Orlando Commissioner Regina Hill Arrested

Commissioner Regina Hill
5th District Commissioner Regina Hill arreated

Orlando City Commissioner Regina Hill was arrested Thursday morning on charges of fraud and exploitation of the elderly/disabled.

According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) website, she faces three counts of elder exploitation, two counts of fraudulent impersonation of another person, and one count each of mortgage fraud and scheme to defraud.

Regina Hill arrested
Regina Hill mug shot March 8, 2024. Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

Hill, 58, was elected Commissioner of District 5 in 2013. Her time in office has not been without controversy, with a number of accusations of questionable behavior levelled against her over the years, but her supporters have repeatedly pointed to her advocacy for jobs, affordable housing, educational opportunities, and business development in the district.

District 5 includes part of downtown Orlando, the communities of Parramore, Clear Lake, Rock Lake, Ivey Lane, Malibu, Lake Sunset, the Mercy Drive Corridor, Demetrius Homes, the Willows, Timber Sounds, Lake Mann Homes, Timberleaf and Metro West.

Hill took on a number of projects benefitting the district during her two-and-a-half terms, including Parramore Village, the Soccer Stadium, Parramore Comprehensive Neighborhood Plan (Church Street Renewal) and the historic Wells Built Home Rehab, among others. Her record of accomplishments in the district has been marred, however, by the allegations that she coerced a vulnerable 96-year-old woman into signing power of attorney over to her, and afterwards spending $100,000 of the elderly woman’s life savings.

Hill’s arrest followed a year-long investigation by FDLE.

Commissioner Regina Hill
Commissioner Regina Hill leaves jail after being arraigned on multiple charges

After surrendering to FDLE Thursday morning, Hill was taken to the Orange County Jail, where she was booked at 9:45 a.m. on charges including, exploitation of the elderly, fraud, mortgage fraud and scheme to defraud. She appeared before a judge for arraignment a short while later, where her attorney, James Smith, advised the court that her bail had already been posted. She walked out moments later and got into a waiting car.

Hill says the allegations are false.

The document at the center of the investigation– the power of attorney– was purportedly signed and notarized by local notary Sandra Lewis. Lewis said the signature and the notary stamp are in fact hers, but says she had never before seen the power of attorney document. Not only does Lewis deny signing the document, but listed witnesses also say their signatures were falsified. Lewis pointed out that the name of one of the listed witnesses– Hill’s son Omari Nembhard– was misspelled one of the two times it appears in the document.

The formal indictment can be viewed here.

Attorney Nicole Benjamin has been hired by Hill to work alongside Attorney Warren Lindsey in handling her defense. Their motion to dismiss all charges was filed on Wednesday,

If Gov. DeSantis removes Hill from office, the city of Orlando will hold a special election to temporarily fill her seat.