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:

A former U.S. postal worker was sentenced to 120 days in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute marijuana.

The 45-year-old was also ordered to serve a three-year term of supervised release following his imprisonment, the Department of Justice said Tuesday.

According to court documents, the former U.S. Postal carrier provided addresses along his delivery route to co-conspirators who arranged to have packages containing marijuana shipped from Oregon to those addresses.

When the packages arrived and were placed in the man’s control, he would scan the packages as delivered to the addresses, and then turn them over to his co-conspirators for further distribution of the marijuana.

He pleaded guilty to the charge on January 11.

Drug conspiracy and distribution charges are quite serious criminal matters that could lead to jail or prison time in addition to other life-changing consequences. If you or someone you love has been charged or is being investigated for conspiracy or distribution of drugs, it is essential to obtain strong legal representation as soon as possible. Our Florida Drug Crimes Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton also urge those accused to refrain from speaking to law enforcement officers about the case until you have secured legal counsel.

Generally speaking, a conspiracy charge means that the prosecution is trying to hold you responsible for the criminal actions of someone else. These charges can erupt from allegedly planning or agreeing to sell an illegal substance. Because no actual crime has to occur to be charged, these cases can be built with very weak evidence.

Our Florida Drug Crimes Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are former prosecutors who are very familiar with the State’s tricks when pursuing drug conspiracy cases. While every situation is different, we can evaluate your case and develop the best defense with the greatest chance of success.

Continue reading

Published on:

17 people have been arrested in connection to a seven-month-long drug investigation, which resulted in the bust of an alleged major drug trafficking organization.

The investigation, which began in September of 2018, allegedly found a significant drug trafficking hub operating out of 1804 South Forbes Road in Plant City.

Over the past several years, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has responded to more than 100 calls of service to that location, the report stated.

According to the sheriff’s office, the investigation involved numerous undercover purchases of methamphetamines, totaling 1,840.1 grams and $27,700 in cash seizures.

The charges range from conspiracy to traffic amphetamine to possession of methamphetamine.

When you are facing federal drug trafficking charges, you may be coming up against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the FBI, or another federal agency that will absolutely be a fierce opponent when it comes to drug charges. Drug trafficking is one of the most serious types of drug crimes. A conviction for a federal drug crime will result in harsher penalties, which can possibly include years in prison or even life in prison. Whether you are charged with transporting, distributing, or selling large amounts of drugs, our Florida Drug Crimes Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton are ready to fight for you.

Continue reading

Published on:

The Justice Department announced charges against 24 people across the U.S., including doctors accused of writing bogus prescriptions for unneeded back, shoulder, wrist and knee braces.

Others charged included owners of call centers, telemedicine firms and medical equipment companies.

The Health and Human Services inspector general’s office said the alleged scam morphed into multiple related schemes, fueled by kickbacks among the parties involved. The FBI, the IRS, and 17 U.S. attorney’s offices took part in the crackdown. Arrests were made Tuesday morning.

Medicare’s anti-fraud unit said it’s taking action against 130 medical equipment companies implicated. They allegedly billed the program a total of $1.7 billion, of which more than $900 million was paid out.

Telemarketers would apparently reach out to seniors offering “free” orthopedic braces, also advertised through television and radio ads. Beneficiaries who expressed interest would be patched through to call centers involved in the alleged scheme. Officials described an “international telemarketing network” with call centers in the Philippines and throughout Latin America.

The call centers would verify seniors’ Medicare coverage and transfer them to telemedicine companies for consultations with doctors.

The doctors would allegedly write prescriptions for orthopedic braces, regardless of whether the patients needed them or not. In some cases several braces were prescribed for the same patient.

The call centers would collect prescriptions and sell them to medical equipment companies, which would ship the braces to beneficiaries and bill Medicare. Medical equipment companies would get $500 to $900 per brace from Medicare and would pay kickbacks of nearly $300 per brace.

The alleged scam was detected last summer, officials said. Complaints from beneficiaries were pouring in to the Medicare fraud hotline, and some consumer news organizations warned seniors.

Officials said it’s one of the biggest frauds the inspector general’s office has seen. Charges were being brought against defendants in California, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.

