Attorney General Moody's Week In Review
Florida continues to rank third in the nation in the number of calls to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. This horrific crime is plaguing our state and we must remain vigilant on combatting this modern-day slavery. Taking an active role in this fight is especially crucial with the Super Bowl coming to Miami next February. Major sporting events attract thousands of visitors from around the world and can also create a temporary and illegal market for human traffickers.
Today, our Statewide Council on Human Trafficking met in Jacksonville, and we discussed our partnership with Uber to help prevent human trafficking during the Super Bowl. Ahead of the last Super Bowl in Atlanta, Uber launched anti-sex trafficking training in an effort to protect visitors and stop trafficking. We need to do the same for next year’s Super Bowl in Florida and Uber will soon begin providing additional anti-human trafficking training sessions for its Florida drivers. I will also serve on the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee’s Executive Leadership Team in charge of anti-sex trafficking efforts and additional human trafficking interdiction efforts.
We are starting now, sending a consistent and strong message to those engaging in human trafficking during the Super Bowl that we will have thousands of law enforcement officers and transportation providers trained to spot and report illegal activity.
In addition to ramping up our efforts for the Super Bowl, our statewide council also discussed our new local human trafficking task forces across the state. I am thrilled to say that Florida now has local task forces that encompass every one of Florida’s 67 counties. This assures that every area in our state has an active and engaged task force to combat trafficking and support victims. For more information on our local task forces, click here.
Fighting human trafficking continues to be a top priority for the Attorney General’s Office, and I encourage Floridians to get involved too. You can learn how to spot and report human trafficking by visiting YouCanStopHT.com. Anyone who encounters someone who appears to be a victim of trafficking should call local law enforcement immediately, and then report the incident to the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1(888) 373-7888.
Attorney General Moody Urges FCC to Take Action Against Robocalls and Caller ID Spoofing
Attorney General Ashley Moody is urging the Federal Communications Commission to take further action to stop the growing spread of illegal robocalls and spoofing. Spoofing is the practice of using technology to disguise a caller’s phone number. The number of spoofed calls and the consumer financial losses tied to these scams have increased by nearly 50 percent in recent years. Attorney General Moody is one of 42 attorneys general asking the FCC to enforce rules against caller ID spoofing on calls to the United States originating from overseas, while also addressing spoofing in text messages and alternative voice services.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “Earlier this year I urged Congress to take action against illegal robocalls, and now I am advocating for the Federal Communications Commission to further enforce rules against the rapid proliferation of these calls. We must continue to work together to protect consumers from being harassed and scammed by robocalls.” More.
BACK THE BLUE ALERT: Attorney General Moody Recognizes Orlando Police Department
Attorney General Ashley Moody visited the Orlando Police Department and presented a Back the Blue Award to the department for providing relief to Puerto Rico law enforcement agencies post Hurricane Maria. Over the past two years, the department gathered gear to help law enforcement maintain order on the storm-ravaged island. The materials consist of radio equipment, ballistic shields, tactical vests, tasers, flashlights, helmets and more. The department delivered the materials, valued at more than $500,000, to Puerto Rico last week.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “The Orlando Police Department and Chief Orlando Rolón went above and beyond to support law enforcement in Puerto Rico. Not only do they dedicate their lives to serving Floridians, they are committed to helping those in need outside of Florida as well. The brotherhood within law enforcement is strong, no matter where you are located, and the care and consideration of this mission is outstanding. Thank you, Orlando Police Department for your tenacity, for representing our State so well and helping our fellow Americans.” More.
Florida Doctor Arrested on Manslaughter Charges
Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution, working with the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, arrested a doctor on manslaughter charges after one of the doctor’s patients died of an opioid overdose. Dr. Marta Farinas, a licensed and practicing doctor with a private medical practice in Florida, prescribed oxycodone to a patient struggling with an opioid addiction.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “Doctors are supposed to heal their patients, not feed their addictions. According to our joint investigation with the DEA, this doctor prescribed opioid substances illegally and in bad faith while conspiring with the victim to traffic and deliver oxycodone. I want to thank the DEA for their dedication to fighting the opioid crisis and for working with our office to stop this doctor before she could harm anyone else.” More.
