Crime journal

By Times Staff Writer
Published February 29, 2008


Second man pleads guilty in housing scam 

A second former Tampa Housing Authority employee pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to stealing grant money. Carlton Miles, 38, of Tampa faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date before U.S. District Judge Susan Bucklew has not been set. Miles worked as a Section 8 counselor for the Housing Authority from May 2003 to 2004, a period in which he recruited relatives and friends to serve as fake landlords so they could receive U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development money. The Housing Authority receives thousands of dollars each year from HUD to subsidize housing for low-income families, the elderly and disabled individuals. Landlords who participate in the Housing Choice Voucher Program receive grant money in exchange for reduced rent for qualified tenants. Miles and others conspired to place bogus landlord names into the Housing Authority's database to embezzle money.

Homeowners sue over loan fraud

Two homeowners filed a lawsuit in federal court this week against Peter J. Porcelli, saying they lost their homes because of his foreclosure lending scam. Philip Clark and Tania Harris say Porcelli of Oldsmar and others associated with his Safe Harbour Foundation, Silverstone Lending and Silverstone Financial companies targeted them as part of a scam to save them from foreclosure through fraudulent loans. In October, a federal judge sentenced Porcelli to 13 years in prison for his part in a credit card scam that victimized tens of thousands of credit-poor consumers across the country. He also was ordered to pay restitution of more than $11.8-million. Porcelli was indicted in March on conspiracy, wire fraud, mail fraud and money laundering charges. Prosecutors said he had a telemarketing operation that preyed on 165,141 consumers nationally and took in nearly $12-million in illegal profits.

Woman accused of home facelift

At her home hair salon, police say, Sandra Barreto-Lima injected an unknown liquid into one woman's lips, another woman's forehead, around her eyes and mouth and performed a "thread lift," a procedure that sews sagging skin with sutures, on another woman. The women paid between $150 and $700 for the procedures, performed on a bed in Barreto-Lima's house at 2909 W Wilder Ave., police said. Officers arrested her Thursday on charges of practicing medicine without a license. Barreto-Lima, 47, was released on $8,000 bail.