Actress Heather Locklear has been arrested for felony domestic violence, according to reports.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office received a call of domestic disturbance in Thousand Oaks, Calif., at 10 p.m. Sunday.

Locklear’s brother called police after allegedly witnessing her and her boyfriend fighting at her Thousand Oaks home.

Responding officers reportedly saw marks on her boyfriend’s body.

When Locklear was arrested, she allegedly became physically aggressive, kicking and eventually hitting three police officers.

The 57-year-old was put in handcuffs and taken to the hospital for evaluation.

Locklear was booked at 1:03 a.m. Monday and released at 5:48 a.m. after posting $20,000 bail.

A court date has been set for March 13.

When an altercation occurs between family members, spouses or even roommates, police are usually quick to make an arrest. The reality is that the arresting officers do not always have the whole story. If you or a loved one has been charged with domestic violence, you need to protect yourself and talk to a criminal defense attorney who can explain your options for defending yourself.

When it comes to domestic violence charges, our South Florida Domestic Violence Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton know that there are two sides to every story. We can help make sure your voice is heard and that your version of events gets the attention it deserves. We will make sure your case gets the personalized attention it deserves whether that means we negotiate for a reduced charge or take your case to trial to prove your innocence.

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A longtime Miami police officer who patrolled the city’s waterways is also accused of running a ponzi scheme, according to feds.  

His alleged pitch: Invest in his Costa Rican loan company and expect returns of over 20 percent.

Federal prosecutors said Tuesday morning that the pitch was a scam after announcing criminal charges against the man. They claim the money was used only to enrich himself and pay back early investors.

The 41-year-old was arrested Monday after FBI agents learned he was suddenly flying to Costa Rica because of an “emergency.” Agents arrested the cop while he was boarding a flight at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.

The man is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Miami internal affairs and the FBI said the man operated his alleged Ponzi scheme between 2011 and 2015.

According to a criminal complaint, he offered “low-risk” investments in his company, which he claimed was giving high-interest loans to property owners in Costa Rica. The loan recipients used their properties in the Central American country as collateral, he said.

But feds claim the man just showed phony paperwork that claimed the company had property rights to land in Costa Rica.

Federal prosecutors did not disclose how much the man is suspected of getting through his investment scheme.

This case is clear example of a white collar crimes arrest. White collar crimes are non-violent offense committed for financial gain. These crimes are often investigated by state or federal agencies, and some of these investigations can carry on for months. Some of these investigations may continue for months. Anyone who is under investigation or has been arrested for a white collar crime should not talk to anyone, especially police, until consulting their legal counsel. Our South Florida White Collar Crimes Lawyers at Whittel & Melton understand the urgency of your situation and that immediate action must be taken to strengthen your defense.

Anytime police conduct an investigation, they may ask you to explain a few things. Regardless of your innocence, do not make the mistake of answering questions without your attorney present. Police are only looking to incriminate you. Our firm can help you avoid saying anything that could be construed as an admission of guilt.

At Whittel & Melton, we provide a powerful defense against white collar crimes, including:

  • Embezzlement
  • Fraud
  • Extortion
  • Tax fraud
  • Identity theft
  • RICO
  • Immigrations violations
  • Money laundering
  • Antitrust
  • Medicare and medicaid fraud
  • Ponzi schemes
  • Conspiracy

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A woman sailing on a Carnival Cruise Line ship from Jacksonville fell from her cabin’s balcony and died Jan. 19.

The incident occurred early morning aboard the Carnival Elation. The ship was on a four-day Bahamas cruise from Jacksonville that departed Thursday and was near Freeport, Bahamas at the time of the fall.

The woman fell from the balcony in her stateroom on the 14th deck of the ship to the 11th deck, constituting a two-story fall. The Carnival Elation doesn’t have a 13th deck.

Balconies on the ship meet Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act standards, according to reports.

This is not the first instance of someone falling from a cruise ship deck.  

In October, an 8-year-old Bahamian girl who was tiptoeing over the railing on the fifth floor of the Carnival Glory fell two stories and died. In February, a Georgia man fell overboard from the 11th deck of the Carnival Elation while the ship was near the Bahamas. After searching more than 1,300 square miles, the Coast Guard called off the search for the man a day after the incident.

If you or a loved one was injured in a cruise ship accident or suffered an injury while aboard a cruise ship, you may be entitled to financial compensation. Injuries that happen while aboard a cruise ship are generally subject to maritime law, which governs both domestic law and private international law. With that said, maritime litigation can be quite complex. You need an experienced attorney on your side that is familiar with maritime law. Our Florida Cruise Ship Injury And Maritime Lawyers at Whittel & Melton have widespread experience with cruise ship accidents and are equipped to handle maritime litigation.

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Dozens of female University of Miami medical students believe a classmate has been stealing their photos from Facebook and social media and uploading them to sexual fetish websites.

Their car selfies, pics with friends at bars and the beach, even images of them in their graduation gowns have been copied and uploaded to foot-fetish fan sites and even just sites for men who masturbate while viewing images of everyday women — while sometimes photographing themselves doing so. The posts apparently identified the UM women by name, and included lewd captions, some seemingly threatening rape.

