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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

Email: pryan@tampabay.com

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  1. Tax fraud 'queen' Rashia Wilson reportedly getting smarter in prison

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Incarceration has bought Rashia Wilson something that $3 million-plus in tax refund fraud never delivered: a GED.

    She is scheduled to be resentenced Thursday. An appellate court decided a judge made technical errors when ordering her to prison for 21 years back in 2013.

    Defense attorney Andrew Greenlee noted in a recent sentencing memorandum that Wilson, now 29, entered prison with a 7th grade education and has since obtained her high school equivalency diploma....

    Rashia Wilson held herself out "as a sort of anti-role model, calling herself the 'queen' and 'first lady' of tax fraud while publicly bragging about her crimes,'' federal prosecutor Sara Sweeney said.
  2. Appellate court wants to hear more from Cortnee Brantley

    Criminal

    TAMPA — An appellate court has taken an interest in the case of Cortnee Brantley, whose former ties to cop killer Dontae Morris led to a prison sentence she has not yet served.

    The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals posted a notice on its website Friday that it will hear oral arguments in the case.

    That means Brantley's attorney, Grady Irvin Jr., will have a chance to further challenge a verdict that a U.S. district judge once called plausible by the "thinnest of legal threads." Irvin argued in his written appeal that the case was selectively prosecuted and insufficiently proven. ...

    Cortnee Brantley, pictured leaving federal court in 2012, was a witness to the 2010 roadside killings of two Tampa police officers. [Times files (2012)]
  3. Former Tampa police informer, ex-officer admit roles in separate tax scams

    Criminal

    TAMPA — A longtime Tampa cop and a police informer both admit in signed plea deals to riding a wave of tax refund fraud, one saying she cashed U.S. Treasury checks held as evidence and the other saying she filed claims using stolen identities.

    Federal charges against former Tampa Police Department Cpl. Jeanette Hevel and ex-informer Rita Girven were made public Thursday, the same day the plea paperwork was filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office....

    Rita Girven, posing with Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn in this  photo from her Facebook page, signed a federal plea agreement Feb. 19, made public Thursday, in which she admits to a role in a $33,002 scheme to collect tax refunds using the stolen names of others.
  4. Federal fraud trial of Belleair Beach scientists opens its two-month run

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Dead men don't help friends apply for grants.

    That's one reason a pair of Belle­air Beach scientists are on trial in U.S. District Court, accused of identity theft and wire fraud in a conspiracy to snag $10 million in federal research money.

    Before it's all over, as many as 288 government witnesses over two months are expected to take the stand against Matt Aldissi and wife, Anastasia Bogomolova, whose companies benefited from programs aimed at fostering small-business innovation....

    Matt Aldissi and Anastasia Bogomolova enter Tampa’s federal courthouse Monday for the start of their trial. They are accused of illegally obtaining $10 million in research money.
  5. Ex-CentCom property accountability manager accused of swiping laptops

    Criminal

    TAMPA — A former property accountability manager for U.S. Central Command's J6 directorate was arrested Friday on a federal charge of stealing five computers from CentCom, court records show.

    Scott Duty, 48, of Riverview was indicted Feb. 12 by a grand jury but the indictment was kept sealed until his arrest.

    The thefts occurred on or around April 15, 2013, the indictment states....

  6. Pain clinic doctor linked to three patients' deaths has long troubled past

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Emergency room physician Anthony Davis has seen a lot of overdose cases. When he does, he checks to see who prescribed the drugs.

    One name grew familiar: Edward Neil Feldman.

    Fourteen months ago, Davis told the Florida Department of Health that he was sick of seeing the Pinellas Park doctor's overmedicated patients.

    Davis likened Feldman to a drug pusher and said patients claimed he prescribed the pain killer oxycodone in powdered form....

    Dr. Edward Neil Feldman, linked to three patient deaths, and his wife, Kim Xuan Feldman, are targets of a federal criminal conspiracy case.
  7. Tampa grand jury accuses five in $940,715 mobile banking scam

    Criminal

    TAMPA — Thieves collected at least $940,715 by using smartphones to deposit money orders they, in essence, borrowed from the U.S. Postal Service, federal documents charge.

    A grand jury in Tampa indicted five men Wednesday on conspiracy and bank fraud charges, providing a glimpse of a scheme, reportedly ongoing since 2010, that capitalized on two conveniences of commerce.

    Many banks allow customers to deposit checks remotely, using cellphone applications. Customers retain the checks....

  8. Ringleader in Tampa tax refund scam gets 10 years

    Criminal

    TAMPA — A ringleader in a scheme that netted $1.5 million in fraudulent tax refunds using stolen identities will spend the next 10 filing seasons in prison.

    Cordell Jones, 52, of Tampa was sentenced Friday to 10 years and one month for his leadership role in a conspiracy that tapped the skills and connections of friends and relatives, according to court files.

    He was indicted on seven charges in July and pleaded guilty in November to conspiracy to commit wire fraud....

  9. Ex-mobster who talked to feds now wants to talk for a living

    Criminal

    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....

    John Alite was paid $8,625 for time spent on the book project, about $20 an hour, but won’t share in proceeds.
  10. Tampa jury awards amputee $17.3 million in tobacco lawsuit

    Civil

    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....

  11. Traders Cafe operator gets two years for Tampa investment scam

    Criminal

    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. ...

  12. Pain clinic doctor practiced for years after first death complaint

    Criminal

    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."...

    Dr. Edward Neil Feldman still appears to have a clear license in Florida, as seen on the Florida Department of Health website.
  13. Doctor accused in three overdoses, but records show more patients died

    Criminal

    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....

    Dr. Edward Neil Feldman is accused in three prescription drug deaths.
  14. Tampa man who duped Apple Stores gets close to five years

    Criminal

    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....

    Sharron Laverne Parrish hit Apple stores in 16 states, 2 hotels and a car rental agency.
  15. New court date set for tax fraud queen Rashia Wilson

    Criminal

    TAMPA — A federal prisoner who helped make Tampa famous for stolen identity tax refund fraud gets a new day in court March 5.

    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. ...