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O'Flaherty-Lewis v. State

Florida Court of Appeals, Fourth District

November 1, 2017

DEBBIE O'FLAHERTY-LEWIS, Appellant,
v.
STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee.

         Not final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, Broward County; John Contini and Dennis D. Bailey, Judges; L.T. Case No. 13-011010CF10A.

          Carey Haughwout, Public Defender, and Alan T. Lipson, Assistant Public Defender, West Palm Beach, for appellant.

          Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Rachael Kaiman, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for appellee.

          Gross, J.

         This is the story of a man who looked for love in the wrong place and ended up as the victim of an extortion plot.

         The victim is a doctor. He came to know appellant through a website, ashleymadison.com, which specializes in connecting married people who seek an extramarital affair. After exchanging sexually explicit messages, the doctor and appellant met at a hotel for sex. Afterwards, appellant contacted the doctor about a second date, but he told her he could not see her for a while and expressed guilt about his infidelity.

         Appellant became angry. The doctor worried that his wife would find out. In a series of text messages, appellant provided the doctor with his last name, home address, the names and birth dates of his daughters, and the name of his wife.

         The doctor had not provided such personal information to appellant.

          Multiple times, appellant threatened to tell the doctor's wife about the affair. He begged her not to and asked, "What can I do to make this right?" Ultimately, appellant suggested that he pay off her $7, 000 credit card bill, stating, "You're gonna pay one way or the other." She refused to give him the actual bill, and said he should pay her directly.

         The doctor offered to pay appellant $4, 000 up front, with the rest later. Appellant agreed. She texted the doctor an account number to use to deposit money at a bank. He went to the bank with a $4, 000 check, but was unable to make the deposit because the bank required the full name of the account holder. By text, the doctor asked appellant for the full name on the account. She refused to provide it, stating she did not trust him.

         Hours after the bank closed, appellant texted the doctor a different account number and the name, "Amber Lewis, " for making a deposit.

         The next morning, the doctor contacted his lawyer who arranged to meet him at the Broward County Sheriff's Office ("BSO"). He provided law enforcement his text messages with appellant and identified her picture. Appellant turned out to be a civilian employee of BSO. Under law enforcement supervision, the doctor made several telephone calls to appellant and arranged to meet her in person.

         BSO provided the doctor with an envelope of investigative funds and set up surveillance equipment to record the meeting. After the doctor arrived at the meeting place, he walked over to appellant with the envelope and said, "We're agreeing? This is it. You'll leave me and my family alone?" Appellant ...


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