GOVERNOR SCOTT’S $1 BILLION TAX CUT PACKAGE WILL GROW SMALL BUSINESSES & DIVERSIFY THE ECONOMY
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that he is proposing $1 billion in tax cuts to grow the manufacturing industry and Florida’s small businesses to further diversify the economy and guard Florida against another economic downturn.
Governor Scott’s $1 billion tax cut package includes:
- Permanently Eliminating Income Tax on Manufacturing and Retail Businesses – The elimination of this tax will reduce the cost for businesses in Florida by about $770 million annually, attract more businesses to the state, and diversify Florida’s economy by helping more businesses succeed.
- Permanently Eliminating the Tax on Manufacturing Machinery and Equipment – This tax cut is estimated to reduce the tax liability of Florida’s manufacturing businesses by $76.9 million annually beginning in 2017. By permanently eliminating this tax, Florida will be more competitive for manufacturing businesses to start or expand. If no action is taken during the upcoming legislative session, there will be a substantial tax increase on Florida manufacturers.
- Cutting the Tax on Commercial Leases – Florida is the only state that has a tax on commercial leases which unfairly targets small businesses. Governor Scott is proposing to reduce the tax on commercial leases by 1 percent in 2017 through the use of both recurring and non-recurring funds. This will save Florida businesses $339 million over the next two fiscal years.
- Extending the Sales Tax Exemption on College Textbooks – Governor Scott is proposing to extend the sales tax exemption on the purchase of college textbooks for an additional year. The prices of college textbooks have increased significantly over the years, often exceeding $100 per book. Exempting college textbooks from the state sales tax is expected to save Florida students $46 million.
- Saving for Families with Sales Tax Holidays – The budget includes funding for a 10-day back-to-school sales tax holiday and 9-day hurricane preparedness sales tax holiday. These two tax holidays will save Florida families an estimated $72.8 million in the upcoming fiscal year.
Governor Scott said, “By eliminating the tax on business income for Florida manufacturers – big and small, and all Florida retailers, which include many small businesses all across the state, we are putting job creators on the road to success for years to come. I want Florida to be the small business capital of the world. Our state is already home to 500,000 small businesses. The more we can cut taxes – like the one on commercial lease – the more we can grow our small businesses in Florida and further diversify our economy to invest in our future.
“Florida is on a roll. Our businesses have added almost one million new jobs over the last four years, but we have more work to do. We can’t only create jobs when the national economy is good. We must cut taxes and diversify our economy so Florida can grow even when the national economy is bad. Florida must compete with Texas, and diversify our economy to guard against another recession.”
Owner of Unlicensed Money Transmitter Business Sentenced for Failing to File Currency Transaction Reports and Illegally Sending Money to Cuba
Owner of Unlicensed Money Transmitter Business Sentenced for Failing to File Currency Transaction Reports and Illegally Sending Money to Cuba
An owner of an unlicensed money transmitter business was sentenced to 30 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release for failing to file Currency Transaction Reports and illegally sending money to Cuba. The defendant also agreed to forfeit $480,622 in United States currency representing the funds seized in connection with the offense.
Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Robert C. Hutchinson, Acting Special Agent in Charge, U.S.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and Adolphus P. Wright, Special Agent in Charge, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), made the announcement.
Karell Cordero, 40, of Hialeah, previously pled guilty to one count of operating an unlicensed money transmitter business, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1960.
According to court documents, between June 2012 and May 2014, Cordero owned and operated K & Y Multiservices in Hialeah, Florida, where he received euros and exchanged them for U.S. dollars. These transactions often involved sums of tens of thousands of dollars, but Cordero did not submit Currency Transaction Reports (CTRs) or other forms or reports that must be submitted to the Treasury Department. On occasion, Cordero conducted these transactions to exchange money knowing it was derived from unlawful activity. Law enforcement officers monitored two separate meetings where Cordero exchanged 240,000 euros for $326,900 in U.S. currency. Cordero was told that the money was from Mexico and came from drug dealers. Cordero did not file a CTR or any other required report on either occasion.
