Friday, February 27, 2015

Sydney Williams Indicted For Concealing Cash In Bankruptcy Case

NAPLES, FL. -- Sydney Williams and wife Lorie Williams indicted for concealing $332,300 cash in their 2010 bankruptcy filing. In his bankruptcy proceedings, Sydney Williams allegedly concealed from the Chapter 11 Trustee and the creditors, property belonging to his estate, specifically, a safe deposit box held at a bank.

United States Attorney A. Lee Bentley, III is charging Naples residents Sydney Jackson Williams, Jr. (66) and his wife, Lorie Ann Williams (48), with conspiracy to evade transaction reporting requirements and structuring cash withdrawals and charges Sydney Williams with concealing property belonging to his bankruptcy estate and making a false declaration in relation to his bankruptcy proceedings. 

According to the indictment, from March 3, 2010, through April 22, 2010, Sydney and Lorie Williams conspired with each other to knowingly structure, assist in structuring, and attempt to structure withdrawals from a bank. The purpose of the structuring was to evade bank reporting requirements for currency transactions in excess of $10,000. As part of the conspiracy, Lorie Williams opened a checking account at a bank and wrote checks made payable to cash, each in the amount of $9,500. The couple then made 35 withdrawals by cashing the $9,500 checks, totaling $332,500.

If convicted on all counts, Sydney Williams faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison, and Lorie Williams faces a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment. The indictment also notifies the couple that the United States intends to forfeit $332,500, which is alleged to be traceable to proceeds of the offenses.

The indictment also alleges that on September 30, 2010, Sydney Williams filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition with the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Middle District of Florida. On October 27, 2010, he signed, under penalty of perjury, and filed his Schedules and Statement of Financial Affairs in connection with his bankruptcy petition. 

Chico's Closing 120 Stores In Cost Cutting Move

FORT MYERS, FL. -- Chico's FAS, Inc., a clothing retailer based in Fort Myers, Fl. issued a statement Wednesday indicating it's closing 120 clothing stores.

On the other hand for fiscal 2015, the company plans to open approximately 40 new stores, but significantly less than the openings of 125 stores in 2012, 135 stores in 2013, and 109 stores in 2014.

"The Company has also determined to increase the rate of domestic store closures to improve the overall productivity of its store fleet. Under this plan, the Company expects to close approximately 120 stores starting in fiscal 2015 through 2017. These 120 store closings are expected to ultimately result in expense savings of approximately $55.2 million upon completion."

For fiscal 2015, the Chico's plans to close approximately 35 stores.

The company made changes that resulted in the elimination of approximately 240 existing positions, which is expected to result in approximately $38 million of annualized savings. The corporate organizational realignment resulted in a 12% reduction of the Company's headquarters and field management employee base.

Todd Vogensen , Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Chico's FAS, said, "The changes to the Company's capital allocation and cost reductions announced today were carefully considered to ensure that we continue to operate from a position of strength and drive profitable growth and value creation."

The Company, through its brands – Chico's, White House | Black Market, Soma Intimates, and Boston Proper, is a specialty retailer of women's private branded, casual-to-dressy clothing, intimates, accessories, and other non-clothing items.

As of January 31, 2015, the Company operated 1,547 stores in the US and Canada and sold merchandise through franchise locations in Mexico.

Mental Health Clinics Shut Down Unexpectedly

LABELLE, FL. -- The Hendry-Glades Mental Health Clinic, Inc. with two offices in Hendry county has closed it's doors. Doing business as Hendry Glades Behavioral Health Center, it received funding from the Florida Department of Health, county governments and the United Way.

Officers of the non-profit corporation are Raymond Williams, President; Dr. Martha Valiant, Secretary; Christopher Shupe, Treasurer; Mara Duke, VP; and Joseph Hosick Jr., CEO/CFO,

A court case was filed against the non-profit organization and the Hendry Sheriff's Department in 2012 by Jerome Odom. The complicated case just this week had a proposal for settlement filed, although depositions are still scheduled for March 20.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Governor Announces Florida Medical Examiners

Today, Florida Governor Rick Scott announced one appointment and seven reappointments of District Medical Examiners.

