Former traffic clerk pleads in bribery case

Published January 30, 2007

Veda Renee Virgil took at least three bribes in exchange for falsifying driver's license reinstatement documents, prosecutors say. The former Hillsborough County traffic clerk avoided jail by pleading guilty to reduced charges, receiving a sentence of two years of house arrest and three years of probation. Wayne Chalu, supervisor of the Hillsborough State Attorney's economic crimes unit, said prosecutors could prove Virgil, 32, took $500 to $600 in bribes.

Woman who leapt off Skyway named

Deputies identified a 50-year-old Clearwater woman who died Friday in a jump from the Sunshine Skyway bridge as Suzanne Lynn Sandsmark of 1009 Pierce Drive. Her body was found on rocks near the bridge after she jumped at 11:30 p.m., Hillsborough officials said.

Emergency doctor arrested at concert

Police accused a St. Petersburg emergency room physician of using cocaine and marijuana Sunday at a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert. Dr. Julio F. Zavala was arrested at 9:30 p.m. at the St. Pete Times Forum on charges of possession of cocaine and marijuana, jail records show. He was released from jail on $2,500 bail. Zavala, who lives in Sarasota, works at Edward White Hospital in St. Petersburg, police said. Health Department records show he has a valid medical license. He is employed by Florida EM1 Medical Services, a company that provides doctors for the hospital's emergency room, said company spokeswoman Deborah Hileman.

Sheriff's officer is demoted

One of Citrus Sheriff Jeff Dawsy's top lieutenants was pulled over by a deputy this month on suspicion of drunken driving. It was the second time in his 22-year career that Lt. James Martone was stopped for that reason. He was not arrested either time. But the Sheriff's Office said Monday that Martone will serve one year of probation within the agency. Martone, who supervised the school resource officers in Citrus, will no longer be a sworn law enforcement officer. Instead, he will work as a civilian, assigned to the child protective services arm of the Sheriff's Office. His pay will be cut from $70,148 per year to about $52,243, and he will lose part of his special risks retirement pay.

Former policeman faces porn charge

A former Largo police officer was charged with felony possession of child pornography Monday, as a result of activities uncovered by an FBI unit charged with investigating underage exploitation on the Internet. Jamie Bogdan, 32, pleaded not guilty to the charges, which carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Bogdan voluntarily resigned from the Largo Police Department on Oct. 16, the same day task force investigators - from the FBI and other local law enforcement agencies - confronted him at his home, Largo police spokesman Mac McMullen said.