July 22, 2014

5 Reasons Why Cyber Crime Threatens Global Security

cyber fraud.bmpTechnology evolves at a rate that has law enforcement and justice officials continually striving to keep pace with emerging tech-based crimes. And as the flow and availability of personal information continue to accelerate, the value of information steadily rises, making it a modern day target for opportunistic criminals.

Cyber-crime, for example, takes several forms, including data theft, identity theft and other breaches. Misrepresentation is a common feature of cyber-crimes, because the vast nature of the World Wide Web conceals the identity of those who move within it. And will physical limitations once helped thwart criminal enterprise, today's high-tech cyber-criminals operate without such constraints. As a result, cyber-crime is a global concern, which cannot be adequately addressed by any one nation.

It Can Happen Anywhere

Cyber-crime knows no borders, so no user or region is safe from its ill-effects. From individual efforts to steal identity information and sensitive personal data, to large-scale efforts disrupting corporate and government databases, cyber-crime impacts global security. Hackers have shown their ability to infiltrate nearly every aspect of society, including high-value systems in science and industry. Significant commercial disruption took place recently during well publicized breaches at a number of big-name retailers, when hundreds of thousands of personal profiles were accessed and sensitive financial information disclosed. Widespread cyber-crimes carried out against diverse victims illustrate the Omni-present risks of connectivity and electronic information-sharing.

Cyber-Criminals are Growing Bolder

As security computer specialists fortify defenses against cyber-crime, hackers and other criminals find new ways to circumvent such measures. Mobile technology, for example, is exploding as the population takes its needs on the road with smartphones and tablets. So as consumer habits shift in the direction, they are followed closely by the efforts of cyber-criminals, who see the mobile landscape as a fertile new territory to prey on users. Mobile transactions for purchases and with banks are prime targets for data theft and other misdeeds.

Financial Markets are Global

The very advantages of electronic communication also stand as their primary weaknesses. As interactions are shared online and large volumes of supporting data are housed electronically, financial relationships are more and more international in nature, connecting global financial markets in ways that leave them vulnerable. One need only look at the recent meltdown of the United States real estate market and its subsequent ripples across the globe to confirm how one major disruption can interrupt the economies of multiple regions.

Lack of Global Enforcement Leaves the Door Open

Due to the nature of the Internet, policing it and enforcing penalties against cyber-criminals is more difficult than maintaining security within defined territories. Until consensus is reached among the world's power players and universal security agreements are made, Internet security remains piecemeal and easier to exploit than a unified effort would be.

Cyber-War is Real

A new chapter opened in cyberspace recently, when malicious code was used to interrupt Iran's nuclear capabilities. The Stuxnet worm targeted Microsoft Windows networks and Siemans software to execute automatic commands that impacted Iran's nuclear centrifuges, disabling as much as one fifth of the nation's enrichment capacity. Such large scale intrusion, with a significant physical outcome, underscores the emerging role computer network infiltration plays in international cyber-warfare. With the potential to disrupt infrastructure, financial databases and even military networks, the potential for destruction has never been higher for cyber-criminals.

Cyber-crime targets individuals, organizations and even governments, reaching into every aspect of modern society. To effectively reduce the threat, international consensus must be reached, to standardize enforcement and accountability across the world. Until then, cyber-criminals are empowered to breach prevailing measures, placing global security at risk.

Author:
Daphne Holmes contributed this guest post. She is a writer from http://www.arrestrecords.com and you can reach her at daphneholmes9@gmail.com.

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July 16, 2014

Facts about violent crimes in America

931789-Crimes-of-Violence-callout-08-20-10.pngIn 2010, the United States had to spend approximately $80 billion on the system of its prisons and jails which means the nation spent around $260 for each of its citizens. As per the statistics, 2.2 million Americans were in prison or jail in 2012, which is a bigger percentage of population behind bars than in almost any other country. This is also approximately five times the number versus other industrialized nations. In such a situation it is obvious that such a huge amount of money was spent for punishment.

In the United States, there is a theory that crime rose in the 1960s and 1970s mainly due to decline in manufacturing employment, whereas, in 1980s and 1990s, a major reason of crimes was crack cocaine. But with so many Americans in prison, one needs to know that it is also the US policies regarding crime that drove up imprisonment rates.

