Monday, November 20, 2017
News Roundup

Spring Hill man who scammed the elderly gets three years

RECOMMENDED READING


BROOKSVILLE — Grace McMillan wants the money Luis Angel Roman stole from her, but the 78-year-old Spring Hill resident said she is willing to wait for Roman to serve prison time.

On Thursday, McMillan got her wish.

Roman, who turns 42 Saturday, was sentenced to three years in prison after admitting to scamming McMillan and nine other elderly homeowners for thousands of dollars worth of pest control services they never got.

"He's young enough that he can pay me when he gets out," said McMillan, who attended the hearing and said Roman owes her about $1,100.

Prosecutors say Roman, of Spring Hill, was fired in July 2012 from his job as a salesman with A-1 Termite & Pest Control, west of Brooksville, but continued to draw up bogus service contracts and kept the money for himself. There was also evidence that Roman scammed his employer before he was fired by drawing up separate contracts for additional services and telling the customers to leave the checks blank or make them out to cash.

Roman would eventually enter an open plea to 10 counts of grand theft.

The average age of the 10 identified victims was 79 1/2, Assistant State Attorney Jason Smith told Circuit Judge Daniel B. Merritt Jr. on Thursday.

"Which leads me to the argument that basically Mr. Roman preyed on elderly folks," Smith said.

He also noted that Roman has a criminal record that includes a conviction for organized fraud.

Roman and his attorney, John Vitola, asked Merritt to levy a lengthy probation term so Roman could keep his job at a landscape company, pay back the $15,780 he owes his victims and provide for his disabled wife and 6-year-old son.

"I just want to make the victims whole and pay back what I owe them," Roman said. "I don't want to make my son a victim for something stupid I did."

Merritt noted the demographic of Roman's victims.

"Certainly that concerns the court," he said.

After he announced the sentence — which includes seven years of probation — Roman put his face in his hands and began to cry.

McMillan was unmoved.

"If you can't do the time," she said afterward, "don't do the crime."

Comments
Cannon Fodder podcast: One last look at Bucs-Dolphins

Cannon Fodder podcast: One last look at Bucs-Dolphins

Times Bucs writer Greg Auman looks back on Tampa Bay’s wild 30-20 win over the Dolphins, their second straight win and first on the road this season, the good and bad of that, plus a major off-field story now surrounding QB Jameis Winston. Listen bel...
Updated: 6 minutes ago

FHP: St. Petersburg man, 24, died while trying to cross state road in St. Cloud

ST. CLOUD — A St. Petersburg man died Sunday night after he was struck by a vehicle while attempting to cross a highway, authorities said. Matthew Mitchell, 24, walked into the path of a 2008 Ford sport utility vehicle as he was trying to cross U.S. ...
Updated: 14 minutes ago
Largo police active shooter training ‘a sign of the times’ for participants

Largo police active shooter training ‘a sign of the times’ for participants

LARGO — The classroom was full, but the chatter was quiet as the students picked at doughnuts and sipped coffee from paper cups.Many were strangers to each other, but the reason they showed up at the Largo Police Department on a sunny Saturday mornin...
Updated: 23 minutes ago

Chase by Lakeland police ends in crash on I-4; suspect still sought

Lakeland police were pursuing suspects wanted on felony charges when the suspects sped onto Interstate 4 headed west toward Tampa, the Florida Highway Patrol said.The suspects’ vehicle crashed near the 50th Street overpass, about 30 miles west, and t...
Updated: 26 minutes ago
Forecast: Florida retailers expect high holiday shopping sales

Forecast: Florida retailers expect high holiday shopping sales

Tis the season for holiday shopping, and this year is expected to be particularly kind to retailers. The Florida Retail Federation’s holiday shopping forecast predicts that a combination of high consumer confidence, strong tourism numbers and a littl...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Buccaneers-Dolphins Turning Point, Week 11: Cool, calm Fitzmagic

Buccaneers-Dolphins Turning Point, Week 11: Cool, calm Fitzmagic

On Sunday, the Buccaneers and Dolphins played one of those football games that gets only an obligatory mention at the end of highlight shows. In that spirit, this week’s Turning Point will focus mostly on the final three minutes of Tampa Bay’s 30-20 ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
‘He’s going to come back and finish me off,’ Adam Matos victim told her boss

‘He’s going to come back and finish me off,’ Adam Matos victim told her boss

NEW PORT RICHEY — At a hearing to decide whether he should live or die, Adam Matos smiled at family members Monday.He saw them sitting in a Pasco County courtroom as his sentencing for four murders began. A bit later, a witness reminded jurors of the...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Deputies: Port Richey woman arrested for hitting boy, 4, with hanger

PORT RICHEY — A Port Richey woman was arrested on a charge of felony child abuse after a 4-year-old boy in her care told deputies she hit him with a clothes hanger, leaving bruises, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said.Teresa White-Fry, 38, was arr...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Top 5 at noon: Adam Matos sentencing begins; Seminole Heights thanks first responders; and more

Top 5 at noon: Adam Matos sentencing begins; Seminole Heights thanks first responders; and more

Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com:SENTENCING PHASE CONTINUES IN TRIAL OF ADAM MATOS, FOUND GUILTY IN MURDER OF FOURThe sentencing phase begins Monday in the trial of Adam Matos, convicted Friday of first degree murder in the ...
Updated: 1 hour ago

St. Petersburg pedestrian fatally struck in Osceola County

A pedestrian from St. Petersburg was killed Sunday night when he was struck by an SUV in Osceola County.According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 24-year-old Matthew Mitchell was struck along on U.S. 192 at Pine Grove Road in St. Cloud around 7 p.m.Tr...
Updated: 2 hours ago