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plumber-228010_1920-300x199Nineteen contractors have been arrested in the Tampa, Florida region for allegedly working without workers’ compensation insurance or without a license.

The two unrelated operations took place in Pinellas County and Manatee County. The ten arrests in Pinellas County are part of an ongoing operation, named “Operation Stonewall,” designed to root out individuals working as contractors without a license or workers’ compensation insurance. For this operation, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office partnered with the state’s Department of Financial Services. The nine arrests in Manatee County, meanwhile, were the result of a collaboration between the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, Manatee County Code Enforcement, and the state’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR).
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beauty-body-hands-56884-300x200Massage therapist Elias Marcelo Ergas of Miami Beach, Florida was arrested Wednesday after several women accused him of inappropriately touching them.

Ergas, 50, faces charges of sexual battery and misdemeanor battery. He was ordered held on $15,000 bond. The press did not name an attorney for him.

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squad-car-1209719_1920-300x162A report released yesterday questions the value of civil asset forfeiture as a means to reduce crime. While proponents of forfeiture tout its ability to target drug traffickers, the report argues that forfeiture as a practice has not led to reduced drug use. The report also argues that that revenue from forfeitures has only led to a “very small” increase in the number of crimes solved.

In its report, “Fighting Crime or Raising Revenue,” the Institute for Justice looked at ten years of data relating to the federal equitable sharing program. Civil asset forfeiture is a procedure whereby law enforcement agencies may take possession of an individual’s property if it is suspected of being involved in a crime. Equitable sharing is a specific form of asset forfeiture where local or state law enforcement team up with the feds on a case.
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cloudy-1866581_1920-300x200An executive of a trucking business based in Florida has pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud for his part in a scheme to defraud the United States Postal Service (USPS) by avoiding paying for workers’ compensation insurance and other benefits for his employees.

Alexei Rivero, age 46, was vice president of Florida Carrier and Brokerage Service Inc., a company which had contracts with the USPS to haul mail. According to court documents, Rivero “was authorized to sign any and all legal documents on Florida Carrier’s behalf.” The contracts with the USPS were entered into between July 2007 and December 2012.
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cab-hand-iphone-34239-300x200Uber driver Joseph Soriero suffered multiple injuries and had to have his ear reattached after he was accosted in a road rage incident at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport.

According to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, the person who violently attacked Soriero was identified as Christian Alexander Gordon of West Park.

Gordon, 26, was arrested and charged with aggravated battery inflicting bodily hurt or disability. He was released on $10,000 bond. The press did not name an attorney for him.

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