Articles Posted in Miami-Dade County

The former mayor of North Miami Beach has been charged in an alleged $150,000 land investment scheme.

The man was arrested Tuesday and charged with securities fraud, grand theft, sale of an unregistered security and sale of security by an unregistered dealer.

According to the Miami-Dade County state attorney’s office, the man made a series of false investment representations and omitted several facts to an investor who donated $150,000 to the man intended for the development of 2.2 acres of vacant land in North Miami.

An investigation by prosecutors and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation revealed that the partnership failed to gain any additional investors.

Instead of returning the donated $150,000, the money was allegedly used to pay $13,000 toward the former mayor’s home mortgage, $10,000 to his construction company, $86,700 to himself directly and about $30,000 in personal expenses through his construction company, according to police.

Prosecutors said a balance of just $350 was left in the investment account when all was said and done.

The former mayor was being held at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center on a $20,000 bond.

Securities fraud, otherwise known as investment fraud, is an intentional and deceptive business practice that occurs when a person and/or company conceals financial information to try to influence the purchasing behavior of investors and shareholders. People found guilty of securities fraud can face serious penalties that may include restitution, fines, jail time loss of license and others. If you are facing charges for any type of securities fraud offense, it is critical that you seek the advice of a South Florida White Collar Crimes Lawyer at Whittel & Melton who will fight to protect your interests.

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A woman alleges she was injured after falling between a lifeboat and a dock on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship.

The woman filed a complaint on March 10 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida alleging negligence.

According to the complaint, the woman alleges that on Feb. 16, 2016, she suffered physical injuries after falling between a dock and a lifeboat. The suit states that the woman was attempting to board the lifeboat to be transported back to the cruise ship from docks in the Virgin Islands. She holds Norwegian Cruise Line responsible because they allegedly failed to assist or provide her a safe means to board the lifeboat.

Cruise lines have a duty to keep their ships safe and free from hazardous conditions that can cause serious injuries to passengers. When a cruise ship accident occurs due to poor maintenance, lack of security, or improperly trained staff, the cruise line can be held legally responsible for negligence.

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Eleventh Judicial Circuit Judge Milton Hirsch ruled on Friday that Miami-Dade’s policy of holding undocumented immigrants in jail at the request of the federal government is unconstitutional.

The judge said the policy is a violation of the Tenth Amendment five weeks after Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez decided the city would no longer be considered a “sanctuary” for undocumented immigrants.

The ruling stems from a Haitian national who pleaded guilty to a felony charge of habitually driving on a suspended license in Miami-Dade. The man was supposed to be released on time served, but remained in custody at the request of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In his ruling, Hirsch said the county has neither a reason nor a basis in law to keep the man in prison. He also added that the federal government is constitutionally prohibited from forcing the county to make the man a prisoner, and the county is prohibited from complying with that demand.

President Donald Trump is very serious about cracking down on illegal immigration. He is adamant about deporting illegal immigrants who have criminal records and reducing illegal immigration throughout the country.

Florida has approximately 900,000 illegal immigrants. Because of this, it is no wonder that our state is at the center of new illegal immigration laws and their implementation.

Whether you are illegal or documented, our South Florida Federal Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton urge you to keep your documents on you at all times. It is also a good idea to have an attorney on hand on the off chance that a database error prompts deportation proceedings.

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A North Carolina couple allege they were beaten by another passenger while traveling on the Carnival Ecstasy.

The couple filed a lawsuit on Feb. 18 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against Carnival Corp., alleging negligence.

According to the complaint, the couple alleges that on Feb. 28, 2016 they were in their cabin when someone knocked at the door. When they opened the door, the attacker pushed the door open and knocked the man down, pinning him with his knees and severely beat and assaulted him. The woman alleges that she was also struck in the face and injured.

The couple holds Carnival Corp. responsible because they failed to provide adequate and proper security to its passengers and violated its own policy by selling excessive alcoholic beverages to the couples’ attacker.

They are seeking more than $100,000 each, costs of this action and such other appropriate relief.

Cruise lines have a duty to provide guests with a safe environment. If an employee is aware of a danger and chooses not to address it, the cruise ship company can be held liable for the damages associated with an assault that occurs as a result.

The most common causes of assault aboard cruises include:

  • Inadequate security
  • Poor lighting
  • Incomplete background checks on employees
  • Broken door locks

If you have been harmed on a cruise ship, you should take immediate action. Timing plays a major role in these cases and you want to report the crime as soon as possible to strengthen your case.

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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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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 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 Palm Beach Post is reporting that North Miami Mayor, Lucie Tondreau, has been charged with mortgage fraud and wire fraud.

North Miami Beach mayor, Lucie Tondreau

North Miami mayor, Lucie Tondreau

The federal indictment that was unsealed yesterday, alleges that Tondreau used a radio show to recruit straw buyers, who were used to defraud lenders in buying 20 properties. It is estimated that the fraud scheme involved over $8 million of funds. According to Federal Prosecutors, the crimes took place before Tondreau was elected mayor, in June 2013. Lately, the Miami Dade County Fraud Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have noticed a trend of the Department of Justice using wire fraud charges in conjunction with the prosecution of RICO, money laundering and mortgage fraud because wire fraud is the easiest crime for an AUSA to prosecute. Many times, the sentencing range for a conviction for wire fraud will exceed the sentence available these other offenses. Having a seasoned white collar crime attorney representing your interest in paramount—even you are just being investigated for a crime. The wire fraud attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you navigate this confusing process and many times, can even prevent charges from being filed. CALL US TODAY: LOCAL (561) 367-8777 OR STATEWIDE, TOLL FREE: (866) 608-5529.

Described by some as “draconian,” the Miami-Dade sex offender statute is forcing offenders into a life of homelessness and squalor.

Essentially, because of the strict requirements of the Miami-Dade sex offender statute, offenders are rendered homeless, migrating from one temporary housing site to another. Just when it seems like they have found a permanent housing solution,  a new school opens or a business is newly designated as a child care facility nearby, and offenders have to move or be evicted.

Sex Offenders are being forced to live in Tent Cities because of strict offender laws

Sex Offenders are being forced to live in Tent Cities because of strict offender laws

It’s official. According to the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Florida has the nation’s highest rate of identity theft— with Miami leading the entire country when it comes to identity theft, tax fraud as well as Medicare and mortgage Fraud.

These statistics are based on data collected in 2012.

Miami tops US in incidents of identity theft

Miami tops US in incidents of identity theft

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