TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Monday afternoon that he was issuing an executive order to suspend embattled Orlando city commissioner Regina Hill from office after she was arrested and charged with exploitation and fraud involving a 96-year-old woman last week.

Hill, who represents District 5, was arrested on March 28 on the following charges:

  • Three counts of exploitation of an elderly person
  • One county of enacting a scheme to defraud someone of more than $50,000
  • One count of fraudulently using someone's personal identifying information to make a purchase of more than $100,000 in services
  • One count of fraudulently using personal identification information of a parent/guardian/custodian
  • One count of mortgage fraud

She was later released on a $40,000 bond. 

In his announcement, DeSantis noted that state law allows him to suspend elected municipal officials who have been indicted and charged with a crime.

"(Florida Statutes) provides that the Governor may suspend from office any elected municipal officer who is indicted or informed against for the commission of the state felony or misdemeanor," the announcement said.

The investigation into Hill, which remains active, has been underway since February 2023, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement officials at a Thursday news conference.

They said it was initiated after the Florida Attorney General's Office contacted FDLE following a criminal complaint filed about a 96-year-old woman living alone in a home in disrepair.

FDLE special agent John Vecchio said Hill learned about the alleged victim because of her role as a city commissioner and initially provided some benefit services to her in that role. However, the alleged actions that prompted the charges against Hill were made as an individual citizen, Vecchio said.

FDLE investigators found that Hill allegedly used her influence over the victim to fraudulently obtain the power of attorney and access to the woman's personal information and finances to purchase a home in the 96-year-old's name, Vecchio said.

Hill is also accused of repeatedly using the alleged victim's finances to pay for rental cars, hotel stays, personal luxury items, clothing, purchase expensive perfume, getting a face lift and to personal bills, Vecchio said. The investigation found that Hill allegedly moved into a vacant home that the victim inherited from her family, and used the woman's personal finances to pay for renovations on that home, while the home where the 96-year-old lived remained in a state of disrepair, Vecchio said.

The 96-year-old woman was not aware of how much she had signed over to Hill, Vecchio said.

Investigators interviewed multiple people and conducted a review of several years of financial records and other documents to put together the case, Vecchio said.

A petition for temporary civil injunction filed previously by attorneys seeking protection for the 96-year-old woman alleges Hill held power of attorney over the Parramore resident.

The document alleges Hill fraudulently used the woman’s identity to purchase a home on Domino Drive in the Lake Mann community. A search of the Orange County appraiser website shows Hill listed as co-owner of the home with the 96-year-old woman.

Hill's attorneys previously had said the woman's vulnerable state and impairments left her in no state to change her power of attorney. 

Hill has denied any wrongdoing

Now that DeSantis has suspended Hill, Orlando's city charter requires a special election be held to fill her vacant City Council seat.

On Monday evening, Hill released the following statement:

“As I navigate through these challenging times, I want to assure the residents of District 5 that our team's commitment to your needs and well-being stands firm. The office remains operational and fully equipped to provide the support you need, so please don't hesitate to contact them at district5@orlando.gov or by calling 407-246-2005 for any assistance.

My confidence in the integrity of the legal process and faith in God is unwavering, and I'm deeply moved by the support from our community. This support is a constant reminder of the strength and resilience that defines District 5, and it fuels my continued dedication to serving and uplifting every community member through these trying times. I will wait for my day in court when I'll be able to prove my innocence and that I always acted in good faith.”