A legislative aide to state Rep. Daphne Campbell was arrested Friday for grand theft after she allegedly charged constituents phony fees for assistance that never materialized.
Janice Y. Shackelford, 49, resigned her job as a secretary in Campbell’s Miami Shores office after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement started investigating complaints from constituents who said she charged them for assistance on mortgage issues, immigration concerns and traffic violations.
The victims were all of Haitian descent, investigators said, and Shackleford often would have them sign court forms and documents, charge them fake fees of as much as $1,110 and fail to follow through.
Sometimes Shackelford would claim their paperwork was processed and charge them additional fees to push it through the process. Other times, victims would arrive in court for a date set by Shackelford “only to discover it was a bogus court date and no court hearing was scheduled,” FDLE spokesman Keith Kameg said in a statement.
FDLE has identified 10 victims with a total loss of approximately $5,400, Kameg said. Shackelford was charged with one count of organized fraud, five counts of unlawful compensation and three counts of official misconduct and booked into the Miami Dade County Jail. Bond was set at $190,000.
Police were alerted to the allegations in June by Campbell, a Miami Democrat, according to the affidavit of FDLE special agent Kenneth Moore, after she received complaints from several constituents.
Campbell has had her own run-ins with the legal system. She has been under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service for the past several months and the federal agents have imposed liens on the family healthcare business run by Campbell and her husband, Hubert.
The Campbells were hit with a $130,386 lien in March, followed by a second $14,790 lien in April in relation to their businesses which provide billing and booking services to nursing and group-home providers,
The Campbells have had numerous run-ins with the justice system. Hubert, 47, filed for bankruptcy two years ago, was convicted in a mortgage fraud case in 2007, and received three years’ probation and a $2,000 fine. Their 29-year-old son, Gregory Campbell, faces state Medicaid fraud charges because of an alleged $300,000 dispute. And last year the Florida Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit began investigating home health care companies run by Campbell and her husband, according to sources close to the investigation.
Despite the allegations, and a call from the Florida Democratic Party for Campbell to “consider stepping down,” Campbell was re-elected to her District 108 seat in the Aug. 14. primary. Campbelll defeated Alix Desulme and Pat Santangelo with 60 percent of the votes in her district.
Attempts to reach Campbell were unsuccessful.
Ryan Duffy, spokesman for the incoming House speaker, said the Florida House cooperated with the investigation into Shackelford, who announced her resignation Sept. 12.
“We were asked by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to turn over her state issued computer and we complied,” he said.
Staff writer Toluse Olorunnipa contributed to this report.