Attorney General's Weekly Newsletter
Volume 1, Issue 10 March 15, 2019
Attorney General Moody's Week In Review
This week, we celebrated Sheriffs Day at the Florida Capitol. Supporting Florida’s law enforcement community is a top priority of our office, and as the wife of a federal law enforcement agent I know intimately the risks and sacrifices involved with upholding an oath to defend others.
To say thank you, we invited sheriffs from across Florida to our office for coffee. I am grateful for the commitment these men and women make to fight crime and protect Floridians.
We had the opportunity to honor one of these heroes at the Florida Cabinet meeting. Hillsborough County Lieutenant Anthony Collins grew up in a dangerous neighborhood in Tampa and that inspired him to become a law enforcement officer.
Lt. Collins uses his personal experience to create positive relationships between local law enforcement and the community, especially youth struggling with anger management or drug abuse. Lt. Collins was joined by his family as we presented him with the Attorney General’s Back the Blue Award.
His son Anthony Jr. even spoke up at the Cabinet meeting to let everyone know how proud he is of his father.
For more information about Back the Blue, click
Later in the week, we honored more law enforcement officers and first responders at the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association’s Hometown Heroes Awards Ceremony. The ceremony recognized people who went above and beyond the call of duty during Hurricane Michael.
I was humbled by their stories. These first responders neglected their own safety and well-being to help people through the storm.
For every award we give out and story of bravery and sacrifice we tell, there are hundreds of other stories we never hear. Stories of law enforcement officers buying groceries for struggling families or helping the homeless find employment.
These officers give so much of themselves, and we owe them more than we could ever repay. The next time you see a law enforcement officer, even if they are writing you a speeding ticket, please take a moment to say thank you.
In the News
Ashley Moody Ramps Up Florida’s Efforts Against Tech Support Scams, Florida Daily
Florida Joins U.S. Department of Justice and FTC in Nationwide Sweep to Stop Tech Support Scams, Space Coast Daily
Florida attorney general’s filing accuses Sunrise company of nationwide IT phone scam, Miami Herald
AG Ashley Moody Helps Secure Multimillion-Dollar Recovery In Health Care Fraud Scheme Investigation, Space Coast Daily
AG announces financial options for Argosy's Tampa students, WFLA
Florida roofer accused of take-the-money-and-run scam on seniors and hurricane victims, Miami Herald
2019 Edition of Florida’s Sunshine Manual Available Online for Free
In recognition of National Sunshine Week, Attorney General Ashley Moody is encouraging Floridians to review the 2019 Government-in-the-Sunshine Manual. For decades, Florida’s Sunshine Manual has assisted the public, journalists and governmental agencies in understanding the requirements and exemptions of state open government laws. The manual is written by the Florida Attorney General’s Office and printed through a 41-year partnership with the Florida First Amendment Foundation.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “Open government laws are a vital tool in making sure citizens know how their tax dollars are being spent and how the people they elected to represent them are performing their duties. Government must remain accountable to the citizens of our great state, and Florida’s public meetings and public records laws serve as an example to the rest of the nation of how transparency and freedom of information guide responsible and effective government.”
Attorney General Moody Sponsors Resolution Recognizing Women’s History Month
Attorney General Ashley Moody presented a resolution to the Governor and Florida Cabinet recognizing March as Women’s History Month in Florida. Women’s History Month is designated as a time to recognize and raise awareness about the importance of women in United States’ history. The Cabinet unanimously passed the resolution.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “I am honored to present and pass this important resolution recognizing March as Women’s History Month in Florida. I am continuously inspired by all the female leaders throughout the history of our great country who have fought for equality and broken countless barriers. Women now make up more than half of our state’s workforce, and I am proud to be one of two female members currently serving on Florida’s Cabinet.
Attorney General Moody Recognizes Hillsborough County Lieutenant
Attorney General Ashley Moody recognized Lieutenant Anthony Collins from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office for his unrelenting dedication to his community and the state of Florida. The Attorney General presented Lt. Collins with the Attorney General’s Back the Blue Award at the Florida Cabinet meeting in Tallahassee.
Lt. Collins grew up in a dangerous neighborhood in Tampa and that inspired him to become a law enforcement officer. Lt. Collins uses his personal experience to create positive relationships between local law enforcement and the community, especially youth struggling with anger management and drug abuse. Lt. Collins goes beyond his official duties every week to meet with at risk kids and get to know them and serve as a role model. Lt. Collins also participates in Achievement Schools and serves on the Community Advocacy Board that seeks to get parents more engaged with their children.
Attorney General Moody Commends State Attorney on Successful Human Trafficking Conviction
Attorney General Ashley Moody met with State Attorney Ed Brodsky and discussed a major human trafficking case that resulted in a successful conviction in Manatee County. The State Attorney’s Office for the 12th Judicial Circuit prosecuted Juan Cruz, Jr. for detaining women and forcing them into prostitution. A jury found Cruz guilty on two counts of human trafficking and four counts of deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “As Chair of the Statewide Council on Human Trafficking, I commend State Attorney Brodsky’s Office on their successful prosecution. Human trafficking is an abominable crime that must be met with firm justice. Thanks to their hard work and the great work of the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, this case demonstrates that Florida will not tolerate human trafficking.”
