Palm Beach County
Roosevelt Mondesir, 52, is facing attempted murder and other charges after he allegedly set his former girlfriend on fire. Naomie Breton, 34, was set ablaze at a Boynton Beach gas station when she met Mondesir there to pick up their child. The incident was captured on surveillance video. Breton suffered second- and third-degree burns on her body, including her face. Two weeks earlier, Breton filed for a restraining order against Mondesir but a judge denied her request.
The brother-in-law of U.S. Rep. John Tierney has been ordered to turn over $7.7 million in profits for his role in an illegal offshore sports gambling ring. Daniel Eremian, 62, was an agent for Sports Offshore, an Antigua-based gambling website that operated in Florida, Massachusetts and South Carolina. U.S. District Court Judge Patti Saris issued the ruling after he was convicted in December of racketeering and operating an illegal gambling operation. Eremian recruited gamblers and collected money from losing betters. His sentencing is set for June 8. He faces up to 20 years behind bars. His brother, Robert, was also charged and remains a fugitive.
LOITERING AND PROWLING
Boca Raton Police Chief Dan Alexander is not backing down on the department’s policy of arresting people who are seen in neighborhoods in which they don’t live or have no reasons for being. In the past four months, his officers have arrested 18 people on “loitering and prowling” charges. Some people are concerned that it is a legal method to harass and racially profile citizens. Many police departments have similar policies. This vague law can be applied if a person is in an area where officers believe he or she should not be – and that is wrong. This law should be changed and the practice stopped.
Romero Mendoza, 26, of Boca Raton is accused of using a social networking website to entice what he thought was a 15-year-old boy to engage in sexual activity. It was actually an undercover officer. A meeting was arranged and Mendoza allegedly sent an explicit picture of himself to the agent. He faces possible life in prison if convicted.
Photo: Elgin Jones
Lauderhill police are seeking information on a suspect who walked into the crowded, popular UniSex Salon in the 3100 block of West Broward Boulevard and shot a customer in the back. Panic erupted, with the people inside scattering in all directions. The suspect then stole the victim’s pants and fled. He wore a red bandanna over his head to conceal his face. The victim was transported to the hospital and is recovering.
The duties of Susan Stanton, the former city manager of Largo and Lake Worth, who is now working for Fort Lauderdale, have changed again. Stanton is now working as a personnel assistant in the Human Resources Department. This is the third job assignment Stanton has had since coming to Fort Lauderdale in March.
JOHNSON ON THE MOVE
Floyd T. Johnson, director of Pompano Beach’s controversial Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA), has been hired as city manager of Port Arthur, Texas. Johnson has served as Broward County’s administrator and as city manager in Richmond, Calif., and Fort Lauderdale and CRA director in Riviera Beach.
Broward Sheriff’s Deputy Christian Benenati was arrested on soliciting prostitution charges and Deputy James Ottinger was arrested on DUI hit-and-run charges in a separate incident. Both will have their day in court. Prepare for more arrests of law enforcement officers, particularly in the Broward Sheriff’s Office. There is a lot of taking going on and it’s about to come to a head.
After pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and four counts of wire fraud, Michelle Austin-Wilks, 38, of Parkland, has been sentenced to five years and three months in prison for operating a mortgage fraud operation. She must also serve five years of probation and pay two victims of her scheme $6.27 million in restitution.
POLITICAL BODY BLOW
President Barack Obama announced that his administration would not deport hundreds of thousands of undocumented people who came to this country as children. Polls show his already substantial lead among Hispanics and other immigrant group has widened over presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who opposes the policy. Cristina Saralegui, a popular Miami-based Spanish language television and radio host, announced she would, for the first time, make a political endorsement. This week, Saralegui endorsed Obama. It was a body blow that left the Romney campaign in a daze and which may force him to pick a Hispanic as his running mate as a counter-move.
JUNGLE OF DEBT
Miami's Jungle Island zoological park needs $2 million to make a federal loan payment and does not have the money to do it. Owner Bern Levine may be able to get the funds from investors, but with stipulations. If he defaults, the city of Miami and Miami-Dade County could have to pony up more than $40 million. Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado is opposed to giving Jungle Island any taxpayer funds to meet its obligation.
TV HOST’S PLEA
Frank Cairo, 48, a Spanish-language television host, pleaded not guilty to burglary and theft charges. Cairo, whose real name is Ivan Valdes, is accused of taking patio furniture from his Doral neighbor’s home on April 29. The alleged theft was captured on surveillance video and Cairo was arrested.