Daugustinis was recognized for her work with DUI cases at MADD's Statewide Law Enforcement Recognition dinner Friday.

Polk prosecutor recognized by MADD

FORT LAUDERDALE – Assistant State Attorney Randi Daugustinis was recognized at the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) 2016 Statewide Law Enforcement Recognition Friday in Fort Lauderdale. Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies nominated her for the “Outstanding Prosecutor Recognition” award for her work prosecuting DUI cases.

Daugustinis was recognized for her work with DUI cases at MADD’s Statewide Law Enforcement Recognition dinner Friday.

She was one of 13 prosecutors recognized from across the state of Florida.

PCSO Sgt. Scott Maginn’s MADD nomination letter said that in 2015 Daugustinis was a lead prosecutor in Polk County, prosecuting and convicting DUI offenders. Of the five cases Daugustinis took to trial, all received guilty verdicts. “This was due to her extensive preparation and knowledge of DUI procedures,” Maginn wrote.

He praised her for having a “positive, infectious demeanor” and for always working to perfect her craft through continued learning and communication with DUI experts at the Sheriff’s Office. Maginn wrote that Daugustinis “is an invaluable part of the fight to reduce impaired driving, traffic crashes and fatalities in Polk County.”

Assistant State Attorney Randi Daugustinis, left, and Deputy Ronald Brackley pose for a photo with their awards at the MADD Statewide Law Enforcement Recognition dinner in Fort Lauderdale Friday evening. Brackley was one of the deputies who nominated Daugustinis for her award.

PCSO Deputy Ronald Brackley, who was nominated for MADD’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, was one of the officers who nominated Daugustinis for her award. She said Brackley taught her everything there is to know about drug DUIs and is responsible for a lot of her training.

In Brackley’s nomination letter, he told MADD Daugustinis sets the bar for prosecuting DUI cases, and attorneys should attempt to match her dedication to investigations and courtroom preparation. He said deputies know that when Daugustinis is the attorney handling their cases, they have nothing to be worried about in the courtroom.

Randi Daugustinis poses with her award after the 2016 Statewide Law Encorcement Recognition. She was one of 13 prosecutors from across the state of Florida.

Daugustinis said it was an honor for her to be recognized Friday alongside so many officers and attorneys she looks up to. Attending the MADD recognition dinner and listening to victims’ families tell stories about their lost loved ones brought her to tears multiple times, but she said, it only confirmed why she’s so passionate about prosecuting DUIs.

“The prosecutors help these families get some closure,” Daugustinis said. “We’re getting some of these people off the street and preventing innocent people from getting killed or injured.”

Auburndale woman guilty of meth trafficking

JURY VERDICT: Auburndale woman guilty of meth trafficking

Five kilograms of methamphetamine were entered as evidence in a two-day trial where jurors found Crystal Caldwell guilty of trafficking.

Assistant State Attorney Jacob Orr delivers his closing statement to the jury Thursday morning. After deliberating, jurors decided the defendant was guilty as charged.

Caldwell, 34, of Auburndale, faces a minimum of 15 years in prison after the jury convicted her Thursday of trafficking 200 or more grams of amphetamine, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of a structure used for trafficking, sale or manufacture of controlled substances and resisting officers without violence.

Assistant State Attorney Jacob Orr told the jury Wednesday that undercover Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives went to Caldwell’s house to buy two kilos of meth for $20,000. After the transaction, the property was searched, and three more kilos of meth were recovered from a wheel inside a truck in Caldwell’s yard.

Law enforcement conducted a search, and in addition to the five kilos of meth, a small plastic bag of meth was found in Caldwell’s pocket.

While two other men were the ones who handed the drugs to undercover deputies, Orr pointed out to the jury that the drugs were at Caldwell’s house and that she was their link.

Seven witnesses testified, including one of the men who helped Caldwell sell the drugs, and the jury was presented with audio and video evidence Wednesday that she was a key player in the drug transaction.

Caldwell’s attorney argued that Orr hadn’t proved anything through the testimony and evidence, but Orr responded in closing statements saying that without Caldwell the drug deal “simply would not have happened.”

