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Orlando Commissioner Regina Hill arrested amid elderly-abuse investigation

Photo: Commissioner Regina Hill
City of Orlando
A grand jury indicted Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill on seven charges related to an FDLE investigation into the exploitation of an elderly constituent. Hill is seen here in this file photo at a city commission meeting

Orlando District 5 Commissioner Regina Hill was arrested Thursday morning after an indictment by a grand jury on seven charges including elderly abuse and fraud.

An indictment filed in Orange County outlines three charges of elderly abuse and four counts of fraud. At a hearing Thursday afternoon, Hill pleaded not guilty. She will be released after posting a $40,000 bond.

Hill’s arrest comes amid a year-long Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation alleging the mistreatment by Hill of a 96-year-old constituent. The probe found that Hill spent more $100,000 of the woman's money on herself.

"Hill took advantage of one of the community's most vulnerable citizens and whatever constituents by obtaining and later using the victim's personal information and financial funds for her own benefit," said John Vecchia, FDLE special agent in charge.

The FDLE interviewed witnesses and reviewed financial documents during the course of the investigation and alleges Hill met the woman after being made aware of her "deplorable" living conditions. Hill obtained a power of attorney and purchased a home under the women's name, lived in one of her vacant properties, and withdrew more than $100,000 from her bank accounts.

"This was a complex investigation that involves a thorough review and analysis of several years of financial records," said Vecchia. "We located many witnesses, we interviewed them. And we did that to identify the full extent and the evidence of the exploitation that had taken place over the years."

The FDLE does not believe there are other victims, but the investigation remains ongoing.

Hill has served as city commissioner for District 5 since 2013, which includes the neighborhoods of Parramore, Rock Lake, Ivey Lane, the Mercy Drive corridor.

WMFE is not identifying the 96-year-old Parramore resident, who, according to a court filing, has a cognitive disability and age-related infirmities.

Earlier this month, a circuit judge in Orange County imposed a temporary protective injunction. It prevents Hill from having any contact with the woman, accessing her money or continuing to stay in a home the woman inherited.

In a statement, the City of Orlando says it does not have the authority to discipline or suspend an elected official -- that power lies with the Governor. Should that happen, the City is prepared to hold a special election to fill the district 5 city commission seat.

WMFE’s Joe Byrnes contributed to this report.

Updated: March 28, 2024 at 3:28 PM EDT
This story was updated with new details following Hill's court appearance and a press conference by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
Brendan Byrne is Central Florida Public Media's Assistant News Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the newsroom, editing daily news stories, and managing the organization's internship program. Byrne also hosts Central Florida Public Media's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration, and the weekly news roundup podcast "The Wrap."
Marian is a multimedia journalist at Central Florida Public Media working as a reporter and producer for the 'Are We There Yet?' space podcast.
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