Attorney General Bondi's Weekly Briefing
Seven months ago, standing with law enforcement, lawmakers and victim advocates, I pledged to help our state process Florida’s untested sexual assault kits. During the 2016 Legislative Session, we secured an initial $2.3 million to begin testing Florida’s unprocessed kits and additional funding to raise the wages of lab analysts to reduce turnover and purchase new and upgrade existing forensic testing equipment.
This week, in Tampa, I joined Governor Rick Scott in a ceremonial bill signing highlighting new legislation that will ensure our state tests future sexual assault forensic evidence expediently. The legislation sets deadlines for submitting new sexual assault evidence to crime labs and for testing once it is received.
The funding and the legislation work hand-in-hand to eliminate the backlog of unprocessed sexual assault kits and to prevent any future backlogs. I want to thank Governor Rick Scott for signing this legislation and supporting the funding needed to test the unprocessed evidence.
As a career prosecutor, I have seen first-hand the heartache and devastation caused by sexual predators. I have also seen the power of DNA evidence in bringing these predators to justice and helping the victims of these heinous crimes heal. Hidden in the thousands of untested kits is the potential to solve cold cases, lock up sexual predators and make Florida a safer place to live and raise a family.
This was truly a team effort and I want to thank everyone who answered the call quickly and worked diligently to address this important public safety issue. As the state ramps up the testing of the thousands of unprocessed sexual assault kits, we can rest assured— this new legislation will prevent any future backlog of sexual assault forensic evidence.
Medical Technician Arrested for Abusing Mentally Disabled Patient
Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Miami-Dade Police Department arrested a medical technician for abuse of a mentally disabled patient. While a medical technician at Kendall Regional Medical Center, Giovanni Contreras, 52, allegedly became upset with a disabled patient asking questions. According to the investigation, Contreras grabbed the patient by the shirt and threw the patient to the ground. Kendall Regional Medical Center subsequently terminated Contreras. More.
Two More Arrested in Fraud Scheme Involving Student Identity Information, One Still at Large
Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, with the assistance of the Orlando Police Department, arrested two individuals for participating in a scheme to defraud the Medicaid program using teenagers’ personal identity information. Wendy Leiba of Longwood, 53, and Bobby Lyons of Winter Garden, 50, allegedly assisted Orlando-based companies to fraudulently bill Medicaid more than $500,000 for services not rendered. An additional participant in this scheme, Brian Craig of Sanford, 40, is at large. More.
Dentist Arrested After Billing Medicaid for Deceased Recipients
Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit announced the arrest of a Broward County dentist for allegedly billing the Medicaid program more than $14,000 for services not rendered. Dr. Marino F. Vigna, 49, allegedly billed Medicaid for dentures that recipients never received and for tooth extractions Vigna never performed.
According to the investigation, Vigna billed for services performed at times he vacationed out of the country and on days he closed his dental office. Additionally, Vigna allegedly billed for services provided to recipients at a time after the recipients passed away. More.
Attorney General Bondi Names Director of the Consumer Protection Division
Attorney General Pam Bondi is pleased to announce that Victoria Butler will serve as Director of the Consumer Protection Division, starting April 25, 2016. Butler has been with the Attorney General’s Office for 18 years and is currently the Central Florida Bureau Chief in Consumer Protection.
Butler acted as one of the chief negotiators in the 2013 National Mortgage Settlement. Additional major cases include settlements with Time Magazine and Publisher’s Clearing House. Butler is a recipient of multiple Davis Productivity Awards, and in 2012, the Florida Bar awarded Butler with Consumer Protection Attorney of the Year.
Attorney General Bondi congratulates Butler as she takes on her new role.