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Published August 25, 2006

Woman accused of Medicaid fraud

ST. PETERSBURG - An office manager at a medical office was arrested Thursday on charges of identity theft and Medicaid fraud, according to the state Attorney General's Office.

Carla Ann Mejia, 39, created bogus work schedules for other employees at an office run by PSA Healthcare so she could charge Medicaid $150,000 for services that were never provided, state officials said. Mejia also forged signatures on fraudulent paychecks and deposited more than $14,000 into her bank account, the Attorney General's Office said.

Mejia, a Valrico resident, faced one count of organized fraud and four counts of criminal use of personal identification information.

Officer suspended for two weeks

ST. PETERSBURG - A police officer was suspended for two weeks without pay after a department board found that she failed to adequately investigate two suspected burglaries.

A chain of command board said Stephanie Banks, a veteran officer, didn't investigate commercial burglaries at a strip mall in March and later didn't do enough work when responding to a call about a suspected vehicular burglary in April.

According to the review, Banks found a number of open doors at a strip mall at 3342 Tyrone Blvd. on March 31, but didn't secure the businesses or do any followup work. About three hours later, other police officers investigating more burglaries in the strip mall found clear evidence of doors being forced open. Technician Scott Frankland, who also responded to the scene, received a warning because officials said he should have known from his experience that burglaries occurred at the strip mall.

The review also found that Banks didn't stop at an address where neighbors saw a suspicious man enter a parked truck in April. Another officer later had to investigate the report of the burglarized truck.

Weeks after dye explosion, an arrest

TAMPA - Police think they have caught the hapless bank robber who had a dye pack blow up in his pants as he made his getaway Aug. 2 in Tampa.

Ralph Chapman Jr., 23, of Tampa was arrested Wednesday in Orlando as he was going to check on work as a day laborer. Chapman is accused of robbing a Tampa bank and attempting to rob a Clermont bank this month.

In Tampa, police say a man entered the Bank of America at 3439 W Hillsborough Ave. on Aug. 2, showed a teller a note demanding money and flashed a gun.

As he left with his pants stuffed with cash, police say, a dye pack hidden in the cash blew up. The thief, who abandoned the money, got away. A skeptical teller foiled the second robbery attempt.

Chapman was identified as a suspect in the robberies based upon a partial fingerprint on one of the notes left behind during the two robberies. Tampa police said the fingerprint, and a tip from the public, led officials to his whereabouts. Police said that when they arrested Chapman they noticed a burn on his right thigh.

Man gets 20 years in beating death

LARGO - A St. Petersburg man was sentenced to 20 years in prison Monday for beating his girlfriend to death during an argument over a crack pipe.

Quantez Critton, 21, pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter in the beating of Rachel McGillivray, 23, last year. Authorities said Critton beat McGillivray on Jan. 28, 2005, while the couple argued. McGillivray died at a hospital several days later. Critton was charged with second-degree murder, but a plea deal was arranged in which he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter. Critton will receive 559 days off his sentence for time served since his arrest.


[Last modified August 25, 2006, 01:20:52]

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