TAMPA — Longtime police informer Rita Girven was sentenced to 12 years in prison Friday for her role in a stolen identity tax fraud scandal that rocked the Tampa Police Department with criminal charges.
She also was ordered to pay nearly $2.4 million in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.
Scolding her at length, U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich called Girven "a failure," a woman without respect for law enforcement, the justice system or even the four children she brought into the world and left with others to raise....
TAMPA — Augustin Jimenez-Gomez, a Mexican citizen, had already been deported four times when U.S. Border Patrol agents arrested him Oct. 14 on Tampa's Fletcher Avenue.
A proposal by a Florida legislator would make his re-entry into the United States a crime.
But it was already a crime — a federal crime.
Five weeks after his arrest, the 43-year-old man has appeared before a judge, been indicted by a grand jury and is scheduled to enter a guilty plea Monday....
TAMPA — A federal judge declared a mistrial Wednesday in the case of a Pinellas Park pain-management doctor accused of illegally prescribing drugs that may have led to patient deaths.
Dr. Edward Neil Feldman was the last witness to testify at his own trial a day earlier, which screeched to a halt in its third week, right between a question and a never-stated answer.
A prosecutor asked about Feldman's prior criminal record in a way the judge said may have prejudiced the jury....
TAMPA — The day before the men came with guns and badges, Cindy Carabeo was queen.
It was Mother's Day, and she was a mom three times over, married to the same man for 28 years. Her family took her out for breakfast. Back home in Valrico, she dressed the bed with a pretty new quilt, their gift to her.
The next day, after she had walked the two chihuahuas, showered, and waited for the younger girls to return from school, she went on the Internet, where she sometimes posted photos of her grandson....
TAMPA — The medical clinic had stadium seating and a high-speed cash-counting machine.
Outside, a sign asserted "NOT A PILL MILL." The last three words, in white, stood out against a black background.
Those were among details jurors learned Tuesday in the first day of testimony at the federal trial of Dr. Edward Neil Feldman, accused of inappropriately prescribing controlled drugs, resulting in the deaths of three Pinellas County men....
TAMPA — He was a detective. She was a sergeant. Together, Eric and LaJoyce Houston drew salaries totaling $177,054.
But two years ago, jail recordings picked up collusive chatter between the wife and Rita Girven, a Tampa police informer who was close to both Houstons.
The scrutiny that followed led to a 14-count federal indictment Tuesday accusing the veteran Tampa cops of conspiring with Girven and enriching themselves by at least $239,117 through one of the decade's most maddening crimes: stolen identity tax refund fraud....
TAMPA — For years, the story of Dr. Chuma Osuji was that of a Nigerian immigrant who attained the American dream and shared it, using his medical knowledge to help the poor.
But he threw it all away, a judge said Wednesday, ordering Osuji to surrender his license by Friday and serve probation and community service for illegally prescribing controlled drugs.
"I'm trying to understand how someone would jeopardize their medical license to do that," U.S. District Judge Susan Bucklew said after Osuji tried unsuccessfully to explain. "And I still don't understand," she said....
TAMPA — Five years after two Tampa police officers were shot to death at the side of a road, the killer's now ex-girlfriend has lost a federal appeal of a conviction for her role in that tragic day.
Barring another appeal, Cortnee Brantley, 27, could finally begin serving a year in prison, a sentence she received in 2013 for helping to conceal from authorities that Dontae Morris was a felon with a loaded gun....
TAMPA — Federal immigration authorities Thursday announced the results of a focused three-week effort to remove from Florida so-called "criminal aliens" from three dozen countries, including some convicted of committing sex crimes in the United States.
Thirty-eight of 314 arrested were from Hillsborough and Pinellas counties.
Some, though not all, were in the United States illegally....
TAMPA — A federal jury convicted a Spring Hill couple of wire fraud Thursday for keeping a sinkhole secret from buyers after first pocketing a $153,745 insurance settlement and making only cosmetic repairs.
In 2009, Glenn and Kathryn Jasen discovered a sinkhole beneath their Hernando County home and filed a claim with Citizens Property Insurance. The insurer offered to either repair the sinkhole or compensate the Jasens for their losses. ...
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....
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....
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."...
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....
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....