Justia Lawyer Rating for Jason M. Melton Esq.
AVVO
Martindale-Hubbell
Super Lawyers
Florida Justice Association
American Association for Justice
FACDL
Florida Legal Elite

A Miami-Dade County doctor was arrested Tuesday after state prosecutors said she illegally prescribed opioid drugs to a patient, resulting in the woman’s death.

The 48-year-old doctor faces charges of manslaughter and conspiracy to traffic in oxycodone and delivery of oxycodone.

In March, Monroe County sheriff’s deputies found a 35-year-old woman dead at her home in Key Largo. Her body was found next to a bottle of oxycodone and the doctor had written the prescription the day before. A toxicology report determined that the woman died of an overdose of oxycodone and alprazolam, a sedative sold under the brand name Xanax.

After an investigation involving the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, authorities allege they discovered that the deceased and the doctor conspired to traffic narcotics. Prosecutors claim that text messages between the two showed that the doctor provided prescriptions at the woman’s request, even delivering the prescription to her home.

The doctor received a portion of the medications after she prescribed them to the woman, prosecutors allege.

On Tuesday afternoon, the doctor was held on $100,000 bond at Miami-Dade County’s Turner Guilford Knight Correction Center. She appeared in bond court Wednesday morning, at which time a Miami-Dade County judge ordered that she be placed on house arrest with a GPS monitor if she posts bail.  

When you think of drug crimes, prescription pills are not usually the first to come to mind. Prescription drugs are considered controlled substances under Florida law, so if you have been arrested for a prescription drug offense, it is important that you have an experienced South Florida Drug Crimes Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton representing you from the start.

We have extensive experience with doctors being involved in prescription drug offenses, and we have a built a strong track record of achieving successful outcomes for our clients. Our experience includes the resolution of drug crimes cases involving all types of prescription drugs, including Vicodin, OxyContin, oxycodone, Percocet, Valium, Hydrocodone and others.

Continue Reading

Rapper Kodak Black pleaded not guilty Wednesday to federal weapons charges that prevented him from performing last weekend at the Rolling Loud hip-hop festival, around which several violent incidents occurred.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Edwin Torres also granted the 21-year-old Black release on $550,000 bond with house arrest, although he faces other criminal cases that could keep him locked up.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce Brown said Black was out on bail awaiting trial in a South Carolina sexual assault case — and that bail is likely to be revoked with these new charges.

In the weapons case, an indictment claims Black on two occasions falsely filled out federal forms to buy weapons at Lou’s Police Distributors in Hialeah, Florida. He apparently received three of those — a 9mm handgun, a .380-caliber handgun and a semi automatic Mini Draco weapon — one of which was left at the scene of a recent shooting in nearby Pompano Beach, Brown said.

The rapper, whose current legal name is Bill Kapri and who was born Dieuson Octave, was arrested before his scheduled festival performance. Authorities are investigating three unrelated shootings in the Miami area with possible connections to Rolling Loud, two of them fatal. No arrests have been made.

Besides the South Carolina sexual assault allegations, Black’s lengthy rap sheet includes a recent arrest in New York on drug and weapons charges as he crossed the U.S. border from Canada. That case is still pending as well.

In Florida, he has been charged at different times with drug and weapons possession, armed robbery, sexual assault, probation violations and fleeing from officers, but Black has never done significant prison time.

Law enforcement can be extremely overzealous when it comes what constitutes a valid weapons charge in their fight against crime. Many weapons charges are the result of police performing an illegal search of a person, home or vehicle. If you have been charged with a gun crime, you need to seek legal help as soon as possible. In certain cases, weapons charges can be dismissed entirely if an effective argument can be made that that the evidence obtained and subsequent arrest was based on an illegal search and seizure.

Continue Reading

A Florida man was convicted Friday of running an 18-year, $1.3 billion health-care fraud that prosecutors called the largest scheme of its kind ever charged by the Justice Department.

The 50-year-old Miami Beach resident apparently used a network of nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in South Florida to defraud U.S. government healthcare programs while providing inadequate and unnecessary care to patients, prosecutors said.

The man is apparently made off with at least $37 million for himself from 1998 to 2016, according to prosecutors, using the money to finance a lavish lifestyle of fancy cars and a $360,000 watch.

The man also used some of the proceeds from the fraud to bribe the University of Pennsylvania basketball coach to help get his son into the school, prosecutors allege. The coach pleaded guilty to money laundering last year in connection with the case.