Medicare is a federal health care program that provides insurance benefits to seniors. Nationally, over 50 million people receive Medicare benefits. Due to Medicare fraud increasing in recent years, federal investigators and prosecutors have been on the hunt for anyone suspected of Medicare fraud. Whether it was the result of an intentional plan, an oversight, or the actions of your staff and/or employee, being charged with Medicare fraud can wreak havoc on your life. Medicare fraud is a serious crime that may result in several years in federal prison, along with significant fines and a permanent criminal record.

Being charged with Medicare fraud can be frightening and overwhelming. Federal charges must be handled by a lawyer who has experience in this specific field. Our Florida Medicare Fraud Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have the knowledge and skill you need to bring a powerful defense against the health care fraud charges you face.

Continue reading

Published on:

A man is accused of flashing a woman and slapping her behind while she was walking to meet her boyfriend at a DeLand pub early Sunday, according to an arrest report.

The 27-year-old man is now facing a charge of indecent exposure and battery in relation to the incident, reports show.

According to the report, the woman was walking through the alley behind the pub around 1 a.m. when the man allegedly approached her and pulled out his genitals.

The man allegedly asked the woman to touch him and he slapped her behind when she refused.

The man allegedly followed the woman to the front door of the pub, at which point the woman’s boyfriend confronted him, the report states.

Police booked the man into the Volusia County Jail, where he’s being held in lieu of $5,000 bail.

Indecent exposure is actually a very serious crime and must be dealt with accordingly. While most of us know not to expose ourselves in public, when alcohol is thrown in the mix, all good judgement goes out the window. When this illegal conduct does happen, those accused deserve the best legal representation possible to fight and defend against the criminal charge.

Indecent exposure is not a minor infraction where a fine can be paid and the accused can move on with their life. An indecent exposure charge can actually cost you a lot more in fines and potential jail time. Because of this, the sooner you speak with a Volusia County Criminal Defense Attorney at Whittel & Melton, the better able you will be to fight the criminal charge.

Continue reading

Published on:

A former Bradenton police officer allegedly used local and state law enforcement databases to look for women to date and have sex with, according to reports.

An investigation by the Bradenton Police Department allegedly revealed that the former police officer targeted women, using his position to approach them for dates. He is accused of having sex with some of them, even while on duty.

By law, the databases are only supposed to be used for official police business.

The 12-year veteran of the force was pulled from patrol duty, placed on administrative leave without pay and stripped of his badge, gun and uniform. He resigned on October 30.

Bradenton police referred a criminal investigation to the FBI, which is spearheading its own inquiry.

Police uncovered the man’s alleged scheme after a woman and her parents filed a complaint last June.

The former officer had met the woman in the parking lot of a local store, and followed her most of the way home in his police car. He knocked on the door of her parents’ house and told them he wanted to speak with their daughter about a “domestic matter,” according to reports.

Her parents refused the request, and asked for the man’s name and his supervisor’s information.

The woman’s parents called the Bradenton Police Department, where a watch commander told them the man was the officer on duty at the time. The parents explained he’d followed their daughter home because she had a headlight out.

When the two stories did not add up, the department launched an investigation.

Investigators searched the man’s use of the state’s Driver and Vehicle Information Database.

They apparently found “several hundred” of the man’s search queries in the department’s database diverged sharply from the “open and active cases” he and law enforcement colleagues were working on as part of official duties.

The BPD’s internal investigation revealed his alleged behavior stretched back as far as 2012.

The department identified 150 women it believed were associated with the case.

He allegedly used the database information to reach out to the women with social media, phone calls or visits to their homes to “try and get dates with these women.”

Investigators believe the man committed numerous administrative violations, including having sex on duty. The Bradenton police declined to publicly issue the results of its internal investigation, as the man could be subject to criminal charges.

If you know that you are under investigation for an alleged crime, you do not need to wait to be charged or arrested to take defensive action. Our Manatee County Criminal Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can help you conduct a pre-file investigation if you are aware that law enforcement is investigating you. Just know that if you are being investigated for a crime, you have the legal right to be represented by a criminal defense lawyer.

When we conduct a pre-file investigation, we can start mounting a defense before you are even charged. We urge you to contact us as soon as possible so that you do not risk incriminating yourself. During a police pre-file investigation, you must invoke your Fifth Amendment right to remain silent rather than volunteering information that can damage your case.

Continue reading

Published on:

Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents arrested the city of Port Richey’s acting mayor Terrence Hagan Rowe, 64, on Wednesday charging him with obstruction of justice, conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice, and use of a two-way communications device to facilitate the commission of a crime.