He told the jurors he was confident they would determine he’d proven the case beyond a reasonable doubt because the evidence proved Caldwell was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

“This was all happening at Crystal Caldwell’s house. The drugs were at her house,” Orr said. “You could debate what role she played, but you cannot deny she played a role.”

After reviewing the audio and video evidence again, the jury deliberated for about an hour and a half. They determined Caldwell was guilty as charged, and she will be sentenced in September.

Sebring man charged with fraud

SAO INVESTIGATION: Sebring man charged with fraud

SEBRING – After a three-month investigation by State Attorney’s Office Investigator Stephen Menge, Robert Stephen Wiggins, 32, of 3745 Sparta Road in Sebring, was arrested Thursday and charged with scheme to defraud, five counts of grand theft, six counts of contracting without a license and workers compensation fraud.

Robert Wiggins

He obtained $14,861.36 from multiple victims. Wiggins was arrested Thursday and was held on a $10,000 bond for his charges but has since bonded out.

The State Attorney’s Office was originally contacted on April 25 by a citizen who wished to file fraud complaints against Wiggins. Since then, a total of 12 victims came forward to file complaints.

Wiggins worked as a handy man in the stock room for K Signs & Aluminum in Sebring. Since window rescreening was Wiggins’ specialty, he would often be sent out to do those jobs.

While out on the job, Wiggins would solicit additional work from the homeowners, and he would find work through referrals from neighbors.

Wiggins told most of the victims he’d need a deposit before starting the construction. In many of the cases, he started some of the work but never returned to complete it.

The work Wiggins solicited required him to be licensed as a “Specialty Structure Contractor.”

An investigator with the Department of Business and Professional Regulation found “no evidence that Robert Wiggins has ever had a current or active license as a state registered or state certified construction contractor…”

If you believe you are one of Wiggins’ victims, please contact Investigator Menge at 863-534-4920 or smenge@sao10.com.

William Gainey, 62, of Lake Wales, sits in the courtroom during his sentencing Friday morning. Judge J. Dale Durrance sentenced Gainey to 30 years in prison after he was convicted of two counts of DUI manslaughter.

SENTENCING UPDATE: Gainey sentenced to 30 years for DUI manslaughter

William Gainey – convicted of two counts of DUI manslaughter – was sentenced to 30 years in prison by Judge J. Dale Durrance Friday morning.

Patresa Ivey, left, mother of the 4-year-old victim, tells Judge J. Dale Durrance about how the death of her son and husband affected her. She and other family members talked during the sentencing Friday morning about how Gainey’s actions impacted them.

The sentencing follows a jury trial from last month where Gainey was found guilty.

On May 29, 2015, Gainey, 62, of Lake Wales, mixed alcohol and narcotics before driving and striking the vehicle of Christopher Ivey, killing him and his 4-year-old son, Jayden.

In Friday’s sentencing, Assistant State Attorney Melissa Gravitt stated Gainey doubled his oxycodone intake and drank alcohol before operating a vehicle and slamming into the back of the Ivey’s vehicle at almost 80 MPH. Gravitt said Gainey accelerated just before impact, requesting that Durrance issue the maximum sentence.

Family members of the victims wept as Durrance said Gainey would spend two consecutive 15-year sentences for both counts.

Prior to Durrance’s decision, family members gave their final comments to Durrance and showed him pictures of the victims prior to his decision.

William Gainey, 62, of Lake Wales, sits in the courtroom during his sentencing Friday morning. Judge J. Dale Durrance sentenced Gainey to 30 years in prison after he was convicted of two counts of DUI manslaughter.

“Reality didn’t set in,” Jayden Ivey’s mother, Patresa Ivey said. “I thought the next morning they were coming home.”

Another family member said she didn’t think any time Gainey served would be enough after he took two lives away.

Ryan Ivey, Jayden’s 12-year-old brother, approached Durrance to talk about his father and brother but broke down crying and had to be helped back to his seat.

Gainey apologized to the family and was taken from the courtroom by bailiffs after the sentencing.