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 earlier this month from 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, all of Haitian descent, would arrive in Campbell’s office seeking help from the lawmaker. Shackleford would often 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.
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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 booked into the Miami Dade County Jail. Bond was set at $190,000.
Police were alerted to the allegations in June by Campbell, according to the affidavit of FDLE special agent Kenneth Moore, after she received complaints from several constituents.
At the time, Campbell herself was still under investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, which has 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 also 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,” she 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.
Late Friday, Campbell's legislative office issued a statement noting that the lawmaker cooperated with authorities and condemned her aide's alleged crime.
"Representative Campbell supports the legal system and her constituents and does not want any of them to become victims of anybody using their situation to profit financially," the statement said.
Herald/Times Staff writer Toluse Olorunnipa contributed to this report.