Harsh sentencing has been a way to remove criminals form society. Since 1975 to 2002, mandatory sentencing laws with minimum sentences, have been adopted by all 50 states. Harsher gun laws including Florida's 10/20/Life were passed. For punishing repeat offenders, many states adopted "three strikes" laws. In such a scenario, judges are left with no ways to offer shorter sentences. The prison population surged and by 2012, the number of Americans behind bars had tripled to 0.7 percent.

With this increase, the United States saw a dramatic reduction in violent crime from the 1960s until 2010. However, the released crime figures by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics for 2012 shows that the violent crime rates in the United Sates is on the rise for the second consecutive year. From 19 in 2010, victimizations per thousand rose to 23 in 2011 and 26 in 2012. As per the latest figures, the fall in serious crime in the U.S started in the mid-1990s which continued downward till 2010. Between 1996 and 2001, there was a drop in the rate of violent crimes in US; from 65 victimizations per 1,000 it came down to 33.

When speaking about violent crimes in US, as per FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program, the four offenses encompassed by violent crime are murder, robbery, forcible rape and aggravated assault.

In the year 2012, the estimated number of violent crimes reported to law enforcement was 1,214,462 and this includes 14,827 murders; 354,520 robberies; 84,376 forcible rapes and 760,739 aggravated assaults. According to the statistics, of all reported violent crimes, the South accounted for around 40.9%. Of all reported violent crimes, aggravated assaults accounted for 62.6%. Of all reported murders, in 69.3% cases firearms were used. Of all robberies, 43.5% occurred on highways or streets.

When accused of any kind of crime, you have two important steps. The first and thing to do would be seeking a bail to avoid prolonged jailtime. While procuring a bail bond can be quite challenging, the bail bond agents can be of real help. Today, in the age of high-end technology, getting the right bail bond is easier, quicker and simpler when done online through an online bail bond agency. When it is about getting bail bonds in paterson nj, an online bail bond agency can be a wise option to get it done in the most hassle-free way.

Coming back to the statistics regarding violent crimes, it is revealed that when comparing the figures for the first six months of 2013 with the first six months of 2012, there was a decline in violent crimes as well as in property crimes such as theft. While comparing the first six months data of 2012 with that of 2013, all the offenses in the category of violent crime shows a decline. In all categories of violent crimes like murder, non-negligent manslaughter, aggravated assault, robbery and forcible rape - murder rate declined by 6.9%, aggravated assaults declined by 6.6%, robbery offenses declined by 1.8% and forcible rapes declined by 10.6%. The violent crime rates in the first six months of 2013 as compared to the same period in 2012 shows the maximum decrease of 9.2% which is noted in cities with less than 10,000 population.

While nonmetropolitan counties showed a decline in violent crime by 10.5%, in the metropolitan counties it was 3.6% only. In the four regions of the nation, there was a decrease in violent crime; while the largest was 7.4% in the Midwest, it was 5.9% in the South, 4.3% in the Northeast and 3.7% in the West.

Continue reading "Facts about violent crimes in America" »

July 8, 2014

Stopping for a garage sale, man picks up 9th DUI!

Pinellas dui atorney.jpg From a CBS affiliate, lucky number nine was anything but for Dale Gufoil...

A simple stop at a nearby yard sale turned out to be his undoing. 51-year-old Gufoil was arrested on a multitude of charges including his ninth DUI!

Last Sunday, police responded to a yard sale after reports of a broken down truck stalled in a driveway. When they arrived, they found Gufoil attempting to leave the sale but unable to do so because of mechanical issues.

Police began the DUI investigation when they saw the suspect behind the wheel of the truck displaying multiple signs of impairment.

After the investigation, Gufoil was arrested where it was discovered that he had eight prior DUI convictions.

His troubles did not end there. Besides the driving under the influence charge, he was also arrested for Driving While Suspended or Revoked, Possession of a Controlled Substance without a Prescription (Oxycodone), and Failure to Have Insurance in Possession among other charges.

dui 3.png LEGAL ANALYSIS

In Florida, a fourth DUI overall or a third-with-in 10 years would qualify as a felony DUI, a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. If he was found guilty of the charge, it would be an almost guarantee of a lengthy prison sentence. Add up to another five years for the drug charge and five years for the felony DWLSR charge and a Florida defendant could be facing up to 15 years plus in prison!

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June 26, 2014

Hope Solo arrested again...