According to the agency, agents received information that Rowe was conspiring to interfere with an active criminal investigation.

Rowe has served as Port Richey’s acting mayor since the previous mayor, Dale Glen Massad, was arrested in February following an incident where he allegedly fired a weapon at Pasco County Sheriff’s Office deputies at his home to serve a warrant.

Rowe was transported to the Pasco County Jail on a $15,000 bond. Rowe posted bond overnight.

Obstruction of justice is not a minor offense. It is actually a felony offense that can have serious implications on your freedom, life, and livelihood. The crime embodies numerous behaviors, including providing false information to a police officer, concealing material relevant to a prosecution, or destroying or disguising physical information.

If you have been charged with obstruction of justice, you need to obtain a criminal defense lawyer right away to make sure your rights are protected. Due to the severity of this offense, you need to act fast as you could be facing years in prison plus hefty fines. Our Pasco County Criminal Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton can piece together a strong defense against these charges or work to obtain a favorable plea deal without jail time.

Continue reading

Published on:

Actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin are among 50 charged in a nationwide college entrance exam scandal, according to court documents filed Tuesday in Boston.

Several NCAA D-1 college coaches, company CEOs and one college administrator have also been implicated in the scandal utilizing 200 FBI agents, dubbed “Operation Varsity Blues.”

Documents show those indicted allegedly paid millions in bribes to get their children into elite colleges. Those colleges include Yale, Stanford and the University of Southern California.

Arrest warrants have been issued. Thirteen of the accused were taken into custody Tuesday morning in the Los Angeles area, including Huffman, according to reports.

As of Tuesday night, Loughlin was still not in custody.

Feds are basing the case on interviews with witnesses, bank records, flight records, emails, cell site data and wiretaps. The charges were authorized by a grand jury.

The scheme, in some instances, involved parents paying the founder of a college prep business in California, to have someone take the SAT or ACT for their children, according to authorities. Prosecutors alleged that the man also paid around $25 million in bribes to coaches and administrators to pretend client’s children were athletic recruits, thereby guaranteeing admission. The man pleaded guilty in Boston federal court around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday to charges including racketeering conspiracy and obstruction of justice, according to reports.

Loughlin and her husband, Mossimo Giannulli, are accused of paying $500,000 to USC, through the man’s operation, in exchange for having their two daughters designated as recruits to the college’s crew team — even though they did not participate in crew — thereby guaranteeing their admission in the college, according to documents. The couple faces charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

Huffman and her spouse, William H. Macy, are accused of disguising a $15,000 charitable payment in the bribery scheme. The charging papers refer to Macy as “spouse.” He hasn’t been indicted. She also faces the charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud.

According to charging documents, a “confidential witness” met with Huffman at her home and explained that he “controlled” a SAT testing center and could arrange for someone to proctor the taking of the test and then correct her daughter’s answers afterward. Huffman is said to have later exchanged emails with this individual in an effort to get 100 percent extra time for her daughter and to facilitate the taking of the SATs away from her school.

Huffman’s daughter is said to have taken the test in December 2017 and received a 1420 on the test, a 400 point improvement from a previous test. Last October, Huffman discussed repeating this for her youngest daughter in a taped conversation that evidently the FBI has obtained. However, Huffman did not go through with the cheating for her youngest daughter, according to court papers.

Also included in the documents on Tuesday, and charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, is TPG’s Bill McGlashan, Hollywood investor and co-founder of STX.

The founder of a college prep business in California has agreed to plead guilty to racketeering, money laundering and obstruction of justice (after alerting several subjects of the investigation of the government probe), according to court papers, and has been cooperating since September 2018 in a bid for leniency.

In all, 50 people around the country were charged in the alleged cheating and recruitment scam.

It will certainly be interesting to see how this case unfolds. Cheating scandals are not something necessarily new, but has definitely grown in popularity within the last decade.

Mail fraud embodies a wide variety of crimes and can extend into other types of fraud as well. Any act of fraud that involves the mail is mail fraud. Many mail fraud charges are accompanied by conspiracy charges.

If you have been accused of mail fraud, you must enlist the help of a criminal defense attorney that has experience handling these complex cases. Our Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have the experience and knowledge needed to intervene early and overcome these charges quickly. Even if you have not been charged and are simply under investigation, our early involvement could result in charges not being filed at all. If charges are filed, we will fight aggressively to overcome them. If you have already been charged, we will conduct a thorough investigation, attack all evidence against you, and establish a strong defense to protect your innocence.

Continue reading

Published on:

A University of Florida student was arrested Sunday morning after police claim he raped a woman Sunday in the UF Keys Residential Complex.

The 19-year-old was arrested on a charge of sexual battery. A UF spokesman said the man is enrolled at UF as a construction management sophomore.

The man was invited back to the woman’s apartment to hang out Sunday morning, a UF Police Department arrest report said. The woman apparently told the man she did not want to have sex.

Published on:

The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office Vice and Narcotics Unit assisted the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) in the investigation of a Hernando County man for Unlicensed Practice of a Healthcare Profession.

An investigator from the FDOH advised detectives that the man allegedly advertised his services on a website called El Clasificado, an advertisement website for the Hispanic community. The advertisement stated that the man could treat medical conditions such as: hernias, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, cancer, multiple sclerosis, arthrosis, renal failure, Leukemia, Fibromyalgia, ulcers, vision problems, cysts, and many other health problems. The website shows a photo of the man in a white coat and the caption labels him a doctor.

The investigator from the FDOH advised that the man has never had a medical license, of any kind, in the state of Florida.

On Feb. 7, detectives made arrangements by telephone between a “patient” and the man to meet for an appointment. When asked where to meet, the man advised the patient that a friend allows him to use his house to see patients, and provided the patient with the address of a residence in eastern Brooksville.  The two agreed to meet at the residence at 10:30 a.m. for the appointment.

When the patient arrived for the appointment, he was handed a clipboard and asked to complete papers, according to reports. He was then asked to pay $160.

The man checked the patient’s blood pressure and pulse and then placed a band around the patient’s head and had him hold a metal rod (both the band and the rod were connected to a machine on a table). Once turned on, the machine began making beeping noises. The man told the patient, that the device was testing his heart, brain, intestinal system, bones, nerves, and “everything else.”

When the test was complete, the man allegedly told the patient that “his cholesterol was on the way to being high” and that he “was not getting enough oxygen to his brain.”  The man also told the patient that he has “50 percent fat in his liver and his gallbladder was not in good health.” The man also told the patient that he had Diabetes and Osteoporosis.

The man apparently told the patient he could cure his diabetes with several more visits, and only $2,000. He went on to say that the treatment would include injecting the patient with “his own blood.”

After this, detectives moved in and placed the man into custody.  He was transported to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office to be interviewed by detectives.

When interviewed by detectives, the man said he did not believe that he needed a license to practice medicine. He was apparently a lab technician in Cuba and when he moved to Florida he went to school to get a certificate for Iridology, herbology, and nutrition.

The man was charged with the following:

–       Unlicensed Practice of a Health Care Profession

–       Unlawful Use of a Two-Way Communication Device

His bond was set at $10,000.

Florida law identifies practicing medicine without a license as a felony. It is a felony offense for a person “to practice, attempt to practice, or offer to practice a health care profession without an active, valid Florida license [issued by the Department of Health] to practice that profession.”

If the person accused did not cause bodily injury, the is a third degree felony, with a maximum penalty of up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine. If the alleged incident results in “serious bodily injury,” Unlicensed Practice of a Health Care Profession is upgraded to a second degree felony, with a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Continue reading

Published on:

A former city commissioner in Florida is facing prison time after he was convicted of corruption charges arising from a tiki bar he operated in a strip mall.

According to court records, a jury found 56-year-old David McLean guilty of bribery, official misconduct and theft charges late Monday. McLean was a commissioner in the South Florida city of Margate.

Trial evidence showed McLean used his influence to do city favors for the tiki bar’s landlord. In return, the landlord forgave about $8,000 in rent and made another $6,000 in cash payments.

Broward County prosecutors say McLean faces about four years in prison when he is sentenced in March.

McLean previously was convicted of similar charges in federal court, but an appeals court overturned the verdict because no federal money was involved.

Public figures and all other highly visible people like politicians, police officers and city council members are under watchful scrutiny. When an action looks as if it could be illegal, the accused needs the help of an attorney who knows how to present an aggressive defense. Our South Florida Criminal Defense Attorneys at Whittel & Melton have the experience and persistence to fight charges of corruption.

If you have been charged with a crime, you have the right to an attorney. We will listen to your story in complete confidence and make sure you understand all of your options on how best to proceed.

Continue reading

Contact Information