Another aspect of Cordero’s business involved collecting money from various persons in the United States who wanted to send it to persons in Cuba. He used many of the euros he obtained from his money exchange business for this purpose. Cordero used a variety of means to transmit money to the persons for whom it was intended in Cuba, while collecting a fee for his services. Cordero knew that he was prohibited under U .S. law from sending currency from the United States to Cuba.
Cordero handled approximately $800,000 in foreign currency exchanges and transmissions of money to Cuba without filing CTRs or otherwise reporting the money to any governmental regulatory or law enforcement agencies as required by law. In addition, Cordero and his company were not licensed as a money transmitter, money service business, or foreign currency exchange.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE-HSI, IRS-CI, and the DEA. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Frank H. Tamen
News Cast for November 5th:
Prosecutors continued to present evidence in the Randy Simmons murder trial in Martin County Wednesday. They are expected to wrap up today with testimony from the lead detective and the suspects 6 year old child who witnessed the shooting of 32 year old Adam Wilson in Port Salerno. According to TC Palm Jurors also got to see a video of the police chase that ended in Okeechobee. The also learned Simmons had called the victims cell phone several times in the 8 hours previous to the shooting, but none of them were answered.
Simmons had gotten into an argument with his wife the day before and she had driven to Port Salerno with the couple’s two kids to visit her cousin.
A school board investigation found no supporting evidence that a six year old child was injured intentionally at Everglades Elementary school on September 1st. Assistant Principal Billy Ball was reassigned for three weeks and returned to duty after the investigation. The school was advised to not place children on tables that are not designed for sitting purposes. The child suffered some scratches to the back of his legs.
Glades county commissioners agreed to allow revenue returned by the sheriff to the county to be used to offset budget losses in the county jail. The average in the past three years has been 2012 thousand returned to the county.
The county has struggled to get immigration and customs enforcement inmates at the facility in order to make ends meet.
The commission approved the policy change until June of next year.
In the courts, 32 year old Jack Congdon received one year probation and 40 hours of community service for child neglect. A three year old child was left in his care and it wandered out of a home on South West 2nd Avenue August 13th to the Center State Bank branch nearby and was located by a bank employee.
Sports Cast for November 5th:
Cheyenne Nunez had 22 points and Shyterria Ash added 12 points as Okeechobee defeated John Carroll 47-35 in their preseason classic on Wednesday night. Nunez said the girls played together for almost the first time and did a good job
Nunez said even though Okeechobee fell behind by 8 points early, they hung in there and were able to come back. Clewiston defeated Moore Haven 44-37 in the other game. Caroline Sweat led the Terriers with 17 points.
Tonight Okeechobee plays Moore Haven at 7 pm and Clewiston plays John Carroll at 5:30 pm.
Brian Chapman fell short at the state bowling championships in Orlando as he had 8 hundred and 47 pins over four games, an Average of 212, he finished 27th overall.
Moore Haven boys soccer visits Atlantic Christian this afternoon at 3:30 pm
DEA Releases 2015 Drug Threat Assessment: Heroin and Painkiller Abuse Continue to Concern
Mexican criminal groups remain most significant criminal threat to the United States
NOV 4 (WASHINGTON) – DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg today announced results from the 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment (NDTA), which finds that drug overdose deaths are the leading cause of injury death in the United States, ahead of motor vehicle deaths and firearms. In 2013, over 46,000 people in the United States died from drug overdose and more than half of those were caused by prescription painkillers and heroin.
“Sadly this report confirms what we’ve known for some time: drug abuse is ending too many lives while destroying families and communities,” Acting Administrator Rosenberg said. “We must stop drug abuse before it begins by teaching young people at an even earlier age about its many dangers and horrors. Law enforcement must continue to have the tools it needs to attack criminal groups who facilitate drug addiction. More Americans need treatment options so they can move forward living drug-free lives. We cannot continue to accept these lives lost without serious future action.”