Pinellas battery defense lawyer.bmpLast time we wrote about soccer star Hope Solo, it was as a victim of domestic violence. Now it is her turn to be a criminal suspect. From CBS news online,

Olympic soccer star Hope Solo was arrested for assault and domestic violence this week against her 17-year-old nephew and and her sister according to police.

The charges resulted from a 911 caller who said a woman was "hitting people," Washington police said. The caller also said Solo wouldn't stop or leave the house where the alleged assault took place.

When police arrived, they found Solo intoxicated and emotional. Further investigation found injuries on the boy and her sister. Solo was determined to be at fault.

She was booked into jail early Saturday morning where she remained over the weekend until first appearance court on Monday.

The ex-Olympic soccer legend is now the goalkeeper for the Seattle Reign in the National Women's Soccer League.

In 2012 Hope was involved in a criminal battery case with he NFL tight end husband. She declined to prosecute, married him immediately and charges against him were later dropped.

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June 20, 2014

St. Petersburg man arrested for cooking meth on the beach...

St. Petersburg drug defense lawyer.bmp From your local news station wtsp, a local man was arrested for his improvised BBQ at the beach...

Instead of a cookout on father's day that included hamburgers and hotdogs, one local man decided to add a bit more punch to his grill. PCSO deputies arrested 24-year-old Charles Tapp after finding him cooking methamphetamine at a local beach.

Deputies first noticed a dark truck along the mangrove area of Gandy beach last Saturday night. Making a citizen's contact with the defendant, police found several drug needles in his truck along with items associated with cooking meth.

Narcotics detectives were called in, and after further investigation, the suspect was arrested for possession of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of the chemicals pseudoephedrine and hydrochloric gas.

Per the Sheriff's office, post-miranda, Tapp admitted to cooking up meth at the beach.

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A look at Mr. Tapp's prior record shows nothing in Pinellas County. Depending on his prior record elsewhere, Tapp may qualify for drug court if addiction is an issue. If sucessfully completed, drug court Otherwise the possession of meth charge and possession of unlawful chemicals are each third-degree felonies punishable by up to five years in prison per count!

Additionally, the needles would be punishable by up to one year county jail for every possession of paraphernalia count.

Continue reading "St. Petersburg man arrested for cooking meth on the beach..." »

June 11, 2014

Dumb criminals...St. Petersburg edition

798514-burglary.jpg From the Tampa Bay Times, a recent round up of alleged crooks who did not think through their criminal plans...

Over the past month, a higher number than usual "dumb criminal" arrests have occurred in Saint Petersburg.

It started in May. 58-year-old Michael Reese got drunk and decided to call 911. Telling the police that he needed to resolve some warrants and wanting to go to jail, police arrived at his home in St. Petersburg. Police ran his name through a warrant check and found that he was clean. Not wanting to disappoint the man, police arrested him for misuse of 911.

On the same day in May, Octavis Owens was arrested after giving a false report to a police officer. Mr. Owens called police and told them he was robbed. Police used a total of 11 officers to track down the suspects using Owens' GPS tracker on his phone. Out of the blue, the defendant admitted that he made up the story about being robbed saying that he didn't think the police would help him otherwise. This came as no consolation to two men arrested at gunpoint by the police based on Owens' lies...

Suspect's ID left behind in robbery

The crooks get dumber...An 18-year-old suspect broke into a house in St. Pete, stealing money and valuables he later sold to buy the drug spice. One problem...he left his wallet and ID back in the house! Brandon Parker was arrested for robbery a few days after the break in based on the incriminating evidence...

Finally saving the best for last...

Lee Ragin, 27, was arrested for his role in a battery against a cab driver last month. Mr. Ragin is alleged to have called a cab in south St. Pete. After it arrived, the cab driver picked up Ragin who robbed and stabbed the cabbie with a knife (aggravated battery with a deadly weapon). Police investigated and found that Lee left his cell phone in the cab. Even nicer, Mr. Ragin called the cab company to retrieve the phone! Police eventually convinced the suspect to meet them with the promise of getting his phone back. Instead he received a pair of handcuffs and a criminal charge.

Continue reading "Dumb criminals...St. Petersburg edition" »

June 5, 2014

Man facing his 12th DUI charge

dui 3.png A local interest story from an Alabama newspaper where a judge had no choice but to release a man arrested for his 12th DUI! Would a Florida judge have to make the same ruling?

An Alabama man, after being arrested for DUI posted a $1,000 bond and walked out of jail. Only for the judge to realize that he had 11 prior DUI charges!

