You can virtually travel the 130 miles from Orlando to Hampton, Florida, in a moment. With an online map, you can peer inside the city of 400, stopping at its one-story City Hall with a rusty tin roof and rolling by the modest houses dotting its tree-lined streets.
The tiny town rocked last year by allegations of public corruption finds itself shaken again, this time by the arrest of its former city clerk.
The 59-year-old was taken into custody by Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents on a charge of organized scheme to defraud, Orlando's WOFL reports.
The former city clerk resigned in February last year after the state auditor general said there had been 31 violations of Florida law, the city's charter and federal tax requirements. Also resigning at the time were the city's police chief, as well a City Council member (the former city clerk's husband) and the city maintenance operator (the former clerk's son).
The audit included allegations that $200,000 of city revenue generated by speeding tickets was missing. The state auditor also questioned $27,000 in charges on the city's credit card and $9,000 in payments to the city clerk and her family members. Also questionable, according to the auditor: the $132,000 that had been charged at a convenience store across the street from City Hall.
Now law enforcement officials are saying $19,000 in the city's water fund is missing and that the city clerk cashed some checks sent by customers to pay for water use. She's also accused of requesting that paychecks to her be reissued, resulting in double payments totaling $3,000, the Florida Times-Union reports.
Are these alligations true? Were crimes committed? The answers to these questions might be decided by a jury in a criminal trial.
Central Florida residents under investigation for public corruption or fraud should preemptively begin their defense with the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney. The Law Offices of Mark L. Horwitz, P.A. can help you prepare for grand jury proceedings, assist you in making statements to law enforcement and negotiate with prosecutors to help you avoid indictment.
Please see our White Collar Crimes Attorney page to learn more about Attorney Horwitz.