Attorney General Bondi's Weekly Briefing

With kids spending more time at home on summer break, I want to urge parents to ensure children are safe online this summer. Most kids have heard the safety lectures of don’t play in the road and don’t talk to strangers when going out of the house, but there are also dangers inside their home. From smartphones and tablets to computers and game consoles, youth have more access to the internet than ever before—meaning online predators have more access to our children as well. Please sit down with your children and discuss the dangers of strangers on the internet.

Children on the internet can easily use programs that communicate with others and please know that predators may be using these programs too. These types of programs include chat rooms, online video games, file sharing programs and social networking sites.

There are warning signs that a child may be a victim or target of an online predator. Make sure your child is not spending an unusual amount of time chatting online. Take notice if your child becomes anxious or upset if unable to get to a computer or exhibits changes in personality and isolates themselves from friends and family. Additional red flags include lack of sleep from being online all night, receiving gifts in the mail and sudden influx of cash.

Respecting the privacy of a child is not worth risking that child’s safety, so I encourage parents to set parameters for online activities and use filters and software programs to block access to sites that are inappropriate for children.

Whether staying home or traveling for July 4th celebrations, please be safe. Enjoy the freedoms of our great democracy and remember the brave men and women of our military and our veterans who serve to secure those freedoms. Have a happy Independence Day!
Pam Bondi
Protecting Floridians
Home Health Aide Arrested for Defrauding Medicaid and Neglect

Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Leon County Sheriff’s Office arrested a home health aide for neglecting a disabled adult and defrauding the Florida Medicaid program. Vanesa Cainion, 50, allegedly failed to provide home health care services to the disabled adult and submitted false progress notes causing the Medicaid program to reimburse more than $1,000 for services never provided. More.

Former Florida State Hospital Worker Arrested for Aggravated Abuse of a Patient

Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Corrections Office of Inspector General arrested a former Florida State Hospital worker from Georgia for abusing a disabled adult. According to the MFCU investigation, while working at the hospital, Latavious Heard, 20, punched a disabled patient in the face, causing great bodily harm to the victim.

Heard faces one count of aggravated abuse of a disabled adult, a first-degree felony. If convicted, Heard faces up to 30 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. The State Attorney’s Office for the Second Judicial Circuit will prosecute the case.

Former Nursing Home Manager Arrested for Organized Scheme to Defraud and Grand Theft

Attorney General Pam Bondi’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Tarpon Springs Police Department arrested a Pasco County woman for a scheme misappropriating more than $50,000 from nursing home residents. Jill Marie Spohn, 37, is a former employee of a Hillsborough County nursing home. While employed as the manager, Spohn allegedly misappropriated the funds of two elderly residents paid in cash to the facility.

According to the MFCU investigation, to conceal the theft, Spohn manipulated the trust accounts of other residents. On a monthly basis, Spohn allegedly wrongfully diverted other residents’ money into the accounts of the two cash paying resident victims, while failing to credit cash received on behalf of the victims into the facility account. More.

Former WellCare, Inc. General Counsel Pleads Guilty To Making A False Statement To Florida Medicaid Program

Acting United States Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow announces that WellCare's former General Counsel, Thaddeus M.S. Bereday, 52, Tampa, has pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Florida Medicaid program. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set.

This case was investigated by the Attorney General Pam Bondi's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services - Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. More.

Attorney General Pam Bondi would like to welcome and congratulate Florida’s new Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis to the Florida Cabinet. Jimmy is a long-time friend and ally in the efforts to ensure Florida is a safe place to live and visit. Attorney General Bondi looks forward to serving with CFO Patronis in his new role.

The Attorney General’s Office of Inspector General received accreditation from the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation, a highly-prized recognition of professional excellence.