45-year-old Darius Watkins was arrested on April 22 for DUI and driving while license suspended. He posted the $1000 dollar bond the same day and walked free.

At a later court hearing, Mr. Watkins record was announced for the first time. He had 11 prior driving under the influence convictions and 14 prior DWLSR counts! He was also on probation for a DUI at the time he was arrested.

A local judge ruled that he was considered a danger to the community and reset his bond for $15,000. The defendant was placed in custody.

The day after he was put back in jail, Darrius' DUI lawyer petitioned the court and claimed he was being held illegally as he had already paid the set bond. Per Alabama law, a bond cannot be modified after the defendant has paid it unless he/she violates the terms set within the original bond.

Another judge granted the petition and with no objection from the state attorney's office, he was free again...at least for a little while.

798531-violation-of-probation.jpgLEGAL ANALYSIS

In Florida, this would be very unlikely to happen. The article mentions that the defendant was on probation for DUI at the time of his arrest. Once that became know, Watkins would have a violation of probation count and be innediately sent to jail with "no bond" allowed.

In addition, in Florida a DUI becomes a felony if you have three in 10 years or four/more. With those amounts of prior convictions, the defendant would have been dealing with a much higher bond and more restrictions.

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May 30, 2014

South Florida Judges accused of DUI

Pinellas DUI defense lawyer.bmpIf bad news comes in threes, then one more Florida judge needs to be on the lookout. From the Miami NBC affiliate, two south Florida judges were arrested for DUI just a few months apart...

In Broward County, Judge Lynn Rosenthal became the second County judge to be arrested for DUI after she crashed into a parked police car in the Fort Lauderdale courthouse parking lot! After an investigation, she was arrested on the spot.

Per the police report, the judge's SUV hit the patrol car and then continued toward the judicial parking lot, where it also hit the security gate. The SUV then backed up and hit the gate a few more times before the police intervened.

When Judge Rosenthal got out of her vehicle the police stated that she had no odor of alcohol but was "unsteady on her feet, her speech was slurred and she had difficulty obtaining the required (driving) documents."

The Judge told the police that she hadn't drunk alcohol in a long time but then her story got more bizarre.

Whipping out her cell phone, she claimed that a truck had earlier tried to run her off the road on the way to work and she had the video to prove it. Police saw the footage and it showed the Judge drifting between lanes and hitting the barrier wall. Nowhere on the cell video was there a truck or anything that would affect her driving.

Police began field sobriety tests and the judge admitted to taking an ambien the night before. Per the police report, the judge "failed to maintain balance during instructions, missed all heel-to-toe steps, stopped multiple times to request instructions to continue the exercise. The judge also had problems standing on one leg, putting her other leg down on multiple occasions".

While she blew a .000, she then refused to take a urine test, which would show what drugs were in her system.

She was arrested for DUI and DUI with property damage.

dui 3.pngThis was the second Broward County judge to be arrested in the past few months. Fellow Broward Judge Gisele Pollack was just suspended for her recent arrest for DUI in Boca Raton. She was charged with multiple traffic offenses as well as a DUI.

Judge Pollack was arrested and refused a blood draw. Officers noted a strong alcohol odor and that in her car were multiple empty alcohol bottles and empty red cups. When arrested, the judge was very vocal, sceaming that she didn't want to go to jail.

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May 22, 2014

Bubba the Love Sponge Trial and the DUI Incident

dui 3.pngA local Tampa station has reported that the Florida Bar has released their report and is recommending severe discipline for some Tampa lawyers involved in the Bubba the Love Sponge defamation trial from last year. The news story can be watched here. The full Florida Bar report is available here.

After over a year of investigation, The Florida Bar finally released the report in the now famous DUI set up case involving a civil suit between local radio personalities "Bubba the Love Sponge" and "M.J."

In the middle of the Tampa defamation trial, Todd "M.J." Schnitt's lawyer was arrested for driving under the influence. An investigation by a special prosecutor determined that he was set up by opposing counsel!

The Florida Bar determined that a legal assistant who worked for the law firm spotted M.J.s' lawyer at Malios and started talking with him. She lied about where she worked and continued to buy him drinks-while at the same time texting her boss, Robert Adams. Fellow lawyer Adam Filthaut called his friend-Tampa Bay Police Department Sgt. Ray Fernandez. Records show that shortly thereafter, the two men began texting and calling each other.

