Attorney General Moody's Week In Review

This week, at a ceremony in The Villages, we recognized five outstanding Seniors vs. Crime volunteers as Super Senior Sleuths, as well as the 2021-22 Senior Sleuth Advocate of the Year. Super Senior Sleuths are volunteers who go above and beyond in advocating and assisting older consumers in Florida.

Protecting Florida seniors is a mission close to my heart, and these volunteers work so hard to help us achieve this important goal.

The just-released 2022 Seniors vs. Crime Annual Report shows that these volunteers assisted nearly 8,000 consumers, logged more than 25,000 hours of free service and recovered more than $1.2 million for older Floridians.

Leading the charge are our Super Senior Sleuths:
  • Joanne Tramonte, SvC Region 1: Coral Springs office
  • Richard Fearnow, SvC Region 2: Lakeland office
  • Kathy Romanac, SvC Region 3: Flagler office
  • Sandy Belinksy, SvC Region 4: Ocala office
  • Lori Holcomb, SvC Region 5: Tallahassee office
Of these five great volunteers, we selected our Senior Sleuth Advocate of the Year—Richard Fearnow. With more than 20 years of service through the Seniors vs. Crime program, Richard is the go-to contact in Polk County to address senior-related disputes and complaints. He lives and breathes service to others, dedicating so much time and energy to protecting consumers.

It was a pleasure to recognize Richard and all these great volunteers. Their service and successes are helping us build a Stronger, Safer Florida.
Ashley Moody
Protecting Floridians
VIDEO CONSUMER ALERT: Attorney General Moody Warns Floridians This Identity Theft Awareness Week About the Billions of Dollars Lost to ID Theft Each Year

Attorney General Ashley Moody is issuing a Consumer Alert to warn Floridians this Identity Theft Awareness Week about the billions of dollars lost to identity theft each year. Identity theft affects one in every 20 Americans each year, accounting for more than $5.8 billion in losses in 2021. Identity theft occurs when someone uses, or attempts to use, the personally identifiable information of another person to commit fraud.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “From children to seniors, no one is immune from identity theft, and that is why it is vital for everyone to take proactive steps to help protect their sensitive information. In recognition of Identity Theft Awareness Week, I am issuing tips and providing resources for Floridians to help them strengthen their online security to better protect personal data and hopefully avoid identity thieves.”

PSO and AG Moody Announce Arrests in Large Scale Human Trafficking Case

Pasco Sheriff Chris Nocco and Attorney General Moody announced a series of arrests in a large human trafficking case, which stemmed from a 16-year-old survivor. Sheriff Nocco and Attorney General Moody were joined by Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis, as his agency assisted PSO with this case.

Although January was Human Trafficking Awareness Month, the work of the members of the Pasco Sheriff’s Office never stops to bring justice and resources to survivors of this awful scourge. The case announced today began November 21, 2022 when the survivor ran away and was reported missing to PSO. PSO recovered the survivor on December 4th, and she reported being a survivor of human trafficking at that time. Detectives then discovered what this young person had endured and survived in just two weeks.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “Thanks to the hard work of Sheriff Nocco, Sheriff Nienhuis and their dedicated deputies, a minor has been rescued from human traffickers. Those who abused the victim are facing serious charges and my Statewide Prosecutors will make sure justice is served.” More.

FDLE, CCSO arrest St. Petersburg man, Beverly Hills woman for human trafficking of a child

Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) agents arrested Dourian Emmanuel Butler, 28, of St. Petersburg, and Candy Lee Holmes, 38, of Beverly Hills, Florida. Butler and Holmes are each charged on one count of human trafficking for commercial sexual activity involving a child younger than 18 years old. The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) initiated the case and they continue to assist in the investigation.

Butler is also charged on three counts of unlawful sexual activity with certain minors, one count of traveling to meet a minor for sex and one count of unlawful use of a two-way communication device. The St. Petersburg Police Department assisted in Butler’s arrest.

Holmes is also charged on one count each of child neglect, deriving support from proceeds and unlawful use of a two-way communication device. The CCSO assisted in Holmes’ arrest.

Attorney General Ashley Moody
said, “This is a horrific case, and it’s the second human trafficking incident involving a minor that we have announced so far in February—just days after the end of National Human Trafficking Prevention Month. This week’s announcement out of Pasco County and today’s action by FDLE both involve multiple adults arrested for the human trafficking of a teenager. This should serve as a reminder that human trafficking is a year-round problem—one we will continue to aggressively confront head-on. I am thankful that law enforcement rescued the young victims in both of these cases. My Statewide Prosecutors will make sure the monsters who trafficked these teenagers pay for their crimes.” More.
This week, Attorney General Ashley Moody, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco and Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis announced 12 arrests in a case involving the human trafficking of a minor. Thankfully, law enforcement rescued the victim and now Attorney General Moody's Statewide Prosecutors will handle the cases.

Attorney General Moody announcing top volunteers during the 2021-22 Senior Scam Stopper Workshop and awards ceremony in The Villages.

Attorney General Moody congratulating the 2021-22 Senior Sleuth Advocate of the Year Richard Fearnow following the Seniors vs. Crime Super Senior Sleuth award ceremony.