Articles Posted in Hillsborough County

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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.

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A former Hillsborough County teacher arrested last week on charges of probation violation has had the charge dismissed.

The 39-year-old was in court Tuesday for a hearing that she violated her probation for taking pictures with a friend’s 12-year-old daughter in a Clearwater Beach restaurant.

A judge dismissed the violation Tuesday, and she’ll be released Wednesday.

The woman made news in the Bay area in 2010 when she pleaded guilty to having sex with teen students.

She served six years in prison on lewd and lascivious battery charges and was released in 2016.

The woman reported the recent incident to her probation officer. Her probation prohibits any contact with minors unless approved by the court. She was arrested July 19.

The terms of probation can be very restrictive. You are expected to live your normal life while following strict procedures. You cannot travel too far from a fixed point, you must report regularly to a probation officer, and you must not be arrested for or charged with any further offenses, among other things. Failure to comply with any of these areas could be considered a probation violation.

If you have recently been charged with violating the terms of your probation, you face serious criminal consequences. Whether done so intentionally or by accident, you are likely to face harsh consequences, including extended probation, hefty fines, or sentenced to serve the remaining term of your original imprisonment. This all depends on individual circumstances – no two cases are the same.

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A former standout high school quarterback in Tampa Bay is out on bond after being accused of beating his ex-girlfriend.

The 29-year-old is facing domestic battery charges in connection with an incident in Key West earlier this month involving his girlfriend at the time.

According to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, the man attacked the woman in their hotel room after reading text messages on her phone.

He is accused of punching her several times and knocking her to the ground and stomping on her throat.

The man was released on a $50,000 bond.

After being arrested for domestic battery, it is absolutely vital to the outcome of your case to seek expert legal defense as soon as possible. Domestic battery is a serious crime that involves the harm of a household or family member.

Domestic cases are very sensitive in nature, and all too often involve false accusations as a result of relationship problems. Untruthful statements may be made out of anger, and when police are brought into the matter, there is usually always an arrest made for domestic battery.

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A Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputy was arrested Tuesday after officials claim she got into a physical altercation with her wife.

The alleged incident happened on March 3 at their home.

The alleged 29-year-old victim told officials that her 29-year-old wife forcibly restrained her, causing minor injuries, several times that day after they got into two arguments.

According to the report, the couple first got into a verbal argument which turned physical. The deputy is accused of forcibly restraining the woman by pinning her down against her will in the upstairs bedroom..

The argument subsided and the woman left their home.

Later that evening, the couple got into another argument where the deputy allegedly forcibly restrained her wife several times. According to the report, the deputy  first pushed her wife up against their living room wall, then again in their bedroom, and later pressed the victim’s forearm against her neck causing a restriction in air flow.

According to the report, the wife tried to fight back and received minor bruising to her jaw line, wrist and arms.

The wife contacted the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office on March 6 to report the incidents.

Officials said the deputy admitted to the alleged actions and was arrested and charged with battery by strangulation, domestic violence battery, and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

She was also relieved of duty without pay pending an internal review.

A domestic violence or domestic battery conviction can leave you facing serious consequences. You could end up losing your job, your family and spending time behind bars. When the police come to your house and accuse or arrest you for domestic battery, you know that you’re in for an uphill battle.

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A former Tampa police officer was arrested on drug trafficking charges this week in Polk County, along with two other men.

The 66-year-old man and two others, 37 and 24, were arrested during an undercover drug transaction on Thursday, Jan. 10.

The 66-year-old bonded out of jail Saturday, while the other two men remained behind bars.

The 66-year-old former officer served with Tampa PD for five years before becoming an attorney.

The investigation occurred after detectives became aware of possible drug trafficking by one of the men. An undercover detective arranged to meet the man to make a narcotics transaction, and the man said that he would be coming with his supplier, who would have to see the money first.

The deal was for one-to-four kilos of cocaine at $25,000 a kilo.

All three men were allegedly seen at the meeting location, and the undercover detective was handed a backpack that contained 998.41 grams of cocaine, the report stated. All three suspects were arrested.

The 66-year-old  was charged with trafficking in cocaine, conspiracy to traffic cocaine, and possession of a vehicle knowingly used to traffic cocaine. His criminal history includes 1986 charges for disorderly conduct and resisting.

The 37-year-old was charged with trafficking in cocaine, conspiracy to traffic cocaine, possession of hydrocodone, and possession of drug paraphernalia. His criminal history includes charges for providing alcohol to a minor in 2010 and 2013.

The 24-year-old was charged with trafficking in cocaine, conspiracy to traffic cocaine, possession of cannabis, and possession of drug paraphernalia. His criminal history includes charges for drug possession, probation violation, battery, and failure to appear.

Federal drug crimes charges are quite severe, and if you are convicted you are facing serious consequences. If you have been arrested or have reason to believe you are under investigation for a federal drug crime, you need to retain legal help as soon as possible. Our Florida Drug Trafficking Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can begin helping you immediately.

