DeSantis Suspends Orlando Commissioner Amidst Charges of Stealing $100K from 96-Year-Old

By: Georgia | Published: Apr 03, 2024

Governor Ron DeSantis has taken a significant action by issuing an executive order to suspend Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill. This decision comes shortly after Hill was indicted for allegedly misappropriating a substantial amount of money from a 96-year-old woman, using it for personal expenses including surgeries and hotel stays. 

The governor’s office stated, “Today, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 24-63, suspending City Commissioner for the City of Orlando, Regina Hill.”

Facing Multiple Felony Charges

Regina Hill is currently facing seven felony charges as a result of her alleged actions. 

Advertisement
Close-up of a woman with a bright smile, wearing red attire and hoop earrings, with long, straight hair and a blue background

Source: City of Orlando

These charges include 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 Legal Basis for Suspension

The governor’s decision to suspend Hill is rooted in the Florida Constitution, which allows for the suspension of any elected municipal officer who has been indicted for a crime. 

Advertisement
Side profile of a man in professional attire, featuring a dark suit, red tie, and an earpiece

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The constitution states, “[B]y order of the governor any elected municipal officer indicted for crime may be suspended from office until acquitted.” This provision ensures that public officials facing serious allegations are temporarily removed from their positions until the legal process is concluded.

Prior Warnings of Suspension

Before the indictment was announced, Governor DeSantis had indicated that he would suspend any municipal elected official who was indicted by a grand jury. 

Advertisement
A man in a blue suit and red striped tie stands at a podium, speaking into a microphone. Behind him is a dark curtain and part of an American flag to his left

Source: Wikimedia Commons

“If a municipal elected official is indicted by a grand jury, then I would suspend. That’s typical,” DeSantis said

The Allegations Against Hill

The allegations against Regina Hill suggest she engaged in a calculated scheme to financially exploit a 96-year-old woman. 

Advertisement
A person's hands are shown with one hand holding a pen, poised to sign an 'Illinois Statutory Short Form Power of Attorney for Health Care' document

Source: Wikimedia Commons

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), Hill is accused of taking power of attorney over the elderly woman and using this position to misappropriate funds for personal use. 

Extravagant Personal Spending

The affidavit filed by an FDLE special agent outlines specific examples of Hill’s alleged misuse of funds.

An individual dressed in a burgundy coat and wearing black gloves is holding several shopping bags of different colors and sizes

Source: freestocks/Unsplash

These include purchases of expensive perfume, clothing, numerous intravenous infusions of vitamins, a facelift, a New Year’s Eve hotel stay in Miami, dental surgery, and car insurance payments for her vehicles. 

Advertisement

Exploitation Following Trust

The crux of the allegations is that Hill met the elderly woman in March 2021 and, within a month, had taken power of attorney, which she then allegedly used to exploit the woman financially over three years. 

A close-up image of an elderly person's clasped hands resting on a lap. The hands are prominently wrinkled

Source: Danie Franco/Unsplash

The speed and manner in which Hill assumed control over the elderly woman’s finances are central to the case against her.

Advertisement

Acquisition of Property

One of the more shocking allegations involves Hill obtaining a second power of attorney to purchase a home worth over $400,000, with the elderly woman as the co-signor, reportedly without her knowledge or consent. 

A set of metal keys inserted into a door lock with a black key head, hanging from the keyhole of a wooden door

Source: PhotoMIX Company/Pexels

This action not only demonstrates a significant breach of trust but also a substantial financial exploitation, according to the FDLE.

Advertisement

A History of Legal Issues

Regina Hill’s legal troubles are not new. 

A woman is seated in a salon, her face turned in a playful pose towards the camera. She has short golden hair, is wearing heart-shaped earrings, a black top, and a pearl necklace

Source: Regina Hall Orlando Commissioner/Facebook

Reports have surfaced of her having a history of arrests dating back to 1983, including charges related to drugs, DUIs, fraud, and passing bad checks. Additionally, she was arrested in 2022 in Birmingham, Alabama, for public intoxication. 

Advertisement

The Impact of Hill's Actions

An FDLE Special Agent highlighted the contrast between Hill’s expenditures and the condition of the elderly woman’s home, which was in need of repairs. 

A contemporary two-story home with a mix of beige and cream siding, dark trim, and a second-story balcony with a dark wood railing

Source: Eric Ardito/Unsplash

Despite having access to the elderly woman’s funds, Hill allegedly chose to prioritize her own luxuries and expenses over the well-being of the woman she was supposed to assist.

Advertisement

Financial Aftermath for the Victim

Before Hill’s alleged involvement, the elderly woman had over $164,000 in her bank account. 

A close-up photograph of credit cards, focusing on a Visa card in the foreground with a Mastercard behind it, partially visible

Source: Pixabay/Pexels

However, over the course of Hill’s financial management, the woman’s savings dwindled significantly, leaving her with substantially less in her bank account and increased debt on her credit card. This drastic reduction in financial resources illustrate the alleged exploitation’s impact.

Advertisement

A Whistleblower's Role

The FDLE was alerted to the possible exploitation scheme last year by a former aide of Commissioner Hill, following their dismissal from her staff. 

A person stands gazing at a city skyline across a body of water. They are seen from the back, wearing a vibrant yellow top and black pants

Source: Regina Hall Orlando Commissioner/Facebook

The aide, Jacqueline Cockerham, provided a detailed account of her experience working under Hill, describing it as tormenting. Cockerham disclosed that she was compelled to work excessively long hours and was tasked with conducting personal business on behalf of Hill. 

Advertisement