The grow house business is so prolific in South Florida that it has spawned a cadre of lawyers who label themselves “grow house attorneys” specializing in defending the wealthy pot farmers. Each plant can produce one pound of pot, which has a street value of $4,500 — double that if they sell it in New York or New Jersey, authorities say.
The IRS is paying out billions of dollars in fraudulent tax refunds to identity thieves; a problem that the tax service’s inspector general told CNBC is a “growing problem” involving numbers that are increasing “exponentially.”
The report said the identity theft scam is most prevalent in Florida, with two cities, Tampa and Miami, topping the list of potentially fraudulent claims. Tampa saw 88,724 potentially fraudulent returns filed, generating refunds of more than $468 million. And Miami saw 74,496 potentially fraudulent returns generating more than $280 million in possibly bogus returns.
Florida is among more than a dozen states posing challenges for local, state and federal authorities in what they call "drug tourism.” Dealers come to Florida and Georgia searching for unethical doctors willing to write large prescriptions for OxyContin, Vicodin and Percocet, which the dealers then sell on the street for as much as $100 per pill.
“The message to Iran is, ‘Don’t even think about it,’ ” one senior Defense Department official said. “Don’t even think about closing the strait. We’ll clear the mines. Don’t even think about sending your fast boats out to harass our vessels or commercial shipping. We’ll put them on the bottom of the gulf.”
The general manager of a U.S. horseracing track denied allegations Monday that the chief of Mexico's most violent drug cartel had fixed a $1 million race so his own horse would win.
According to two confidential FBI informants, Zetas leader Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, also known as "40," bragged that he had paid the gatekeepers at New Mexico's Ruidoso Downs $10,000 "to hold back the horses" competing against his own horse, Mr. Piloto, in the 2010 All American Futurity Race, which Mr. Piloto won.
“These kids don’t expect to live a full life,” said Leak, a former executive director of the Cook County Department of Corrections. “You get about a thousand other kids who come to these funerals. They see how it’s celebrated and they think this is how I’ll be celebrated when I get shot.”
Chicago’s police commissioner has pointed to gang-related conflicts as the driving force behind the recent surge in gun deaths. From the start of this year through June 18, at least 240 people have been killed, according to the Chicago Police Department.
Over the weekend, the NY Times profiled the fact that Sweden hands its official @Sweden twitter account over to a different citizen each week, and lets them control it. It was the brain child of the Swedish Institute and the national tourist agency -- with the idea of showcasing some of Sweden's quirkiness. And, from the sound of the NY Times article, it had been mostly working. Some of the tweets were a bit edgy or weird, but nothing too crazy. Until now.
With The Atlantic‘s Elspeth Reeve suggesting marijuana policy could become a major deciding factor in the 2012 election and a solid majority of voters nationwide now favoring legalizing and regulating marijuana similar to the way alcohol and tobacco cigarettes are currently regulated, it’s interesting to see which media figures have been outspoken in their support of legalizing pot.
Scott Rothstein transcripts released Thursday describe how he used dirty money from his Ponzi scheme to fund his investment in and operation of Casa Casuarina, the former Versace mansion in South Beach.
For 23 years, a pair of pert, painted, pasty-clad tits has greeted anyone strolling along 14th Street on South Beach. On any given day, you'll find a small crowd of locals, European tourists, and the odd bum gazing up at the vibrant mural of a mermaid riding on the back of a bald eagle. That's how you know you've arrived at Tattoos by Lou, one of the city's most storied tattoo parlors.
Just this week, however, Miami Beach code compliance officers have told Lou's to take down the famous mural. They argue that a touch-up back in 2000 means the painting no longer has a valid permit. Lou's owner and clients are pissed.
Thorpe told BuzzFeed, 'Pitbull was very cool and unflappable. I didn’t get to speak to him too much, but his entourage spoke very highly of him." Thorpe also tweeted out photos alongside him and his target, and relayed this message: "Just met Pitbull. He shook my hand and said 'Keep bullshitting. Next thing you know we'll be on the moon.'" At some point, Pitbull tweeted "'Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.' Sun-tzu ;)" along with a photo of him and Thorpe.