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Lakeland Police charged a Valrico man with 100 counts of possession of child pornography following an investigation of alleged child porn images found on his work computer.

Officials said an investigation into the 55-year-old man began in April. The man’s work computer was turned over to Lakeland detectives on April 19 after the company IT manager claims he found images of child pornography on it while troubleshooting technical difficulties.

According to detectives,a forensic investigation of the man’s computer was conducted. During that investigation, an alleged 100 images of child pornography were identified.

Lakeland Police detectives concluded their investigation on July 8 and, based on the evidence, charged the man with 100 counts of possession of child pornography. The man is currently still in the custody of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, and will reportedly be returned to Polk County at a later date.

Child pornography charges alone are enough to ruin your reputation and get you fired from your job. You must take these charges seriously, as they are not going to just disappear. The first thing you need to do after being charged is to retain sound legal counsel, and the sooner the better. Our Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton know that prosecutors take a harsh stance when it comes to sexual offenses. They will do everything in their power to seek a conviction and will push for maximum consequences.

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At least 13 people were arrested in a series of drug raids Thursday in Orlando and Tampa, according to reports.

Federal agents claim members of the group have been conspiring to sell heroin and cocaine since at least December 2015.

They are charged with conspiracy and intent to distribute a controlled substance.

At least $80,000 and a 2015 Acura ILX were seized, according to reports.

Have you recently been arrested in a drug raid? If so, you will definitely need the services of a highly skilled Drug Crimes Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton who can help you. When you are arrested on drug charges, you need a defense attorney who can investigate every aspect of your case with the hopes of possibly getting your charges reduced or even completely dismissed. We can assist with your case and have extensive experience in handling drug cases on both the state and federal levels.

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A female University of South Florida student who said two students robbed her has been arrested and charged with making up the story.

The 19-year-old was arrested Wednesday following a follow up interview with USF Police detectives. According to officials, she admitted to making up the story and that there was no robbery.

At 9:15 p.m. Tuesday, USF officers responded to a report of a strong armed robbery near the Interdisciplinary Science Building.

Police said the student originally told police that two white men in their early 20’s stole her jewelry near the ISA building. Officials said the student told them the men engaged her in conversation, then took her backpack from her and her necklace fell to the ground as a result of the physical contact.

After she allegedly admitted she made up the story, she was charged with filing a false police report and was taken to the Hillsborough County Jail.

USF police also the student is part of a group of four students who recently reported receiving threatening messages inside their USF residence hall rooms on Election Night.

The investigation into that incident is ongoing.

Lying about robberies has been in the headlines a lot this year, what with the whole Ryan Lochte debacle in Rio. Our Hillsborough County Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton urge everyone to refrain from lying about crimes as you can be charged with filing a false police report, as this case shows.

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A state investigator has been arrested on charges that he sexually abused two young boys.

According to officials, the man was working on a case at a children’s home for boys who’ve been abused. Investigators claim two 8-year-olds allege the man inappropriately touched them and made them perform sexual acts on him.

The man used to work for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) in Tampa investigating crimes against children.

Investigators reported that the man has denied any allegations against him.

The man is charged with lewd and lascivious molestation of two victims under 12 years old. He has also been placed on administrative leave.

When a police officer or other law enforcement official is charged with a crime of any kind, it is absolutely vital that they speak with a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to ensure that their rights are protected. When it comes to sex crimes cases against a law enforcement officer, prosecutors will vigorously try to make it known that the officer is not above the law. It is likely that the prosecution will seek the maximum penalties, maybe even enhanced penalties, just to “make an example” of the officer charged.

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Texas district Judge Elizabeth E. Coker is stepping down from the bench after she was apparently caught texting prosecutors on how to win cases.

A whistleblower revealed that Corker was sending text messages to prosecutors with suggestions on questions to ask in court in order to secure a conviction.

The judge, who sits on the bench over Trinity, Polk and San Jacinto counties, has resigned, according to a voluntary agreement with the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.

It stems from complaints and media stories alleging that Coker “had engaged in improper ex parte text communications with Polk County Assistant District Attorney Kaycee Jones while Judge Coker presided” over a criminal trial in August of 2012.

With those complaints, “the commission commenced an investigation into allegations that Judge Coker used Assistant District Attorney Jones to privately communicate information” about the case “to suggest questions for the prosecutor to ask during the trial” among other issues.

The agreement also said the commission looked into other complaints that Coker allegedly engaged in other improper communications and meetings with Jones, other members of the Polk County prosecutor’s office, the San Jacinto County District Attorney and certain defense attorneys.

The agreement goes on to say “the parties agree that the allegations of judicial misconduct, if found to be true, could result in disciplinary action against Judge Coker.” As a result, the parties sought to resolve the matter “without the time and expense of further disciplinary proceedings.”

Coker did not admit any guilt or fault.

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