty on four counts of first-degree exploitation involving an elderly person. This week, the Honorable J. Frank Porter, Circuit Judge for the 20th Judicial Circuit, sentenced Powers to 20 years in prison. More.
Florida Woman Recruiting Homeless to Pose as Patients Sentenced to Years in Prison
Attorney General Pam Bondi's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit secured a prison sentence for an Orlando woman who exploited homeless men and women to commit Medicaid fraud. Christina Benson, owner of Tranquility Health Care Solutions, bilked Medicaid out of more than $200,000 by billing Medicaid for services not provided and not warranted. Last year, Benson pleaded guilty to one count of Medicaid provider fraud, a first-degree felony.
Benson’s scheme involved offering gas cards and temporary housing to homeless individuals in return for the homeless seeking services at Tranquility Health Care. Benson used untrained personnel, some with criminal arrest records, to operate this scheme using Medicaid IDs to bill Medicaid for psychosocial rehabilitation services that were never rendered. More.
Tampa Man Arrested for 140 Felony Counts Connected to Fraudulent Check Scheme
Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution, the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office and the Tampa Police Department announced the arrest of a Tampa man for passing forged checks. According to the investigation Chedrick Lavelle Oliver, 36, used the information from the stolen checks to commit fraudulent transactions at Walmart stores.
The fraudulent scheme involved stealing outgoing mail that included checks out of several Sebring mailboxes between August 2016 and June 2017. According to the investigation, the routing and account numbers were then used to create new checks. More.
Attorney General Pam Bondi serving on of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Epidemic at the White House on Friday.
Attorney General Pam Bondi with Governor Rick Scott and fellow Cabinet members, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis for a meeting of the Florida Governor and Cabinet on Tuesday in Tallahassee.
Attorney General Bondi presenting a resolution recognizing October as Disability Employment Awareness Month. Attorney General Bondi recognizes the achievements of the thousands of persons in Florida with developmental disabilities who continue daily to improve their communities. To view a copy of the resolution, click here.
Attorney General Bondi introducing Superstar, at the Florida Cabinet meeting. For more information on Superstar and other rescue animals in the Tallahassee area, visit TalGov.com/Animals.
Attorney General Bondi speaking to community business leaders at the USAmeriBank Women Entrepreneurs Inspire event in Tampa. WE Inspire is a program aimed at helping professional women build connections and foster personal and professional success.
Medicaid Fraud Control Unit Director Jim Varnado Chief Assist Attoreny General David Bundy congratulating SAAG Darlene Simmons on her retirement after 10 successful years with the MFCU. Before serving with the Attorney General’s Office, Darlene prosecuted a terrorist in GITMO as a Navy JAG officer and as an Assistant State Attorney with the State Attorney’s Office for the Ninth Judicial Circuit. Attorney General Bondi thanks Darlene for her dedicated service to Americans and seeking justice.