Articles Posted in Broward County

A distracted driver hit a cycling group along a South Florida road, killing a 53-year-old woman and injuring six others.

The 33-year-old driver told investigators she was distracted by something in the passenger compartment. She also said the sun was shining directly in her face, contributing to the Sunday morning crash.

Police said there are no signs the woman was impaired or speeding. She was cooperative with investigators, allowing them to download potential crash data from the car as well as contents of her cell phone. She has not been charged, pending the investigation.

Our South Florida Auto Accident Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton cannot say this enough: distracted driving is dangerous. In 2016 alone, the most recent year of statistics available, distracted driving claimed 3,450 lives. In 2015, 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers.

Distracted driving is classified as any activity that takes attention away from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system, etc. You cannot drive safely when something other than driving has your attention. Any non-driving activity you engage in is a potential distraction and only increases your risk of crashing, which could harm passengers, other motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians sharing the road with you.

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The U.S. Coast Guard shut down the voyages of two party boats in Fort Lauderdale and Miami-Dade County this weekend over several safety issues, authorities said.

The Coast Guard ordered a 34-foot Sunset Stripp with 12 people aboard to return to shore Saturday because the boat did not have a valid certificate of inspection and lacked a drug-and-alcohol testing program for its crew.

The Coast Guard also stopped a 32-foot pleasure craft with 11 people aboard Saturday in Haulover Inlet in Miami-Dade County for similar infractions.

The charter boat operators could face tens of thousands of dollars worth of fines, the Coast Guard said.

Good advice before hitting the water is to carefully study Florida’s boating regulations and requirements and adhere to them fully. You can find boating regulations for Florida here. Just like automobile drivers can be ticketed or arrested for irresponsible behavior on the road, boat operators can be fined or imprisoned for negligent and reckless behavior. Even worse, carelessness can lead to serious injuries and death.

Charter boat/party boat accidents are frequently caused by negligent navigation, improper training of the crew, and unsafe equipment. Lacking safety equipment and little or no training in shipboard safety can result in preventable injuries and death.

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Lauderhill police are searching for a man who fled after he ran a stop sign, hit another car and caused it to hit a man sitting on a scooter.

Police believe a gold Buick was traveling southbound on 34th Avenue when it ran the stop sign and hit a white car which veered off the road and hit the man on the scooter. Two parked cars, a pole and a tree were also hit.

The Buick continued south until the driver got out and left it in the 3400 block of Northwest 14th Street, according to police.

Police now have the Buick and the investigation is ongoing.

The man on the scooter was taken to Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale with significant injuries.

Getting hit on a scooter can result in serious injuries, and in the most severe cases, wrongful death. Similar to motorcycles and bicycles, scooters can be hard to spot on the road. Most car vs. scooter crashes are the result of a motorist failing to see a rider. However, this type of negligence is no excuse. If you or someone you care for has been injured or killed in a scooter accident due to another person’s careless or reckless behavior, our South Florida Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help.

Some of the most common scooter accidents take place due to the following:

  • Distracted driving
  • Speeding
  • Driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol
  • Tailgating
  • Turning in front of or into a scooter

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A former Broward County assistant principal accused of texting a 17-year-old student about booze, drugs and masturbation won’t be allowed to work in a Florida school for at least a year.

The 46-year-old resigned from his post at a Fort Lauderdale high school last April after a district investigation determined he had sent at least two dozen inappropriate messages to the male student.

There was no indication he had inappropriate physical conduct with the student and he has no record of arrest.

The state Education Practices Commission last month suspended his education license for a year and fined him $1,000. If he wants his license back he must take a college-level course on adolescent development, a state report showed.

The state commission claim the man harmed the student’s well being and his ability to learn.

The man had worked for the district since 2000.

An adult texting a minor for sexual gratification could lead to a sex crime arrest. Although sexting, sending sexually explicit images or text messages, is not illegal in and of itself, certain aspects of the act can make it a criminal offense. Adults sexting minors lewd messages or sexually explicit images could find themselves facing sex crimes charges.

If you have been accused of sexting a minor, you need to act fast to protect yourself from severe criminal consequences. As you can see from this case, your professional career could also be at stake. A sex crimes accusation/charge can follow you around for the rest of your life, so you need to act quickly to secure quality legal representation. Do not speak to police without an attorney, and do not consent to a search of your cell phone or electronics without a warrant.

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A Fort Lauderdale resident was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison for tax evasion.

According to documents filed with the court, the 53-year-old man evaded paying taxes on more than $1.5 million in income that he earned from 2002 to 2015. Except for the 2007 tax year, the man has not filed an income tax return since 2002. He worked for a Fort Lauderdale company selling hurricane-resistant windows to residential homeowners in South Florida. In August 2009, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) notified the man of its intent to levy his wages because of his failure to pay taxes. According to reports, the man established his own business and changed his employment status from an employee to an independent contractor to obstruct the IRS’s collection efforts. The man listed himself as the director of the business and opened a business bank account in its name. Due to the man’s change in employment status, his employer paid his business directly and the IRS’s attempts to levy the man’s wages were thwarted.

From approximately August 2009 through April 2017, the man allegedly used his business’ bank account to pay for personal expenses, including rent, cigars, international travel, entertainment, his girlfriend’s cosmetic surgery, jewelry, and a boat. He also apparently falsely classified numerous personal expenses as business expenses on the memo line of the checks drawn on the business bank account.

The man apparently admitted that he made these false entries with the intent to claim false business expense deductions and evade the assessment of his income taxes. The man also apparently admitted that his actions caused a tax loss of more than $351,241.

In addition to the term of prison imposed, the judge ordered the man to serve two years of supervised release and to pay $459,481.03 in restitution to the IRS.

When tax matters turn criminal or have the potential to turn criminal, you must take immediate action to minimize or eliminate the potential consequences. The operative word when dealing with criminal matters is speed: the earlier you have a criminal defense attorney assess the situation and work quickly to resolve the matter, the less the damage can be.

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Two South Florida men were arrested Wednesday on trafficking in fraudulent credit cards after an Interstate 75 traffic stop allegedly uncovered gas pump keys, scores of fake cards and more.

A 29-year-old Hollywood man and a 42-year-old Miramar man were pulled over on I-75 northbound near mile marker 378 based on a traffic violation, according to a Gainesville Police Department arrest report.

During a search of the vehicle, police claim they found 80 fraudulent cards in a paper bag, two wallets with seven fraudulent credit cards, a credit card encoder, gas pump keys and other devices related to fraudulent card activity.

The seven cards in the wallet had numbers written on the back that appeared to be ZIP codes.

Both men were charged with trafficking in counterfeit credit cards and encoding fraudulent cards.

As of Thursday morning, both men were being held in Alachua County jail in lieu of $70,000 bond.

Anyone who uses someone else’s lost or stolen credit cards to buy merchandise or services can be charged with credit card fraud. Likewise, anyone using a bank, ATM or credit card device by using another person’s credit card, account number, or personal identification number (PIN) can be charged with credit card fraud. If a person is selling and/or trafficking credit cards or is found to be in possession of materials that are commonly used to counterfeit credit cards, they need a criminal defense attorney to help them beat these credit card trafficking and fraud charges.

Good people can get easily get implicated in this type of criminal activity.  Regardless of what role you play in this type of crime, the prosecution will take a serious stance against you. You need a strong and capable criminal defense lawyer to assert your rights and defend your freedom.

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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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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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