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Senator Gayle Harrell endorsed by Kathleen Passidomo, GOP Senate Leaders for re-election

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee (FRCC) announced in a press release that Senate leaders President Kathleen Passidomo, President-Designate Ben Albritton and Senators Jim Boyd and Jay Trumbull today endorse Gayle Harrell for Senate District 31.

Joint Statement from Senate Leaders Passidomo, Albritton, Boyd and Trumbull

“Gayle brings an unparalleled health care expertise, a relentless commitment to protecting our waterways and a steadfast drive for preserving parental rights to the Florida Senate on behalf of the hard working Floridians she serves. She is an advocate for doing the right thing, putting people first and ensuring access to opportunity for all. We are proud to endorse Gayle Harrell for the Florida Senate because no one will work harder to be a voice for Senate District 31.”

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North Florida News

AG Moody Shuts Down Fake Websites Scamming SunPass Users

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Standing with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the Florida Department of Transportation at a toll plaza in Orlando today, Attorney General Ashley Moody issued a Consumer Alert warning Floridians about a concerning new smishing scam targeting drivers. The Federal Bureau of Investigation reports that scammers are sending fraudulent text messages to individuals claiming unpaid toll fees and providing links to settle the alleged debts. However, these links are malicious and designed to steal victims’ money. These scams are also being seen targeting E-ZPass users. Attorney General Moody’s Cyber Fraud Enforcement Unit, working with FDLE, recently shut down 10 imposter websites.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “Cybercriminals are sending text messages to thousands of unsuspecting drivers in the hopes that some of them will be tricked into paying a toll fee for a violation that never occurred. While this smishing scam is happening across the nation, our Cyber Fraud Enforcement Unit worked closely with FDLE to shut down 10 fraudulent sites designed to mimic the official SunPass website and steal payments from drivers who received their fake text messages.”

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Deputy Commissioner Vaden Pollard said, “FDLE agents believe there could be hundreds of victims in Florida who received a fraudulent text message saying they owed money to SunPass. FDLE’s Cyber Fraud Enforcement Unit was able to quickly seize the fraudulent websites, stopping the victimization. Thanks to Attorney General Ashley Moody, FDLE has the investigative resources and expertise to move quickly when it matters most.”

Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared W. Perdue, P.E., said, “The Florida Department of Transportation and Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise place our customer’s privacy and security at the utmost importance. With that at our core focus, we are grateful for Attorney General Moody’s immediate response to stop this scam in its tracks and protect Floridians from these criminals attempting to manipulate customers and gain access to their sensitive information. FDOT proudly stands alongside the Attorney General’s office and our law enforcement partners as we continue to go to bat for the people of Florida.”

Below is an example of the unpaid toll scam text message:

While the authentic Sun Pass web address is SunPass.com, the smishing messages direct targets to fraudulent URLs set up to mimic the official sight. Attorney General Moody’s Cyber Fraud Enforcement Unit recently shut down 10 of these fraudulent sites listed below:

  • sunpass-service.com
  • sunpass-help.com
  • sunpass-online.com
  • sunpass-florida.com
  • sunpass-toll.com
  • sunpass-tolls.com
  • sunpass-express.com
  • service-sunpass.com
  • tolls-sunpass.com
  • web-sunpass.com

Florida is particularly susceptible to this emerging threat as it is home to the most toll roads of any state in the nation—more than 700 miles. These roads are necessary to help the 22 million Florida residents and 130 million Florida visitors get to destinations safely and on time.

Attorney General Moody offers the following tips to Floridians to avoid toll smishing scams:

  • Avoid Clicking Links: Refrain from clicking on any links provided in unsolicited messages, especially those claiming to be from SunPass, E-ZPass or FDOT;
  • Verify the Source: Independently confirm the information by contacting FDOT or SunPass using contact information found on an official organization’s website;
  • Check Account Status: Regularly check an online toll account to add an extra layer of protection;
  • Protect Personal Information: Do not provide personal or financial information in response to unsolicited messages, emails or phone calls; and
  • Register Phone Number with Do Not Call List: To help block robocalls and spam text messages, register phone numbers at DoNotCall.gov.

To report suspicious activity related to SunPass or E-ZPass, Floridians can file complaints at FDLE’s Report a Cybercrime webpage.

To view other Consumer Alerts, visit MyFloridaLegal.com/Consumer Alert.

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North Florida News

Attorney General Moody Files Criminal Charges Against Two Men Operating Crypto Money Laundering Scheme Transferring Millions to Colombia

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FILE - Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody speaks at a domestic violence press conference in her Orlando office Thursday, August 26, 2021. (Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News, file photo).

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Attorney General Ashley Moody is announcing criminal charges filed against two men for operating a cryptocurrency money laundering scheme transferring approximately $8 million to be withdrawn from ATM machines in Colombia. Attorney General Moody’s Office of Statewide Prosecution is charging Juan Paulo Galeano and Carlos Andrews Cardona Gomez with money laundering and operating as an unlicensed money transmitter. The defendants created shell digital consulting companies to purchase cryptocurrency and then used multiple financial institutions in Florida to operate a money-service business without a license. The Broward Sheriff’s Office facilitated Galeano’s arrest and Cardona is currently a fugitive in Colombia.

Attorney General Ashley Moody said, “This criminal duo operated a money-service business without a license to transfer approximately $8 million in an elaborate cryptocurrency laundering scheme—creating a flow of millions of dollars’ worth of U.S. currency right into Medellin, Colombia. Thanks to multiple federal and state partners working together on this complex investigation, we have shut down this international criminal scheme.”

According to the investigation, the defendants conducted hundreds of financial transactions through digital asset/cryptocurrency exchange platforms, along with federal wire transfers. The defendants used shell companies to purchase cryptocurrency. Galeano claimed to be the officer or director of Canvas Digital Corp, based out of Miramar and advertised as a consulting service that focuses on digital services, marketing and photography. Cardona claimed to be the officer or director of Cabusa Compania Sas Corp, operating directly from Medellin, Colombia. The defendants utilized multiple cryptocurrency exchanges, including Kraken, Binance and FTX Crypto.

The investigation further revealed that the defendants claimed to provide digital services; however, there is no evidence of product or services. The defendants used a combination of the digital exchange platforms and multiple financial institutions—including JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citibank and more—to layer the financial transactions and obscure the source of the funds. The money-service business scheme allowed approximately $8 million in U.S. currency to be withdrawn in Medellin, Colombia.

Attorney General Moody’s OSP will prosecute the case.

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North Florida News

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell Qualifies for U.S. Senate Race, Campaigns in Northern Florida on Florida Freedom Tour

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Miami, FL – This week on the Florida Freedom Tour, Debbie Mucarsel-Powell campaigned in Gainesville and Tallahassee to meet voters on the ground and discuss the importance of protecting Floridians’ freedoms from Rick Scott and his abortion ban. Today, Debbie was also proud to qualify for the U.S. Senate race to hold Rick Scott accountable.


“Last week, Rick Scott doubled down on his support for Florida’s near-total abortion ban, just 24 hours after claiming that he no longer supported it – he can’t help but embrace the most extreme policies that strip Floridians of their freedoms and put women’s lives in danger,” said Debbie Mucarsel-Powell. “Rick Scott is lying to voters because he knows just how out of step he is with the overwhelming majority of Floridians who support protecting abortion rights, including Republicans. But Floridians are ready to finally hold him accountable – and I’ll be standing right beside them every step of the way.”

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