Orlando city commissioner charged, accused of using 96-year-old's money on personal expenses


An Orlando, Florida city commissioner is facing seven felony charges for allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from a 96-year-old woman to pay for a facelift, dental surgery, hotel rooms and home renovations, among other expenses, local authorities said.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) announced Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill, 58, was arrested and charged with 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 charges come after an agent for the FDLE filed an affidavit on March 7 detailing Hill's alleged crimes. The documents accuse Hill of financially exploiting the 96-year-old woman since March 15, 2021.

USA TODAY attempted to contact Hill's defense attorney but did not receive an immediate response.

Who is Regina Hill: What to know about the suspended Orlando city commissioner facing 7 felonies

Florida city commissioner allegations: Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill allegedly spent 96-year-old's money on facelift, hotels

Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill
Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill

How did Regina Hill allegedly steal the 96-year-old woman's money?

The investigation into Hill began when the Office of the Attorney General forwarded a complaint to the FDLE, the local agency said March 28 in a news release.

"Hill first came in contact with the victim, through her position as a city commissioner, after it was discovered that the victim was living in deplorable conditions," the FDLE said.

Once Hill met the 96-year-old woman, a month later she obtained power of attorney over her without the two having any prior relationship, according to the FDLE agent's affidavit.

"At first glance, Hill’s actions appeared well-intentioned as she coordinated the clean-up of the victim’s residence and other community resources," the FDLE said.

During the FDLE's investigation, agents found out Hill fraudulently obtained a second power of attorney to buy a home with the 96-year-old woman as the co-signor without her knowledge or consent, for a cost of more than $400,000, according to the local agency.

The agents then learned Hill lived in a second home the 96-year-old woman had owned, the FDLE said. Hill took about $15,400 of the woman's money to renovate the second home, which she moved into, without the alleged victim's knowledge, the local agency added.

Further investigation determined Hill accessed the 96-year-old woman's personal checking, savings and credit card accounts, the FDLE said. The commissioner is accused of spending over $100,000 of the woman's money for her lifestyle, including multiple procedures, clothes and other high-priced expenses, according to the local agency.

Hill's alleged abuse continued for about three years, the FDLE said.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis indicates Regina Hill could be suspended following recent indictment

Before the FDLE announced the indictment, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke to WESH on the accusations against Hill saying, "This is a target-rich environment, this state, for exploitation because you have a lot of seniors and you have a lot of seniors who are retired and have some income."

"If a municipal elected official is indicted by a grand jury, then I would suspend. That's typical," DeSantis said, according to the Daytona Beach, Florida-based TV station.

It is unclear if Hill has been suspended or if any action has been taken regarding her role as Orlando City commissioner.

“The public’s trust in its leaders is essential. Officials who commit crimes against those they represent will be investigated and held accountable,” FDLE Orlando Special Agent in Charge John Vecchio said in the agency's release. “I commend our agents and partners whose work helps ensure that the people of Central Florida are protected.”

Regina Hill, Orlando city commissioner, is charged in an elderly exploitation case. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says she could be removed from office.
Regina Hill, Orlando city commissioner, is charged in an elderly exploitation case. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says she could be removed from office.

'I know the truth': Regina Hill reportedly responds to charges, allegations

Hill bonded out of jail after paying a $40,000 bond, according to jail records. If convicted of all charges, Hill faces a maximum of 180 years in prison, the FDLE said.

Hill spoke on the charges and accusations in a statement obtained by WESH.

"It's unfortunate that I have been thrust into these circumstances with these allegations," Hill said. "Unfortunate not just for me but for Mrs. (victim's name) whom I've loved and cared for like my own family."

Hill then told WESH, "I know the truth, I know I'm entitled to due process in which I trust, and I will await my day in court to prove my innocence."

"After 10 years of service for the city of Orlando, I've Illustrated my love and compassion for my constituents, my city and my family," Hill said in the statement.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Orlando city commissioner Regina Hill arrested, facing felony charges