Suspended Orlando commissioner ordered to stay away from woman she’s accused of defrauding

ORLANDO, Fla. — A judge on Friday permanently ordered an Orlando city commissioner to stop interacting with a 96-year-old voter she is legally accused of defrauding.

Circuit Judge Heather Higbee ordered the order in a civil case against Regina Hill, who was indicted last month on charges of elder exploitation, identity fraud and mortgage fraud for the same acts.

Gov. Ron DeSantis suspended Hill from the Orlando City Commission on Monday. A special election will determine a replacement for Hill, who is in her third term while her criminal case is still pending.

Hill, 63, invoked her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when she was called to the stand Friday, local news media reported. Afterward, she told reporters, “I trust the process. And I still trust God.”

Testimony Friday revealed new details in the case, with Special Agent Steve Brenton of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement testifying that Hill obtained a fraudulent power of attorney over the woman’s affairs. Brenton testified that Hill’s son, a former assistant and a notary — all of whom allegedly witnessed the document — told Brenton in interviews that they had never signed.

Hill’s expenses, according to Brenton’s testimony as reported by the Orlando Sentinel, included a $139-a-month membership to a medical spa specializing in vitamin infusions and a $2,850 facelift.

The woman later transferred her power of attorney from Hill to a family friend, Adriane Alexander of Tampa. Alexander alleged in court papers that Hill spent $100,000 of the woman’s savings on herself, buying expensive perfumes, clothes, rental cars and hotel stays.

“Now we’re going to make sure (the alleged victim) is cared for for the rest of her life,” said John Martino, Community Legal Services attorney for Alexander. “We can now be assured that Ms. Hill will no longer be entering and accessing those accounts.”

Other testimony showed Hill helped arrange home care, ran errands and cleaned up the woman’s home.

Ebony Rumph Maxwell said the house looked “terrifying” before Hill got involved, covered in feces and with wasps in it, but later improved.

And Nicole Benjamin, who represents Hill in the civil case, said Hill acted only for the woman’s benefit.

“She was happy, she was cared for, she was loved and she knew it,” said Benjamin, who told reporters before the hearing that the case was not an investigation against Hill “but an assassination of her character.”

The order prevents Hill from living in one of the homes the woman owns and a third property the two own together.