Thomas Beaver, 59, of Marathon, is the interim medical examiner of District Sixteen. He fills a vacant seat and is appointed for a term beginning February 25, 2015, and endingJuly 1, 2017.

Pedrag Bulic, 56, of St. Augustine, is the chief medical examiner of District Twenty-three. He is reappointed for a term beginning February 25, 2015, and ending July 1, 2017.

Marta Coburn, 56, of Naples, is the chief medical examiner of District Twenty. She is reappointed for a term beginning February 25, 2015, and ending July 1, 2017.

Rebecca Hamilton, 49, of Alva, is the chief medical examiner of District Twenty-one. She is reappointed for a term beginning February 25, 2015, and ending July 1, 2017.

Marie Herrmann, 61, of Ormond Beach, is the chief medical examiner of District Twenty-four. She is reappointed for a term beginning February 25, 2015, and endingJuly 1, 2017.

Riazul Imami, 81, of Port Charlotte, is the chief medical examiner of District Twenty-two. He is reappointed for a term beginning February 25, 2015, and ending July 1, 2017.

Roger Mittleman, 66, of Palm City, is the chief medical examiner of District Nineteen. He is reappointed for a term beginning February 25, 2015, and ending July 1, 2017.

Sajid Qaiser, 59, of Melbourne, is the chief medical examiner of District Eighteen. He is reappointed for a term beginning February 25, 2015, and ending July 1, 2017.

Are Fortune 500 Companies Feeding Off Taxpayers?

Integrity Florida Makes Recommendations

A newly published study by Integrity Florida indicates Fortune 500 companies operating in Florida may not be paying their fair share of taxes despite the amount of government contracts they receive.

Nonpartisan research institute Integrity Florida released a study today to provide more transparency about the actual corporate profit tax rates being paid by the Fortune 500 corporations headquartered in Florida to state governments in the U.S.

The key findings on the report:

* While the corporate profits tax rate in Florida is 5.5 percent, the 13 profitable Fortune 500 corporations headquartered in Florida paid a 2.7 percent average corporate profits tax rate to state governments in the U.S. between 2011 and 2013.
* The 13 profitable Fortune 500 corporations headquartered in Florida made $35.1 billion in estimated corporate profits between 2011 and 2013.
* Florida taxpayers paid more than $2.4 billion to 10 of Florida's 17 top Fortune 500 corporations for state government contracts between 2011 and 2013.
* Florida taxpayers have provided 13 of the 17 Fortune 500 corporations headquartered in the state more than $147 million in subsidies.
* Floridians gave the largest profitable corporations in the state more public money through government contracts and subsidies than those corporations paid back in state taxes on their profits nationally between 2011 and 2013.
* Policies that allowed these corporations to take advantage of low corporate profits tax rates, along with large government contracts and subsidies, could be a result of the corporations' significant lobbying and campaign contributions, including the more than $22 million they spent for those purposes in Florida just between 2012 and 2014.

Recommendations from the study suggest Florida policymakers should consider adoption of the model state corporate profits tax disclosure act. Saying "At a minimum, any corporation seeking a government contract or taxpayer-funded subsidy should be required to disclose publicly the organization's corporate profits tax rate and amount of state and local tax revenue paid during the years the entity receives a government contract or subsidy."

Additionally, it is recommended that the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity's Economic Development Incentives Portal should be expanded to publicly disclose the details of every state and local subsidy deal while Florida's lobbyist disclosure laws should be enhanced to detail the exact compensation provided by clients to their lobbyists as well as the specific legislative and executive policies being influenced by their lobbying activities.
Because there is currently no registration requirement for agents, the report says "Site selection consultants and other professional services firms that seek subsidies for corporations should be required to register as lobbyists."
And finally it recommends, the Florida Legislature should implement budget transparency recommendations to help the public follow the money of lobbyists and agents.