The 2015 NDTA also found that Mexican transnational criminal organizations are the biggest criminal threat to the United States, and are the primary suppliers of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana. These groups are responsible for the extreme violence seen in Mexico, as they battle for turf and attack public officials and innocent civilians. Here in the U.S., affiliated and violent gangs are increasingly a threat to the safety and security of our communities. They profit by buying drugs from regional Mexican criminal affiliates and then supply American streets and communities with these dangerous drugs, particularly heroin.
Other 2015 NDTA findings:
- Heroin availability is up across the country, as are abusers, overdoses, and overdose deaths. Law enforcement nationwide report a significant spike in heroin abuse as a result of prescription opioid addiction.
- Heroin overdose deaths are also a result of high-purity batches unknown to the user, as well as heroin adulterants such as fentanyl.
- Since 2002, prescription drug deaths have outpaced those of cocaine and heroin combined. Abuse of controlled prescription drugs is higher than that of cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, MDMA, and PCP combined.
- Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 25 to 40 times more potent than heroin, has caused over 700 deaths in the U.S. between late 2013 and early 2015. Fentanyl is sometimes added to heroin batches, or sold by itself as heroin, unknown to the user.
- Synthetic designer drugs from China continue to wreak havoc in the United States, particular synthetic cannabinoids, cathinones, and phenethylamines. Much of the proceeds of the sale of designer synthetic drugs from China flow to Middle Eastern countries such as Yemen, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.
The National Drug Threat Assessment provides an up-to-date look at the many challenges local communities face related to drug abuse and drug trafficking. Highlights in the report include drug abuse and trafficking trends for drugs such as heroin, prescription drugs, and the many ever-changing synthetic drugs manufactured overseas and imported to the United States.
In the preparation of this report, DEA intelligence analysts considered quantitative data from various sources (seizures, investigations, arrests, drug purity or potency, and drug prices; law enforcement surveys; laboratory analyses; and interagency production and cultivation estimates) and qualitative information (subjective views of individual agencies on drug availability, information on smuggling and transportation trends, and indicators of changes in smuggling and transportation methods).
The 2013 NDTA factors information provided by more than 1,100 state and local law enforcement agencies that responded to our 2015 National Drug Threat Survey.
The National Drug Threat Assessment can be found at www.dea.gov
Florida Investment Advisor Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison for Orchestrating $9 Million Investment Fraud Scheme | OPA | Department of Justice
Florida Investment Advisor Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison for Orchestrating $9 Million Investment Fraud Scheme
A Tampa, Florida, area investment advisor was sentenced to 18 months in prison today for perpetrating a $9 million investment fraud scheme involving Facebook stock.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney A. Lee Bentley III of the Middle District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Paul Wysopal of the FBI’s Tampa Field Office and Inspector in Charge Ronald J. Verrochio of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Miami Division made the announcement.
Gignesh Movalia, 40, a registered investment advisor, was also ordered by Chief U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday of the Middle District of Florida to pay $5,394,419 in restitution and to three years of supervised release following his prison sentence. Movalia pleaded guilty on Aug. 13, 2015, to one count of investment advisor fraud.
In connection with his guilty plea, Movalia admitted that he founded OM Global Investment Fund LLC in 2009 and subsequently used the fund to defraud investors. Specifically, in 2011 and 2012, Movalia raised more than $9 million from 130 investors by falsely claiming to have access to pre-initial public offering shares of Facebook Inc. Rather than using this money to buy Facebook shares as promised, however, Movalia invested the money in other securities and concealed that fact from investors. By September 2013 when it went into receivership, the OM Global Fund lost approximately $9 million, with $6 million of those losses as a result of the fraud scheme.
The case was investigated by the FBI and USPIS, with assistance provided by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Miami Regional Office. The case was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Andrew H. Warren of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section.
Florida Man Arrested with 44 Counterfeit Credit Cards
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has arrested a Central Florida man for possessing 44 counterfeit credit cards that were allegedly re-encoded with stolen financial information and used to make fraudulent purchases. Raul R. Dominguez Espineta of Altamonte Springs, Fla. allegedly acquired the financial information through a skimming device and used the counterfeit credit cards to fraudulently purchase fuel.
