Attorney General Moody's Week In Review
This week, I am encouraging Floridians to remain vigilant against COVID-19 vaccine-related scams.
Current reports suggest that more than a quarter of a million seniors are avoiding the COVID-19 vaccine due to misguided cost concerns perpetuated by scammers looking to steal personal and financial information. As the vaccination availability has increased to all Florida adults, I want to remind all Floridians that the vaccine is free to the public and no financial information will ever be required to receive an inoculation.
If you are seeking to schedule your COVID-19 vaccination shot, now is not the time to let your guard down. If anyone contacts you claiming to be a health care representative requesting financial information in exchange for a vaccine appointment, hang up and call my office. Instead of waiting to be contacted, you can also visit MyVaccine.fl.gov to register for the COVID-19 vaccine and check on the status of your registration.
Floridians preparing to register for the vaccine should know that they may be asked for the following items to secure an appointment or receive a shot:
· Driver’s license or other form of identification;
· Contact and basic health information;
· Proof of eligibility; and
· Insurance or Medicare card, if the recipient is insured.
Floridians may receive calls, texts messages or emails from the Florida Department of Health, or other authorized sources, to assist in scheduling a vaccine or to confirm a vaccine appointment. To confirm if communication regarding vaccine appointments is legitimate or for questions regarding vaccine appointments, reach out to your local Florida Department of Health county office or call the COVID-19 Call Center by dialing (866) 779-6121, or email COVIDemail@example.com.
By remaining informed on COVID-19 vaccine information and emerging vaccine-related scams, we will build a Stronger, Safer Florida.
Attorney General Moody Sues Biden Administration for Keeping U.S. Cruise Industry Docked
Attorney General Ashley Moody filed legal action against the Biden administration and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over the outdated federal shutdown order of the nation’s cruise industry. As COVID-19 vaccine distribution continues to increase at a rapid pace under Governor Ron DeSantis’s leadership, airlines, hotels, restaurants, theme parks and other tourism industries are now open with reasonable safety measures. Yet, the cruise industry remains under a strict federal shutdown order—harming the national economy and Florida’s travel industry along with its workers.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “Cruises are a vital part of Florida’s tourism industry—employing thousands and boosting our state’s economy. Every day the federal government unfairly keeps this economic giant docked, our economy suffers. The ripple effect of this misguided federal lockdown has far-reaching implications for the cruise industry, international tourism, businesses that would benefit from the influx of visitors, our state’s economy and the thousands of Floridians who work in the industry.
“But what is even worse than the economic damage caused by this heavy-handed federal overreach is the precedent being set by an eager-to-regulate Biden administration that is unfairly singling out and keeping docked our cruise industry on the basis of outdated data. Our litigation seeks to end this federal overreach and allow Floridians to safely get back to work and travel.” More.
Attorney General Moody Joins Florida Law Enforcement Agencies to Announce a Major Drug Trafficking Bust
Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents, along with Leon County Sheriff’s Office, Tallahassee Police Department and Florida Highway Patrol, arrested 27 suspects charged with drug crimes, including wide-scale drug trafficking in Leon and Gadsden counties.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “We are in the midst of a national opioid crisis claiming the lives of nearly 17 people a day in our state. When you factor in other deadly drugs, the mortality rate rises even higher. The people who peddle these poisons must be brought to justice, and multiagency operations like this one are so vital to our mission to end the opioid crisis and save lives. Not only did law enforcement confiscate heroin during the operation, they also seized enough fentanyl to kill approximately 28,350 people—that’s almost equal to the populations of Franklin, Lafayette and Liberty counties combined.” More.
Attorney General Moody and Urban League Launch Innovative Program to Help Young Victims of Crime Thrive
Attorney General Ashley Moody and the Florida Consortium of Urban League Affiliates announced a new program to help young victims of crime thrive. The new public service program, Thrive, is administered through four local Urban Leagues in areas of Florida heavily affected by crime—particularly violent crime involving teens and young adults. Through Thrive, the Florida Attorney General’s Office is providing federal funding for victim advocates and crime victim services for Floridians affected by criminal activity, such as assault, bullying, domestic violence and gang activity.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “It is heart breaking any time a child is victimized by criminal behavior, especially if no one is there to help them along the road to recovery. As a former judge, I have seen young people with promising futures victimized over and over again and, in some incidences, turn to crime themselves.
“We developed Thrive to help meet the needs of these Floridians living in areas of the state with above average criminal behavior. By working with the Urban League, we hope this innovative program will better support young victims of crime through a hands-on, more-engaged approach to recovery with thoughtful guidance.” More.
Florida Counseling Center Owner and Provider Convicted of Medicaid Fraud, Conspiracy, False Statements and Identity Theft
Jason R. Coody, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of Florida, announced the convictions of Stephanie Lynn Fleming, 42, and Helen Elizabeth Storey, 37, both of Waldorf, Maryland, and both formerly of Tallahassee, Florida. Both defendants were found guilty of health care fraud conspiracy, health care fraud, and aggravated identity theft. Fleming was also found guilty of making false statements in connection to health care matters. The convictions came yesterday after a 3-day federal bench trial that involved testimony from more than 15 witnesses and over 125 exhibits introduced into evidence.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “These convicted criminals defrauded the Florida Medicaid program out of approximately a quarter of a million dollars. They fled to Maryland, but through great investigative work by my Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and collaboration with federal officials, they were brought back to Florida to answer for their crimes—and today were found guilty on a myriad of charges. I look forward to seeing this criminal duo sentenced.” More.
This week, Attorney General Ashley Moody filed suit against the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to end the Biden administration’s No Sail Order—keeping the nation’s cruise industry docked and harming Florida’s economy. Attorney General Moody announced the litigation with Governor Ron DeSantis in Miami.
Attorney General Moody, with members from the Florida Consortium of Urban League Affliliates, announcing the launch of a new, innovative program, Thrive, that is focused on helping youth victims of crime in Florida through a hands-on, more-engaged approach to recovery with thoughtful guidance.
Attorney General Moody joining the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Leon County Sheriff’s Office, Tallahassee Police Department, Florida Highway Patrol and State Attorney Jack Campbell in a news conference detailing the takedown of a massive, multistate drug trafficking ring. To view the full news conference, click here.
Attorney General Moody attending a fish fry honoring Florida Highway Patrol Troop H Auxiliary Major Stephen Pigott for his 50 years of volunteer service as a member of the FHP Auxiliary. FHP Auxiliary officers face 100% risk in service to others for 0% pay. We owe a debt of gratitude to these brave volunteer law enforcement officers. For more information on FHP Auxiliary, click here.
Attorney General Moody speaking with members of the Oviedo-Winter Springs Regional Chamber of Commerce as part of the group's annual Capitol Connections trip to Tallahassee.