A 13-year-old girl has been arrested after police claim she brought a loaded gun to school in Miami Gardens.

Miami-Dade Schools spokeswoman told local media that the girl brandished the gun at two classmates Wednesday morning before classes started at Carol City Middle School. A school staff member confiscated the weapon.

The student now faces four weapons charges.

An adult who lives at the student’s home, was arrested and charged with failing to secure a weapon from a minor.

Weapons charges are taken very seriously by state prosecutors, which is why these charges must be dealt with accordingly. There is much as stake when it comes to the consequences attached to these charges, especially when the person charged is a minor.

Juvenile courts tend to sentence minors who are charged with weapons-related offenses in a manner that promotes rehabilitation rather than punishment. Most juvenile courts choose to penalize minors through community service and probation. However, in certain serious cases involving weapons, juveniles could be tried as adults.

Our Florida Juvenile Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can help you if your child is facing a weapons charge. Call us today at 561-367-8777 to discuss your juvenile weapons charge and learn how we can help you navigate the court system. As former prosecutors, we know what it takes to achieve a successful outcome in a juvenile weapons case and we will fight aggressively to make sure that we do everything we can to prevail.

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Federal agents arrested about 30 suspects in Broward County and charged them with gun- and drug-trafficking offenses on Wednesday after a two-year undercover investigation targeting gang violence.

Twenty-five of the indicted defendants are felons with a combined history of 426 arrests and 71 convictions, according to authorities.

All of the defendants are supposedly members of the Doom City and Cypress Boys organizations in the Pompano Beach area.

Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Marshals Service made the arrests and conducted searches, along with the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

The investigation started in April of last year and entailed 230 undercover operations, resulting in the purchase and recovery of about 250 firearms, according to reports.

Undercover agents also claim they bought multiple kilos of heroin, cocaine, flakka and marijuana and about 500 oxycodone pills from the two gang organizations.

If firearms are connected in any way to drug crimes charge, you can expect to see an increase in prison time and penalties if convicted. Prosecutors will stop at nothing to make sure maximum consequences are enforced.

Drug and weapons offenses are serious and must be dealt with accordingly. Our South Florida Drug Crimes Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can challenge the weapons charges as well as the underlying drug crime you are facing. We serve clients throughout Broward County and all of Florida facing state or federal charges.

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A road rage confrontation with a firefighter resulted in the death of a man in South Florida.

Police in Coral Springs reported that a man was found unconscious on a roadway Thursday.

A firefighter claims that he was driving home from work when the man cut him off.

The firefighter alleges that the man stopped his vehicle on the side of the road. The firefighter says he pulled over to get a closer look at the man.

The man then allegedly dove through the passenger side window of the firefighters’ car and began attacking him.

The firefighter apparently drove off to get away.

Police have not confirmed how the man died, but did say he had head injuries.

The firefighter has not been charged and is cooperating with authorities.

While some accident injuries or deaths result from a mistake or perhaps a temporary distraction, others are the direct result of another driver’s deliberate intentions. Traffic situations and short tempers should never be the reason any drivers life is in danger.

Road rage and aggressive driving are factors in many accidents every year south Florida, some of which have led to severe personal injuries and wrongful death. According to the American Safety Council, road rage plays a role in 66 percent of all traffic fatalities, and 37 percent of aggressive driving incidents involve a firearm.

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Thirteen people, mostly from South Florida, are facing federal charges of mail fraud and conspiracy for allegedly defrauding approximately $23 million from investors — mostly seniors — around the nation.

According to investigators, two linked telemarketing frauds, based in Miami Lakes and Marina Del Rey, Calif., touted stocks for Sanomedics Inc. and Fun Cool Free stocks between 2009 and 2015.

The telemarketers claimed to be selling profitable shares in companies that provided thermometers for humans and dogs and games for smartphones, according to authorities.

Five of the 13 arrested were also charged with wire fraud.

Due to the increase in telephone scams over the past few years, the federal government along with state authorities have been cracking down on any suspected telemarketing fraud schemes. If you or your company is under investigation for fraud or you are facing criminal charges, it is best to seek legal counsel as soon as possible.

Telemarketing fraud can involve many actions or schemes, such as:

  • Convincing someone to pay a fee to obtain a credit card or to restore credit – also known as advanced fee scams.
  • Telling a person you will enter their name into a lottery for a prize to obtain the person’s personal information for fraudulent purposes.
  • Bullying or pressuring the person to act quickly and send a payment.
  • Promising a product or service and never following through.
  • Promising the person will make a lot of money working from home and other get-rich-quick schemes – also known as a pyramid scheme.
  • Selling fake timeshares.
  • Tricking a person into making a wire transfer.

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Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez  was killed early Sunday in a boating crash in Miami, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

The 24-year-old and two other people died when their 32-foot vessel slammed into a jetty off Miami Beach, authorities said.

Two bodies were found under the vessel and a third was found on the jetty, according to the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue’s Marine Services Bureau.

It does not appear that speed was a factor and there was no immediate indication that alcohol or drugs were a cause in the crash. None of the three victims wore a life jacket, and that the boat was owned by a friend of Fernandez’s.

Our South Florida Boating Accident Lawyers at Whittel & Melton help those who have suffered personal injuries or lost loved ones in boating accidents and collisions throughout the state of Florida. Many factors can contribute to a boating accident either on a privately owned vessel or on a personal watercraft, like a jet ski. Some of these factors include:

  • Driver Inexperience
  • Driver Error
  • Operating A Boat Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
  • Equipment Failure
  • Bad weather and/or water conditions

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A man convicted of conspiring to defraud more than 30,000 Americans out of about $31 million was sentenced on Thursday to 16 years in prison.

