TAMPA — Child pornographer Michael D. Meister's latest adventures on the Internet have cost the cancer patient his freedom, opening the door for a seven-year prison sentence to begin before his appeal is decided.
A federal judge revoked the Pinellas County man's post-trial release Friday, a week after Meister was found with more porn and arrested for accessing the Internet in violation of his bail agreement....
TAMPA — Cancer patient and convicted child-porn trader Michael D. Meister was found last week with additional illicit images that appear to depict teen boys, a federal prosecutor said Monday.
That's why the St. Petersburg man was jailed Friday for the first time since the 2007 discovery of illegal photos and videos on his laptop computer.
Meister, 58, appeared briefly in court before U.S. District Judge Richard A. Lazzara but was ordered back to the Pinellas County Jail until his Miami attorney, Michael Rosen, could join him for a hearing at week's end. Rosen monitored Monday's proceeding by phone....
TAMPA — A registered nurse employed by Tampa General Hospital was charged Saturday with leaving a crash the night before that killed a 60-year-old homeless man.
Danielle Nichole Goeller, 26, of 700 S Harbour Island Blvd., was booked into the Orient Road Jail, her bail set at $15,000.
Tampa police reported that a motorist traveling east on Kennedy Boulevard at Tampania Avenue hit a pedestrian who had stepped into the roadway. Afterward, the driver first slowed down but then accelerated, police said....
TAMPA — Had Michael D. Meister been locked up in 2007 after authorities found child porn on his laptop computer, his seven-year prison sentence would nearly be over.
Instead, he got blood cancer. The case against him, initially delayed by a computer forensics backlog, met up with the sympathies of a federal district judge reluctant to imprison a man benefitting from medical care at the Moffitt Cancer Center....
TAMPA — The universal service charge, one of those pesky fees on phone bills, is supposed to subsidize phone lines for rural or impoverished Americans.
But a new federal indictment says it also paid for a private jet, a 28-foot boat and six luxury cars for a trio of phone company owners accused of defrauding the federal Lifeline program out of more than $32 million.
Leonard I. Solt, 49, of Land O'Lakes, Thomas Biddix, 44, of Melbourne and Kevin Brian Cox, 38, of Arlington, Tenn., all face federal criminal charges....
TAMPA — A Broward County man with a history of drug dealing found a novel way to front his oxycodone trade.
Medicare Part D.
Brian Francis Kelly, 53, is one of four people accused in a conspiracy to use HIV patients and a Coral Gables clinic to defraud the federal government by filing false claims for drugs and medical care through the now-defunct St. Petersburg Medicare insurer, Universal Health Care Group....
TAMPA — Latasha Callens may have a $12,000 smile. But the root canal, the bridge, the extraction and the crown were bought with a stolen credit card number, authorities say.
A federal judge sentenced the Tampa woman to 12 years and five months in prison this week, after she pleaded guilty in December to an array of fraud totaling $223,798. Callens, 35, defrauded banks and individuals at least 58 times from 2011 to 2013, the U.S. Attorney's Office reported. She conned people into cashing stolen checks for her. She filed false refund claims with the IRS. And she ripped off a Clearwater dentist....
TAMPA — Federal prosecutors may expose jurors to the words "terrorist" and "terrorism" at the upcoming trial of Sami Osmakac, a federal judge says.
The Pinellas Park man is accused of attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction in the Tampa Bay area, but his attorney, George E. Tragos, asked for a ban on "terrorist" or similar words, calling them inflammatory and prejudicial.
U.S. District Judge Mary S. Scriven denied that request Wednesday, saying she will not require prosecutors to obscure Osmakac's alleged motive. ...
TAMPA — College is expensive. Rick Scott wants to keep his job.
Those two facts shared the same orbit Wednesday at a Tampa high school, where the governor chatted with teens about college plans while blaming his opponent, former Gov. Charlie Crist, for the debt they will incur.
"One thing that I'm trying to do now is undo the increases that were caused by this last administration," said Scott, seated in a circle with five teens and six parents in Jefferson High School's media center....
TAMPA — Days before gunning down a stranger in a Sumter County gas station, David Harris Dunaway thought he was a "ninja warrior" directed by God, court records state.
But for two decades after his successful insanity plea, he lived a life that drew little notice. After his 1997 release from a psychiatric hospital, he married, helped home-school his children, attended church services and earned a living by selling collectibles with his wife....
TAMPA — Disgraced pharmacist Christopher Switlyk shows no love for the attorneys who defended him over his key role in a Tampa pill mill ring.
From prison, he calls Todd Foster's $750,000 fee "excessive" and his advice, at times, "awful." Switlyk blames attorney Steve Crawford for his bail revocation. He suggests it was sneaky of Jeff Brown to get paid in silver bars and gold Krugerrands....
TAMPA — Sami Osmakac is charged with attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction in a South Tampa party district.
But his attorney wants a federal judge to bar prosecutors from exposing jurors to the words "terrorism" or "homegrown terrorist" during Osmakac's May trial in Tampa.
The use of those words is "inflammatory" and "designed to prejudice the defendant and attack his character," defense attorney George E. Tragos wrote in his latest motion to the court....
TAMPA — Former American Airlines pilot Donald Gallagher was convicted Thursday of making child pornography in a bedroom of his St. Petersburg home, in addition to downloading and sharing illegal images from the Internet.
He will face at least 15 years in prison, the minimum required by federal law for producing child porn, at his June 2 sentencing.
He also stands to lose his $472,000 home in the Weedon Cove neighborhood of St. Petersburg to forfeiture. ...
TAMPA — The day authorities confronted then-American Airlines pilot Donald E. Gallagher Jr. with evidence that he was amassing child pornography in his St. Petersburg home, he expressed worry his career could be over.
"I support three young children and hope you will consider this," he wrote in a July 24 statement for Largo police Detective Nathan Dix. "Any charges would be career ending for me and my family."...
TAMPA — Donald E. Gallagher Jr. had the perfect life, a prosecutor said Tuesday.
A family who loved him. A 5,800-square-foot residence in a secluded St. Petersburg neighborhood. A job flying jets for American Airlines.
But the work is no more and the house is under threat of criminal forfeiture. He sits in federal court this week accused of using two relatives, both young girls, to produce child pornography in the Weedon Cove home he inherited in 2010 from his late sister, who was a pediatrician....