Attorney General's Weekly Newsletter
Volume 9, Issue 356 • Sept. 1, 2017
Attorney General Bondi's Weekly Briefing


Photo provided NOAA


As the flood waters begin to recede in Texas, we may soon find out Hurricane Harvey is the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. In Florida people are giving to help victims rebuild—that is why, this week, I issued tips for responsible giving.

As Floridians, we know all too well the destruction a massive hurricane can leave, and how encouraging and vital charitable giving is in helping recover in the aftermath. Unfortunately, scammers will take advantage of a crisis like Harvey to prey on the goodwill of others. I am encouraging all those who give to take steps that will ensure donations are being used to help victims of Harvey, not scammers taking advantage of donors’ goodwill.

Tips for wise giving:

ˇ Be proactive and donate to a reputable charity, rather than wait to be solicited;
ˇ Consider donating to an established disaster-relief charity, such as RedCross.org;
ˇ Research a charity by using Charity Navigator;
ˇ Avoid solicitors using high-pressure tactics or hesitant to provide more information about their organization; and
ˇ If donating online at a fundraising site, be sure to confirm the identity of the recipient and be careful when providing any personal contact information.


For more information about charity scams and tips to avoid becoming a victim, please read my Hurricane Preparedness Guide. Consumers who believe they have been a victim of a scam or other fraudulent activity may file a complaint by calling (866) 9-NO-SCAM or by visiting MyFloridaLegal.com.

In the News
In Wake Of Harvey, AG Bondi Warns Floridians Of Disaster Relief Charity Scams, WFSU
How to avoid Hurricane Harvey charity scams and make sure your money gets to victims who need help, WFTS

Florida AG’s office warns Harvey donators about those whose charity ends at home, Miami Herald

Bondi applauds Trump move to give surplus military equipment to local law enforcement, Tampa Bay Times

Florida Supreme Court backs Gov. Scott in Orlando death-penalty dispute, Miami Herald


Protecting Floridians
Attorney General Bondi’s Statement on Florida Supreme Court Ruling in Ayala v. Scott

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Pam Bondi released the following statement regarding the Florida Supreme Court’s ruling in Aramis Donell Ayala v. Rick Scott:

“Today’s Florida Supreme Court decision is a tremendous victory for victims and their loved ones. As my Solicitor General argued, the governor has every right to reassign these cases to prosecutors who will uphold the laws of our great state. This year, we have seen the brutal murders of law enforcement officers in State Attorney Aramis Ayala’s circuit, and her unconscionable decision to never seek the death penalty will not be tolerated. The governor and I will continue to do all we can to protect our citizens.”

Attorney General Bondi’s Statement on President Trump’s Executive Order Regarding Surplus Military Gear

Attorney General Pam Bondi issued the following statement regarding President Donald J. Trump’s executive order lifting the ban on transferring certain surplus military equipment to local law enforcement agencies:

“This executive order will help ensure our brave law enforcement officers have the gear they need to combat terrorism, drug cartels, gangs and other threats to public safety. This order will give our law enforcement officers access to billions of dollars’ worth of equipment such as armored vehicles, ammunition and other military gear that will help in disaster related situations like we are seeing in Texas with Hurricane Harvey—as well as terrorism-related cases such as the Pulse nightclub attack, where a military-style helmet stopped a bullet, saving an officer’s life, and San Bernardino, where this type of equipment protected law enforcement officers as they pursued terrorists.”
More.

UPDATE: Woman Arrested for Threats Against a Witness

Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Tallahassee Police Department announce the arrest of Eboni Roshondra Montgomery Henderson for retaliating against a witness. According to the MFCU investigation, Henderson, 33, bonded out of custody after having been arrested for exploitation of a disabled adult. Within hours, Henderson called the healthcare facility and allegedly threatened to beat a witness and to blow up the facility. Henderson then showed up at the facility to confront the witness, but Tallahassee Police Department officers stopped the defendant. Henderson is currently being held in the Leon County Jail, pending a motion to revoke bail.
More.

Alachua County Caregiver Arrested for Medicaid Fraud, Grand Theft, and Organized Fraud

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office arrested a former Florida caregiver for involvement in a fraudulent billing scheme targeting Florida’s Medicaid program.


According to the MFCU investigation, Janet E. Williams, 51, allegedly submitted fraudulent timesheets and progress reports while working as a caregiver at Angel 4 U Inc., causing fraudulent billings to the Medicaid program. In some instances, Williams submitted these documents for services on days a young client was out of town or when appointments were cancelled. More.


Events

Attorney General Bondi with Nikki and Colonel Chad Chronister, Governor Rick Scott, and Rhonda and Sheriff David Gee at an event announcing the appointment of Colonel Chronister as the next Hillsborough County Sheriff.


Attorney General Bondi is sad Sheriff Gee is retiring, but pleased the Governor appointed her friend Colonel Chronister to replace him. Upon news of Sheriff Gee’s retirement, Attorney General Bondi released the following statement.







Attorney General Bondi invites anyone interested in attending Florida’s 2017 Human Trafficking Summit to register or learn more about the event by visiting HumanTraffickingSummit.com. This year’s summit will be on Monday, Oct. 2, in Orlando.


At the summit, Attorney General Bondi will honor outstanding Floridians for their efforts in the fight against human trafficking. The Awards Committee is seeking nominations for the following awards: Survivor Advocate of the Year, Community Advocate of the Year, Prosecutor of the Year and Law Enforcement Official of the Year. Please submit nominations for these awards to OAGHT.Summit@MyFloridaLegal.com by Thursday, Sept. 7.



Attorney General Bondi is pleased to announce Florida’s 2017 Human Trafficking Summit’s Keynote Speaker—Academy AwardŽ-nominated actress and human rights activist, Anne Archer. Dedicated to ending human trafficking, Ms. Archer participated in the 2016 film, “Trafficked,” along with Ashley Judd and Patrick Duffy. The movie was inspired by the real life experiences of three girls enslaved in a Texas brothel and is based on the award-winning book, Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery by Siddharth Kara. Attorney General Bondi hopes you will join her on Oct. 2nd to hear Ms. Archer’s inspiring words as we continue working together to eradicate trafficking.



TPD Corporal Mike Victor pictured in the center holding his award

Attorney General Bondi’s close friend, Tampa Police Department Corporal Mike Victor, receiving the 2016 Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer, Major Crimes Award from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Attorney General Bondi congratulates Corporal Victor for receiving this prestigious award and thanks him for his dedication to fighting human trafficking.