“This is just one example of our department’s efforts to help protect Floridians and visitors from scams, fraud and theft,” said Commissioner of Agriculture Adam H. Putnam. “We will continue to pursue unscrupulous individuals who prey upon hard-working Floridians.”
The department assisted the Orange County Sheriff’s Office after they observed Espineta putting fuel in an unlawful aftermarket fuel tank located in the bed of his pickup truck and found that he was in possession of 44 counterfeit credit cards. The department’s investigation found that the counterfeit credit cards were re-encoded with personal information of consumers from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and New York.
Espineta was booked in the Seminole County Jail on the following charges:
- Organized Scheme to Defraud, a third degree felony, one count;
- Criminal Use of Personal Identification Information, a third degree felony, five counts;
- Traffic in Counterfeit Credit Cards, a second degree felony, one count; and
- Defrauding a Financial Institution, a second degree felony, one count.
The department is responsible for investigating criminal offense such as organized gasoline theft, credit card skimming devices, identification theft, and counterfeit credit card activities related to the use of retail fuel pumps in Florida.
For more information about the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, visit FreshFromFlorida.com.
News Cast for November 4th:
The murder trial of Randy Simmons of Okeechobee began Tuesday in Martin County. Simmons is accused of shooting Adam Wilson on February 16th of 2013. Simmons claims he only struck Wilson and that the gun went off during a struggle in the home. He was involved with a domestic quarrel with his wife, who came to Martin County with the couple’s two small children to visit her cousin. Simmons was arrested after a chase back to Okeechobee that ended in a canal off route 710. Charges include second degree murder and aggravated fleeing and eluding police. The trial is expected to last one week.
Also in the courts, 39 year old Latisha McBride pled no contest to accessory after the fact in the murder of William Curry in Douglas Park. She will be sentenced November 18th. McBride was allegedly the lookout and took the two alleged gunmen to the hospital after an exchange of gunshots at Nabs Apartments. Travis Spencer last month received three life sentences for pulling the trigger and killing Curry.
The Okeechobee Kiwanis Club has collected plastic caps for the past year to help purchase wheel chairs for children in need. The Caps of Love program involves Central elementary teacher Stella Fulleda and Everglades’s elementary teacher Emily Streelman. Fulleda says she wants her students to learn the benefits of recycling and the joy of helping others.
A local deputy was unhurt after an accident caused by another motorist Tuesday morning at US 98 and NW 9th Street. Melond Peterson was turning left off 98 and took the turn too tightly and struck the front end of the deputy cruiser driven by Deputy Joey Hall.
Michael Hazellief announced he would run for Okeechobee Sheriff as a non-partisan candidate. He said his family has a tradition of public service and that he is the most educated and qualified candidate. He said he left a promising career in equipment sales because he loves his career in law enforcement. He wants to promote better standards in the organization, and more fiscal responsibility.
Robert Williams and his widow Sandra sued the Buckhead Ridge Moose Lodge in a negligence lawsuit, claiming they served too much alcohol to John Ellett in March of 2 thousand 14, contributing to a crash on route 78. Williams recently died. Ellett was only charged with a DUI which was reduced to a misdemeanor, he spent 20 days in jail and one year probation.
Sports Cast for November 4th:
Brian Chapman bowls in the qualifying round in Orlando at the Florida state bowling championships.
Chapman says getting a district title and a trip to the state finals has been his goal for many years. Chapman has been the team MVP for the past three years.
He said he feels he has the talent to compete at state. Chapman rolled a 276 game at districts and has rolled perfect games in leagues in Stuart in the past.
Lady Brahman soccer won again at Fort Pierce Westwood 7-1 on Tuesday. Ashton English had four goals and Karina Diaz had three goals.
On the sports schedule today, the girls’ basketball preseason tournament begins tonight, Okeechobee, Clewiston, Moore haven and John Carroll will play games tonight beginning at 5:30 pm.
OHS swimmers compete at regionals today in Fort Lauderdale.