Sgt. Fernandez and other officers staked out the parking lot at Malios until they saw Campbell and M.J.'s attorney leave the restaurant. Ms. Personious asked the attorney to move her car and he did-only to be immediately surrounded by police and arrested for a DUI!

That is when it gets more unusual. After claims that he was set up, M.J.'s attorney got the attention of the Florida Bar who proceeded to investigate. They found that after the arrest, dozens of text messages that night between Personius, Filthaut, co-counsel Stephen Diaco, and Sgt. Fernandez were either erased or destroyed.

As a result of the investigation from the grievance committee of the Florida Bar, the Bar says Stephen Diaco and Adam Filthaut engaged in dishonest conduct, made false statements and unlawfully concealed and destroyed documents and evidence (tampering with evidence).

The Bar will now file a formal complaint and recommend discipline againt the lawyers involved. The punishment can range from a warning, a suspension to even disbarment!

Tampa Sgt. Fernandez was fired and is still being investigated by the FBI and federal prosecutors for possible federal crimes.

Based on the facts of the case and how the evidence was obtained, the Hillsborough State Attorney's office has declined to press DUI charges against M.J.'s lawyer.


Continue reading "Bubba the Love Sponge Trial and the DUI Incident" »

May 15, 2014

Online's Biggest Drug Dealer Arrested in Florida

Pinellas drug crimes attorney.bmp A brief blurb from CBS news about a modern day "Scarface" who had a drug empire online and how it unraveled...

Cornelis Jan "SuperTrips" Slomp, a 23-year-old Dutchman, almost had it all. Great wealth, easy job and travels around the world. Then came his arrest in Miami, Florida. Young and tattooed, Slomp had rented a Lamborghini and was ready to explore South Beach's party scene when he was arrested by the feds at Miami International Airport last year.

Now the one-time world's biggest online drug dealer just pled guilty to Federal drug charges in Chicago- a plea that may see him serve up to 15 years in prison. In making his "guilty" plea, Cornelis admitted that he was the main drug trafficker on the underground website "Silkroad". Speaking perfect english, the defendant pled "guilty" and agreed to cooperate with the prosecutors as part of his plea. It was a long fall for the college educated former software engineer.

With a business sense older then his 23 years, the defendant earned more than three million dollars in bitcoins by selling a variety of drugs such as cocaine, LSD and MDMA.

An assistant U.S. Attorney on Thursday called Slomp's conviction the largest yet in the feds battle against Silk Road traders.

"Mr. Slomp was the world's largest drug dealer on Silk Road," he told the presiding U.S. District Judge.

Using the online moniker "SuperTrips" Cornelis admitted to shipping 4 kilos of cocaine, 566,000 ecstasy pills and over 100 kilos of MDMA among other drugs through the mail. Using a computer and his smartphone, he would take orders online, receive payments in "bitcoins" and then mail back the drugs to throngs of customers throughout the world.

Much like the character Walt from "Breaking Bad", the Dutchman became known for a distinguished mark on his ecstasy pills...a green question mark. On Silk Road, where anonymous traders sold illegal drugs and other illicit products, he quickly became the main dealer. At the time of his arrest, there were rumors that he was selling his U.S. drug business to a fellow "Silk Roader" man online.
798516-drug-offenses.jpgAs per his agreement with the feds, the defendant has already started to cooperate. He has surrendered over $3 million in bitcoins as well as promised to cooperate in the prosecution of fellow drug dealers.

As of October, 2013 Silk Road has been shut down followed the arrest in San Francisco of its alleged founder Ross William Ulbricht -- who allegedly went by "Dread Pirate Roberts". Roberts is accused in a New York federal court case of drug trafficking, soliciting murder, facilitating computer hacking and money laundering among other charges.


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May 7, 2014

10 suspects nabbed in drug bust in St. Petersburg

St. Pete drug defense lawyer.bmp From the BayNews 9 website, 10 men were arrested for operating a synthetic marijuana ring...

An almost year-long investigation involving nine states culminated with the arrests of 10 people in what police called "Operation Spice King". The suspects were arrested in Pinellas County.

Police claimed that the suspects were manufacturing the synthetic marijuana in multiple locations throughout Pinellas County. The men were also accused of selling the product in various convenience stores in St. Petersburg.

