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

Six people were arrested in a drug raid Tuesday after neighbors complained about needles in their yards and suspicious traffic in and out of a home on Tanager Road.
According to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office, a search warrant was executed at the home, and investigators found hypodermic needles, glass pipes and other drug paraphernalia, along with traces of methamphetamine and bottles filled with unprescribed Xanax pills.
Deputies claim that several of those arrested tried to hide pills, pipes and plastic baggies of meth during the raid.
Our Florida Drug Crimes Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have handled dozens of cases involving drug crimes and as former prosecutors, we have the knowledge and experience necessary to defend your freedom. We have an impressive record of results and have defended individuals facing an array of serious drug crimes charges. We fight hard to protect your freedom.

We provide legal representation to those facing drug charges related to:

Florida has some of the strictest drug laws in the country and the police and prosecutors involved in your case will do everything they can to see that you are convicted. By contacting our Florida Drug Crimes Attorneys at Whittel & Melton, you taking the first step toward maximizing your potential for a positive outcome.

Continue reading

Published on:

Nearly two dozen men are accused of massive construction fraud, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

They were arrested last week as part of an undercover sting, and now authorities are warning the public about protecting themselves against unlicensed contractors.

The nine-day undercover sting was designed to catch unlicensed contractors that authorities believe were targeting senior citizens in the area.

Detectives posed as homeowners and responded to advertisements placed by the alleged unlicensed contractors.

The contractors gave the detectives $117,000 in alleged fake estimates, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Sixteen people were arrested and six more are facing charges related to this alleged scam.

Contractor laws in the state of Florida are very important to follow. These laws can be confusing, though. If you are a contractor, it is important to follow all laws related to your profession so that you can avoid any unwanted run-ins with the law. However, mistakes do happen and if you find yourself facing criminal charges, our Tampa Bay Criminal Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are here to help.

Continue reading

Published on:

A 49-year-old Tampa man is facing federal charges after being accused of inappropriate behavior on a flight.

The man appeared in federal court Monday in Albuquerque, N.M., on a criminal complaint charging him with abusive sexual contact.  

The charge against the man arose out of an in-flight incident while traveling on a Southwest Airlines flight from Houston to Albuquerque on Sunday. The criminal complaint alleges he groped a woman in the seat in front of him. The woman then requested that flight attendants move her to a different seat.

A conviction on the abusive sexual contact charge carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $250,000 fine.  

This case was investigated by the Albuquerque office of the FBI and the Albuquerque Police Department.

Crimes aboard aircraft fall within the FBI’s jurisdiction. Sex crimes on flights are surprisingly common. In 2014 there were 38 cases of in-flight sexual assault reported to the FBI. In 2015, that number increased to 63.

While there are certainly people that are sexually assaulted on airplanes, not every accusation of sexual assault or unlawful sexual conduct has merit. Sex crimes cases are rarely as black and white as that.

That why if you’re facing a charge of sexual assault or rape, it is absolutely vital for you to call a Tampa Bay Criminal Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton. Don’t even think about trying to explain things to the police before you call us at 813-221-3200. We will put our decades of trial law and former state prosecution experience to work for you to fight for your rights and your freedom. We understand the severity of the charges you are facing and what it takes to build a successful case on your behalf.

Continue reading

Published on:

Five Tampa Bay area residents are facing charges due to an alleged  billion-dollar telemedicine scheme.

Starting in 2015, the men and their pharmacy companies are accused of setting up an elaborate scheme that fraudulently solicited insurance coverage information and prescriptions from tens of thousands of consumers across the country, according to a 40-page indictment. They then are accused of using the information to sell pain creams and other similar products.

Doctors apparently approved the prescriptions not knowing that the men and their companies had “massively marked up the prices” of the invalidly prescribed drugs, federal prosecutors said. For instance, several of the pharmacies paid $27 for a lidocaine numbing ointment and billed up to $381, an increase of more than 1,300 percent.

Police allege the men “directed their employees to ‘test bill’ or ‘phish’ for the highest reimbursement items” to ensure the most profit. According to the indictment, “These employees routinely submitted claims … for this purpose, contrary to one of more provider agreements.”

Federal prosecutors believe the alleged scheme bilked $174 million from private health care companies, including Blue Cross Blue Shield. In addition, the five men and their companies allegedly submitted at least $931 million in fraudulent claims.

The five men and their companies face a total of 32 counts. All four men were charged with mail fraud, conspiracy to commit health care fraud and introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce. If convicted, they face up to 20 years in prison for each mail fraud charge, up to 10 years for each conspiracy charge and up to three years for the third charge. They and their companies could also be required to forfeit up to $154 million.

