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Former Macclenny physician arrested on 822 fraud counts

Charles Scarborough Just over a year after the state stripped former Macclenny physician Charles Scarborough of his medical license, investigators arrested him on one count of fraud in excess of $50,000 and 821 counts of filing false or fraudulent insurance claims.

Dr. Scarborough was taken into custody at 8 am on October 25 at his residence in southwest Clay County, said Special agent supervisor Andrew Shedlock with FDLE’s Jacksonville Regional Operations Center.

The single count is a first degree felony that could net Dr. Scarborough, 76, up to 30 years in prison. The other counts are third-degree felonies, which are punishable by up to five years in prison.

The investigation began last year when authorities identified Dr. Scarborough as “a significant prescriber of controlled substances in Northeast Florida,” according to a statement from FDLE.

FDLE reported that investigators said they discovered evidence allegedly linking the former Macclenny resident to overprescribing medications and allowing unlicensed and untrained staff to practice medicine.

“The employees were then being directed to inflate medical billing to Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers for a level of service that the patient did not receive,” reads the FDLE statement. “Interviews with employees indicated that Scarborough, a sole practitioner, pushed his staff to see 50 or more patients a day and bill for medical issues not addressed and treatment not received …”

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Jax man arrested on six felonies, including false imprisonment

Jason AmbroseA Jacksonville man is charged with six felonies and two misdemeanors following a standoff with two county deputies at a residence north of Glen St. Mary the afternoon of October 27.

Jason Ambrose, 35, had earlier been at the address on Yellow Pine Circle to retrieve property about noon when he allegedly broke through a locked door, beat estranged girlfriend Amy Masters, 34, then left in her 2002 Ford Explorer.

He returned about three hours later, and refused to allow Ms. Masters and her daughters, ages 10 and 16, to leave the residence. She managed to place a 911 “hang-up” call and Deputy Ben Anderson again returned to the scene.

He said he was met by Ms. Masters when he arrived, and she said the ex-boyfriend was inside with the two girls. The deputy coaxed them outside and heard what he believed to be the suspect attempting to exit through a bathroom window.

Deputy Anderson kicked open the bathroom door and twice tasered the suspect when he refused to show his hands.

Deputy Patrick McGauley arrived as a back-up and stationed himself with a drawn pistol near the window, and released the K-9 Tango when Mr. Ambrose continued to conceal his hands after the taser charges. The dog bit the suspect on the left arm until Deputy Anderson and Sgt. James Marker secured him with handcuffs.

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Early voting in full swing here through Saturday

Voters exit the Supervisor of Elections off after voting early October 30.Elections officials reported a surge in early voting on Monday and Tuesday, roughly one week before the 2012 general election.

Carol Ruise of Supervisor of Elections Nita Crawford’s office said they saw more than 700 voters on October 29.

“It was a madhouse,” she said.

The following day foot traffic remained steady outside the office nestled between N. 5th and 6th Streets and around the corner from the Baker County Republican headquarters.

Supporters for sheriff candidates Joey Dobson and Cameron Coward occupied opposite sides of N. 6th waiving signs early this week as well.

One early voter, Carol Baker of Glen St. Mary, said she’s been casting early ballots since it became an option in 2004.

“I like to get it done and out of the way because you never know what’s going to happen,” said Ms. Baker. “It’s a great service.”

Yolanda Reed of Macclenny voted early for the first time this year to avoid long lines at the polls on election day November 6, which could be longer this year given the lengthy list of state constitutional amendments included on the ballot.

As of late Tuesday, after nearly four days of early voting, 2285 ballots had been cast, 911 from Democrats and 1213 from Republicans. That’s about 16 percent of all registered voters here. Early voting ends Saturday.

‘Rollercoaster’ sheriff poll

Among the many kernels of wisdom fed to young journalists is this — don’t become the story.

As the theory goes, when members of the media go from being the ones gathering the news to the people in the news, they inevitably lose their objective perspective because they are now inside the fish bowl instead of outside. And as such, they can no longer be trusted with a story about themselves.

This week — thanks to complaints about our online poll, how our poll functions and the general hysteria that accompanies all elections, and worsens as the election nears — The Press came close to becoming the story.

I don’t mean in the literal sense that would imply there was a chance that other news organizations (or us for that matter) would be reporting on what we do here from our Macclenny office. But rather in the sense that our actions caused what could be described as “news.”

Let me explain.

As you can see on the front page, this week’s online poll shows that incumbent Democrat Joey Dobson led his Republican challenger Cameron Coward 55 percent to 43.8 percent, with 1.2 percent of respondents indicating they were undecided about who they’re supporting for sheriff.

As of press time, the poll tallied 685 votes. Admittedly, three of the undecided votes were cast by yours truly while testing the poll’s settings early this week. Over the weekend, we received complaints via our Facebook page about people not being able to cast votes.

“I’ve had four friends call me saying they can’t vote … They said the site says, ‘You have already voted.’ Is this poll rigged?!” wrote George Doran, a supporter of Mr. Coward’s.

That comment was followed by this one from Kathleen Johnson: “I tried to vote and couldn’t … gawd … please don’t tell me our local paper is rigged!”

The poll was certainly not rigged to favor either candidate.

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