Orlando Commissioner Regina Hill arrested and then released on a $40,000 bond, charges include elderly exploitation - Hindustan Times
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Orlando Commissioner Regina Hill arrested and then released on a $40,000 bond, charges include elderly exploitation

Mar 29, 2024 10:12 AM IST

Orlando Commissioner Regina Hill, accused of exploiting an elderly resident and misusing her position for personal gain, investigation continues.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) has released Orlando Commissioner Regina Hill on a $40,000 bond, after arresting her earlier that day on charges including three counts of exploitation of the elderly, mortgage fraud, scheme to defraud, and two counts of fraud.

The allegations against Orlando Commissioner Regina Hill, including exploitation of an elderly constituent and fraudulent financial activities(City of Orlando)
The allegations against Orlando Commissioner Regina Hill, including exploitation of an elderly constituent and fraudulent financial activities(City of Orlando)

The allegations against Commissioner Hill involve the exploitation of a nonagenarian resident of her district. It is claimed that Hill misappropriated thousands of dollars from the elderly victim’s savings for personal use.

‘Hill effectively betrayed the trust of her community’

FDLE agents have found evidence suggesting that Hill leveraged her influence to fraudulently obtain a power of attorney over the victim. “Agents discovered that Hill used her influence over the victim to fraudulently obtain a power of attorney,” stated Vecchio, an official involved in the investigation.

Lee Massie of the FDLE expressed the gravity of the betrayal, noting, “Hill effectively betrayed the trust of her community by taking advantage of a 96-year-old elderly citizen.”

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The investigation surfaced that Hill became acquainted with the elderly woman, who was living in substandard conditions, through her role as a city commissioner. This connection ostensibly began with the provision of beneficial services but allegedly evolved into the fraudulent activities under scrutiny.

“Hill became aware of this resident through her position as a city commissioner, and because of that, was able to lend what appeared to be benefit services that then turned into the acts we discussed,” Vecchio elaborated.

Orlando Commissioner Hill out of jail as investigation continues

Further investigations indicate that Hill utilized the power of attorney to make significant financial decisions, including the purchase of a home in the victim’s name. Plus, Hill is accused of using the victim’s finances to fund a lavish lifestyle, including rental cars, hotel stays, and luxury items such as expensive perfumes from high-end retailers. The total amount involved in the fraud is reported to exceed $100,000.

Despite the severity of the charges, Hill’s attorney, James Smith, reminded the public of his client’s presumption of innocence and her past contributions to the community. “It’s also important to remember the number of good things she’s done for her constituents and for this city,” Smith said, following Hill’s initial court appearance.

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“Obviously the allegations are serious and shocking, but it’s incredibly important to remember in the eyes of the law she is to be presumed innocent,” he continued.

The city of Orlando, in response to Hill’s arrest, acknowledged the situation but clarified that they lack the authority to discipline an elected official, a power that resides with the Governor. “That power lies with the Governor,” the city’s statement read.

Governor Ron DeSantis addressed the matter: “If a municipal elected official is indicted by a grand jury, then I would suspend. If there’s not an indictment, then my power of suspension doesn’t reach.”

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