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Patty Ryan, Times Staff Writer

Patty Ryan, a Florida native, grew up in Pinellas Park. For more than three decades, she has lived in Tampa, where she's a reporter for the Times. She joined the staff as an editor in 2001, after 22 years at the Tampa Tribune.

Her work has been honored by the American Association of Sunday and Features Editors and the Florida Society of News Editors.

She graduated from the University of South Florida.

Phone: (813) 226-3382


  1. Prison time for sticky-fingered mail carriers? Unlikely


    People fumed for days, strangers calling for prison, after a St. Petersburg mail carrier admitted in a recent court paper that he had stolen "countless" parcels and envelopes looking for gift cards, money and valuables.

    But John M. Doyle Jr. is just the latest Tampa Bay area postal worker accused of mail theft.

    Don't expect to find the others behind bars.

    While stealing mail may be punishable by up to five years in prison, federal judges routinely put the guilty on probation, especially if they've pleaded guilty to a lesser charge, such as opening mail without authority....

    John Doyle Jr.
  2. Jury convicts Tampa immigration officer for lying about his sex life


    TAMPA — A jury convicted a federal immigration officer Wednesday of two counts of lying to government investigators questioning him about a sexual relationship with a foreign national from Ecuador who came to his office seeking help.

    Jeffrey F. Bohn, 55, of Riverview worked for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in Tampa.

    He met Laura Maldonado and her 10-year-old son during a scheduled immigration interview about her children's residency status on Sept. 11, 2006, contacted her afterward and offered to assist her with her own citizenship status, according to testimony....

  3. Wife says carrier 'stressed' about money before theft of 2,129 pieces of mail


    Every other week, they were choosing which bills to pay. The power went off. Water, too. Jennifer Doyle turned to churches to find diapers for her infant.

    The 26-year-old wife of a St. Petersburg mailman charged with mail theft says her family was in dire straits when her husband, John M. Doyle Jr., turned to desperate measures.

    "That's not in his nature to do that," she said Wednesday. "It was all the stress."...

    John M. Doyle Jr.
  4. St. Petersburg mail carrier found with 2,129 pieces of stolen mail


    Federal agents unearthed 2,129 pieces of first-class mail last year in the home and car of a St. Petersburg postal carrier who now admits in court papers that he stole "countless" parcels and envelopes because he needed money.

    "I only did it to make ends meet," John M. Doyle Jr., 38, told investigators.

    How much did he get? Prosecutors aren't saying. Doyle was charged Monday, and his plea agreement, filed Tuesday, doesn't specify a restitution amount....

    John M. Doyle Jr. told officials he took mail to make ends meet. Gift cards were a target.
  5. Tampa woman gets nine years in prison for $1.5 million tax fraud scheme


    TAMPA — Tiffani Pye Williams, 35, was sentenced to more than nine years in federal prison Tuesday for her role in a scheme that used stolen identities to claim $1.5 million in fraudulent tax refunds.

    Working with others, the Tampa woman filed for refunds in the names of 991 people, many deceased, according to a plea agreement she signed in April.

    Chief U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday sentenced her to 87 months for theft of government property and 24 months for aggravated identity theft, to be served consecutively as required by law....

    Tiffani Pye Williams  of Tampa was sentenced to nine years and three months in federal prison for stolen identity tax refund fraud.
  6. Tampa immigration officer on trial, accused of seeking sex from applicant


    TAMPA — Laura Maldonado had trouble. The Ecuadoran national led her 10-year-old son to a Tampa immigration office in 2006, trying to extend his U.S. residency. Her American husband of 15 months had died four years earlier, putting their legal statuses in limbo.

    That's where she met Jeffrey Bohn, an immigration officer who federal authorities allege was soon visiting her for sex.

    Bohn, 55, of Riverview, is on trial this week in U.S. District Court, accused of lying four times starting in 2010 about his relationship with Maldonado while applying to keep his national security clearance active....

  7. Clearwater pastor gets 27 months for cashing tax fraud checks


    TAMPA — Sylvester Banks Jr., pastor of a small Clearwater church, was sentenced Friday to 27 months in prison for cashing tax refund checks that had been obtained using stolen identities.