CONSUMER ALERT: Argosy University Students Eligible for Loan Discharges
The Florida Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division issued a Consumer Alert to inform Florida students of now-defunct Argosy University of available options. The semester began with approximately 540 students enrolled at Argosy University’s Tampa campus. The for-profit school is now in receivership, and the United States Department of Education has found that Argosy mishandled federal student aid funds and student stipends. Argosy’s assets are now in receivership and options are currently available to students.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “Argosy failed its students and now hundreds of Floridians trying to achieve a higher education are scrambling to figure out how to complete their degrees. Argosy students need to carefully examine their options and act promptly to pursue relief through the United States Department of Education.”
Florida Helps Secure Multimillion Recovery Following Health Care Fraud Investigation
Attorney General Ashley Moody’s Office helped secure a multimillion-dollar recovery following an investigation into a multistate health care fraud scheme. Covidien LP, a former global health care products company, allegedly provided free or discounted development and marketing services to Florida health care providers to induce them into purchasing Covidien products. These alleged actions violate the Anti-Kickback Statute and both federal and state false claims acts.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “Our office is committed to fighting fraud, including any attempt to manipulate Florida’s health care market. This multimillion-dollar recovery is just one example of how our Medicaid Fraud Control Unit attorneys and investigators work across boundaries and jurisdictions to protect the integrity of Florida’s health care system.”
Attorney General Moody Secures Millions Against Two Major Automotive Industry Companies for Consumer Protection Violations
Attorney General Ashley Moody announced a global resolution involving Fiat and Bosch. Attorney General Moody working with leaders from 51 other jurisdictions along with federal agencies secured nearly $200 million following an investigation into Fiat automobiles. Fiat allegedly sold vehicles containing illegal defeat devices supplied and programmed by engineering and electronics company Bosch. Restitution will be made available through agreements secured with both companies as part of the global resolution. The agreements, subject to court approval, resolve allegations that Fiat cheated on federal emissions tests and made false claims about its allegedly environmentally-friendly vehicles, when the vehicles actually emitted higher than permitted levels of nitrogen oxides.
Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “Purchasing a new vehicle is a major decision for any family, and consumers must be provided accurate information before making such an expensive purchase. Not only did the alleged deception mislead consumers, it may have also led to higher levels of nitrogen oxides being emitted than is currently allowed under federal law. I am proud of the work of our lawyers who are dedicated to protecting Floridians.”
This week, Attorney General Ashley Moody joined Governor Ron DeSantis, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis and Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried for a Florida Cabinet Meeting in Tallahassee.
Attorney General Moody presenting the Back the Blue Award to Lieutenant Anthony Collins of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, alongside Governor DeSantis, CFO Patronis and Commissioner Fried. Lt. Collins is joined by his wife Alexandra, daughter Zarah and son Anthony Collins Jr.
Attorney General Moody visiting with Florida sheriffs as part of Sheriffs Day at the Florida State Capitol.
Attorney General Ashley Moody meeting with State Attorney Ed Brodsky of the 12th Judicial Circuit at the State Capitol. The attorneys discussed a recent case out of the 12th Judicial Circuit that led to a successful human trafficking conviction.
Attorney General Moody speaking at a news conference celebrating accomplishments of Special Olympics Florida. The organization is now serving more than 50,000 athletes and will host the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games. Attorney General Moody will host the Law Enforcement Torch Run next month in Tallahassee, with proceeds going to Special Olympics.
Attorney General Moody meeting with members of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area team in her Tallahassee office. HIDTA assists federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions.
Attorney General Ashley Moody speaking to the Florida Association of Women Lawyers at the Florida State University College of Law in Tallahassee.
Attorney General Moody celebrating with pirates from her home county during Hillsborough County Day outside the Historic Florida Capitol Building.
Attorney General Moody with members of the Early Learning Coalition of Hillsborough County at Hillsborough County Day.
Pictured left to right: ELC Hillsborough County Board Chair Aakash Patel, Board member Stephanie Johnson, Board member Ron Pierce, Attorney General Moody, Hillsborough County Commissioner Sandy Murman, and ELC members Gordon Gillette and Bobbi Davis
A penguin from the Florida Aquarium in Tampa walked into Attorney General Moody’s Office during a senior staff meeting. The penguin, named Shelly, visited the Capitol to help celebrate Hillsborough County Day.
Attorney General Moody meeting with the Bay County Chamber of Commerce to discuss recovery efforts after Hurricane Michael.
Attorney General Moody with the Brandon Chamber of Commerce Leadership Class. Leadership Brandon’s mission is to advance the understanding of leadership, the chamber of commerce and community to become agents of change.
Attorney General Moody along with the Gulf Coast Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors. ABC focuses on issues that impact the commercial construction industry.
Attorney General Moody meeting with chief executive officers of the Florida Trucking Association to discuss ways to combat human trafficking in Florida.