Articles Posted in Pasco County

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A woman has been arrested in Pasco County after allegedly renting out homes she didn’t own.

Authorities said the 43-year-old was arrested for scheming to defraud after allegedly pretending to be the owner of two homes — one in Holiday and the other in New Port Richey.

According to reports, she was renting out the property for $800-$850 a month.

The actual owner of the property was apparently unaware of this transaction.

The woman also had active felony warrants for grand theft and unlicensed real estate broker or sales associate in Hillsborough County.

There are many reasons why good, normally upstanding people end up facing fraud or other white collar crimes charges. Whatever the reason, our Pasco County White Collar Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton have one goal, which is to defend you against the charges. This means investigating your case thoroughly and presenting the strongest case possible to help you get back to leading a normal life.

We represent people throughout the state of Florida that are under investigation or facing formal state or federal charges for a wide range of white collar crimes, including:

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Creepy clowns have been making headlines across the nation, and Florida is no stranger to this creepy craze.

Pasco County deputies are on alert for a creepy clown.

Authorities believe the clowns have been spotted in Hudson, Port Richey, and Holiday. The county’s school district sent out a robo call and a post on Facebook Friday telling parents there was a threat posted on Facebook and Twitter about the creepy clowns showing up at schools.

Pinellas County schools had two similar incidents Friday where a clown was spotted outside schools. Pinellas County, however, isn’t considering this as a credible threat.

In Pasco County, authorities said the sightings are quite sinister. In one instance, investigators said someone dressed as a clown and friended young people on Facebook, then asked one kid to meet in the park after dark.

There have been other cases nationwide involving people dressed as clowns, some of them scarier than others. If you encounter one, especially near a school, you’re asked to contact authorities.

While some people find this clown craze funny, at the end of the day, unless you are headed to your job at the circus/fair/birthday party, do not dress up as a clown. Even if you think it is fun and you have zero intentions of hurting anyone, police have made it very clear they will arrest and charge people.

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A New York man is accused of traveling to New Port Richey to have sex with a 13-year-old girl.

On Tuesday night, at approximately 11 p.m., Pasco deputies were dispatched to the girl’s home in reference to an unwanted guest complaint.

The caller advised that his wife found a 21-year-old man in the bedroom closet of his 13-year-old daughter.

The man, 21, apparently told detectives he traveled from Staten Island, New York to New Port Richey by train to visit the teen.  

The detective allegedly discovered the man had numerous nude photos of the victim on his cell phone.

Detectives arrested the man for lewd and lascivious battery, traveling to meet a minor and possession of child pornography.

According to the arrest report, the man told detectives he met the girl three years ago online and started “dating” her a year ago. He apparently told detectives he was unaware that the girl was 13.  

The man was booked into the Land O’ Lakes Detention Center on $25,000 bond.

If you have been accused of traveling to meet a minor for sex, it is important to speak with a Pasco County Criminal Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible. Do not wait as these charges are very serious. You could face up to 15 years in prison and lifetime registration as a sex offender.

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A man died after he was struck by the stolen van he was pursuing Thursday in Hudson, Pasco County sheriff’s deputies said.

About 5 p.m. Thursday, the man and owner of a 1999 Ford van and his brother-in-law were in a car following the stolen vehicle from Hernando County into Pasco County. The van had been reported stolen in Spring Hill on Wednesday at 9:45 a.m.

The driver of the van, a 33-year-old Spring Hill woman, pulled into a parking lot at 16823 U.S. Highway 19 on Thursday, according to reports.

The man tracking down his stolen van exited the vehicle and approached the driver’s side of the van, when the woman attempted to flee in the van. She ended up running over the man, deputies said.

The man was taken to Bayonet Point Regional Medical Center, where he died of his injuries.

The woman was arrested at 1:46 a.m. on Friday and booked two hours later into the Land O’ Lakes Detention Center. She is facing charges of felony murder and grand theft auto.

According to Hernando County jail records, she has been arrested numerous times on drug, burglary and larceny charges. She also was arrested twice in Pasco County during 2012, according to jail records.

The investigation is ongoing.

The charges this woman faces are quite serious. For murder and grand theft auto charges, she could be facing a lengthy time behind bars along with other severe consequences.

Following an arrest for grave charges like these, it is crucial to find the support you need to build your case. A Pasco County Criminal Defense Lawyer at Whittel & Melton may be able to help prove your innocence and clear your name. Our goal is to protect your rights inside and out of the courtroom.

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A Pasco County Schools substitute teacher was arrested Tuesday for having sex with a 15-year-old girl.

According to an arrest report, the 20-year-old Spring Hill man, engaged in a consensual sexual relationship with the girl from July to December 2015.

The victim was apparently 14 years old at the time the alleged relationship began. According to detectives, she was not a student of the man’s and they did not meet at school.

Detectives arrested the man after they recorded a phone call between him and the girl on Feb. 1 that apparently detailed their sexual activity. The girl reportedly cooperated with detectives in setting up the recorded phone call.

The man was released from the Land O’ Lakes Detention Center after posting a $10,000 bond.

Just like any sex crime, a substitute teacher who is convicted of having sex with a student faces a lifetime of social stigma as a registered sex offender. Any person employed by a school in a position of authority can be criminally punished for engaging in sexual activity with a student. This includes:

  • Teachers
  • Substitute teachers
  • School administrators
  • Student teachers
  • Teachers’ aides
  • School counselors

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The new year is quickly approaching, and thousands of Floridians have made plans or are starting to think about how to say goodbye to 2015 and ring in 2016.