Last week, four of the men were released on bond after appearing in a federal courtroom in Tampa’s Middle District of Florida. The indictment was filed in the Eastern District of Tennessee.

The fifth man charged has already pleaded guilty to felony conspiracy for his role in the case, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Tennessee.

He also pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud in a separate case.

While the man faces up to 5 years in prison for each conspiracy charge, helping federal prosecutors with the case against the other men could help reduce his sentence.

At Whittel & Melton, our Tampa Bay area Health Care Fraud Defense Attorneys handle criminal cases in Tampa and throughout the U.S. We represent health care practitioners, including doctors, nurse practitioners, therapists, clinics, hospitals, providers of medical equipment and billing companies facing criminal charges with the federal government, including:

  • Overbilling for services
  • Billing for services or tests not rendered
  • Prescribing unnecessary or additional services in order to bill more
  • Incorrectly reporting diagnoses, treatments or procedures to increase payments
  • Unbundling billed services
  • Using false billing codes
  • Submitting duplicate claims
  • Changing dates, services or names of patients on claims
  • Altering medical records or reports
  • Referral kickbacks or self-referrals

Health care fraud may be investigated by the FBI, the state Attorney General’s office, U.S. Postal Service or the Office of the Inspector General. Regardless of what department your case is being pursued by, we can apply the best possible defense strategy with the hopes of securing the best possible outcome.

Continue reading

Published on:

A Gainesville barber was one of seven men arrested in a Volusia County internet sex sting.

The 34-year-old was arrested at a RaceTrac station in Deltona over the weekend. He allegedly told Volusia County sheriff’s deputies he only came to the meeting place because he believed it was an undercover sting and he thought it would be cool to see it in action.

The man was arrested and is accused of engaging in sexually charged chats and texts with an undercover detective he believed was a 14-year-old girl.

The man was in custody Monday at the Volusia County jail in lieu of $40,000 bond. The charges against him:

  • use of a two-way communications device to commit a felony
  • attempted lewd and lascivious sexual battery on child
  • traveling to meet a child after luring the child via computer
  • use of a computer to lure a child.

There were six other men arrested in the sting, which started last Wednesday and concluded around 4 a.m. Sunday and was dubbed Operation Unlawful Attraction.

Undercover sting operations are very common these days. They start with some online chats and lead to phone calls, texts and conclude with a meetup. Police will pose as minors or the guardians of minors online and attempt to catch online “predators.”

The interesting thing about these stings is that you can be arrested even if you did not actually commit a crime. Showing up to an arranged meeting spot is enough to seal the deal and you will be carted off to jail right then and there. Once arrested, it is best to invoke your right to remain silent until you have secured legal representation. Regardless of your innocence, police will do everything they can to twist your words around to work against you in court.

Continue reading

Published on:

Three high school students were arrested on campus Thursday on Ocala and accused of possessing marijuana-laced cookies/brownies.

Two of the students are 17, and the third is 18. Each is charged with possession of marijuana more than 20 grams. One of the younger teens has an additional charge of possession with intent to sell.

According to school resource officers, there was a fight at the school which lead to the students backpack being searched. Inside the bag were Rice Krispie treats that included marijuana, a report said.

The school resource officers and school officials later recovered two other bags that police said belong to the three students. Inside the bags were Fruity Pebbles marshmallow squares and cookie/brownie squares that contained marijuana, the report said.

While possessing 20 grams of weed might not look like much, a possession charge in Florida for that amount carries harsh penalties, even for a first time offense. Amounts equaling or larger than 20 grams indicate the possibility of the intent to sell marijuana, and carries a much more significant punishment. Possession of marijuana more than 20 grams is classified as a third-degree felony under Florida law, which is punishable by five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.

While drug cases involving minors are usually handled in juvenile court, the decision is ultimately left up to the judge. If a judge feels the minor exhibited especially heinous behavior, or if the juvenile has a criminal history and has been given opportunities to change in the past, they will likely be sent to adult court and processed as if they were over the age of 18. Florida leads the nation in number of juveniles sent to adult court to be processed. Because of this, you need to enlist the help of our Ocala Marijuana Drug Crimes Attorneys at Whittel & Melton. We specialize in juvenile cases and can help your child defend their reputation.

Continue reading

Published on:

A Clearwater doctor has pleaded guilty to one count of health-care fraud and has agreed to surrender her DEA registration number, her Florida medical license and to a permanent exclusion from Medicare and Medicaid programs, according to the justice department.

