elgin_jones_web_13.jpgATM ATTACKS
Federal regulators are warning banks about cyber attacks on automatic teller machines (ATMs). Thieves stole more than $40 million using numbers from 12 debit cards. It is believed that they gained access and then altered the banks’ settings on accounts. This is a big deal and banks are losing mega-dollars. Authorities are urging financial institutions to review their security controls and all other aspects of their information technology system.

Palm Beach County


Sultane Valcius, 48, of West Palm Beach, is facing multiple felony charges related to $1.4 million she is accused of swindling from a 93-year-old man. Valcius worked as a medical aide and housekeeper for the man and exploited him into giving her money to buy a home and for schooling, police said. Over the past five years, authorities said, she deposited more than $650,000 into five bank accounts. During a police-monitored phone call between Valcius and the man, she admitted receiving the money and vowed to repay him, police said.


Drs. Cynthia Cadet and Joseph Castronuovo were sentenced to prison in connection with an alleged pill mill operation. Castronuovo, 73, who suffers myriad health problems, was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Cadet, 43, who asked to be placed on probation so she could raise her 11- and 8-year-old childrens, was sentenced to six year and six months. They were convicted of supplying prescription drugs to Wellington twins and alleged pill mill traffickers Chris and Jeff George.

Broward County


Rapper Maurice “Trick Daddy” Young, 39, was charged with drug and weapons possession, a felon. Broward Sheriff’s detectives raided his Miramar home and found drugs and a handgun. He is also charged with driving with a suspended license.


Eight people were indicted on fraud charges of allegedly stealing the personal information of AT&T customers. They are accused of using the information to obtain credit and debit cards to access the victims’ bank accounts. U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer said that Chouman Emily Syrilien, 25, of Lauderdale Lakes worked for a call center in Margate that handled AT&T accounts. He allegedly provided the information to Angel Arcos, 23, and Monique Smith, 31, both of Pompano Beach; Shantegra La’Shae Godfrey, 23, of Deerfield Beach; Arrington Basil Segu, 28, of Miami; and Carlos Antonio Alexander, 24, of Orlando. All have been indicted on 22 fraud-related counts and face up to 30 years in prison if convicted.


Terry Edden, a Pompano Beach civic activist, has filed to run for a Broward County commission seat. Eden is seeking to succeed Commissioner Kristin Jacobs, who is facing term limits, to represent District 2. Carmen Jones, another Pompano Beach activist, is also running for that seat.

Miami-Dade County


George Piro, 46, is the new FBI Special Agent in Charge of Florida’s nine Southeastern counties covering the territory between Fort Peirce and Key West and overseeing more than 850 employees. Piro is best known for his interrogation of Iraq president Saddam Hussein but his experience includes being a road patrol police officer, homicide detective and state attorney investigator.


U.S. Century Bank has filed a foreclosure lawsuit against the massive Christian Signals of Life church in North Miami. The property was once home to a Bellsouth telecommunications facility.


David Beckham wants to build a 25,000-seat soccer stadium at PortMiami, with tax payer’s help. Beckham and his investors would finance the stadium construction, along with up to $40 million in state subsidies over 20 years. They are taking their case to civic organizations after some county commissioners questioned whether a stadium in that area would create traffic jams. There are also concerns from at least one cruise ship operator.

Monroe County


A statewide crackdown on illegal gambling centers hit the Keys and snared the Lucky Duck Sweepstakes, an Internet cafe in Marathon, police said. Led by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the Monroe County State Attorney’s Office and the Monroe Sheriff’s Office, police raided Lucky Duck and carried away boxes and other items. The state has been cracking down on such gambling, to the delight of legal casinos and the Florida Lottery.


The Florida Keys Mosquito Control board rejected a proposal to use eminent domain proceedings to seize land that its headquarters sits on in Key West. Board chairman Steve Smith put forth the proposal which was rejected by his colleagues. It’s unclear why he thought such a controversial move was a sound idea, in the first place.


Jordan Smith is the owner of Key West Broadband, the only local Internet provider in the Florida Keys. His business is rapidly expanding and so are his profits. Local wireless providers often have a tough time competing against the big companies like Comcast. AT&T and Time Warner but Key West Broadband is thriving. The company has become known for its reliable service, super-fast data speeds and lower costs for plans. Hopefully, Smith will expand into Broward and Miami-Dade counties.