Attorney General’s Senior Protection Team Announces First Arrest
Attorney General Ashley Moody announced the first arrest in connection with the newly-formed Senior Protection Team. Acting on a complaint sent to the Team, investigators began looking into allegations that a Florida senior fell victim to contractor fraud following Hurricane Michael. The victim’s home suffered damage during the storm. The victim paid a contractor $5,000 for repairs that the contractor never completed.
Working with the Gulf County Sheriff’s Office, the Team helped build a case that led to the arrest of contractor Mark Kelsoe. The investigation revealed Kelsoe as an unlicensed contractor. Kelsoe is charged with one count of working as an unlicensed contractor during a state of emergency, a third-degree felony.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “Anyone trying to take advantage of Florida seniors should think twice before committing fraud. Our Senior Protection Team is working diligently to investigate complaints of senior fraud and abuse. The Team has only been active for a matter of weeks and already their hard work is producing results.” More.
Six Suspects Charged in Statewide Organized Retail Crime Investigation with Felony Racketeering
Beginning in February 2019, the PCSO Organized Retail Crime Unit and partnering entities conducted a large-scale undercover investigation focusing on a criminal enterprise of organized retail theft suspects who stole merchandise from stores across central Florida, in 14 different counties within 8 different judicial circuits.
According to their affidavits, the suspects engaged in an ongoing course of criminal conduct between four and five nights a week, hitting 8 to 10 businesses each day. Of the 150 reported thefts in the state, at least 25 thefts occurred in Polk County, and PCSO investigated cases involving the theft of between $150,000 to $200,000 worth of merchandise. It is estimated the six suspects have stolen over $2 Million worth of goods statewide. The suspects took the stolen merchandise to several different locations and sold or “fenced” it, including shipping stolen goods to Cuba, and profited from it, resulting in felony racketeering charges.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “I applaud our statewide prosecutors and law enforcement partners for shutting down this massive theft ring across our state. These crimes increase prices for Florida consumers and our office will aggressively pursue those who steal from Florida businesses.” More.
Attorney General Moody’s Statement on the Investiture of Justice Lagoa
Attorney General Ashley Moody released the following statement on the investiture of Justice Barbara Lagoa to the Florida Supreme Court. Governor Ron DeSantis appointed Justice Lagoa to the Court in January.
“I congratulate Justice Lagoa on her formal ceremony today and becoming the 87th Justice of the Florida Supreme Court. Justice Lagoa’s distinguished career within Florida’s judicial branch makes her tremendously qualified to serve on our state’s highest court.” More.
This week, Attorney General Ashley Moody presented a Back the Blue Award to the Orlando Police Department for supporting Puerto Rico law enforcement following Hurricane Maria. The Attorney General presented the award to Police Chief Orlando Rolón, on behalf of OPD. The department collected gear from across the state for more than two years, including radio equipment, shields, vests and more. The gear is valued at more than half a million dollars.
Attorney General Moody, alongside Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma, reuniting with the first Back the Blue Award recipient, Zechariah, at the Seminole County Law Enforcement Memorial ceremony. Zechariah continues to run one mile for every law enforcement officer lost in the line of duty.
Attorney General Moody serving as the keynote speaker at the Seminole County Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony in Sanford. The ceremony honors fallen Seminole County law enforcement officers.
Attorney General Moody speaking at a Law Enforcement Appreciation Luncheon hosted by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. Attorney General Moody appreciates the men and women in law enforcement that dedicate their lives to serve and protect Florida’s communities.
Attorney General Moody with Brad Swanson of Florida Internet and Television discussing the end of the legislative session. The Attorney General also spoke on many of her priorities, including fighting the opioid crisis, combating human trafficking and more. To watch the full interview, click here.
Next month, Attorney General Moody will host a Senior Scam Stopper Workshop in the Villages. All seniors are encouraged to attend this free event that will provide information about spotting scams and preventing fraud targeting older Floridians. For more information, click here.
Starting this week, the Attorney General will be promoting a Super Senior Sleuth weekly leading up to the Senior Scam Stopper Workshop on June 14. At the workshop, one of these Super Sleuths will receive an Advocate of the Year Award for their outstanding work in protecting seniors.
Our Super Senior Sleuth for this week is Jay, who fights senior fraud out of the West Polk County office. Congrats, Jay!