The suspected classmate accused of stealing these pics and uploading them to fetish sites is a 25-year-old UM medical student who has been suspended and is now the subject of an internal school investigation. The scandal came to light last week when at least two victims discovered their own photos on the websites and filed for restraining orders against the man.

The man’s behavior was apparently known to the school and classmates.

In a court filing, one student said she complained to the university several times since December 2015 about his “repeated acts of stalking and harassment” and of him taking unauthorized photos of her at a bar. A sexual harassment complaint was filed against the man in April 2016, and UM ordered him to stay away from her, although he was allowed to remain in school, according to her request for a restraining order.

Miami-Dade courts last week issued temporary restraining orders mandating the man keep away from the two women.

The medical school, citing federal laws protecting student privacy, declined to address questions about the man. “It is also our commitment to thoroughly investigate and adjudicate any allegations of inappropriate behavior among our students, while at the same time providing a safe atmosphere as an inquiry moves forward,” according to a statement released by the school.

One of the victims has notified the the State Attorney’s Office, which is reviewing the matter.

But making the case that the postings constitute a crime under state or federal law could be difficult. Why? The photos were posted on bulletin-board type websites that cater to foot fetishes and a niche sometimes known as “creep shots,” in which users fantasize or sexualize photos taken in public places. The problem in cases like these is that photos of the UM students were first published on social media by the women themselves – then co-opted into sexual fantasies.

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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 23-year-old motorcyclist was killed Tuesday following a crash in Port St. Lucie, police said.

The motorcyclist was eastbound on Southwest St. Lucie West Boulevard on a 2011 Kawasaki when he crashed into a 2004 Honda Pilot as it turned onto Southwest California Boulevard.

The man struck the Honda at a high rate of speed, police said.

The man driving the Honda sustained minor injuries and was released from a hospital. The motorcyclist died at the scene.

Port St. Lucie police are still investigating the crash.

When a person is involved in a car accident, they have a seatbelt, air bags, and a sturdy car surrounding them as protection in the event of a crash. Even with all these safety features, catastrophic injury can result. Motorcyclist lack most of the protections a car provides to passengers, so you can imagine what damage a motorcyclist can sustain in an accident. Broken bones, neck injuries, back injuries and severe brain trauma are just a few of the possible injuries that could result. Even when wearing a helmet and protective clothing, there is little that a motorcyclist can do to protect themselves from the sheer impact of a car, truck, or the pavement at high speeds.

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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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A 17-year-old teen from Boynton Beach was charged with molesting a 10-year-old boy after he allegedly admitted it to the boy’s mother, according to police.

The teen faces charges of sexual battery of a child and lewd and lascivious molestation.

Police apparently began investigating July 18 when they met a Delray Beach woman and her 10-year-old son at Bethesda Memorial Hospital in Boynton Beach. The woman said she confronted  the teen about rumors that he had molested a child in Delray Beach. The report indicates that the teen admitted that he had touched her son.

Investigators with the Child Protection Team allegedly found signs of sexual abuse on the boy.

According to police, the boy said the teen raped him in a closet.

The teen was booked into Palm Beach County Jail and held without bond.

If your child has been accused of rape or another sex crime in Palm Beach County, it is important to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. Due to the potential consequences that could come with a juvenile sex crime conviction, and the fact that police and prosecutors are already building a case, it is imperative to exercise your right to legal representation.

What you may not know is that a juvenile can be arrested for the same types of sex crimes as adults. This includes rape, sexual assault, child molestation and related charges. Our South Florida Sex Crimes Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton will examine all of the evidence of the alleged sex crime, including witness statements, police reports, DNA evidence and other physical evidence. We will conduct our own investigation into the charges and determine how best to proceed.

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An investigation into alleged child predators apparently resulted in the arrests of 23 men, mostly from St. Lucie County.

Operation: Guardian Angel, a joint investigation with the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, took place on eight random days over the course of a month, according to reports. Undercover deputies posed as children on websites and social media platforms where they claim the men pursued them.

The charges against the men, whose ages range from 20 to 79, include lewd and lascivious behavior on someone 12 to 16 years old; use of a computer to seduce, solicit or lure a child; use of a two-way communication device to facilitate a felony; traveling to meet after using a computer to lure a child; and misrepresentation of age to solicit, lure or seduce.

Deputies pretended to be 13- to 15-year-old girls and boys who were home alone during the summer.

All of the men arrested are first-time offenders.

Online sex stings are aimed to trap “so-called predators” into doing something illegal. It is very interesting that all of the men arrested have never been arrested before, which raises a big red flag. Police like to paint the picture that these men “just haven’t been caught yet,” but the reality could be that they were actually victims of police entrapment.

Entrapment is an illegal scenario where police use persuasion or coercion to convince a regular law-abiding citizen to break the law. This is considered illegal when the citizen would not have engaged in the activity otherwise without being persuaded or coerced.

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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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