Oscar Luis Franco Padron, owner of several medical clinics, was given a 60-month sentence in federal prison for operating a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance fraud scheme. Padron was accused of recruiting patients from staged accidents for treatment at his clinics. As many as 15 other people, who staged accidents in the scheme, were also charged and are awaiting resolution of their cases. Padron also has been ordered to pay $4.35 million in restitution.
Dunisia Smith, 20, John Cunningham, 22 and Antonio Shine, 23, were arrested on burglary charges. Boca Raton police said the three men were spotted driving through the parking lot of a local gym and attempted to burglarize several vehicles. Authorities believe they might be connected to a string of vehicle burglaries in Palm Beach County in recent months. They are each charged with attempted burglary, obstructing an officer, giving a false name and possession of marijuana.
The juror who conducted a drinking experiment before voting to find Wellington polo mogul John Goodman guilty of DUI manslaughter has changed his account of what happened. Juror Dennis DeMartin, 68, of Delray Beach has written yet another letter to the judge about his actions but now says he isn’t sure if he told other jurors about the experiment. Goodman has appealed the conviction and his attorney Roy Black wants the verdict thrown out for juror misconduct. Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Jeffrey Colbath has denied four such defense motions. Goodman, 48, was sentenced earlier this month to 16 years in prison for driving drunk and killing Scott Wilson, 23, in February 2010. DeMartin wrote a self-published book about the case in which he says he made up his mind after his experiment.
THE PREACHER & THE CRA
One of the nation’s most vocal pastors, the Rev. O’Neal Dozier, is coming to the aid of residents of the predominantly black northwest section of Pompano Beach. Dozier is supporting residents who are accusing the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) of forcing its redevelopment plans on their neighborhood without their input. Janet Riley, an attorney with Legal Aid of Broward County, has been gathering information which could be used as evidence in a possible lawsuit against the city and its CRA’s land acquisitions.
ROMNEY AND THE SHERIFF
Sheriff Al Lamberti, a Republican, is campaigning for reelection in heavily Democratic Broward County. His opponent will be either Hollywood’s Assistant Police Chief Louis Granteed or former North Bay Village Police Chief Scott Israel. Regardless of who his opponent is, Lamberti may be drawn into the nasty presidential campaign. Will Lamberti embrace the GOP’s eventual nominee Mitt Romney and his attacks on President Barack Obama or keep his distance? Will he question the president’s citizenship or criticize his administration’s policies? The Democratic Party is planning a massive voter offensive in Broward and it will be interesting to watch as this campaign heats up.
Last year, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer and John V. Gilles, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Miami field office, created a public corruption task force in Broward County. There are those who doubt the task force is making progress but it is. The task force has already made a number of arrests, such as those of Fort Lauderdale Police Officer David McElligott, BSO Deputy Anthony Costanzo and some members of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department’s NW Raiders. Also, several investigations are underway. The message is finally being sent that corruption by public employees and officials in Broward County is no longer being tolerated. Good — and thank you, FBI.
Reggie McClover, 32, of Fort Lauderdale was shot and killed early Saturday morning, according to a press release from Sgt. Frank Sousa of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department. Sousa said officers responded to reports of shots being fired in the 2600 block of Northwest Second Street around 2:30 a.m. When they arrived, they found a black male lying on the ground with multiple gun shot wounds. He was identified as McClover and was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Police are asking anyone with information or who may have witnessed this homicide to call Broward County Crime Stoppers, anonymously, at 954-493-8477.
David Vyner, 36, who, police say, is nothing more than a con man, has been arrested on charges of practicing law without a license and impersonating a foreign diplomat, a doctor and a rabbi, among others. He is being held on fraud-related charges accusing him of taking $1,050 from a victim who thought he was a Russian diplomat. He is also facing federal identity theft charges.
Davie’s fire department is still the target of racial, gender and religious discrimination allegations and the end appears nowhere in sight. The federal Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice are investigating the city over the allegations. There are numerous lawsuits making their way through the courts. Fire Chief Joe Montopoli is not commenting and a city spokesperson is denying that the department is biased. It is time for Mayor Judy Paul and the other elected officials to demonstrate leadership, resolve these cases and implement change. It’s gone on too long and no one has been held accountable, despite overwhelming evidence.
The Miami Police Department is short 84 officers and is in a recruitment rush. The 1,070-officer department hired only 16 new cops over the past three years. More than 250 officers are expected to retire within the next five years and the officer shortage could become a crisis. Some are pointing the finger at former Police Chief Miguel Exposito, who was fired last year. A three-judge panel heard his case for reinstatement to his old job this week. No ruling has been rendered.
NBA STAR ARRESTED
New York Knicks player Earl “J.R.” Smith was arrested on an outstanding warrant for driving with an expired license. Miami Beach police pulled him over on South Beach and discovered the warrant. Police have not said why Smith was pulled over.
A Miami police officer shot and killed Ray Eugene after he was found in the nude, fighting with another man and biting flesh from the man’s face. Police ordered him to stop, but say he only growled at them and continued chewing. Police then shot and killed him. The victim is in the hospital in critical condition. The disgusting encounter occurred last Saturday on a MacArthur Causeway off ramp in downtown Miami.
Photo: Elgin Jones