News 2-26-2020

An Okeechobee County juvenile will avoid real jail time but will instead be in a special program for the next few years in connection with an incident last year involving a firearm. Last week, an Okeechobee County Superior Court judge sentenced 17 year old Miguel Garcia to three years in the Youthful Offender program on charges of unlawfully firing several shots from a handgun on a soccer field across the street from Northern Elementary School. Garcia’s attorney, Jeff Fadley says the sentence imposed by the judge was not only fair but wise-considering Garcia’s family background is not ideal-and he’ll get what he needs. Fadley says what will be of concern is the time when Garcia is released and he’ll be on probation for two years after that. Meanwhile, Lead Prosecutor Ashley Albright says while he agreed with the sentence imposed by the judge, he doesn’t believe Garcia is remorseful for his actions despite the fact he said he was sorry during the sentencing. If Garcia violates probation, he will be back in court to face the charges all over again and he would face a maximum of 45 years in prison.

Several board members of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence were unaware that the former CEO of the nonprofit agency received $7 million in compensation over three years. Tiffany Carr, the coalition’s long-serving executive officer, cashed out millions of dollars in paid time off before she stepped down from her post in October, according to records obtained by the Florida House as part of an ongoing probe into her compensation at the nonprofit organization. State Rep. Randy Fine questioned how board members who approved Carr’s salary and compensation packages could be unaware of key financial arrangements. The board members said they were unaware Carr had cashed in on her paid time off until a House probe in October, revealed she had received approximately $4.2 million in addition to her salary and other benefits. The committee will meet again Thursday to continue questioning board members.

A 61-year-old man was hit and killed by a car while he was crossing the street in front of Lehigh Acres Regional Medical Center on Saturday night. Matthew Stewart, 29, was driving westbound on Lee Boulevard coming up to the Hazelwood Avenue intersection at 9:40 p.m. Daniel Legra-Matos was crossing Lee Boulevard in front of Stewart’s car when he was hit and killed, according to Florida Highway Patrol. Troopers are investigating the crash before any charges are determined. 

A Belle Glade man was involved in a vehicle accident in Highlands County on February 24 at about 4:30 in the morning. 31-year-old Leonardo Rubian of West Palm Beach was traveling east on SR 70 approaching the intersection of US 27. Francisco Lozaamaya, a 39-year-old Belle Glade, man was stopped in the left turn lane at the same intersection. Lozaamaya began to make a left turn onto SR 70 when Rubian’s vehicle collided with the front of his. Rubian was transported to Lee Memorial with serious injuries. The color of the traffic signal at the time of the crash remains under investigation. It is unknown if alcohol was a factor.

Between the political ads and the news coverage, the 2020 presidential election is impossible to ignore. But voters aren’t the only ones paying attention. According to recent BBB Scam Tracker reports, scammers are using phony political fundraising calls to trick Americans into “donating” to a favorite candidate.

How the Scam Works

You receive a robocall and answer the phone. It’s a recorded voice – perhaps even one that sounds just like one of the presidential candidates.  According to the recording, rivals have been raising a lot of money. In order to see your favorite candidate elected, you need to donate… immediately.   

If you offer to give, you’ll be transferred to a live person and asked for your credit card information. But your money won’t go to support the political cause. Instead, the phony caller will make off with your money and/or personal information that can be used for identity theft. As the 2020 election campaign heats up, be on the lookout for more versions of this con.

How to Avoid Robocall Scams

  • Screen your calls. 
  • Don’t respond to unsolicited robocalls. 
  • Register with the Do Not Call Registry. This step won’t prevent scammers from calling you, but it will reduce the number of legitimate marketing calls you receive, which will make it easier to identify the fraudulent ones. If you live in the United States, call 888-382-1222 or register online at Donotcall.gov. If you live in Canada, visit the National Do Not Call List.