Ron DeSantis removes local official accused of stealing from elderly woman

 April 4, 2024

Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill is in legal hot water over allegations that she stole from an elderly woman to pay for surgeries, hotel stays, and other personal expenses.

In response, Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis moved this week to kick the public official out of office. 

Constitution allows governor to remove officials who are under indictment

"Today, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 24-63, suspending City Commissioner for the City of Orlando, Regina Hill, in accordance with the Florida Constitution and sections 112.51(1) and 112.51(2), Florida Statutes," a press release on the governor's website explained.

The press release cited a provision of the state constitution which reads, "[B]y order of the governor any elected municipal officer indicted for crime may be suspended from office until acquitted and the office filled by appointment for the period of suspension, not to extend beyond the term, unless these powers are vested elsewhere by law or the municipal charter."

According to USA Today, Hill is facing three counts of exploitation of the elderly, two counts of fraudulent use of personal identification, one count of mortgage fraud and one count of scheming to defraud over $50,000.

The seven felony charges came about after the Office of the Attorney General forwarded a complaint to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).

Hill gained power of attorney over victim

"Hill first came in contact with the victim, through her position as a city commissioner, after it was discovered that the victim was living in deplorable conditions," USA Today quoted an FDLE statement as saying.

Hill was able to gain power of attorney over the 96-year-old woman a month after they met despite having no prior relationship with her.

"At first glance, Hill’s actions appeared well-intentioned as she coordinated the clean-up of the victim’s residence and other community resources," the FDLE statement explained.

However, the FDLE uncovered evidence that Hill subsequently purchased a home and listed the elderly woman as cosigner "without her knowledge or consent."

What's more, Hill is said to have taken $15,400 from the woman which she spent on renovating the newly purchased home.

Over $100,000 stolen from credit cards and checking account

Hill is also alleged to have used the 96-year-old's credit cards and checking accounts to spend an additional $100,000 on surgical procedures and luxury items.

"The public’s trust in its leaders is essential. Officials who commit crimes against those they represent will be investigated and held accountable," FDLE Orlando Special Agent in Charge John Vecchio said at a press conference.

Vecchio went on to "commend our agents and partners whose work helps ensure that the people of Central Florida are protected."

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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