News Cast for November 3rd:
A public hearing planned this Thursday in Sebring to get thoughts on the transportation needs for this region over the next 25 years. Projects planned include 4 lanes on route 70 in all of Okeechobee, Highlands and Desoto Counties.
Another is widening sections of US 98 between Okeechobee and Sebring. Pat Steed, executive director, said the public’s involvement is important. The group is also recruiting citizens to be on their citizen’s advisory committee. The meeting is at the Jack Stroup Civic Center at 5:30 pm.
In the courts, charges of child abuse were dropped against James Mericle Junior who allegedly struck a child and threw him across the room for not eating vegetables on August 24th.
Among arrests, 34 year old Glenn Lamb III was arrested by the narcotics task force for allegedly selling one pill of hydromorphone to a confidential source on September 18th.
Two suspects were arrested after a drug deal involving an electric wheel chair. 51 year old Heidi Donnelly was charged with possession of oxycodone and 63 year old Steven Page was charged with sale and possession with intent to sell oxycodone after an alleged transaction Friday afternoon in Treasure Island.
Sports Cast for November 3rd:
The Brahman swim team hopes to set new ground tomorrow when they attempt to send a swimmer to state.
The regional meet is in Cape Coral.
Nathanael Bean is among the best chances for Okeechobee. He holds the school record in such events at the 200 free style 5 hundred free, 2 hundred IM, and 1 hundred backstrokes. The 100 free might be his best chance to reach state.
He said he has loved swimming for years and really has embraced the sport. He did swim for Indian River State college club team last spring.
He said his senior year has been very productive
Other hopefuls for Okeechobee include Michael Muros, Aubrie Reister and Skylar Casian who all qualified in individual events at districts last week.
Lady Brahman soccer gets their first win of the second 2-1 at Avon Park Monday night. Ashton English and Karina Diaz scored goals and Crystal Estrada added an assist.
The Lady Brahmans tied their match on Friday at LaBelle.
The girls soccer team visits Fort Pierce Westwood at 4 pm today.
Stay informed with these tips for hunting season
November means the 2015-16 huntin’ season is in full swing. In this month’s column, I cover the high points of what you need to know about general gun, fall turkey, quail, snipe and the second phase of mourning and white-winged dove season.
The first thing you need to do is pick up a $17 Florida resident hunting license. Nonresidents pay $46.50 for a 10-day license or $151.50 for 12 months.
If you plan to hunt one of Florida’s many wildlife management areas, you’ll also need a $26.50 management area permit, but don’t forget to study the brochure for the specific area you plan to hunt, because dates, bag limits and rules can differ greatly from area to area.
You can get these brochures at the tax collectors’ offices in close proximity to the WMA, or you can download them from MyFWC.com/Hunting.
You can buy your license and permits by calling 888-HUNT-FLORIDA or going online at License.MyFWC.com. Have your credit card ready. You also can purchase them from a tax collector’s office and most retail outlets that sell hunting and fishing supplies.
General gun season
The general gun season runs Nov. 7 – Jan. 24 in Zone C; Dec. 5 – Feb. 21 in Zone B. In Zone A, the second phase of general gun season runs Nov. 21 – Jan. 3. In Zone D, it always starts Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 26) and lasts four days until Nov. 29. Two weeks later, the season reopens Dec. 12 and runs through Feb. 21.
Regarding deer, hunters may take only legal-to-take bucks, and they must have the $5 deer permit. On private lands, the daily bag limit for deer is two, but during some quota hunts on WMAs, the bag limit is only one deer, so read the particular WMA brochure before you hunt. Go to MyFWC.com/Hunting and select “By Species.”
On private lands, hunters can take wild hogs year-round with no bag or size limits. On most – but not all – WMAs, there’s also no bag or size limit on wild hogs, and hunters can take them during any hunting season except spring turkey. Again, check the WMA brochure to be certain or the above website.