The California man was also ordered to pay $11.9 million in forfeiture and restitution.

The man was convicted of running a mortgage scheme  from November 2011 through May 2014, causing more than 60 homeowners to lose their homes.

The man apparently oversaw about 65 telemarketers and managers in his role as general manager of sales at the company.

Prosecutors claim that the Irvine-based company persuaded homeowners in dire financial shape to modify the terms of their mortgages to make them more affordable.

Four other people convicted in the scheme are awaiting sentencing.

With the housing market where it is currently, prosecutors are going after anyone accused of mortgage fraud to the fullest extent of the law. Rest assured that they will stop at nothing to achieve a conviction for this white collar crime. Their ultimate goal is to make sure that anyone accused of mortgage fraud is proven guilty.

Loan and mortgage fraud can be complicated, and most of these cases are unique. Our South Florida Fraud Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can comb through every shred of evidence in your case to filter fiction from fact, so that we establish the most powerful defense on your behalf. We can aggressively attack the prosecution’s case and make sure your rights are protected.

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Two South Florida residents have been arrested after police claim they threatened to leak sexually explicit images of social media star “YesJulz” unless she paid them.

A 28-year-old and a 33-year-old were arrested Friday on extortion charges.

Miami Beach police believe the two contacted “YesJulz” and claimed to have X-rated photos of her.

They allegedly gave her 24 hours to pay them $18,000, threatening to publish the pictures online if she didn’t.

The two were arrested as they were waiting in a car on Miami Beach.

Police say one of the men arrested has admitted to the crime.The other denies any involvement.

The New York Times recently named “YesJulz” the “Queen of SnapChat,” where she has more than 300,000 viewers.

Extortion is defined as the use of non-physical force to persuade another person to do something for you. With the growth of the Internet and social media, this type of crime has taken on entirely new form, which has been labeled sextortion. Similar to extortion, sextortion is the use of sexual exploitation to make another person do something for you or give you something, like money.  

Sextortion is committed when someone uses guilt, power or damaging information about another person in an attempt to force that person to do something they do not want to do. This frequently occurs on social media networks like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Three people have been convicted of alleged Medicare and Medicaid fraud in a $1 billion scheme in Miami.

“This is the largest single criminal healthcare fraud case ever brought against individuals by the Department of Justice,” said Leslie R. Caldwell, Assistant Attorney General the department’s criminal division, in a statement issued Friday.

A 47-year-old man allegedly led a scheme that referred Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries who did not qualify to skilled nursing and assisted living facilities. The man owned 30 such facilities, giving him access to thousands of beneficiaries, according to reports.

Also charged in the scheme are a 49-year-old hospital administrator and a 56-year-old physician’s assistant.

The three also are accused of accepting kickbacks, disguised as charitable donations or paid in cash, for directing the beneficiaries to selected health care providers, including pharmacies, health care agencies and mental health centers, according to investigators.

Medicare or Medicaid fraud happens when a provider knowingly makes a false or misleading statement or representation for use in obtaining reimbursement from the medical assistance program. Medicare and Medicaid providers include doctors, dentists, hospitals, nursing homes, pharmacies, clinics, counselors, personal care/homemaker companies, and any other individual or company that is paid by the the programs.

Medicaid fraud includes, but is not limited to:

  • Billing for medical services that were never performed, known as phantom billing
  • Billing for a more expensive service than was actually performed, known as upcoding
  • Billing for multiple services that should be combined into one billing, known as unbundling
  • Billing several time for the same medical service
  • Dispensing generic drugs and billing for brand-name drugs
  • Giving or accepting something in return for medical services, which is known as a kickback
  • Providing unnecessary services
  • Filing false cost reports

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A South Florida doctor will spend more than three years in federal prison after pleading guilty to falsely diagnosing hundreds of patients in a Medicare fraud scheme.

Court records show the 57-year-old Delray Beach doctor was also ordered Wednesday by a federal judge to pay more than $2.1 million in restitution to the government. The man previously pleaded guilty to health care fraud.

Authorities claim the man falsely diagnosed 387 patients enrolled in the Medicare Advantage program with a rare spinal condition. The patients were enrolled in a Humana Inc. health plan that was reimbursed for each diagnosis by Medicare.

The federal program paid out $2.1 million in excess benefits, 80 percent of which went to the doctor. Almost none of the patients actually had the rare spinal condition, according to reports.

Medicare and Medicaid fraud is taken quite seriously on local, state and federal levels. It is important to note that these cases are heavily investigated before charges are brought forth. With that said, you will most likely know about the possibility of being charged long before an indictment is filed against you.

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The Florida Supreme Court amended the Florida Rules of Criminal Procedure last week, stripping Florida state prosecutors of their discretion to disclose information about informants.  Under a new rule that lifts the curtain on the jailhouse snitches who long have been the source of false testimony in criminal cases,  juries will be provided a more complete picture of the context of an informant’s testimony.

The Innocence Commission estimates that as many as 15 percent of convictions later overturned by DNA testing involved false testimony by informants at trial and that informant perjury was a factor in nearly 50 percent of wrongful murder convictions and in 46 percent of exonerations for death row inmates.

New Procedure rules protect defendants from self-serving informant testimony

New Procedure rules protect defendants from self-serving informant testimony

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