Prosecutors said the man bribed doctors to admit patients to the facilities he operated. The patients didn’t get appropriate care and sometimes received unnecessary services for which the man then billed the U.S. government.

The man also bribed a Florida state regulator to learn about surprise inspections of company facilities ahead of time, prosecutors said.

The total value of fraudulent claims that the man’s companies submitted to Medicare and Medicaid exceeded $1.3 billion, according to prosecutors.

A jury found the man guilty on 20 counts in U.S. district court in the Southern District of Florida. Charges included conspiracy to defraud the United States, receiving kickbacks, money laundering and conspiracy to commit bribery. Two co-conspirators pleaded guilty. Sentencing hasn’t been scheduled.

Health care fraud is a very serious crime that the federal government and the state of Florida will pour countless resources into to uncover alleged fraud. Anyone from an individual doctor to a billing company to an entire hospital system can be the target of a lengthy investigation.

The government is aggressive when it comes to investigating these claims. You need an equally aggressive attorney fighting on your side to protect you from health care fraud charges. Our South Florida Medicare and Medicaid Fraud Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton understand how to defend these health care fraud charges and will work tirelessly to protect you from the government’s powerful grasp. We will provide you with an honest assessment of your situation and help you understand the possible defenses that may be available. We want to minimize any damage to you and your reputation.

Continue Reading

South Florida rapper Kodak Black was arrested Wednesday at the U.S. border in upstate New York on drug and weapons charges.

The rapper was with two other men in his vehicle trying to enter the country from Canada when they were detained. Four others were traveling in a separate car with Kodak.

During a search of the group’s Cadillac Escalade, which Kodak was driving, police found marijuana on the rapper and a gun inside the vehicle.

The Glock 9mm pistol had allegedly not been declared.

In the other vehicle, police claim they found two other weapons and more marijuana in the trunk.

Kodak Black was arrested for criminal possession of a weapon and unlawful possession of marijuana. Two others were also arrested on weapons charges.

The driver of the other car was also arrested.

Black was released on bond Thursday.

Due to strict and complicated gun laws, it is very easy to end up on the wrong side of the law. Fortunately, our

South Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are here to help. We can explain the charges you face and then help you resolve them as quickly as possible.

We understand Florida’s gun and weapon laws in detail, and we can help you build the strongest possible defense to whatever the charges you face. This includes gun charges as well as any other charges allegedly committed. If it is not possible to get the evidence against you thrown out, we will do whatever we can to negotiate a favorable resolution. We will fight aggressively to keep you out of jail whenever possible.

Continue Reading

A federal judge has awarded a Palm Beach County woman more than $677,000 in damages in a case where she was injured after a display of tables fell on her while shopping at a Burlington store.

According to the April 12 U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida filing, the woman petitioned the court for a final default judgment in her claim against Burlington Inc. Her petition stems from Burlington’s failure to appear, answer or plead the complaint.

The case involves the woman’s claim against Burlington after she suffered injuries while shopping at a Palm Beach County Burlington store in July 2016. While she was looking at a display of tables at the store, the suit says, the entire set fell forward with some of the tables striking her.  

She underwent a series of medical treatments, including spinal surgery and was told she needs knee surgery as well. In addition, she is entitled to damages for pain and suffering since she can no longer do many activities, such as dancing and jogging, that she enjoyed prior to the accident.

In regard to the woman’s negligence claim against Burlington, the court agreed Burlington “breached its duty owed to the plaintiff by creating a hazardous condition on its property” and stating the woman “clearly satisfied the elements of a negligence claim.”

The woman requested the court award $215,824 in pecuniary damages that included past medical bills, future medical expenses, out of pocket expenses and lost wages. In addition she requested $500,000 for past pain and suffering and $250,000 for future pain and suffering, as well as prejudgment and post-judgment interest.

The judge concluded the woman was entitled to $677,745 in damages and ruled in favor of the woman and against Burlington.

Store owners have a duty to keep their premises free from hazards and unsafe conditions for shoppers. Retail stores have a duty to make sure that their customers are protected, which means that they need to fix dangerous conditions in the store or provide adequate warnings of all dangers. They must inspect the aisles and shelves constantly to be sure the areas are safe.

Retail store owners that breach their duty to keep their store safe can be held accountable under Florida’s premises liability law. The most common type of retail store negligence cases involve slip and fall or trip and fall accidents, but store owners may be responsible for numerous other types of injury accidents, like inadequate security, failure to warn customers of dangers, or hazardous objects.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Contact Information