With the clock ticking on his final hours in office, President Donald Trump issued a litany of pardons late last night for a variety of individuals with federal convictions.
Those who had their sentences commuted include fraudsters, rappers, and several individuals convicted on nonviolent drug charges.
Among the 143 people whom Trump pardoned were a number of South Florida notables, including prominent bank owner Abel Holtz, real estate developer Robert "Bob" Zangrillo, and rapper Lil Wayne.
Here's the full list of recipients from South Florida.
Netflix fans wanted Tiger King star Joe Exotic to receive a presidential pardon, but Trump instead granted clemency to a snake king. Robert Bowker was convicted on animal-trafficking charges 30 years ago for arranging the illegal transport of 22 snakes to the Miami Serpentarium before it closed in September 1984. Bowker was sentenced to probation after pleading guilty.
Dwayne Michael Carter, AKA Lil Wayne
This past December, rapper Lil Wayne pled guilty to weapons charges in Miami federal court after he was caught with a bag of gold-plated handguns on a flight from Los Angeles to Miami. Wayne (real name Dwayne Michael Carter Jr.) had a previous felony gun-possession record from New York and faced up to ten years in prison before Trump pardoned him. A supporter of Trump, Wayne visited the president in October and praised his "platinum plan" for Black Americans in a tweet.
Fred Davis Clark
Fred Davis "Dave" Clark was the founder and CEO of Cay Clubs Resorts and Marinas, a real estate company in Monroe County that bought resort properties in the Keys and defrauded investors out of $300 million. Clark was convicted in 2015 and sentenced to 40 years in prison in 2016 on counts of bank fraud and false statements made to a financial institution, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Influential Miami banker Abel Holtz, for whom a street in downtown Miami and a children's hospital at Jackson Memorial are named, pleaded guilty in 1995 to lying to a federal grand jury. During a grand-jury investigation into former Miami Beach Mayor Alex Daoud, who stood accused of racketeering and money laundering, Holtz lied to the grand jury about a series of bribes he paid the mayor for "legal fees." Daoud told the Miami Herald that Holtz paid him over $1,000 a month for "influence." Holtz later admitted his lie to a federal judge, pleaded guilty, and received a 45-day prison sentence. Holtz petitioned President George W. Bush for clemency in 2006 but was denied.
Bill K. Kapri, AKA Kodak Black
Broward County rapper Kodak Black, known for his hit songs "No Flockin" and "Tunnel Vision," was arrested in May 2019 while attempting to take the stage at the Rolling Loud concert in Miami. Black (real name Bill K. Kapri) was convicted of lying on documents while purchasing a firearm and sentenced to 46 months in prison. While attempting to purchase guns from a distributor in Hialeah, the rapper lied on two application forms by saying he was not under indictment in any criminal cases, although he was under indictment for a criminal sexual assault charge in South Carolina from 2016. Black pleaded guilty in August 2019 to lying on the applications.
South Florida is no stranger to Medicare fraudsters. Dr. Salomon Melgen, a prominent eye doctor once accused of bribing a New Jersey senator, was sentenced to 17 years in prison in 2018 for stealing $73 million through healthcare fraud. Melgen was accused of forcing patients to undergo painful and unnecessary eye treatments in order to bump up their medical costs. He was eventually convicted of falsifying patient records and submitting false statements to Medicare. His pardon was supported by U.S. Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart of Florida, according to a White House statement.
Luis Fernando Sicard
Luis Fernando Sicard of Miami was sentenced in 2000 for conspiracy to possess cocaine with the intent to distribute it and possessing a firearm in the furtherance of a drug crime. The White House says Sicard served 20 years in prison with a clean record since his conviction.
Luxury real-estate investor and shirtless party enthusiast Robert Zangrillo was charged in the 2019 college bribery scandal that saw several celebrity parents, including Lori Loughlin, facing prison time for using their considerable wealth to grease the wheels and get their children into prestigious universities. Zangrillo, who was part of the team building the Magic City Innovation District in Little Haiti, was accused of bribing the University of Southern California to allow his daughter into the school. He was also accused of falsifying documents and making false statements to the university that purported his daughter to be an accomplished athlete with inflated grades. Zangrillo was indicted on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to commit fraud.
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