Health Care

How a nurse allegedly paid $1,100 in SunPass tolls got her nursing license suspended

Kristine Joy Mengala Salazar
Kristine Joy Mengala Salazar Hernando County

A Spring Hill registered nurse has had her license suspended and faces criminal charges after allegedly raiding an elderly patient’s bank account to pay car loans and SunPass fines and fees.

Total on the car payments: $1,089.54. Total of the SunPass fines and fees: $1,103.22.

Kristine Salazar, 41, has pleaded not guilty to charges of larceny from $300 to $10,000 from a person 65 or older and fraudulent impersonation by using the identification of a minor or someone 60 or older. She posted $7,000 bond Aug. 7. The Florida Department of Health dropped an emergency suspension order (ESO) on her license Monday.

One of the patient’s under Salazar’s care at Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Spring Hill was a woman referred to the ESO as “B.K.” The arrest affidavit says Salazar admitted when the 79-year-old B.K. asked her to mail a check for her, she copied down the bank routing number and the account number on the check.

She then paid by phone two car payments, each $544.77, and that gargantuan SunPass bill, all on May 17.

Once B.K. got home from the hospital, she saw the transactions in her Wells Fargo account.

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Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.
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