Friday, July 14, 2006

Fwd: Attorney General's News Briefs

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: AGNews <>
Date: Jul 14, 2006 10:57 AM
Subject: Attorney General's News Briefs

This week's edition of the Attorney General's newsletter News Briefs is
now available for subscribers.

Please click the web address below to view the current issue.
July 14, 2006 -  Volume 4, Issue 28:

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The text version of the e-Newsletter is below.

Message from Attorney General Charlie Crist

This week I had the pleasure of joining Governor Jeb Bush and top law
enforcement officials in announcing that Florida's crime rate has
reached its lowest point in 35 years.

The overall rate of index crimes was down 3.7 percent in 2005 compared
to the previous year, the lowest rate since 1971. Index crimes include
murder, forcible sex offenses, robbery, aggravated assault and
specific other offenses.

Especially gratifying is the fact that both violent and non-violent
crimes declined last year from their 2004 levels. A wide range of
criminal activity had lower numbers, from murder (-6.9%) and rape
(-0.5%) to larceny (-2.1%) and car theft (-3.9%).

This long-term success is nothing short of extraordinary. Despite
population growth that has tested our ability to provide resources for
the fight against crime, Florida's crime statistics have dropped for
14 straight years.

To put that all in perspective, consider this fact: The last time
Florida's crime rate was this low, 43 percent of our citizens hadn't
even been born yet.

The steady progress in our efforts to keep Floridians and visitors
safe has not occurred by accident. It is the result of a strong
commitment to the most fundamental of government's duties - ensuring
the safety of the public.

The consistent success of our efforts can be traced back to 1995.
That's the year the Legislature passed Stop Turning Out Prisoners, or
S.T.O.P., which forces inmates to serve at least 85 percent of their
sentences. I was proud to sponsor S.T.O.P. as a member of the Florida
Senate, and we were pleased to have the active and invaluable support
of then-private citizen Jeb Bush.

Four years later, Governor Bush championed and then signed the
10-20-Life bill, which established tough mandatory sentences for
crimes committed with a gun. Since 1998, the number of crimes
committed with a gun has dropped by 12.5 percent.

The state has also provided additional resources for law enforcement
and prosecutors to do their jobs. I share the pride of the employees
of this office to join with both law enforcement and prosecutors
throughout our state to carry out the mission of public safety.

The results of this comprehensive strategy are undeniable. Since 1995,
Florida's crime rate has been cut more than 38 percent.

These numbers translate into more than 240,000 fewer serious crimes
per year. That means 240,000 fewer victims ... and 240,000 fewer
families suffering the impact of crime on a loved one.

It is important that we continue to come up with new approaches to
protect our innocent citizens. Our new Child Predator CyberCrime Unit,
for example, has already made an impact targeting vile crimes against
innocent children.

There is a great deal yet to be done, and too many law-abiding
Floridians are still being victimized by criminals. But by working
together, state and local authorities have made our state the safest
it has been in more than a generation.

Charlie Crist


CHIP MAKERS SUED - Attorney General Crist and other state attorneys
general sued seven foreign and domestic firms that manufacture
computer memory chips, as well as their U.S. subsidiaries, alleging
the firms conspired to fix the prices of dynamic random access memory
(DRAM) chips. Florida played a lead role in the investigation of the
case, which claims multi-million dollar damages to private citizens
and governmental agencies that purchased DRAM chips and equipment that
contained the chips over a four-year period.

CONTRACT SCAM JUDGMENT - Attorney General Crist announced that his
office obtained a $1.2 million judgment against a Palm Beach County
business and its owner for deceiving customers about their ability to
help secure government contracts. Government Contract Services, Inc.,
and its owner were ordered to immediately cease its fraudulent
business practices and pay $1.2 million in restitution and penalties.
Crist's office sued the company in May 2004 after receiving multiple
complaints from consumers that the company promised to obtain federal
government contract work for its customers but grossly exaggerated
its track record and expertise.

COP ARRESTED FOR CHILD PORN - A Miami-Dade County police detective was
arrested on multiple charges of possession of child pornography and
promoting the sexual performance of a child. Investigators discovered
the distribution and promotion of pornographic videos of children
during an undercover online investigation. The 38-year-old detective
placed pornographic videos on the internet that were discovered by a
Child Predator CyberCrime investigator, who was able to trace them
back to the man.

"DOCTOR-SHOPPING" PHYSICIAN SENTENCED - A Panama City physician doctor
Thomas G. Merrill was sentenced to life in prison following his
conviction on multiple charges of wire fraud, health care fraud and
distribution of controlled substances. Jurors previously convicted Dr.
Thomas G. Merrill of prescribing large amounts of controlled drugs to
"doctor-shopping" patients, five of whom died from overdoses of the

CHILD PORNOGRAPHY ARREST - Following an investigation by the Attorney
General's Child Predator CyberCrime Unit, a Putnam County man was
arrested on charges of promoting the sexual performance of a child and
possession of child pornography. Investigators with the CyberCrime
Unit discovered the man's distribution and promotion of pornographic
videos of children during an undercover online investigation. A
search warrant was executed at the man's Palatka residence and
computers containing images and videos of child pornography were

NEGLECT OF ELDERLY - Attorney General Crist announced that a St. Lucie
County woman was arrested for neglecting an elderly resident of an
adult family-care home. Law enforcement officers with Crist's Medicaid
Fraud Control Unit arrested the owner of Nature's Care Family, Inc.,
after an investigation was initiated by the death of a resident
formerly at the facility. The woman allegedly failed to provide
adequate care for an elderly resident who died just days after being
removed from the facility in deteriorating health.

CHILD PORN GUILTY PLEA - A Clay County man was sentenced to three
years in prison and then 10 years of electronically monitored sex
offender probation after he pled guilty to child pornography charges.
The man, now 21, will also have to register with the state as a sex
offender. He was arrested in January after investigators with Crist's
Child Predator CyberCrime Unit discovered he was using his home
computer to transmit numerous images of child pornography over the


Broward County Man Arrested for Possession of Child Porn Videos

Crist to File Multi-Million Dollar Price Fixing Case

Clay County Man Sentenced for Child Sex Abuse Offenses

Care Home Owner Arrested after Neglected Elderly Resident Dies

Palm Beach County Company Ordered to Pay $1.2 Million, Cease Business

Putman County Man Arrested for Distributing Child Porn

Panhandle Doctor Sentenced to Life in Prison for Drug Fraud Charges


FL State Reports Crime Rate Index At 35-Year Low

Statistics Shows Crime Is Down in Florida

Miami-Dade detective arrested for possession of child porn

Dade cop jailed in child-porn case

Detective arrested on child porn charges

Suit targets chip makers

Panhandle Doctor Sentenced

Government contract firm in Palm Beach County
     ordered to pay $1.2 million

PB County Company Ordered to Pay $1.2M, Cease Business

Port St. Lucie nursing home owner arrested after ex-patient dies

Care Home Owner Arrested After Neglected Elderly Resident Dies

Palatka Man Arrested On Child Porn, Sex Charge

Police Report: Palatka man arrested on porn charges

Fla. Man Arrested On Child Porn, Sex Charge

Attorney General Pleased With Doctor's Life Sentence

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