Attorney General's Weekly Newsletter
Volume 9, Issue 362 • Oct. 13, 2017
Attorney General Bondi's Weekly Briefing



This week, as part of a delegation of attorneys general from around our country, I met with Moroccan government officials in an effort to strengthen the working relationship between our countries and bolster efforts to combat human trafficking, cybercrimes and other transnational crimes. This outreach comes at an opportune moment as Morocco just last week implemented reforms that create an independent judiciary and public prosecution agency.

Morocco is a growing country with one of Africa’s largest seaports—located on the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea near Spain and Portugal. Morocco’s geography and growing economy make it a potential pass-through for human traffickers and other transnational criminals trying to gain access to North America.

While in Morocco, our delegation shared criminal-interdiction strategies with the country’s top prosecutors and judicial officials. We met with Morocco’s Chief Prosecutor and Morocco's Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in the capital city of Rabat. We discussed efforts to help human trafficking victims with the Moroccan National Human Rights Council. We met with the Minister of Justice, the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to discuss how our countries can work together to make the world safer. We also met with several Moroccan governors.

Transnational criminals have no respect for the rule of law or jurisdictional boundaries. Countering these criminals demands strong partnerships and international coordination. I am proud to share our successes and strategies along with my fellow attorneys general and Moroccan law enforcement and judicial officials. Working together we can fight transnational crime and make both our countries stronger.

In the News
EpiPen maker settles suit for $456 million, $9 million to Florida, Palm Beach Post
In ‘lean’ drink probe, medical assistant busted — at Miami jail facility where she works, Miami Herald

Attorney General Bondi sues HOA foreclosure companies she says preys on poor, ABC Action News

‘Operation Game of Loans’ probe targets include Wesley Chapel student debt relief company, Tampa Bay Business Journal

Justice: An unprecedented American delegation arrives in Morocco, InfoMediaire.net

La coopération dans le domaine judiciaire au centre d'entretiens entre M. Aujjar et des procureurs généraux américains, Medias 24


Protecting Floridians

Attorney General Bondi Announces Actions Against Student Loan Debt Relief Scammers as Part of National Crackdown

Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office is participating in the first coordinated federal-state civil enforcement crackdown involving student loan debt relief scams. These scams unlawfully took a combined total of more than $95 million in upfront fees from students nationwide. The crackdown involves a total of 36 state or federal actions against student debt relief companies, with Attorney General Bondi’s Office filing two of these lawsuits, as well as a third action to compel compliance with an investigative subpoena. The Attorney General’s Office also reached a settlement with a student loan debt relief company in a fourth matter that ensures the company will no longer operate in Florida.
More.

Two More Arrested in Connection to Pharmacy Burglaries

Attorney General Pam Bondi's Office of Statewide Prosecution, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced the arrests of two more members of a large drug-trafficking organization in Miami. The organization operated primarily in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties.

Nereida Milagros Ortiz Almonte, 50, and her daughter-in-law, Ashley Alexandra Laguna, 19, both from Miramar, continued the illicit activities of the drug ring, following the arrest of Raúl Ponce, Jr.,18, Ortiz Almonte’s son and Laguna’s husband. Investigators now believe Almonte and Laguna sought to collect drug debts and transport stolen narcotics and a firearm on behalf of Ponce and the larger organization.


Assistant Statewide Prosecutor Hunter Davis with Attorney General Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution will prosecute the defendants in the Broward County Circuit Court. More.



Tampa Man Arrested for 140 Felony Counts Connected to Fraudulent Check Scheme

Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office of Statewide Prosecution, the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office and the Tampa Police Department announced the arrest of a Tampa man for passing forged checks. According to the investigation Chedrick Lavelle Oliver, 36, used the information from the stolen checks to commit fraudulent transactions at Walmart stores. More.









Attorney General Bondi Takes Action Against Companies Targeting Financially Distressed Floridians

Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Office filed a complaint against HOA Problem Solutions, Inc., as well as several related companies, for using deceptive and unfair practices to acquire properties from financially distressed homeowners. These Floridians’ homes faced impending homeowners’ association foreclosure auction because of outstanding HOA dues. According to the complaint, HOA Problem Solutions told homeowners that they could walk away free and clear from properties if the homeowners executed a quitclaim deed for a fraction of the value of the home. However, the homeowners who executed quitclaims are still being held responsible for prior home loans.
More.

Assisted Living Facility Owner Arrested for Criminal Use of Personal ID Information

Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit arrested an Escambia County resident for criminally using someone’s personal identification information. Aisha Westbrooks, 40, is the owner of the assisted living facility House of Honor The Westbrooks Inc. According to the investigation, Westbrooks illegally used the information of an employee’s sister to hide the identity of the same employee, who is a convicted felon. Westbrooks also allegedly used this information to bill Medicaid and private pay clients for more than $15,000 in services provided by the employee, who is not eligible to work for a Medicaid provider.
More.

Multimillion Dollar Settlement Reached with EpiPen Manufacturer

Attorney General Pam Bondi joined the federal government, the District of Columbia and all 49 other state attorneys general in a multimillion settlement with an international pharmaceutical company. This nationwide settlement resolves allegations that Mylan Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Mylan Specialty L. knowingly underpaid rebates owed to the Medicaid program for the drugs EpiPen® and EpiPen Jr.®. The drugs are injections containing epinephrine, a chemical that narrows blood vessels and opens airways in the lungs. These effects can reverse severe low blood pressure, wheezing, severe skin itching, hives and other symptoms of an allergic reaction.
More.

Mental Health Counselor Arrested for Defrauding Medicaid

Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Miami-Dade Police Department arrested a mental health counselor for defrauding the Medicaid program. According to the investigation, Alicia Camille Latty, 33, fraudulently submitted progress notes for services never provided to several Medicaid recipients. Latty allegedly used those progress notes to fraudulently bill the Medicaid program.
More.



Events

Attorney General Pam Bondi and a delegation of United States attorneys general this week met with Moroccan dignitaries to bolster efforts to combat human trafficking, cybercrimes and other transnational crimes. Representatives from the two countries were brought together through the Conference of Western Attorneys General.

The delegation is making headlines in Moroccan media.



Attorney General Bondi addressing Moroccan federal prosecutors and justice officials at the nation’s Supreme Court.






Attorney General Bondi with Moroccan Minister of Justice Mohamed Aujjar and other members of the U.S. delegation.




































The delegation of U.S. attorneys general meeting with Governor Abdelfattah Lebjioui of Marrakesh.



Attorney General Bondi joins Governor Lebjioui of Marrakesh to talk to members of the Moroccan media.





Attorney General Bondi pausing for a picture with Loubna Ouazzani, Morocco’s only female prosecutor, and Alaska Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth.




Attorney General Bondi met with members of the Moroccan Human Rights Council to discuss efforts to protect human trafficking victims, violence against women, helping inmates transition back into society and securing employment for people with disabilities.


Attorney General Bondi and members of the delegation met a remarkable woman who was kidnapped from Morocco at the age of 10 and not rescued until she was an adult. Her two brothers were also kidnapped and trafficked in different countries. Today, this remarkable survivor is a human rights advocate, working to stop human trafficking and save lives. 





Attorney General Bondi with Heather Chase, Political Officer for the Embassy of the United States in Morocco. Heather works to protect human rights and secure employment for people with disabilities in Morocco.