The mayor of Miami Lakes has been acquitted of federal charges related to allegedly taking bribes. The mayor had been indicted in the wake of an FBI sting operation that had targeted public officials in Florida believed by the federal agency to have been corrupt. A federal jury in Miami announced the not guilty verdict on Aug. 14 after two days of deliberation. The mayor had been accused of seven separate counts related to the alleged corruption.
Readers in Florida may be interested to learn about federal statutes regarding a variety of computer-based activities that are considered illegal under federal law. According to sections of the U.S. Code, a number of unauthorized computer activities that involve knowingly accessing protected information or causing damage and loss is illegal and punishable upon conviction.
On July 24, two brothers in South Florida were sentenced to spend more than five years in prison for using government-issued food stamps fraudulently. The 42-year-old and 52-year-old brothers were also ordered to pay $4 million in restitution after pleading guilty to conspiracy, bankruptcy fraud and other charges.
A 37-year-old woman was sentenced to 12 years in prison for her role in a tax fraud scheme that netted her $135,000. An investigation on the scheme, named Operation Zig Zag, was launched after VyStar Credit Union contacted authorities about irregularities in refund checks that had been cashed at the institution. The investigation began in May of 2012 and was a collaboration between the Secret Service, the IRS and the State Attorney's Office.
A plea agreement in the case of a Tampa man accused of defrauding would-be investors holds that the man will pay restitution to his alleged victims; the man is the defendant in three pending federal cases in both criminal and civil court. The 34-year-old man and a conspirator allegedly offered investors the services of a day trading firm, attempting to attract investors with the promise of low fees. Federal authorities accuse the pair of defrauding customers out of $473,742, of which some $181,000 was withdrawn in cash.
On June 19, a South Florida man entered a guilty plea to charges stemming from a substantial Medicare fraud scheme. Authorities allege that the man acted as a patient recruiter in a scam that resulted in more than $200 million in fraudulent claims.
A civil lawsuit has been brought against the founder of a hedge fund advisory firm and against his company by the Securities and Exchange Commission. It is alleged that investors have been defrauded of more than $17 million. The suit claims that this occurred as the money in question was transferred to another company that is involved in consultation and investment. There was reportedly no disclosure to investors. An additional issue in the fraud case is that the information about the transaction was allegedly hidden from accounting documents.
On May 23, a Miami-Dade judge dismissed fraud and theft charges against a well-known Miami civic leader. The charges stemmed from an incident in 2007 when the man was accused of taking $150,000 in public funds to pay for a watermelon statue for his own personal use. The 72-year-old public servant had been facing grand theft and fraud charges.
Federal law enforcement officials have charged a Florida man with running a Ponzi scheme operation for about six years, allegedly misappropriating millions of dollars from investors.
Sports fans around the country admire the Miami Heat’s roster of NBA superstars like LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. After winning the NBA Championship in 2012 and 2013, the Miami Heat has become the team to beat in the NBA.