But before you solidify your New Year’s Eve plans, fire officials have some tips for residents and visitors when it comes to fireworks.

“Anything that is projectile or leaves the ground is illegal in the State of Florida. Basically your safest bet is with a sparkler,” said Natalie McQueen, a Firefighter and Paramedic for the Panama City Beach Fire Department.

Even though sparklers are allowed in the Sunshine State, residents and visitors still need to exercise caution when using them.

Younger children should never light or handle sparklers. Parents should maintain a close watch on kids at all times if sparklers are going to be used. Burns are very common to the hands and face since sparklers do have flickers that come off once they are lit.

If you are using sparklers, after you are done with them, fire officials say to place them in a big bucket full of water, and let them sit overnight.

While setting off your own fireworks might seem fun, our Florida Criminal Defense Lawyers at Whittel & Melton want to remind everyone that the best way to stay safe while ringing in the New Year is leaving the fireworks to the pros. If you are caught with fireworks in the State of Florida it could lead to misdemeanor charges.

Under Florida law, the use of or possession of illegal fireworks is a first-degree misdemeanor. If you are accused of breaking this law, please be aware that you will be arrested. If you are convicted of this crime, you can be sentenced to up to one year in jail, given up to one year on probation, and/or fined up to one thousand dollars.

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A candidate for Largo Commission is facing felony extortion charges after police claim he attempted to force an opponent to drop out of the race.

The 31-year-old who is running for Seat 3 on the commission, sent an anonymous email to one of his opponents through the candidate’s website on Aug. 29, according to the Largo Police Department.

The email allegedly stated that the sender had negative information about the politician and the information would be released if he did not drop out of the race, police said.

Investigators got the IP address of the email’s sender and learned that it allegedly belonged to the accused.

The man was arrested on Monday and was being held at the Pinellas County Jail on $10,000 bond.

Extortion is a crime where someone obtains something, usually goods or services, by using threats. There are many different types of threats that can be classified as extortion, including threatening to reveal secrets that could damage a person’s public reputation or to the reputation of their business.

Extortion is also federal crime. Those who are convicted of extortion could be sentenced to up to 20 years in federal prison. In addition to jail, there is also the very real possibility of large fines and civil action.

Extortion is not a criminal offense that should be taken lightly. If you are facing allegations of extortion, it is in your best interest to contact a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your rights are being protected.

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Thanksgiving is a time of year when families get together to celebrate memories and honor traditions. However, this is also the time of year when law enforcement agencies gear up to catch drunk drivers on our roadways.

Most law enforcement agencies, receive federal grants to increase their staffing levels during the holiday season, which typically begins with the four-day Thanksgiving weekend and continues to New Year’s Day. Arrests for DUI are highest during this time period.

The following are a few tips that may prove helpful to avoid a Thanksgiving DUI:

  1. Do not drink and drive. If you have been drinking, call a cab, a friend or use a ride share app like Uber or Lyft to get home safe. If you know you will be drinking, designate a sober driver to take you home.
  2. If you are pulled over, do not talk to law enforcement about where you were or what you were doing. Remember, you have the right to remain silent until you have your lawyer present.
  3. If you are involved in an accident, stop immediately and remain at the scene. Do not admit to anything and request to speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.
  4. Do not fall asleep inside your vehicle. You could get arrested if the officer observes that you have the keys in the ignition or if the engine is running.
  5. Drive cautiously. Police will be closely monitoring motorists for any mistakes they make. In particular, they will be on the lookout for motorists who may be driving too fast or too slow, or running red lights or failing to stop at stop signs.

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A janitor at a Pasco County high school is accused of sending naked photos of himself to a student.

The 24-year-old was arrested Thursday after deputies claim he sent five nude photos of himself to a 17-year-old student at Fivay High School.

Deputies believe that between July and September, the man sent the photos to the student using Facebook Messenger. The man was working at the school at the time, and deputies allege he knew the student was under the age of 18 at the time.

The man was arrested on charges of transmission of material harmful to minors by electronic device or equipment.

He was released from the Land O’ Lakes Detention Center after posting a $5,000 bond.

A sex crime case is a serious problem for those accused. Florida is known as one of the toughest states for sex crime defendants. A conviction can mean a lifelong stigma of being labeled a sex offender, which makes it difficult to find a job, find a place to live, carry on normal relationships, and even communicate with others as convicted sex offenders may be banned from owning a computer or cellphone. An aggressive defense is absolutely necessary in the face of a sex crime investigation or arrest.

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A substitute teacher from New Port Richey was arrested Friday after investigators allege he molested two children more than 50 times, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.

The 68-year-old man was charged with multiple counts of lewd and lascivious molestation and lewd and lascivious battery.

His alleged victims were between the ages of 8 and 9 and 11 and 15, with the last molestation occurring in 2012, according to reports.

The man has been fired by the School Board and is being held without bond at the Land O’ Lakes Detention Center.

Child molestation is a serious charge that carries not only grave legal consequences, but has severe social consequences as well. The sad truth is that these types of accusations can ruin an innocent person’s life. A conviction of almost any type of child molestation charge will result in being labeled as a sex offender for life, which can destroy relationships with family and friends.

False accusations of child molestation happen every single day throughout the country. Sadly, prosecutors and the public are often inclined to side with the accuser in these cases. If the accusation leads to a conviction, the consequences will undoubtedly last a lifetime. It is absolutely vital that anyone accused of molesting a child consult with an attorney experienced in defending this type of crime as soon as possible.

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