Attorney General Moody's Week In Review
This week, I had the pleasure of speaking to local government officials at the Cyber Florida workshop in Marion County. Local governments are increasingly coming under attack by cybercriminals. Last year, several cities, and at least one Florida school district, were held hostage by these tech-savvy swindlers.
Ocala’s city government was recently targeted by a costly spear-phishing email scam—a highly effective cyberattack that uses deceptive emails targeted to specific employees—all in an effort to steal data or hold computer systems hostage. A leader in the cybersecurity industry recently reported that more than 90% of the cyber threats encountered by its clients during the first half of 2019 stemmed from spear-phishing email scams.
These attacks on our cities are costly and divert the government’s focus away from serving citizens. Workshops, like the one in Ocala this week, help local leaders across Florida implement procedures to prevent, respond to and recover from cyberattacks.
The workshop, called Cybersecurity for Government Leaders and Employees, was extremely informative, focusing on successful policies and best practices for Florida leaders and government employees to strengthen their cybersecurity.
It’s vital that government officials take steps to protect sensitive information that has been entrusted to their care. As your Attorney General, I will continue to look for ways we can improve in this area and seek new resources to stop cybercriminals targeting our local governments and Floridians.
By working together to protect sensitive information and stop cybercriminals, we can build a Stronger, Safer Florida.
CONSUMER ALERT: Report Suspicious Crowdfunding Charity Pages
Attorney General Ashley Moody is issuing a Consumer Alert to ask Floridians to report suspicious crowdfunding charity pages. Friday, the Florida Highway Patrol made the Attorney General’s Office aware of a suspicious-looking page purporting to raise money for the family of a fallen FHP Trooper. In less than an hour, the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division, working with GoFundMe.com, secured the suspension of the page and the more than $500 that had been raised is being returned to donors.
The account in question featured the name and photo of FHP Trooper Joseph Bullock. Trooper Bullock, a 19-year veteran of law enforcement, was shot and killed in the line of duty last week. An investigation into his death is underway.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “Trooper Bullock is a hero, and people want to help honor his service by donating to his family. When FHP told us that someone unknown to the family might be trying to exploit the death of this brave law enforcement officer, I asked my Consumer Protection investigators to act quickly. Our office immediately contacted GoFundMe and the crowdsourcing site took swift action to protect the donations. The company has assured our investigators that these funds will only be released to a member of Trooper Bullock’s family or returned to the donors—per its distribution policies.” More.
BTB UPDATE: Participation in Bigs in Blue Program Skyrockets
Attorney General Ashley Moody is thanking Florida law enforcement agencies and officers for helping grow the Bigs in Blue Program. Last July, Attorney General Moody, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles announced a partnership to increase law enforcement participation in Big Brothers Big Sisters’ mentorship program, Bigs in Blue. The partnership followed the issuing of a Back the Blue Award to Big Brothers Big Sisters for creating the program that connects at-risk youth with law enforcement mentors. Since then, more than 115 new mentorship relationships were formed and four new Bigs in Blue programs were created in Florida.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “I’m excited to report on the progress we’ve seen in this area of bridging gaps between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Forming positive relationships with children and providing a structured environment to learn and grow, as well as showing at-risk youth that officers care about their wellbeing, are important goals of this program, and I am pleased it is already impacting communities across our state.” More.
Attorney General Moody Announces the 2019 Law Enforcement Officers of the Year
Attorney General Ashley Moody named Franklin County Sheriff’s Sergeant Jeff Hewitt and Deputy Jared Hewitt as 2019’s Law Enforcement Officers of the Year. The Attorney General's Office recognized the father and son duo, along with eight other law enforcement officers across the state for their dedication to protecting Floridians.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “Courage and service must run in our award winners’ family. While others were fleeing, this father and son duo headed straight toward the flames. Because of their bravery, an entire family was saved. I am proud to announce Sergeant Jeff Hewitt and Deputy Jared Hewitt as 2019’s Law Enforcement Officers of the Year.” More.
Man Sentenced to 17 Years in Prison for Meth Trafficking
Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution secured the conviction and prison sentence for a man found to have trafficked more than 200 grams of methamphetamine. Wilson Harvey Shafer, Jr., arrested during a traffic stop in Martin County, distributed methamphetamines in the Treasure Coast area from a supplier in Georgia. The Honorable Sherwood Bauer, Jr., Circuit Court Judge for the 19th Judicial Circuit, sentenced Shafer to 17 years in prison. Shafer also must pay a $250,000 fine and other court costs.
Under Florida’s minimum mandatory sentencing requirements for trafficking related offenses, Shafer is required to serve 15 years of the sentence without receiving gain time or early release.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “More than 1,000 Floridians died after using meth in 2018 and the deadly toll this drug is taking on our state is on the rise. We will continue to fight to stop the death and destruction inflicted by drug traffickers. This lengthy prison sentence is just one example of the great work my Statewide Prosecutors are doing in coordination with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to stop drug abuse and save lives. I want to thank the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the Martin County Sheriff's Office for their great work on this case.” More.
This week, Attorney General Ashley Moody spoke at the Cybersecurity for Government Leaders and Employees event in Ocala. Attorney General Moody is committed to fighting cybercrime and helping protect local governments and small businesses.
Attorney General Moody congratulates Franklin County Sheriff’s Sergeant Jeff Hewitt and Deputy Jared Hewitt on being named the 2019 Law Enforcement Officers of the Year. The Attorney General’s Office recognized them, along with eight other law enforcement officer honorees from across the state, for their heroism and bravery in a ceremony at the Florida State Capitol. Attorney General Moody commends the honorees and thanks all of Florida’s law enforcement for serving and protecting Floridians.