The investigation began in June 2013 when police received a tip that one of the men was distributing synthetic marijuana around Tampa Bay and the United States.

An undercover operation began and drugs were bought. The purchased synthetic marijuana contained a substance that was banned in Florida. Other packages were soon seized and they too contained the banned substance.

Eventually detectives found all the remaining suspects, all of whom they said were working under two men. Those suspects were involved in the manufacture and distribution of the synthetic drugs in two public storage facilities and two private residences, per the police report. 798516-drug-offenses.jpg

Between 2011 and 2014 police state the suspects shipped almost 1000 units of the synthetic marijuana throughout the country.

The following suspects were arrested in Pinellas County:

Pyarali Shamsuddin Heerani, 48, of Tampa
Charged with conspiracy to distribute synthetic cannabinoids

Shamir Sultanali Nathani, 32, of Holiday
Charged with two counts of conspiracy to distribute synthetic cannabinoids and violation of RICO

Dadhichi Naik, 37, of Largo
Charged with conspiracy to commit racketeering

Hasnain Brohi, 26, of Houston
Charged with conspiracy to distribute synthetic cannabinoids

Farkunda Akhtar, 21, of Houston
Charged with of possession of synthetic cannabinoids with intent to sell

Hurara Hassan, 33, of Houston
Charged with possession of controlled substance with intent to sell/manufacture/distribute

Akber Ghazanfer, 33, of Houston
Charged with possession of marijuana and possession of controlled substance with intent to sell

Sheraz Khowaja, 26, of Houston
Charged with possession of controlled substance with intent to sell

Trudy Nathani, 46, of Holiday
Charged with own/operating a residence for manufacturing narcotics

Joanel Volcin, 35, of St. Petersburg
Charged with possession of controlled substance

Pyarali Heerani bonded out of Pinellas County Jail but then picked up new RICO charges which means he is considered a fugitive at this time.

The Office of Statewide Prosecution, the DEA and the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office all contributed in this joint investigation.


Continue reading "10 suspects nabbed in drug bust in St. Petersburg" »

April 28, 2014

Two St. Pete residents sentenced for internet fighting crimes

St. Petersburg battery defense lawyer.bmp From an article on the BayNews9 website, two locals who were involved in the "She Fights" online beating controversy, were sentenced to prison for their part.

In the Pinellas County criminal courthouse, two local residents were sentenced to prison for their role in producing homeless fights for the former website shefights.net.

27-year-old Zuzu Vargo and 61-year-old Jeff Williams were previously found guilty by a jury for aggravated abuse of a disabled person. Both defendants were involved in the making of a series of videos that portrayed mentally disabled men being beaten up by women. Often, the men were homeless and were paid a few dollars to have the crime of battery performed on them.

Camera operator Jeff Williams was deemed more responsible for the videos then Ms. Vargo. Williams was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Vargo, who was seen on film punching the victims, was sentenced to three years prison. Her criminal defense lawyer was hoping to avoid prison by showing that she had a need for mental health treatment instead of prison. A doctor testified on her behalf saying she had substance abuse issues as well as suffering from PTSD.

Both defendants spoke to the judge and offered an apology of sort. "We have been portrayed as sort of as going and grabbing people and beating them up and that's not what this is about. It's a portrayal of fantasy," Mr. Williams said. It was later revealed that the defendant paid the victim as part of a settlement agreement from a civil court lawsuit.

Ms. Vargo added "I don't ever want to cause anyone any pain ever again and I want to make amends any and every way possible. I hope that you can forgive me".

Both defendants are still awaiting trial for additional counts of aggravated assault from another video.

Continue reading "Two St. Pete residents sentenced for internet fighting crimes" »

April 24, 2014

St. Petersburg women arrested in the latest "Road Rage" incident

St. Petersburg violent crimes defense.bmp As reported in the Tampa Bay Times two women were arrested after physically beating another woman in a "Road Rage" incident...

Two women were arrested in St. Petersburg after allegedly crashing into another woman, ripping her out of her car and brutally beating her.

It started on 34th Street S in St. Petersburg in the early evening last Tuesday. 26-year old Amber Beckwith and 22-year-old Ariel Young were driving in a car when they almost crashed into a fellow driver.

The driver/victim Rose Lucarell, 61, honked at them to avoid a collision. The two suspects did not react well to that. They proceeded to pull up alongside the elderly woman while throwing objects at her car, flipping her off and cursing at her.

