Attorney General Moody's Week In Review
We recently received some good news about our efforts to stop trafficking and rescue survivors. Florida earned an A grade from Shared Hope International for our anti-human trafficking laws and advances made to protect children from these horrific crimes.
The report highlights Florida’s strong statutes criminalizing child sex trafficking and the specialized training our law enforcement officers receive to investigate these crimes.
While this is an encouraging report, we need to do more. We must end trafficking in Florida, especially since we will be hosting not one, but two upcoming Super Bowls. These championship games, like many other nationwide events, attract criminals trying to exploit the festivities to sell people for sex or labor.
This infuriates me and I am committed to doing everything in my power to prevent human trafficking at these events or anywhere else in our state. We are partnering with Uber to train their drivers to be our eyes and ears on the road, so they can spot and report human trafficking. We partnered with truck drivers who have already proven to be a valuable weapon in this important fight.
I also serve on the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee’s Executive Leadership Team in charge of anti-trafficking efforts. We will continue to work aggressively from now until the 2020 Super Bowl to make sure Miami is prepared.
You can help us. Go to YouCanStopHT.com and learn how to spot trafficking and where to report it. By joining us in the fight to end human trafficking, you can help us build a stronger, safer Florida.
In The News
Florida attorney general, FTC get $1M in restitution for small businesses affected by nationwide scam, Tampa Bay Business Journal
Restitution available for Florida businesses, WEAR Pensacola
FIGHT fentanyl, save lives: AG Ashley Moody pushes to combat opioid crisis, WJXT Jacksonville
Cyberattack against city of Pensacola is ransomware attack, officials confirm, Pensacola News Journal
Danger imminent if schools don’t comply now with safety laws, grand jury report says, Sun Sentinel
Polk County Human Trafficking, Prostitution Sting Nabs 124, WUSF Public Media
More Than $1 Million in Restitution Secured for Victims of Government Imposter Scheme
Attorney General Ashley Moody and the Federal Trade Commission secured more than $1 million in restitution for small businesses targeted in a nationwide imposter scheme. Thomas Henry Fred, Jr., and his affiliated businesses, sent thousands of letters to small businesses designed to look like invoices from a government agency for the purchase of labor law posters. The letters directed the businesses to pay $84 for the posters or face fines of up to $17,000. The same labor law posters are available for free from government agencies. Through this scheme, Fred and his affiliated businesses received more than $800,000 from more than 9,000 businesses.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “Florida entrepreneurs take risks and invest in their employees to the benefit of our state’s economy. It infuriates me that anyone would take advantage of responsible business owners trying to ensure they are in compliance with the law. I am proud of the investigative work of our Consumer Protection Division and the FTC to stop this government imposter scam and secure refunds for Florida’s small businesses.” More.
Attorney General Moody Fights to Pass FIGHT Fentanyl Act to Save Lives
According to the 2018 Florida Medical Examiner’s Annual Report, last year fentanyl caused the most drug-related deaths, and deaths caused by fentanyl increased by 35 percent over 2017’s numbers. Confronted by the threat posed by fentanyl in Florida, Attorney General Ashley Moody joined a bipartisan multistate effort of all 56 attorneys general in urging Congress to pass Senate Bill 2701, the Federal Initiative to Guarantee Health by Targeting Fentanyl Act. This act would permanently classify fentanyl as a Schedule 1 substance.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “Passing S.2701 will help Florida better combat the opioid crisis. Federal scheduling of fentanyl will help continue the reduction in the supply by ensuring that our law enforcement agencies and courts have the tools they need to keep those who peddle this lethal substance off our streets.” More.
Attorney General Moody’s Statement on the Second Interim Report of the 20th Statewide Grand Jury
Attorney General Ashley Moody issued the following statement regarding the Second Interim Report of the 20th Statewide Grand Jury:
“As Attorney General and as a mother, the safety of our children is of paramount importance to me and this latest Grand Jury report confirms what many of us have feared—that our schools are still not as safe as they could be. I urge all elected officials in school districts across the state to ensure compliance with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Safety Act, and I want to thank the Grand Jury for their deliberate and detailed work.”
To view the Second Interim Report of the 20th Statewide Grand Jury, click here.
Last Defendant Sentenced in Smash-and-Dash Gun Store Burglary Case
Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution secured a 67-year prison sentence for Demarcus Marsh, the third defendant guilty of a smash-and-dash gun store burglary. In May, a jury convicted Marsh, as well as Jehosthat Brady and Quinton Montgomery, for burglary of a structure while using a vehicle as an instrumentality and 35 counts of grand theft of a firearm. Brady and Montgomery each received 65-year prison sentences at a hearing in November.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “The last individual in this group of criminals has received his fate—a long time spent behind bars for his part in this organized smash-and-dash scheme designed to steal guns and sell them to criminals and gangsters. I am pleased with today’s sentencing and with my statewide prosecutors, local law enforcement and federal partners for their efforts to keep the citizens of our state safe.” More.
Atlanta man pleads guilty to multi-state health care fraud conspiracy
Matthew Harrell has pleaded guilty to healthcare fraud and aggravated identity theft charges related to fraudulent claims filed with the Georgia, Florida, and Louisiana Medicaid programs.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “This fraudster deployed a scheme to steal the identities of children to defraud Florida and other states’ Medicaid programs out of millions. As a mother, I am especially outraged that this man targeted children, stealing information from summer and football camp registrations, but I am proud of our investigators working with other state Medicaid fraud units and federal authorities to stop the identity theft, protect our Medicaid program and secure a guilty plea for the architect of this nefarious scheme.” More.
143rd Basic Recruit Class Graduates From FHP Training Academy
The 143rd basic recruit class of the Florida Highway Patrol graduated from the FHP Training Academy. These 38 Troopers join the more than 1,900 Troopers who patrol Florida’s roads each day to provide safety and security to residents and visitors.
Members of the 143rd basic recruit class went through 28 weeks of intense physical and classroom training covering topics including defensive tactics, law, vehicle operations, firearms and first aid. While at the FHP Training Academy, recruits also participated in several community service activities, including blood drives and volunteering to help those living with developmental disabilities.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “It was an honor and a privilege to give the commencement address to the 143rd recruit class of the Florida Highway Patrol. These brave men and women will go on to patrol Florida’s motorways, and pledge their life to service to our state. They are to be commended and congratulated for finishing the grueling months of training and for their decision to join public service. Congratulations!” More.
Florida Crime Drops in the First Half of 2019
Crime is down across Florida according to the 2019 Semi-Annual Uniform Crime Report. The report shows Florida’s crime volume dropped 6.1 percent, or 17,079 fewer reported index crimes, compared to the first six months of 2018.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “Because Florida law enforcement officers work every day to make their communities safer, our state is prospering, our economy is booming, and millions of tourists choose to spend their free time and money here. We owe the brave men and women of Florida law enforcement a great debt of gratitude and respect. As Attorney General, I look forward to continuing to work with these courageous Floridians to help build a stronger, safer Florida.” More.
This week, Attorney General Ashley Moody attended the National Association of Attorneys General Capital Forum in Washington, D.C.
Attorney General Moody met with U.S. Attorney General William Barr, who addressed the NAAG Capital Forum regarding big tech and protecting the privacy of Americans.
Attorney General Moody delivering the keynote address to the FHP 143rd Recruit Graduation Class.
Attorney General Moody with the FHP Command Staff at the 143rd Recruit Graduation Class ceremony.
Attorney General Moody wishes members of the U.S. National Guard a happy birthday. The National Guard is the oldest military organization in America, celebrating its 383rd year protecting Americans.