Attorney General Bondi's Weekly Briefing
This week, I announced my office’s partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation to spread an anti-human trafficking message along Florida’s major roadways. We have worked to raise awareness about the prevalence of human trafficking and to encourage people to report it. Expanding our “From Instant Message to Instant Nightmare” awareness initiative, which we launched in 2013, we have partnered with the DOT to display posters in rest areas across Florida this month.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, after drug dealing, trafficking of humans is tied with arms dealing as the second-largest criminal industry in the world, generating about $32 billion each year. Raising awareness about the prevalence of human trafficking is key to combating this horrific crime. By expanding our initiative to include posters in Florida’s rest areas, I am hopeful that more people will report suspected cases to local law enforcement.
For more information about our efforts to end human trafficking in Florida, please click here.
Also this week, we achieved a victory for Florida on water quality standards. The ruling by the federal judge this week confirms that we are better suited than the federal government to establish the rules and laws necessary to protect our unique waterways. Florida’s leaders should regulate our environment, and this ruling allows the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to determine numeric nutrient criteria and comprehensive standards for our waters.
Attorney General Pam Bondi Announces Selection of Tyler Cathey as Chief Deputy Attorney General
Attorney General Bondi announced her selection of Tyler Cathey to serve as the Chief Deputy Attorney General. Cathey is currently an attorney with the Tampa office of Englander Fischer LLP. He previously worked in private practice with the Tampa office of the law firm of Holland & Knight, and he served as Special Counsel to the Attorney General's 2010 statewide campaign during the general election. More
Attorney General's Office Arrests Naples Woman for More Than $60,000 in Medicaid Fraud
Attorney General Bondi announced that her office arrested a Naples woman on charges of Medicaid fraud and grand theft for allegedly defrauding the Medicaid program out of more than $60,000. Barbara Hilliard Brown was arrested on a felony warrant by investigators from the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, with assistance from the Collier County Sheriff’s Office. The Florida Agency for Persons with Disabilities referred the case to the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. More
Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office Arrests Two Marion County Residents for Battery of Person 65 Years or Older
Attorney General Bondi announced that the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit arrested Vincent Murano and Traci Nellis on charges of battery on a person 65 years of age or older and principal to battery.
Battery and principal to battery are first-degree misdemeanors. Murano is being held on $125,000 bond, and Nellis is being held on $100,000 bond. If convicted, each could be sentenced to six years in prison and $6,000 in fines. The case will be prosecuted by the State Attorney’s Office for the Eighth Judicial Circuit.
Attorney General Bondi's Office Announces Medicaid Fraud Conviction
Attorney General Pam Bondi announced the conviction of Lake County resident, Randall Ritch, for Medicaid fraud, operating an unlicensed health care clinic, and identity theft. Ritch pled guilty to four felony counts, and he was sentenced to 15 years of probation and was ordered to pay more than $83,000 in restitution to the Florida Medicaid program.
In June 2013, following an investigation, the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit arrested Ritch for submitting nearly 800 false claims to the Medicaid program. The case was prosecuted by the State Attorney's Office, Fifth Judicial Circuit of Florida. More
Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association
On Monday, Attorney General Bondi spoke at the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association’s winter board meeting. Attorney General Bondi spoke about human trafficking in Florida and her efforts to stop this horrific crime.
Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce
Attorney General Bondi met with members of the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce on Thursday. She discussed her office’s commitment to protecting businesses and consumers from deceptive and unfair trade practices.