Florida writes off $109 million in uncollected fees, fines, taxes

TALLAHASSEE

Millions in fees, fines written off by state

Despite a long-running budget crunch, Florida is giving up on collecting tens of millions in taxes, fees and fines owed the state. Last year, Florida wrote off more than $109 million as uncollectable, forgiving the debts of everyone from those whose businesses owed unemployment taxes to people who received treatment from county health departments and polluters fined for spilling oil or other chemicals. The state annually collects $37 billion in taxes and fees, so $109 million is a relatively small amount.

IMMOKALEE

Florida panther found dead on private land

A Florida panther has been found dead on private land in southwest Florida. The 3-year-old female was found Wednesday near Immokalee, officials said. The endangered animal was too decomposed to determine a cause of death, officials said. It was the 22nd documented panther mortality for 2011.

ORLANDO

Plastic surgeon opens liposuction fat bank

A Seminole County plastic surgeon is opening a fat bank so that patients who have fat removed during liposuction can store it for future use. Cosmetic surgeons who perform fat-transfer procedures typically transfer the patient's fat immediately after removing it through liposuction. Common sites for the transferred fat are the face and breasts. Patients could store their fat to use later, when they want to plump up body parts that have succumbed to age, said Dr. Jeffrey Hartog.

DELtona

Wife spiked spouse's coffee, authorities say

A woman is charged with spiking her husband's coffee with the antianxiety drug Xanax. Melissa Goetz, 46, of Deltona was charged Wednesday with attempted felony murder and poisoning of food or water. She told authorities she was trying to calm her husband down because he had been physically abusive to her. Authorities say her own words helped incriminate her because she left a voice mail message on her husband's cell phone, apparently unaware she was being recorded. In the message, she is heard telling another woman that she had spiked her husband's coffee. Her husband told authorities he had been feeling ill all week.

Times wires

MIAMI

Brazilian fined for reptiles in pants

A Brazilian man has pleaded guilty to trying to smuggle python and tortoise hatchlings in his pants. Simon Turola Borges admitted Wednesday that he tried to sneak the reptiles through security at Miami International Airport last month when attempting to return to Brazil. Prosecutors say airport screeners spotted two ball pythons encased in panty hose in Borges' cargo pants pockets. They also found several other pythons and tortoises contained in similar hose inside the man's underwear. All were small hatchlings, and all are protected under U.S. law. A federal judge sentenced Borges to probation and a $400 fine, which she ordered paid to the Miami Science Museum for reptile preservation programs.

Florida writes off $109 million in uncollected fees, fines, taxes 09/16/11 [Last modified: Friday, September 16, 2011 12:19am]

    

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