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A former Miami police officer has been sentenced to 15 ½ years in prison for her apparent involvement in a drug trafficking conspiracy.

Court records show that the woman was sentenced Wednesday in Miami federal court. She previously pleaded guilty to conspiring with other officers to possess cocaine.

Investigators say the woman provided police protection for what she believed were large shipments of cocaine on three occasions last September and October. She received a cash payment of $17,000. The deliveries were arranged by undercover FBI agents.

Cases are still pending against two other former Miami officers.

Drug trafficking charges can lead to serious consequences if convicted. Not only are you looking at a permanent criminal record, but you can also face serious prison time and hefty fines.

Our South Florida Drug Crimes Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have helped many clients accused of federal drug charges minimize or eliminate penalties. As former prosecutors, our team of trial lawyers understand what it takes to prepare an effective defense. We use our inside knowledge to anticipate the prosecution’s case and formulate aggressive defense strategies for drug trafficking conspiracy charges. We can also negotiate with prosecutors to reach deals or secure reduced penalties.

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On Friday, a federal jury convicted a Florida health care executive on 20 criminal counts in what prosecutors described as a $1 billion Medicare fraud scheme.

Jurors reached a partial verdict after four days of deliberating. This case is one of the biggest in U.S. history. Jurors were undecided on six additional counts, but prosecutors accepted the verdict rather than sending them back for further deliberations.

The Miami Beach businessman operated a network of nursing homes and assisted living facilities in South Florida.

Jurors found him guilty of paying kickbacks and bribes to doctors and administrators so they would refer patients to his businesses. A former Ivy League basketball coach testified that the man bribed him to get his son into school. He was also convicted of charges of obstruction of justice, for plotting to help one of his co-conspirators flee to another country.

The jury could not decide whether the man was guilty of Medicare fraud conspiracy. They found him guilty of money laundering and of bribing a Florida health regulator to warn him when inspectors planned surprise visits to his facilities and when patients made complaints.

The man plans to appeal the decision.

He has been jailed since his 2016 arrest. The charges he was convicted of add up to more than 250 years in prison, but he is likely to get far less than that under federal sentencing guidelines.

The federal government and the state of Florida are quite serious about prosecuting those accused of health care fraud. Police will use any means necessary to uncover any alleged fraud. Individual doctors and even entire hospitals can be the target of a health care fraud investigation.

The government is very aggressive in its approach to investigating health care fraud. Grand jury investigations are likely to occur. It doesn’t matter if you are under investigation or have already been indicted – you need to enlist the help of a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible who can defend you from these charges.

Our South Florida Medicare Fraud Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can defend you against health care fraud charges in Florida or elsewhere in the country. We will give you an honest assessment of your case and help you understand the possible defenses that may be available. We want to minimize any damage to you and your reputation.

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For the third time in less than three months a former University of Miami football player has been arrested.

According to police, former Canes star running back Mark Walton, who now plays for the Cincinnati Bengals, was observed in his vehicle driving very aggressively and illegally.

The 21-year-old now faces felony charges of carrying a concealed weapon, marijuana possession and reckless driving.

These charges are all from a high-speed car chase that took place last month in Miami-Dade County.

Walton has already been involved in two other criminal cases.

One is from February in which he’s accused of snatching a phone from a neighbor at his Brickell condo building during an argument in the parking garage.

Walton is also awaiting trial on a misdemeanor drug charge from an arrest in January.

Felony charges of any kind are serious. Felony crimes are prosecuted heavily in the state of Florida, regardless of the degree of the charge. You could be looking at mandatory minimum prison sentences, large fines, and other severe consequences. The prosecution will stop at nothing to seek the highest levels of punishment for those facing felony crimes, especially if they have a criminal past.

After an arrest for a crime, you need to take appropriate steps to protect yourself. The first thing you should do is call our South Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton. We can help you conduct a thorough investigation of the details surrounding your charges and make sure your rights are protected. It does not matter how severe the charges are that you are facing, we will fight aggressively to achieve the best possible outcome on your behalf.

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Two women have been arrested after Palm Beach County deputies charged them in a string of burglaries across four counties.

Palm Beach deputies arrested the two women, both 21, for allegedly burglarizing different business and stealing cars.

According to the affidavit, the string of burglaries began in July 2016 and included crimes in Brevard, Martin, St. Lucie, Palm Beach and Broward counties. Some of the targets included restaurants, computer stores and jewelry stores.

Deputies say that the two women used a pickax to commit the burglaries.

Warrants for the two women were issued in September last year.

Deputies charged both women with racketeering and conspiracy to commit racketeering. Their arraignment is set for Thursday.

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act was enacted in 1970 to allow federal prosecutors to pursue and charge those involved in organized criminal activity. In Florida, racketeering is aggressively prosecuted and a conviction can lead to severe penalties, such as years behind bars, hefty fines and even asset forfeiture.

Racketeering charges are often brought after a long investigation, and a RICO defense is usually complex. Only an experienced, You need a trial lawyer who has the experience and skill needed to prevent a conviction. Our South Florida Federal Criminal Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are well-versed in defending those facing racketeering charges. As former prosecutors, we know how the State will prepare and prosecute its case.

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A Royal Caribbean cruise to the Bahamas ended tragically for a man in 26-year-old man in February, and he has now filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Miami.

The man was in a bungee trampoline, 20 feet up in the air, when his harness got disconnected. He fell to the 13th deck of the Mariner of the Seas.

According to the lawsuit, the man “has become disabled, has plates and screws in his pelvic area, and has suffered severe orthopedic injuries which will require lifetime medical care and treatment.”

Royal Caribbean released a statement saying the company operates all ships “safely, professionally and responsibly.”

Cruise ships have so much entertainment and excursions to offer passengers, and these nearly constant activities can create a strong potential for serious injuries and even death to occur.

Some of the most common injuries on cruise ships are slip and fall or trip and fall accidents. Depending on the severity of the fall, a passenger may suffer serious and long-lasting injuries, including head and traumatic brain injury (TBI), neck and back injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, and other serious harm.

If you or a loved one has suffered a fall injury on a cruise ship because of negligence by a cruise line or crew member, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical expenses and other losses connected to your injury. Our South Florida Cruise Ship Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you understand what steps to take next and ultimately get you the maximum recovery for your injuries.

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A former city commissioner of Margate has been sentenced to five years in state prison for a corruption case related to a tiki bar he operated in a strip mall.

Court records show that 56-year-old David McLean was sentenced Tuesday in Broward County Circuit Court. He was convicted last month of bribery, official misconduct and theft charges. McLean was a commissioner in the South Florida city of Margate.

Trial evidence showed McLean used his influence to do city favors for the tiki bar’s landlord. In return, the landlord forgave about $8,000 in rent and made another $6,000 in cash payments.

Public figures like politicians, police officers and city council members are always being watched. If their actions even merely appear to be illegal, then they can expect to be investigated. If you think you are being investigated for a crime or have already been charged, you need the help of a criminal defense lawyer who can aggressively attack any evidence obtained. Our South Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have the experience and determination to fight charges of corruption.

If you are facing corruption charges, let us help you. We will make sure you understand your legal options and will advise you on the best strategy with the hopes of achieving a successful outcome on your behalf.

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Former Miami Hurricanes football star Mark Walton was arrested recently after police said an argument with a woman turned physical at a Miami parking garage.

The 21-year-old who now plays for the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals faces a charge of battery.

A spokeswoman for the Miami Police Department said Walton and the woman began arguing around 4:30 p.m. because Walton was blocking the entrance to the parking garage in the unit block of Southeast Fifth Street.

The woman attempted to record Walton using her mobile phone, but Walton grabbed the phone, causing a brief struggle as the woman tried to get it back.

Walton and the woman had minor scratches, according to reports.

Walton was released on bond the next morning.

A person can be charged with battery if they make actual physical contact with another individual with the intent to injure, provoke, or insult that person. Simple battery is a first-degree misdemeanor with penalties of up to one year in jail or 12 months probation, and a $1,000 fine.If you or a loved one faces arrest or prosecution on charges of battery, it is important to contact our Miami Criminal Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible. We are zealous legal advocates that understand how the prosecution works and will attack their points to achieve the best possible resolution for our clients.

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The ex-husband of “Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Cynthia Bailey spent the night in a Miami jail after being arrested for writing fraudulent checks.

Peter Thomas was arrested Friday at Miami International Airport on a fugitive warrant.

The 58-year-old man is from Louisiana where he is accused of writing fraudulent checks.

No bond has been set.

In an official statement, Thomas said the allegations were false. He said he will be “acquitted from any wrongdoing.”

In Florida, check fraud can embody numerous fraudulent activities, such as writing a check from an account holding insufficient funds or a closed account. It is also a crime for someone to possess fraudulently obtained checks. Check fraud carries the potential for a felony conviction and significant prison time, depending on the value of the check.

In order for the State to charge someone with check fraud, they must prove the “bad check” was intentionally tendered to another person or business. This can be in the form of a personal check or a business-related check.

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New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has been charged with soliciting prostitution at a Palm Beach County spa just hours before the Patriots played in the AFC Championship Game, according to reports.

The 77-year-old billionaire is among 25 people charged with soliciting another to commit prostitution.

The charges resulted from a monthslong investigation into sex trafficking that focused on several central Florida day spas and massage parlors suspected of being used for prostitution. The investigation began when a health inspector observed curious details that suggested women might be living at the day spa.

The man faces two counts of soliciting someone to commit prostitution. He allegedly visited a spa in Jupiter on January 19 in the afternoon and again on the morning of January 20, according to the affidavits.

The Patriots beat the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City later on the 20th to advance to the Super Bowl.

Under Florida law, the charge is a first degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail, a $5,000 civil penalty, and a mandatory 100 hours of community service and educational program on the negative effects of prostitution and human trafficking.

Covert surveillance equipment was apparently installed at the spa on January 17 as part of the investigation, according to reports.

On the afternoon of the January 19, the cameras allegedly show Kraft visited the spa and paid for services in cash at the front desk, and he was then taken to a massage room, undressed and lay on a massage bed. A female employee can be seen on the video allegedly manipulating his genitals and later wiping Kraft’s genitals with a towel, according to the affidavit.

Afterward, Kraft left the facility and got into a white Bentley, and police then conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle and confirmed his ID, reports indicate.

The next day, Kraft allegedly returned to the spa at about 10:59 a.m. and again undressed and lay face up on a massage table, the affidavit states. There, a woman apparently began manipulating his genitals and then put her head down by his genitals, the report states. After a few minutes, the woman used a towel to wipe Kraft near his genitals.

Kraft allegedly gave her a $100 bill plus at least one other unidentifiable bill and left the room at 11:13 a.m., according to the document.

Facing a solicitation charge in South Florida is a very serious prostitution-related offense that needs the assistance of an experienced Solicitation Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton. We have defended clients accused of a variety of prostitution and solicitation offenses and understand just how devastating these accusations can be for the accused and their family. We are compassionate criminal defense attorneys that will fight to clear your name.

Solicitation is the process of seeking a sexual act for payment or asking or inviting someone to engage in prostitution. The law requires that two people be involved in the solicitation. A person charged with solicitation must have actually approached another person and offered to pay for a sex act, either in public or in private, or through word or gesture.

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A Boynton Beach woman is accused of stealing money from a Little Caesars pizza store where she worked last year.

The business owner was at home Nov. 30 and watching transactions at the shop through its surveillance system when he noticed the manager put $300 in her purse, according to a Boynton Beach police report.

From Sept. 10 through Nov. 30, $15,963 was taken from the business, according to the owner’s calculations, police said.

The 25-year-old was fired from her job at the store, and was arrested Feb. 2 by the U.S. Marshals Southeast Regional Fugitive Task Force and released on $6,000 bond, according to police and court records.

The woman is facing charges of organized scheme to defraud, less than $20,000 and grand theft.

The store owner reviewed 160 hours of store video recorded during the woman’s shifts. He noticed the woman made more “no sale” entries to open the cash register than employees, and also did not move cash from the register to a safe as often as other workers, according to the police report.

The video apparently showed the woman taking money and either placing it in her purse or a bank bag or concealing it another way before taking it outside the store right away or at the end of her shift, police said.

Grand theft involves stealing an item or money that is valued at $300 or more. Grand theft is a felony in Florida, and depending on the amount allegedly stolen, you could face anywhere from a maximum sentence of 5 years to 30 years in state prison.

If you are facing theft charges in Boynton Beach, our Palm Beach County Theft Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you fight these charges. We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case and help you understand the best defense strategy to help you avoid a conviction or maximum penalties for this offense.

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