Attorney General Moody's Week In Review
January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month, and this week we are continuing our efforts to end human trafficking in our great state. We would all like to believe that human trafficking only takes place in far-away locations, but unfortunately, it happens all around us. And major events can bring with them an increase in this horrific crime.
Florida is lucky to be the host of many major events. Next month, we will host the Super Bowl in Tampa, which will be a huge economic boon for our state. However, the possibility of quick cash from out-of-state visitors can also bring out criminals—like human traffickers, who profit from trafficking men, women and children.
That is why my office has joined It’s a Penalty to work with Tampa International Airport to place anti-human trafficking messages throughout the major travel hub. If these signs reach one victim or encourage one brave traveler to report a suspicious situation, a life could be saved.
I am also grateful to the Airbnb community for joining our fight to end this abuse and exploitation by launching a joint training with our office this week to educate their hosts about signs to look for. By educating short-term rental hosts, we are adding even more eyes and ears on the ground who can look out for victims and alert law enforcement.
The stakes for the Super Bowl are high, but the stakes of our work are even higher. Our reward is not a title or a trophy—it’s a life forever changed.
I believe we can save lives and while we are at it, build a Stronger, Safer Florida.
VIDEO: Attorney General Moody Presents Resolution to Trafficking Survivor in Recognition of Human Trafficking Prevention Month
Attorney General Ashley Moody presented a resolution, recognizing January as Human Trafficking Prevention Month in Florida, to a human trafficking survivor working to help others heal. Chanel Dionne, a trafficking survivor and Jacksonville victim advocate, received the 2020 Human Trafficking Summit Survivor Advocate of the Year Award from the Attorney General and the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking last October.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “I am honored to present Chanel Dionne with the state resolution recognizing January as Human Trafficking Prevention Month in Florida. Chanel’s journey from human trafficking victim to survivor serves as an inspiration to us all, and her work advocating for victims of human trafficking has no doubt saved lives. Chanel was not broken by her experiences, but instead turned them into an empowering message for all victims and survivors of this heinous act of evil—letting them know that they are strong and courageous, and that they have an army of people in their corner fighting for them.” More.
Attorney General Moody Announces Multimillion-Dollar Recovery Following Investigation into Assisted Breathing Device Rentals
Attorney General Ashley Moody, working with state and federal partners, is securing more than $40 million following a nationwide investigation. Attorney General Moody’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit worked with the U.S. Department of Justice and other state MFCUs to investigate false Medicaid claims made by Apria Healthcare Group Inc. and Apria Healthcare LLC. There are more than 300 Apria branch offices across the nation, including Florida. According to the federal-state investigation, Apria submitted false claims to state Medicaid programs for the ongoing rental of non-invasive ventilators that Medicaid beneficiaries either did not use or medical professionals deemed not medically necessary.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “We will not allow bad actors to falsify forms or blatantly bill Florida taxpayers for services never rendered or not medically necessary. I am proud of the role my Medicaid Fraud Control Unit played in investigating this multimillion-dollar fraudulent billing scheme inflicted on taxpayers in Florida and across our country, and the recovery of more than $40 million." More.
FDLE arrests Ormond Beach fire captain for online solicitation of minor
FDLE agents arrested William Scott Johnson, 58, of Deland, on one count of online solicitation of a minor and one count of unlawful use of two-way communications device, both third-degree felonies. Johnson is a captain with the Ormond Beach Fire Department.
The investigation found that Johnson engaged in a series of sexually explicit conversations in an online chatroom with an undercover agent posing as a 13-year-old girl. Despite being reminded multiple times throughout the conversations that the profile he was conversing with was that of a minor, Johnson continued to solicit photographs of the child wearing specific clothing, describe sexual activities he wanted to do with her and attempt to plan opportunities to meet in person.
Agents believe there may be other victims of Johnson, who had used the online profile name Nozzle3499 since at least 2003. If you have any information about any other potential victims, please call FDLE at 813-758-6249.
Johnson was arrested today and booked into the Volusia County Jail on $4,000 bond. The case will be prosecuted by Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution. More.