Private land doe days
Within the general gun season on private lands only are the highly anticipated antlerless deer days, better known to us hunters as “doe days.” But note these dates have drastically changed this year and differ for each of the state’s new 12 deer management units. To learn when these antlerless deer opportunities occur in your DMU, please refer to the “2015-2016 Florida Hunting Regulations” handbook that you can pick up at your tax collector’s office, FWC regional office or download the “Hunting Handbook” online at MyFWC.com/Hunting.
During antlerless deer season, the daily bag limit is one legal buck and one antlerless deer, or two legal bucks. You may not take two antlerless deer in one day like you can during archery season, and spotted fawns are never legal game. By the way, WMAs do not have an antlerless deer season, so this opportunity applies to private property only.
Fall turkey and quail
Fall turkey season in Zone A is Nov. 21 – Jan. 3. In zones B it runs Dec. 5 – Jan. 31. Zone C is Nov. 7 – Jan. 3. Zone D fall turkey season is Nov. 26-29 and Dec. 12 – Jan. 17, except for Holmes County, where there is no fall turkey season.
Only bearded turkeys and gobblers are legal game; you must have a turkey permit ($10 for residents; $125 for nonresidents) to hunt them. You may take up to two turkeys in one day on private lands, but there’s still the two-bird fall-season (archery, crossbow, muzzleloading gun and fall turkey seasons combined) limit. And on WMAs, you still may shoot only one turkey per day.
Quail season runs statewide Nov. 14 – March 6, and the daily bag limit is 12.
Shooting hours for deer, turkey and quail are a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset. All legal rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, bows, crossbows and pistols are legal for taking these resident game animals during the general gun, antlerless deer, fall turkey and quail seasons.
Snipe and dove
Snipe hunting in Florida ranks second in the nation in number of birds harvested each year, and the season always runs Nov. 1 – Feb. 15 statewide. The second phase of the mourning and white-winged dove season also comes in this month and runs Nov. 14 – Dec. 7. Shooting hours for migratory game birds are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. The bag limit for snipe is eight; for doves, the bag limit is 15.
You must get a no-cost migratory bird permit if you plan to hunt snipe, doves or any other migratory game birds.
The FWC provides an online “Dove Hunters’ Hotline,” which gives up-to-date information on Florida’s public dove fields. The address is MyFWC.com/Dove, and it is updated every Thursday throughout dove season. Information includes dove densities, previous week’s harvests and field conditions.
Whether enjoying the camaraderie of hunting with friends and family or relishing the solitude of hunting solo, November is the perfect time to appreciate Florida’s abundant wildlife populations and great hunting opportunities.
Here’s wishing you a happy Thanksgiving and a successful hunting season.
Dry Season Starts With Dry October
Long-term forecast continues to call for above-average rainfall
West Palm Beach, FL — Most of South Florida saw well below-average rainfall in October for the start of the dry season, South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) meteorologists reported today.
An average of 1.94 inches of rain fell across 16 counties in October, representing only 51 percent of average, or 1.84 inches below average. October typically has the highest variability of rainfall because of the transition from the wet season to the dry season.
Among the driest areas in October were:
- Palm Beach County – 1.66 inches of rain, representing 30 percent of average, or 3.90 inches below average
- Martin/St. Lucie – 1.66 inches of rain, representing 33 percent of average, or 3.33 inches below average
- Southwest Coast – 2.37 inches of rain, representing 66 percent of average, or 1.21 inches below average
Miami-Dade County was the only area to experience near average rainfall for the month, with 4.57 inches of rain, representing 82 percent of average, or 0.97 inches below average.
Despite below-average rainfall in October, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center forecasts a significant El Niño weather pattern this winter to bring above-average rainfall later in the dry season.
|South Florida’s Dry Season|
|· November – May
· About 18 inches of rain is the average
· May and October are important transition months
· March, April and May have the highest evaporation rates and lowest rainfall
Dry Season Forecast
Among the forecast highlights for the 2015-2016 South Florida dry season:
- Above-normal rainfall associated with El Niño
- Above-normal storminess/severe weather
- Below-normal temperatures and below-normal freeze of at least one this dry season
- Average of 5-10 more days with measurable precipitation
More information is available at: