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As the new school year begins, it is important to be aware of sextortion and to monitor children’s social media activity.

According to Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, sextortion and child pornography may be related to human trafficking, and anyone from anywhere can pose as your child’s friend on social media sites.

According to the attorney general’s office, a 45-year-old man from North Port, Florida, was recently given a 13-year prison term for claiming to be a teenage female in order to target a young boy in New Jersey on two social networking platforms.

The individual allegedly targeted the victim on the social video game apps Discord and Roblox, both of which are marketed to children.

The man allegedly lured the child into sending nude images by providing him an electronic gift card, according to Moody’s office.

He then allegedly blackmailed the child into performing and uploading films of obscene sexual practices, threatening to publish the naked images if he did not comply.

Investigators allegedly discovered other messages connected to the man’s social media accounts, along with photographs of child sex abuse.

According to reports, the man pleaded guilty to eight offenses and received a 13-year prison sentence, followed by 15 years of sex-offender probation upon his release.

Moody has also created an online safety toolkit to help parents explain Internet safety.

Untitled-design-53-200x300A Sextortion Scam: How Does It Begin and Operate?

Online sextortion is a growing problem that could happen to anyone, regardless of their age. It is critical to teach your child how to spot a potential sextortion scam and how to respond if it occurs to them.

Anyplace where individuals interact and communicate is susceptible to sextortion, including:

  • Messaging apps like WhatsApp, Google Chat, and Skype
  • Email or text messages
  • Dating apps, like Hinge and Tinder
  • Chat-based video games, like Fortnite, Roblox, Discord, and Minecraft
  • Social media sites, like Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat

The scammer may pose as another child or adolescent. After gaining the trust of their young victim, they request compromising images or videos. In other situations, the scammer threatens the child when they first interact by claiming they already have compromising images or footage of the child.

In either case, the sextortionist demands more images from the victim or makes some other demand before threatening to divulge the private information.

Here are a few tips for parents to follow to keep children safe online:

  • Pay attention to a child’s online activity
  • Make social media profiles private for kids
  • Prevent children from changing or using a phony date of birth to access websites that permit interactions with older people
  • Explain that internet profiles can be edited to appear as someone else
  • Make it clear that once something is posted on the internet, it will stay visible forever
  • Teach kids how to ask for help, regardless of how bad the situation appears

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The mother of Backstreet Boys singer Nick Carter and recently deceased Aaron Carter wound up in the Hernando County Jail following a fight with her husband over a television remote, according to TMZ.

After drinking with an adult family member and getting into a verbal fight that turned physical, the woman was taken into custody on Friday night for domestic violence.

According to TMZ, the woman and her husband got into an argument because she was watching television while playing music so loudly that he could not fall asleep.

The woman allegedly grabbed the man’s wrist when he brought out his phone to record the event, according to sources quoted by TMZ. He then dialed law enforcement at that time.

Deputies allegedly detained the woman after viewing the video captured on the man’s phone.

According to jail records, the woman was arrested early on Saturday and released the same day after paying a $100 bond.

According to TMZ, her husband was unharmed during the argument and refused to be taken to the hospital.

Untitled-design-28-200x300Domestic battery is an accusation that should not be taken lightly. If you are found guilty of domestic violence charges in Florida, you could be sentenced to jail time, fines, and other consequences that will have a detrimental impact on your future.

If you are accused of domestic abuse in Florida, you need a defense attorney who will take the time to hear you out and investigate your case. It is particularly tough for people accused of committing these crimes because prosecutors and judges often seek severe sentences for crimes of violence.

Causing harm to anyone residing in the same household can technically lead to domestic battery charges. A domestic violence charge can be brought against any type of household member, such as roommates, unmarried couples, adopted children, or foster children; the parties in these types of situations do not always need to be blood relatives or married.

Other types of family/household members may include:

  • Spouse
  • Former spouse
  • Parents who share a child together
  • Children
  • Stepchildren
  • Individuals who share a common dwelling (roommates, housemates)
  • Individuals who are dating/engaged
  • Individuals with disabilities and their caregivers

Domestic battery charges can arise from the following types of actions:

  • Causing bodily harm to a family or household member
  • Any physical contact that provokes a household member
  • Making threats
  • Sexual abuse
  • Verbal harassment
  • Emotional abuse
  • Child abuse
  • Child neglect

Can Domestic Battery Charges Be Dropped In the state of Florida?

Once law enforcement takes their initial report of domestic violence, the case is then transferred to the court. The victim cannot recant their accusations once they have been made to police. The only persona that has the power to drop domestic battery charges is the State Attorney. Of course, having a Spring Hill Criminal Defense Attorney fighting for your case can help positively influence the outcome of your specific case. Continue reading

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A 19-year-old sophomore at the University of Florida and Phi Delta Theta fraternity brother was arrested Wednesday on charges of sexual battery.

The Gainesville Police Department believes that the man and the alleged victim communicated via Snapchat for about 3 weeks. They apparently ran into each other at a downtown bar Wednesday and went to the man’s residence around 1 a.m. and engaged in consensual sex.

Shortly after the consensual sex, the alleged victim told police that the man forced himself upon them even though there was no consent. The man did stop, but only after several minutes, according to police reports.

The man apparently told police that he stopped the sexual activity within five seconds.

At around 3 a.m. the alleged victim left the man’s residence and had a sexual assault exam conducted at a local hospital.

Untitled-design-12-200x300According to the police report, the man allegedly told police he was too drunk to consent to any sexual activity and he was taken advantage of. He then apparently said that he was aware of what was happening and was able to make conscious decisions. He also allegedly said that he used a condom during both sexual encounters, but then told police he did not wear a condom.

The man allegedly told police that he was unsure if the alleged victim was a willing participant for the second sexual encounter. He said he did stop the sexual contact sometime after the alleged victim said they wanted him to stop. He allegedly said he takes responsibility for the time between when the alleged victim said they did not consent to the sexual activity and when he stopped.

Phi Delta Theta has suspended the man.

He has been released on $100,000 bail. He was ordered to have no direct or indirect contact with the alleged victim during pretrial release in a standing no contact order.

If you have been accused of sexual battery or rape by your college, then you need to enlist the help of a college sex crime criminal defense lawyer right away. Many students who are facing sex crime accusations want to clear the matter up swiftly and think if they tell their side of the story that everything will just go back to normal. This is usually not the case, and allegations of sexual misconduct can have devastating consequences that can follow you around for the rest of your life.

If a school thinks that a rape happened on campus then they will report it to local law enforcement and will pursue school-imposed penalties. Moreover, an investigation will be launched against you by police and criminal charges may be filed. The potential penalties you may face for a rape conviction can involve hefty fines and years in prison.

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This Thanksgiving holiday, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and our Florida DUI Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want to remind you to stay safe on the roads. Whether you are travelling a long distance to a relative or friend’s house for a Thanksgiving feast, driving home from college to be with your parents and siblings, or just heading down the street to see local friends and family, we want to remind you that Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving, regardless of whether it is during a holiday or any other day.

Thanksgiving Sobering Statistics

  • In 2020, 185 fatalities occurred from drunk driving over the Thanksgiving holiday period (Wednesday, November 25 – Monday, November 30).
  • From 2016-2020, 821 people were killed in alcohol-related car crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday period (Wednesday before Thanksgiving-Monday after Thanksgiving).
  • During the 2020 Thanksgiving holiday period, male drivers were found more likely to be involved in DUI-related car accidents than females – males accounted for more than three-quarters of Thanksgiving DUI car accidents. During this same period, more than four times as many drivers involved in DUI car crashes were impaired at nighttime as opposed to daytime.

2022-Thanksgiving-Buzzed-Driving-Is-Drunk-Driving-200x300Celebrate Turkey Day with a Plan

It is always a good idea to plan if you know you are going to have a few drinks. Celebrating responsibly does not have to be hard – make sure you know where you are going and have a safe ride home. If you are going to be the designated driver for your group, then take your role seriously and do not consume any alcohol, not even one drink.

Here are a few more reminders to keep your Thanksgiving holiday period, including “Blackout Wednesday,” a safe and happy time.

  • It is never OK to drink and drive. Even if you have had just one alcoholic beverage, get a sober ride home. You can call a taxi, use a rideshare service like Uber or Lyft, or have a sober friend or family member drive you home. AAA will also bring their Tow-To-Go service for the 2022 Thanksgiving Holiday weekend. Starting Wednesday November 23 at 6pm-6am Monday morning, members and non-members can call the AAA Tow-To-Go number 855-2-TOW-2-GO, or 855-286-9246 and get a tow truck to take the impaired driver and their vehicle home or to a safe location (must be within a 10-mile radius of where they were picked up.)
  • If you see a drunk driver on the road, then you should call 911 immediately.
  • If you have a friend or relative that is about to drink and drive, then take their keys away and help make the necessary arrangements to get them home safe or create a space for them to sleep it off until they can safely drive home.
  • Lastly, always remember that buzzed driving is drunk driving.

What To Do if You or a Loved One is Harmed in a DUI Accident this Thanksgiving

If the worst happens during the 2022 Thanksgiving holiday period, and you are involved in a drunk driving crash, then our Florida DUI Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton will be available 24/7 to help aide in your best interests. You deserve financial compensation for your injuries, lost time from work, pain, and suffering. After you or a loved one has been harmed in a DUI crash, you should not have to worry about keeping up with medical bills and making sure your family is taken care of. It does not matter if you were injured in a car accident, motorcycle accident, or truck accident – we can help get you the compensation you deserve. You can call us statewide at 866-608-5529 or contact us online to request a free consultation. Continue reading

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Actor Gary Busey, 78, known for playing the role of Chet Steadman in the 1993 classic “Rookie of the Year” and featured in the films “Point Break” and “The Buddy Holly Story,” is now facing several sex offense charges in connection with alleged incidents that occurred at Monster-Mania Con at a Doubletree Hotel near Philadelphia.

Busey was a featured celebrity at the convention that was held from Aug. 12 to 14.

On Friday, Cherry Hill detectives charged Busey, who resides in Malibu, California, with two counts of criminal sexual contact in the fourth degree, one count of criminal attempt/criminal sexual contact in the fourth degree, and one count of harassment, according to reports.

Grey-minimalist-law-firm-service-instagram-post-300x300Three women allegedly came forward and told police that Busey groped and touched them inappropriately during a meet and greet at Monster-Mania Con in the afternoon of Aug. 13.

There is no further information available on these charges.

Whether you have already been arrested or are aware that you are the main suspect of a sex crime and are under investigation, you need to act fast as time is of the essence. You must not delay in building your defense strategy and you need to get legal help as soon as possible. Our Florida Sex Crimes Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton will work swiftly, creatively, and aggressively to ensure that you have a cutting-edge defense to help fight whatever serious sexual allegations you are facing. Whether you are up against state or federal sex offense, we have a proven team who can assist with your sex crime case today.

A sex crime conviction carries a very real stigma with it, along with severe consequences that can ruin your future even beyond time spent behind bars. You could be looking at registration as a sexual offender, which will restrict where you can live and work. You must fight back against sex crime allegations. Our Florida Sex Crimes Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can get started working on your case immediately, launching our own investigation into the matter and utilizing experts to establish the credibility of any alleged victims.

Will My Sex Crime Case Go to Trial?

You probably have many questions about your sex crime allegations, and whether your case proceeds to trial will rely on many factors, including if there is DNA or other corroborating evidence, if there are incriminating statements against you, and if the accuser(s) are credible or have lied in the past. Our experienced sex crime defense lawyers will scour all the evidence against you and help you understand exactly what you are up against so that you can make an educated and informed decision on whether you want to enter plea bargain negotiations or test your luck at trial. Continue reading

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A 32-year-old Miami police officer who was allegedly under surveillance by internal affairs detectives was also arrested early Sunday for driving under the influence of alcohol and possession of cocaine.

The man was arrested in Miami’s Brickell district after he attempted to drive away in his patrol car after drinking outside the D-Dog House restaurant.

The man remained at the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center on Sunday afternoon.

The man’s arrest report states that anti-corruption investigators were watching the man as he drove his patrol car, parked, and then proceeded to go inside the restaurant.

He was apparently under surveillance over an “ongoing administrative case,” but no more details are available on that subject matter.

Add-a-heading-1-200x300The report goes on to say that the detectives watched him hanging out with a group of men and consuming several drinks. He was stopped from driving his patrol car after he was allegedly seen swaying and swaggering as he approached his car. The report also alleges that his eyes were bloodshot and he smelled of alcohol.

Detectives claim that he dropped two clear plastic baggies containing a white powdery substance that they believe to be cocaine from his right pocket at the time he was detained.

He allegedly failed a roadside sobriety test and apparently submitted to a breath test that revealed his blood-alcohol content level was 0.34. The legal limit is 0.08.

If your blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08 or higher and you are stopped for suspicion of DUI by police, then you will likely be asked to submit to a field sobriety test. You will also be asked to show your driver’s license, insurance card, and vehicle registration. While you are under no obligation to submit to a field sobriety test or any chemical testing, refusing will lead to your driver’s license being automatically be suspended. Our Miami DUI Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can represent you at all administrative hearings for your loss of driving privileges as well as serve as your legal counsel for all criminal proceedings.

Field sobriety tests are designed to use simple physical and cognitive skills to assess whether a person has been drinking and driving. While the tests are designed to be accurate by the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, our legal team at Whittel & Melton are aware that these tests are not always a correct judgement on one’s ability to operate a motor vehicle. If you have been arrested on suspicion of drinking and driving while under the influence of alcohol, then you need to enlist the help of our former Miami-Dade state prosecutors immediately. Continue reading

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Two physical therapists and five other alleged participants in Miami were arrested last week and charged with staging car accidents and then billing insurance providers as much as $161,000.

Florida’s Department of Financial Services apparently spent the last few months working with an informant to document the alleged car insurance fraud ring. They believe that one of the participants used Instagram, the social media app, to find people willing to help stage accidents.

These no-fault car insurance scams apparently worked like this: The accident would be staged first, then the “victims” would be taken to physical therapy clinics where they were paid up to $2,000 to request treatment for their “injuries.” After this was complete, the physical therapists would tell the “victims” what types of injuries to complain about and then their insurance companies would be billed accordingly for treatment.

https://www.floridacriminalattorneyblog.com/files/2022/04/httpswww.thefllawfirm.com_-300x300.pngThe Miami physical therapy clinics involved have been named as Life Medical Rehab, Premier Wellness, Red Diamond, Holistic Medical and Evolution Med, according to reports.

All seven alleged participants were booked into jail in Miami. The charges include staging accidents, organized scheme to defraud, patient brokering, grand theft and insurance fraud and grand theft. The police said that they expect to arrest more people involved.

Personal injury protection motor vehicle fraud has been an ongoing issue for South Florida. There have been numerous arrests for PIP fraud schemes in recent years, including a $23 million PIP fraud scam in 2018.

Staged car accidents are nothing new in Miami and throughout all of Florida. In fact, many auto accident fraud complaints are filed by public citizens who see something suspicious and report their findings to the Florida Department of Financial Services by using the online Fraud Reporting Website. Police are always on the lookout for these “PIP Mills” that often involve physical therapy or chiropractic clinics who file fraudulent medical claims to insurance companies using PIP automobile insurance coverage. Continue reading

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A former Hillsborough County teacher and coach has been arrested for the second time facing more allegations of child molestation, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

The 33-year-old ex-teacher and former volunteer coach was arrested Wednesday on new charges stemming from a football player who has accused him of sexually abusing him more than 50 times between 2017 and 2021. The former volunteer coach has been released on bail.

The man was initially arrested last month after being accused of inappropriately touching a child and showing pornographic images to the child at the school where he was a teacher.

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A teacher for the Pasco County School district has been arrested and charged with custodial authority sexual battery on a student.

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation into the 32-year-old man on January 2, 2022, after they received information about an alleged inappropriate relationship between the male teacher and student.

The alleged incidents took place when the student was 14-years-old.

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Alvin Kamara, running back for the New Orleans Saints, was arrested on a battery charge Sunday in Las Vegas after playing in his fifth pro bowl.

Reports from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department show that Kamara is accused of injuring another person at a Las Vegas nightclub sometime over the weekend.

Police said they were dispatched to a local hospital around 5:50 p.m. where an injury victim had reported that they were battered by 26-year-old Kamara.

nevada-g85d2f7e10_1920-300x199Kamara played in Sunday’s Pro Bowl, making four catches for 23 yards, but was taken into custody and booked at the Clark County Detention Center immediately after the game. He was charged with battery resulting in great bodily harm.

Kamara spent Sunday night in jail and posted bond on Monday.

In the state of Florida, when an act of battery is committed against another person resulting in great bodily harm, this is considered Felony Battery – a third-degree felony that can land a person behind bars for up to five years. Battery is escalated to Felony Battery when a person intentionally touches or strikes another person with the intent to cause great bodily harm, such as broken bones, injuries that require surgery, permanent disability or permanent disfigurement.

Facing criminal charges for battery, with or without a weapon, is a very serious matter in the state of Florida and requires immediate legal representation from an experienced criminal defense lawyer right away. Our Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton know the laws and how to navigate the Florida criminal justice system to help defeat misdemeanor and felony battery charges. We can handle all types of misdemeanors or felony assault and battery charges, such as assault, battery, aggravated assault, aggravated battery, domestic violence, and sexual assault and battery.

Whether you have been arrested following a bar fight, a domestic argument, or any other circumstance, we recommend remaining calm and keeping quiet. Do not try and talk your way out of these charges as you can end up doing more harm than good. Call our Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton at 866-608-5529 and let us speak for you. We can guide you through the criminal justice process and help you understand how the police, prosecutors, and judges usually handle these types of violent cases. Depending on the facts of your case, we can work with the prosecution to negotiate a reduced a sentence or possible have the charges against you dropped. Continue reading

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