The 66-year-old woman violated a Florida law that requires doctors to perform an in-person office visit and examine the patient before prescribing a Schedule II controlled substance, according to the Department of Justice.

The woman owned a pain management clinic on Druid Road East in Clearwater.

From as early as July 2011 through December 2017, she billed Medicare for face-to-face patient visits to prescribe controlled substances like oxycodone, but some of those visits didn’t take place on those dates, according to the Department of Justice. Instead, she filled the prescriptions for patients’ families who came by her office, without examining the patients.

She also submitted at least $51,500 false and fraudulent Medicare claims, according to a department of justice news release.

The case was investigated by the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit.

Being a healthcare professional means you are subject to extensive regulations and civil statutes. If you fail to comply with the current health care regulations, you can expect to be the target of a federal prosecution. Our Tampa Bay Medicare Fraud Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you fight allegations of health care fraud, including allegations relating to:

  • Medicare fraud
  • Medicaid fraud
  • Billing fraud
  • Kickbacks and Gratuities
  • Bribes
  • Conflicts of interest

Prosecutors also file charges against health care providers who allegedly lie about the number of patients they treat or the types of services they perform. We are ready and able to defend doctors and other healthcare professionals who find themselves wrapped up in such inquiries.

Continue reading

Published on:

An undercover drug sting that began in March led to the arrest of a St. Augustine man accused of running a drug house on Grove Avenue, according to reports.

The 29-year-old was arrested Tuesday on a warrant charging him with selling heroin from his home, which is within 1,000 feet from Ketterlinus Elementary School.

The man was booked late Tuesday morning into the St. Johns County jail on multiple drug charges. His bond was set at $300,000.

The case against the man began in March when detectives said they used an undercover informant to purchase heroin multiple times from the man.

Investigators claim they have audio recording of the alleged drug deals that took place inside his home, which they believe the man intentionally used and maintained to sell heroin.

The case remains under investigation, which means there could be more charges filed and possibly more arrests.

Heroin laws in Florida are extremely serious. Possession of any amount of heroin in Florida is classified as a felony, it does not matter how large or small the amount is. If you have been arrested for selling heroin, you need to call our Florida Drug Crimes Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton as we are familiar with federal and state drug laws. You will need a lawyer who can help you understand Florida’s heroin laws and represent your best interests in court.

Possessing 10 grams or less of heroin can land you in prison for up to five years. Possessing 10 grams or more can land you in prison for up to 30 years. Being accused of possessing or selling heroin near a school carries enhanced penalties. You do not want to mess around with these charges.

Continue reading

Published on:

A Florida man is facing sex crimes charges after he was accused of a molesting a Flagler County teenager in January.

Flagler County deputies were apparently contacted Jan. 4 about a sex offense in Palm Coast. They investigated and claim the man allegedly molested a child between 12-18 years old.

After the allegations were reported to authorities, the accused left the area and had been living in Cape Coral until he was arrested earlier this month on charges of sexual battery and lewd/lascivious molestation.

He was returned to Flagler County and is being held on $150,000 bond.

Sex crimes charges, like sexual battery and molestation, are very serious because they carry extremely harsh consequences if convicted. You could be facing years in prison and lifetime registration as a sexual offender. Due to the severity of these charges, you must act fast to protect yourself. You need to enlist the help of a Flagler County Criminal Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible. We specialize in sex crimes defense and can put our knowledge to work for you.

While every case is different, we will investigate every shred of evidence to find any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case against you. Our goal is to achieve the best possible outcome on your behalf. We cannot guarantee to get your charges dismissed or reduced, but we will fight aggressively to obtain an outcome that you can live with.

Continue reading

Published on:

A Fort Lauderdale doctor has been sentenced to 19 years and seven months in federal prison for distributing prescription painkillers.

The man was sentenced Monday following a conviction in June of dispensing oxycodone outside the usual course of professional practice and for no legitimate medical reason.

Investigators claim the 64-year-old man ran a cash-only pain management clinic in Indialantic from 2009 to 2011. He apparently charged $200-$400 per visit, where patients received prescriptions for high doses of oxycodone with little to no medical evaluation. Investigators believe that many of the people who received the prescriptions then abused the opioid painkillers themselves or sold the pills.

Oxycodone is the most abused prescription drug in Florida and across the country. A prescription drug is defined as any substance which under Federal or State law requires dispensing by prescription or order of a licensed physician, veterinarian or dentist. A doctor could easily face very serious criminal drug charges if law enforcement officers believe that their clinic is merely a cover for a fraudulent prescription drug distribution operation.

Continue reading

Contact Information