TAMPA — The book starts off with him naked and defensive in a dingy jail cell in Brazil, pulling a rag-wrapped knife from a body cavity to shred a malevolent trustee named Bomba.
That was a decade ago.
Now, John Alite wants to talk to children about bullying.
The ex-mobster-turned-motivational speaker, whose Tampa ties and New York crime family links drew the bay area into a 2004 racketeering case, figures that a need for male camaraderie led him astray in his youth....
TAMPA — Donna Brown of Jacksonville started smoking cigarettes in high school and continued for 47 years, even after peripheral vascular disease forced amputation of both legs.
She tried to quit but couldn't.
This week, a Tampa jury decided tobacco giant Philip Morris USA owes the 64-year-old woman nearly $17.3 million for causing her disease and for hiding facts about the perils and addictive nature of cigarettes....
TAMPA — A man who helped dupe day traders out of $450,000 will serve two years in prison, a federal judge has decided.
Matthew P. Ionno operated the Traders Cafe in downtown Tampa with partner Albert Scipione. Both men admitted in plea agreements to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Ionno was sentenced last week by U.S. District Judge Mary S. Scriven. In addition to the prison term, he was ordered to serve three years of supervised release. ...
TAMPA — Dana Kittler turned to the Florida Board of Medicine after her 26-year-old son overdosed on painkillers in 2009. She blamed a Pinellas Park doctor who, according to state records, had prescribed him 3,360 oxycodone pills in the year before his death.
But Dr. Edward Neil Feldman's patients kept dying of overdoses and a grieving mother found no peace.
"They didn't do anything about Dr. Feldman," said Kittler, a pharmacy technician now living in Tennessee. "Not at all."...
TAMPA — Medical examiner records link a Pinellas Park pain management doctor to more than a dozen people who died of drug overdoses and left behind pill bottles that bore his name.
New findings bring to at least 17 the number of patients whose deaths have been attributed to drug toxicity after they were prescribed controlled substances by Dr. Edward Neil Feldman.
The information doesn't prove that Feldman was to blame or even that the patients took his pills....
TAMPA — Sharron Laverne Parrish Jr., the man accused of scamming Apple Stores out of nearly $310,000 by fooling clerks into taking depleted debit cards, was sentenced Friday to nearly five years in federal prison.
Parrish, who has 4 cents in his Pinellas County Jail commissary account, was ordered to pay $312,748.99 in restitution, a sum that includes proceeds of similar scams at two hotels and a car rental company....
TAMPA — A federal prisoner who helped make Tampa famous for stolen identity tax refund fraud gets a new day in court Feb. 3.
Rashia Wilson, 29, will be resentenced by U.S. District Judge James S. Moody Jr., whose initial 21-year punishment was rejected by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The court ruled that procedural errors may have inflated Wilson's prison term.
Moody isn't obligated to reduce Wilson's sentence but must at least recalculate the formula he used as a guideline....
TAMPA — Three people died because a Pinellas Park pain management doctor prescribed drugs they didn't need, while the doctor and his wife broke laws to hide proceeds of a conspiracy, a federal grand jury charges.
Dr. Edward Neil Feldman, 75, could face life in prison if convicted of illegally dispensing the drugs that killed them.
Court records identify the deceased only by their initials: R.G., J.M. and S.W....
TAMPA — One March day in 2013, the married owners of a Lutz fertility clinic examined a pregnant young stranger who was carrying their unplanned grandchild.
Dr. Stephen Welden pointed out Remee Jo Lee's embryo in an ultrasound. His wife, nurse practitioner Lenora Welden, drew Lee's blood. The doctor's son, John Andrew Welden, stood in the wings, according to newly released reports. ...
12/19/14 State Roundup
The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday chose not to meddle in Florida's tug-of-war over marriage equality, declining to delay the Jan. 6 start of same-sex vows.
Attorney General Pam Bondi had asked the court to block gay marriage while Florida fights to protect a 2008 constitutional amendment that allows only heterosexual couples to wed. In a one-paragraph order, the court decided not to step into the Florida case....
12/17/14 Economic Development
TAMPA — News that the United States plans to ease some travel restrictions and restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba — the biggest movement toward normalization with the Communist country in a half-century — impacts few places more than Tampa Bay.
This is home to one of the largest Cuban-American populations in the nation. And thanks to Port Tampa Bay, it is arguably best positioned to become a top trade conduit with Cuba, as well as a travel hub....
TAMPA — Four skinheads chose two homeless men at random in 1998 and broke open their heads for bragging rights.
One victim was black; the other, white. The killers, white supremacists who considered all vagrants to be beneath contempt, assumed no one would care, U.S. Attorney Lee Bentley recalls.
Years later, Bentley and his colleagues put the men in prison.
"It means more to me than any other matter I've handled," says Bentley, 55, now officially the top federal prosecutor for the Tampa Bay region and beyond....
TAMPA — Another crew member from the Italian tanker Marigola was charged Wednesday in a case involving pollution law violations on the high seas uncovered by the Coast Guard at Port Tampa Bay.
This time, the defendant is a chief engineer, Carmelo Giano.
The U.S. Attorney's Office also brought criminal charges this week against ship owner Carbofin S.P.A. and second assistant engineer Alessandro Messore. In a plea agreement filed Tuesday, the company admitted that it had not kept accurate oil records, which is a crime under federal maritime pollution laws, and agreed to pay $2.75 million....
TAMPA — Joseph Edward Devlin posts pictures on his Facebook page of a daughter and grandchildren. But according to federal authorities, he showed up at a Tampa restaurant Friday to meet someone else's child: the 12-year-old girl he'd been promised for sex.
Devlin, 48, instead encountered a special agent for Homeland Security Investigations who had posed online as a bad mother looking for a man to sexually "train" her girl....
TAMPA — Owners of an Italian tanker ship that routinely visits Port Tampa Bay have agreed to pay $2.75 million after the Coast Guard found evidence that crew of the Marigola used a "magic hose" to dump sludge and waste oil on the high seas.
The U.S. Attorney's Office filed criminal charges this week against ship owner Carbofin S.P.A. and at least one employee. In a signed plea agreement filed Tuesday, the company admitted that it had not kept accurate oil records, which is a crime under federal maritime pollution laws....