Finally Beckwith, who was driving the car, smashed into the front of the victim's vehicle. Rose Lucarell was forced to stop in the street and Amber Beckwith proceeded to ram her car multiple times.

The two suspects then got out of their car, opened the victim's door and proceeded to hit her in the head. She eventually was pulled out of the car and severely beaten and thrown to the ground.
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Unfortunately for the suspects, there were multiple witnesses. Some of them helped the victim to the hospital, where she was treated and released. Others called the police on the two "road rage" women.

Both suspects were arrested and taken to the Pinellas County jail where they were held with bond. Ariel Young is facing a charge of burglary with battery. Amber Beckwith is facing charges of burglary with battery and aggravated assault with a motor vehicle.

While the aggravated assault with a motor vehicle is a third-degree felony, the two suspects are in a load of trouble as the burglary with battery charge score mandatory prison and is punishable by life (PBL)!

Continue reading "St. Petersburg women arrested in the latest "Road Rage" incident" »

April 17, 2014

Sweet irony: Florida man named "cocaine" arrested on drug charge

Florida drug defense lawyer.jpg Talk about bad karma...Florida native Edward Cocaine was arrested earlier this week on felony drug possession.

Per the Pembroke Pines Police Department report, Mr. Cocaine was stopped for a traffic violation as he had an obscured tag.

The Florida police officer went to speak with the suspect when Cocaine requested a talk outside of the car. This proved to be a bad mistake for him as the officer noticed a Xanax pill (NOT cocaine as one might have guessed) in plain sight, tucked in the vehicle's door pocket.

Under questioning from the police, the defendant further hurt his case by both admitting to not having a prescription as well as admitting to another alprazolam pill, saying he bought them off a man for $5.00. 798516-drug-offenses.jpg

With that, Mr. Cocaine, whose prior criminal record is unknown, was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, a third-degree felony. This is punishable by up to five years in prison though Edward most likely will have other options available. These options may consist of drug court, probation, pre-trial intervention ("PTI") or a combination of these.

When the ironically named defendant appeared in front of the judge at first appearance, he laughed and released him on his own recognizance ("ROR'ed). This means that he did not have to post bail to be released from jail.

Continue reading "Sweet irony: Florida man named "cocaine" arrested on drug charge" »

April 9, 2014

St. Petersburg teacher arrested after drunken rampage

Clearwater DUI defense.bmp From the BayNews9 website, a local teacher is facing felony charges after going on an alcohol binge...

30-year-old Keesha Graham will not want to bring this up at her next show-and-tell. The St. Petersburg second-grade teacher was arrested by police after what witnesses call "an alcohol-fueled rampage".

Clearwater police arrested Ms. Graham for burglary and disorderly intoxication after Ms. Graham was walking in and out of traffic and trying to enter a locked vehicle (a potential burglary of a conveyance charge). Police told her to leave the location but she had other ideas...

The intoxicated teacher later walked into a home on Gulfview Boulevard uninvited and police were called after the homeowner asked her to leave.

The suspect refused to leave and sat down on the homeowner's couch. With that police finally had enough and arrested the defendant.

Ms. Graham is (was?) a teacher at John Sexton Elementary School and parental outcry was quick. One of the parents interviewed by Bay News 9 was shocked that the events occurred and was grateful that this did not happen at the school.

"Your children are supposed to be everything to you and you're sending them to the most safest place that you think during the day and then you find out stuff like this," the shocked parent said. "It just makes you wonder."

As of this writing Ms. Graham has been released on $5,100 bond and charges are pending.

FLORIDA LEGAL ANALYSIS798514-burglary.jpg

The disorderly intoxication is a misdemeanor but the burglary of a dwelling, Florida Statute 810.02, is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. What makes it worse for Ms. Graham is that because the house was occupied, the charge is now a "PBL" or punishable by life!

It is obviously too early to know what may happen with these charges. Based on just the report, it sounds like Ms. Graham was not attempting to commit a crime when she went into the stranger's home. If that is correct, the state may be better off filing a trespass charge instead.

This is one of those cases where it is vital to have a criminal defense attorney on this case before charges are filed. A burglary defense attorney would be able to talk with the state before charges are filed and perhaps convince them to lessen these serious cases.

No matter what becomes of this case, the defendant has already suffered embarrassment and possibly the loss of her employment. The last thing she needs is a prison sentence for what appears to be a bad mistake.


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