Attorney General Bondi's Weekly Briefing
It has been a week since Hurricane Hermine made landfall on Florida’s Gulf Coast, and we continue to deal with the aftermath of the storm’s impact. Parts of Florida remain under a declared state of emergency and my office’s Price Gouging Hotline remains activated. Through the storm, into the holiday weekend and all this week, my Citizen Services analysts and Consumer Protection investigators have been working diligently to address complaints about price gouging and other storm-related scams.
Florida law prohibits extreme increases in the price of essential commodities, such as food, water, hotels, ice, gasoline, lumber and equipment, needed as a direct result of a declared state of emergency. My office has received more than 40 price gouging complaints. My investigators are following up on these complaints, contacting the consumers and businesses, and making site visits to the businesses, where appropriate, to ensure that if there is a potential pricing issue, the business is advised immediately so that it can change its practices and make refunds.
The majority of the complaints received involve gas pricing, motel rates or tree removal service fees. Anyone who suspects price gouging during this declared state of emergency should report it to my office by calling 1-866-9-NO-SCAM.
I am grateful for the partnerships between local communities and the state ensuring our safety before, during and after Hurricane Hermine’s impact, clearing roads and neighborhoods from dangerous downed power lines and tree limbs. I also want to thank our law enforcement and other first responders for their preparation for Hermine and their quick response to aid Floridians.
Woman Arrested for Stealing From Seven Disabled Adults
Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit announced the arrest of an Escambia County resident for exploitation of disabled adults. Penny Williams, 43, while employed by Capstone Group Homes, allegedly stole more than $12,000 from seven different residents between April and June 2016.
Williams faces seven counts of exploitation of disabled adults, all third-degree felonies. If convicted, Williams faces up to 35 years in prison and $35,000 in fines. The State Attorney for the First Judicial Circuit, William “Bill” Eddins, will prosecute the case.
Human Trafficking Summit is Next Month
Florida’s 2016 Human Trafficking Summit is just a month away and Attorney General Pam Bondi is reminding Floridians interested in attending to register. The summit brings together local, state and national leaders who are working to stop all forms of human trafficking. The hundreds of attendees include community leaders, educators, healthcare professionals, law enforcement, legislators, service providers and survivors. To register for the summit or for more information on the conference, click here.
The Florida Human Trafficking Summit will honor outstanding citizens for their efforts to end human trafficking in Florida. Awards include Community Advocate of the Year, Law Enforcement Official of the Year, Prosecutor of the Year and Survivor Advocate of the Year. The deadline for submitting nominations for 2016 Human Trafficking Summit Awards has been extended to Sept. 15, 2016. For more information on the awards and how to nominate, click here.