Articles Posted in Miami-Dade County

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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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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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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A South Florida man has been convicted in a $100 million scheme to defraud a Puerto Rico bank.

According to court records, the 55-year-old man was convicted in Miami federal court Monday of eight counts of wire fraud affecting a financial institution. His sentencing is scheduled for April 30.

Prosecutors believe the man served as chairman and CEO of a pharmaceutical company from 2005 to 2007 and caused Westernbank to grant a series of loans in exchange for a security interest in the company’s assets in 2005. According to reports, evidence showed Western Bank agreed to advance money based on fake customer invoices, which allowed the man to divert tens of millions of dollars.

Westernbank declared the loan in default in 2007 and lost more than $100 million, leading to the bank’s insolvency and collapse.

Wire fraud is a federal offense and if convicted, you face heavy fines and serious jail time. Since this man was found guilty of committing wire fraud against a financial institution, jail time can be up to 30 years. These are very serious charges, and you should not wait to seek help. In fact, the sooner you obtain legal representation the better.

A person can be found guilty of wire fraud if they knowingly and willfully devised a scheme to defraud, or obtain money or property under false pretenses, and knowingly transmitted or caused to be transmitted by wire in interstate commerce in some capacity for the purpose of executing the scheme to defraud. This crime is centered around “intent,” and you do not have to actually defraud someone to be convicted of wire fraud.

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A former Colombian anti-corruption official is facing prison time after pleading guilty to U.S. money-laundering conspiracy charges as part of a bribery scheme.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled Thursday in Miami federal court for the former director of the anti-corruption office for Colombia’s chief prosecutor.

The man faces up to 20 years in prison.

The Drug Enforcement Administration says in court documents that the man sought to obtain thousands of dollars in bribes from a former governor of Colombia’s Cordoba region who was under a separate corruption investigation.

Bribery is defined as the act of offering money in order to influence the actions of another. The crime of bribery usually arises in the case of public officials, where a private citizen may offer something of value as a means to influence how the public official carries out their public duties. Most bribery cases are charged as conspiracies. In a conspiracy, the government believes that two or more people agreed to engage in criminal conduct.  

With extremely harsh penalties on the line, anyone facing accusations of bribery needs a powerful federal criminal defense attorney on their side to protect their interests, their livelihood, and, most importantly, their freedom.

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A Miami man was arrested Tuesday, a year after he allegedly raped a 17-year-old girl who was seven months pregnant at the time, authorities said.

According to an arrest report, the teen was sitting alone at a bus stop on Sept. 29, 2017, when the 48-year-old man pulled up in his vehicle and asked her to get in.

Police said the teen didn’t know the man and refused, so the man parked his car and approached the teen on foot.

The teen apparently got into the man’s car, authorities said.

According to the arrest report, the man drove the teen to a secluded location, forced her to get in the back seat and then raped her.

DNA results from the teen’s rape kit apparently traced back to the man on Tuesday, police said.

The man was arrested on a charge of sexual battery on a minor. He is being held at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center.

Rape is one of the most serious criminal offenses a person can be charged with. The potential penalties are quite severe. If you have been accused of rape, or sexual assault, there is a good chance that some of the key evidence the State of Florida will introduce against you came from an examination, more commonly referred to as a “rape kit.”

A “rape kit” is also known as a Sexual Assault Evidence Collection kit. While it is a “kit” containing evidence collection tools, including swabs, combs, envelopes and bags, administering a rape kit is a procedure for documenting sexual assault allegations. The purpose of the examination is to gather physical evidence of the alleged assault. Evidence the exam may turn up includes:

  • Pubic hair, facial hair, other body hair
  • Semen
  • Saliva
  • Fibers
  • Blood
  • Skin cells

All of these types of evidence will be used by police and prosecutors to try and obtain a conviction. Hair, bodily fluids, and skin cells can all contain a person’s DNA. If your unique DNA is matched to the DNA found on a sexual assault victim, it almost always proves that there was some type of physical contact between you and the victim.

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A school security guard in Miami was arrested at his home Monday on multiple drug charges.

According to an arrest report, the 43-year-old was pulled over in his car soon after undercover detectives allegedly watched as he sold drugs to a man at a gas station near the Hammocks district campus during school hours.

Authorities were made aware of the man’s alleged activity through an anonymous tip, investigators said.

About 1 gram of cocaine and a THC cartridge was found in the center console of his vehicle during the stop, according to police.

Police said a search warrant was later obtained for Green’s home at 14232 SW 154th Court, where about 790 grams of marijuana were allegedly discovered in a drawer next to his bed. About 29.4 grams of cocaine were allegedly found in several areas of his room.

According to the arrest report, inside a safe in his bedroom, investigators found a digital scale with cocaine residue on it, 90 clear blue baggies, and $1,000 in cash. Inside a yellow watch case, there were three baggies containing cocaine, and $230 in cash. Investigators also said they discovered additional baggies of cocaine, and a small brown box on a shelf in the same room containing $660 in cash.

The man was charged with trafficking in cocaine, possession with intent of cocaine, possession of 29.4 grams of cocaine, and possession of cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school convenience store. He also faces charges for possession of marijuana and possession of a THC cartridge.

Almost all drug charges are felonies and subject to prison sentences of at least one year in prison. The most serious drug crimes, when coupled with other serious charges, can amount to life in prison.

Certain factors can increase the penalties associated with drug possession. If you are arrested in possession of drugs within 1,500 feet of a school or church, it could double your sentence. If you are illegally in possession of a firearm at the time you are arrested, that can also escalate the penalties you face. Facing multiple charges can result in severe penalties that far exceed what most people expect.

Sentencing guidelines in drug cases can be downright shocking. That is why it is imperative to have a South Florida Drug Crimes Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton on your side as soon as possible after an arrest. We will do everything we can to obtain dismissals and not-guilty verdicts whenever possible. We will fight to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients.  

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