Attorney General Bondi's Weekly Briefing
The recovery efforts continue in areas hardest hit by Hurricane Michael, and this week, I joined first responders, recovery crews and volunteers helping people in the aftermath of this deadly storm. I cannot thank our utility companies enough for their tireless efforts to restore power in areas filled with total devastation.
Cell service continues to provide challenges for first response and people affected by Michael. A major issue was that most of the cell service in the area was powered by Verizon. Governor Rick Scott and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis have championed this issue to help these citizens regain the cell service they desperately need. AT&T stepped up and brought in many mobile cell towers, as well as mobile phones.
I want to thank Tracfone, a national company based in Miami, for donating 200 phones fully charged with 60 days of AT&T service to help our first responders. These are just a few example of organizations stepping up to help those in need. In Franklin County with Sheriff A.J. Smith, we met a group of St. Petersburg pilots flying donated chainsaws, gas cans and other necessities directly to disaster sites.
In Mexico Beach, I met residents whose homes were destroyed and cars totaled. Mark and Christie Harriman and their two children rode out the storm at a neighbor’s house. They lost everything, but remain resilient. Mark told me he will never ignore another evacuation order.
In Lynn Haven, local dentist Dr. Reese Harrison and his friend Jonathan Mitchell organized a disaster relief camp, providing free meals, gas and other necessities to displaced residents. In one day they fed more than 15,000 people.
I spoke to local radio, print and television reporters to help spread the word about preventing scams and price gouging. If you see something suspicious, please report it to my office at 1(866) 9NO-SCAM or MyFloridaLegal.com—for more resources, click here.
Recovery will take months
, but I am encouraged by the selflessness and courage of our first responders and those effected. I cannot thank Governor Rick Scott enough for his tireless dedication in coordinating all efforts to help the Panhandle recover.
GOVERNOR SCOTT IS A CHAMPION FOR FLORIDA. PLEASE PRAY FOR THE PANHANDLE.
Attorney General Bondi Shuts Down Theft Scheme
Attorney General Pam Bondi obtained a temporary injunction and asset freeze in conjunction with a complaint filed in Broward County to shutter a million-dollar scheme. The court-ordered injunction shuts down an alleged scheme run by two individuals identified in the complaint as Lawrence Forno, a Florida-licensed attorney, and Richard B. Meyer, both of South Florida. By filing sham lawsuits in the name of, or in connection with, businesses that falsely appear to be widely known financial institutions, the defendants have allegedly swindled at least $1.5 million in proceeds from judicial property sales across Florida.
According to the complaint, Meyer created various businesses with names substantially similar to more well-known financial institutions. For example, sham companies were referred to as Citi Financial and another as Mellon Mortgage Services Corp. Defendants brought court actions on behalf of these deceptively named businesses to claim funds generated from forced judicial sales of real property. More.
Attorney General Bondi Takes Legal Action Against Online Designer Eyewear Sales Company
Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a court action against Luxury Retail Sawgrass, LLC d/b/a Sunglass Oasis and its owner, Samuel Florens, for deceptive and unfair trade practices regarding the online sale of designer eyewear. According to the complaint, over 100 consumers ordered eyewear from Sunglass Oasis’ online store and never received eyewear after making payment. Other consumers received eyewear but not the eyewear they purchased. More.
Florida Joins United States DOJ and Other States in CVS/Aetna Anticompetitive Settlement
Florida is joining the United States Department of Justice and four other states in a settlement that resolves anticompetitive concerns raised by the proposed $69 million merger between CVS Health Corporation and Aetna Inc—two of the largest companies in the health care market. The settlement requires CVS Health and Aetna to divest all of Aetna’s Individual Prescription Drug Plan business to WellCare, a Florida-based company. More.
Attorney General Pam Bondi continues to assist communities in the Florida Panhandle hardest hit by Hurricane Michael. This week, Attorney General Bondi joined first responders, recovery crews and volunteers helping people in the aftermath of this deadly storm.
Mexico Beach in Bay County is one of the hardest hit areas in Florida. The city looks like a war zone.
Mexico Beach residents are slowly trying to rebuild. Mark Harriman and his seven-year-old son Breeze lost their house, but the first thing they did after the storm passed was proudly display the American flag on one of the trees that fell in their yard.
Attorney General Bondi discussing search and rescue efforts with members of Florida Highway Patrol Troop F.
FHP Troop F and Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office Deputies with Attorney General Bondi in Lynn Haven. Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister made a surprise visit to the area to thank his deputies and help with recovery efforts.
Attorney General Bondi with Bay County Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant Bethann Harris. Lt. Harris lost her home to Hurricane Michael, but instead of tending to her own needs, she and the entire BCSO are working nonstop to help the citizens they serve. When Attorney General Bondi asked Lt. Harris about her loss, she replied, “I’m alive, my family is safe and my dogs are okay. Property can be replaced, lives cannot.”
Attorney General Bondi also visited Franklin County and helped unload disaster supplies flown in by Sol Relief—a St. Petersburg, Fla. nonprofit helping bring desperately needed supplies to impacted areas.
Attorney General Bondi pictured below with Franklin County Sheriff A.J. Smith and members of the Sol Relief flight team John Auer and Jennifer Lockwood.
Attorney General Bondi is excited to welcome Tate William Mason into the world! Tate is the first son of Attorney General Bondi's Press Secretary Kylie Mason and her husband Chad. Tate was born October 16, weighing eight pounds and 11 ounces. Congratulations, Kylie and Chad. Tate, you are loved.