Attorney General's Weekly Newsletter
Volume 9, Issue 320 • Dec. 23, 2016
Attorney General Bondi's Weekly Briefing

This week, I took action against three lodging businesses charging unconscionable prices for shelter during a declared State of Emergency related to Hurricane Matthew, a deadly storm that impacted Florida in October. One of the hotels charged more than 400 percent more than the average nightly rate charged prior to the storm.

As Matthew strengthened into a dangerous category four hurricane, more than a million Floridians and visitors were urged to evacuate. Many of these people turned to these businesses for safe shelter, but could not afford a room. In times like this, it is extremely important that Floridians come together to ensure our citizens and visitors are safe. I personally visited one of these locations during the State of Emergency and was disgusted by the way people seeking shelter were treated.

At the time of the alleged price gouging, Hillsborough, Pinellas and Polk Counties were under a State of Emergency for two storm events, Matthew and Hurricane Hermine that struck Florida in September. All three complaints seek civil penalties, disgorgement, injunctive relief, restitution and other statutory relief against the defendants for violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and Section 501.160, Florida Statutes.

With the 2016 Hurricane Season behind us and the holidays upon us, I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and safe holiday season. While we spend time with our loved ones, let us remember our soldiers who are away from home this Christmas. Their relentless bravery and sacrifices are the reason we can celebrate safely with our family and friends.

In the News
State charges Tampa Bay hoteliers with price-gouging during hurricane, Tampa Bay Business Journal
Boca Raton tech support firm charged in scheme settles for $10 million, Palm Beach Post

Panama City pediatrician arrested on Medicaid fraud charges, WJHG

A 40-year-old Lehigh Acres man was arrested Tuesday for allegedly defrauding an elderly relative, News-Press

Florida reaches multimillion-dollar settlement with doctor over false claims allegations, Legal Newsline

Nominated By AG Bondi, Tallahassee Attorney Receives Award For Helping Pulse Victims, WFSU


Protecting Floridians
Attorney General Bondi Takes Action Against Timeshare Resale Company


Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a civil consumer protection lawsuit against a timeshare resale company and its owners for allegedly making false promises regarding the resale of timeshares. The action alleges violations of the Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act and the state’s Timeshare Resale Accountability Act.


“Some families invest their live savings into timeshare property and we will not tolerate anyone misleading consumers attempting to resale their vacation homes,” said Attorney General Bondi. “My office will continue our efforts to protect timeshare owners from unscrupulous business practices.” More.




Attorney General Bondi and FTC Settle Another Tech Support Scam Case

Attorney General Pam Bondi and the Federal Trade Commission announced a settlement with Inbound Call Experts, LLC also d/b/a Advanced Tech Support; Advanced Tech Supportco, LLC; PC Vitalware, LLC; Super PC Support, LLC and the owners of Inbound Call Experts, Robert D. Deignan, Paul M. Herdsman and Justin M. Wright. In November 2014, Attorney General Bondi’s Office and the FTC filed a complaint against the defendants for deceptively marketing tech support services and computer software. As part of the company’s settlement with the Attorney General’s Office and the FTC, the defendants have agreed to a $10 million judgment.

“Technology repair scams are designed to scare consumers into purchasing services they do not need, and this settlement agreement makes clear we will not allow technology repair scammers to get away with preying on Floridians,” said Attorney General Bondi.
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Pediatrician Arrested for Medicaid Fraud

Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Bay County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest of a Bay County pediatrician for Medicaid provider fraud. A complaint to the Attorney General’s fraud hotline initiated a Medicaid fraud investigation against Sameh Mohamed El Amir, 45, for allegedly stealing more than $250,000 from Florida Medicaid.
More.

Lee County Man Arrested for Exploitation of an Elderly Person

Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, with the assistance of the East District SET Team with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, announced the arrest of a Lee County man for exploitation of an elderly person. According to the investigation, Ryan Todd Powers, 40, unlawfully obtained funds from an elderly relative suffering from physical limitations who resides in a nursing home.
More.

Former Mental Health Therapist Arrested for Medicaid Fraud

Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest of a Duval County resident for Medicaid Fraud. Jennifer Schulz, 32, is a former mental health therapist who provided counseling to children. According to the investigation, Schulz submitted false progress notes for services she did not provide.
More.