    In a series of transactions from 2011 to 2013, he deposited checks totaling $755,900 and then withdrew most of the money, but kept a portion for himself, court papers said.

    Banks, who comes from a family of ministers, led services at Bible Church of God in the neighborhood of North Greenwood....

  8. Former HARC boss apologizes for $1,800 car allowance, tells of lives helped


    TAMPA — Richard Lilliston admits he collected a car allowance as high as $1,800 a month while chief executive of the former Hillsborough Association for Retarded Citizens.

    He calls it "a little bonus" hatched with a fellow executive.

    He's sorry, Lilliston told the Tampa Bay Times on Thursday. He knows it wasn't right.

    "I took a $1,800 car allowance for three months only," he said. "Normally, it was $600."...

    This is a group home before it was renovated while Richard Lilliston was chief executive of HARC.
  9. Former HARC employee admits to lying, says ex-bosses used money meant for disabled


    TAMPA — A former employee of a now-defunct Hillsborough County program for disabled people implicated her old bosses in a federal plea agreement Wednesday, while admitting that she helped cover up the wrongful diversion of Social Security benefits.

    Sandra K. Shepherd, 53, is the only named defendant in an investigation that the U.S. Attorney's Office calls "ongoing and active." But in the court record, she alleges that a chief financial officer and a chief executive officer of the former Hillsborough Association for Retarded Citizens misdirected client funds....

  10. Tampa barbecue joint operator gets four years for cashing tax fraud checks


    TAMPA — A former Tampa barbecue joint operator was sentenced Friday to more than four years in prison for cashing federal income tax refunds, knowing they had been obtained through identity theft.

    Charvester Darryl Anthony, 52, was also ordered to pay restitution of $252,088.

    With his father sitting in the courtroom, Anthony apologized and accepted responsibility for "bad decisions."...

  11. Tampa woman drew public assistance after collecting $396,000 settlement, feds say


    TAMPA — For 13 years, a mother getting public assistance swore under penalty of perjury that she had no income or assets. The public paid her rent, provided food money and covered her son under Medicaid — at a total cost of $85,363, according to court records.

    Latashia Green failed to mention the $396,000 paid to her from a 2010 legal settlement, or the $10,000 a year she earned braiding hair, or the real estate she bought along the way, federal authorities allege....

  12. Ex-securities broker from Tampa Bay area gets three years for tax evasion


    TAMPA — Former securities broker Steven Staltare was sentenced Wednesday to three years and one month in federal prison for tax evasion and was ordered to pay the Internal Revenue Service restitution of more than $1.6 million.

    Staltare, 50, most recently of New Port Richey, evaded paying taxes from 1999 through 2009, and during that time, "he enjoyed a lavish lifestyle and diverted money from his business for gambling and personal expenses," the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement....

  13. Grand jury indicts former Tampa police employee in tax fraud probe


    TAMPA — A former Tampa Police Department employee surrendered Monday to face federal charges that she stole identities from law enforcement databases and conspired with others for five years to commit tax refund fraud.

    Tonia Bright, 53, is the first police employee to be indicted in a fraud investigation made known after the April 2014 firing of veteran homicide Detective Eric Houston, who was also a target of the probe. He has neither been charged nor cleared....

  14. Former military recruiter gets probation for claiming undue bonuses


    TAMPA — Former Army and National Guard recruiter Travis DeVall was sentenced Thursday to five years of probation for claiming $78,000 in undue bonuses.

    DeVall could have faced prison time, but U.S. District Judge Mary S. Scriven didn't impose it, in part because penalties for economic crimes are soon to relax and in part because of his decades of service.

    DeVall spent two decades in the military, much of it as a recruiter. When he retired as a master sergeant in 2006, he continued his efforts under the federally-funded, privately-managed Guard Recruiting Assistance Program, which paid him $1,000 to $5,000 per recruit. ...

  15. South Tampa church on its own fighting for more restitution from ex-business manager


    TAMPA — A church that wants at least $2.2 million more in restitution from a former business manager for unpaid payroll taxes won't have the federal government arguing its case.

    The U.S. Attorney's Office plans to stand by its plea agreement with Juliet Suzanne Ellis, who admitted to stealing $82,834 from Palma Ceia United Methodist Church and paid that in restitution, prosecutor Kelley Howard-Allen said Thursday....