If Chicago's street thugs are going to attack each other, they should take their fight away from innocent children, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told the CBS Evening News on Monday.
"We've got two gangbangers, one standing next to a kid. Get away from that kid. Take your stuff away to the alley. Don't touch the children of the city of Chicago. Don't get near them," Emanuel -- President Obama's former chief of staff -- told anchor Scott Pelley.
An alligator at least 10 feet long lunged at a teenager swimming in a river and bit off the teen's right arm below the elbow, state wildlife officials said Tuesday.
Kaleb Langdale, 17, survived the encounter Monday in the Caloosahatchee River west of Lake Okeechobee. Wildlife officers who caught and killed the alligator retrieved the arm, but doctors were unable to reattach it.
Another friend said Langdale popped out of the water shortly after being bitten.
"He was waving saying, 'Call the paramedics! My arm is gone!'" Gary Beck said.
What happens if you're facing the worst tuberculosis outbreak the CDC has seen in 20 years? If you're Florida Governor Rick Scott, it involved covering up the fact, signing laws shrinking the state's Department of Health, and shutting down the hospital where TB cases had been treated for the past 60 years.
Michael Braun, the former chief of operations for the D.E.A., told me a story about the construction of a high-tech fence along a stretch of border in Arizona. “They erect this fence,” he said, “only to go out there a few days later and discover that these guys have a catapult, and they’re flinging hundred-pound bales of marijuana over to the other side.” He paused and looked at me for a second. “A catapult,” he repeated. “We’ve got the best fence money can buy, and they counter us with a 2,500-year-old technology.”
The name Carl Bernstein is drilled into the heads of journalism students in J-schools across the country. He's the Pulitzer Prize winner who uncovered the Watergate scandal with Bob Woodward at The Washington Post. He is a journalism deity. He is also a man. Named Carl. Somehow, however, on Sunday The Miami Herald accidentally misspelled his byline as Carol Bernstein.
Lying police detectives having illicit adulterous affairs, a twin brother and enough twists for episodes of 'Perry Mason' and all the 'Law & Order' shows: The incredible trial of Adam Kaufman, an Aventura, Florida man falsely accused of murdering his wife...
Allen Stanford -- the massive Ponzi-schemer and full-time nutter who put his billions in illicit profits into a Coral Gables castle and cricket tournaments in the Caribbean -- was sentenced to more than a century of jail time for his crimes today. A federal judge in Texas sentenced the financier, who had a major office in downtown Miami, to 110 years in prison. Stanford was defiant until the end.
"I'm not up here to ask for sympathy or forgiveness," he said. "I'm up here to tell you from my heart I didn't run a Ponzi scheme."
In August, he'll enter his fourth season as a high school assistant coach -- if Florida's Education Practices Commission will let him. For the past three seasons (two at Miami Central and one at Northwestern), Campbell has coached using a temporary certification. That certification expires at the end of the 2012-13 school year. To continue coaching in Miami-Dade County after that, Campbell will need a permanent certificate.
An administrative judge has recommended that Campbell be allowed to coach, but last week the Florida Department of Education appealed that recommendation. In the appeal, the department's attorney, Charles Whitelock, wrote that "the Petitioner lacks the required good moral character" to coach students.
Miami real-estate agents are hyping the market with a level of heavy-breathing not seen since 2006. Prices can only go up, they say. Sales of million-dollar condos in 2011 are up nearly 20 percent over the previous peak year of 2006.
In other words, Miami’s boom is not a broad-based market recovery driven by local families needing a home. It’s being fueled by a tiny top slice of super-rich overseas buyer looking for the latest hot investment.
That makes the market especially sensitive to financial shocks from Europe or a slowdown in growth in emerging markets. If European markets tumble and China has a hard landing, the shocks will be felt quickly at the top of Miami's glass-walled Continuum Towers or Setai.