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May 25, 2018

Attorney General Becerra: Cox Communications to Pay $3.3 Million for Violations of California’s Hazardous Waste Laws

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:44 am

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced a $3,318,700 settlement with Cox Communications California, LLC (Cox) and other related entities to resolve allegations that its California facilities unlawfully disposed of hazardous waste – including hazardous batteries, electronic devices, and aerosols. These acts constitute violations of California’s Hazardous Waste Control Law, and of California’s Unfair Competition Law, as such conduct gives Cox a competitive advantage over other regulated entities that are complying with the law. Cox also is alleged to have discarded customer records without rendering personal information unreadable. This settlement was the result of a partnership between the Attorney General’s Office and the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.

“If a company wants to do business in our state, it must abide by our laws,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Unlawfully disposing of hazardous waste can lead to serious health and environmental risks. Unlawfully disposing of personal customer information can seriously jeopardize a person’s right to privacy and open the door to identity theft. The California Department of Justice will continue working with state and local agencies to prosecute those who violate our environmental and customer record laws.”

“The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office has an environmental protection unit and a consumer protection unit dedicated to ensuring that all entities abide by state laws protecting our natural resources and consumer protection laws,” said District Attorney O’Malley. “Today’s settlement marks a victory for both the environment and for the customers of Cox Communication. The legal action also serves as a warning that companies who unlawfully dispose of hazardous waste will be brought to justice.”

As part of the settlement, Cox will: (more…)

DRUNKEN DRIVER CHARGED WITH ASSAULTING TWO FOUNTAIN VALLEY POLICE OFFICERS AFTER SPEEDING THROUGH ROADBLOCK AND ATTEMPTING TO HIT OFFICERS WITH HIS CAR

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:41 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A drunken driver was charged yesterday with assaulting two Fountain Valley police officers after speeding through a roadblock and attempting to hit the officers with his car.

Defendant Charges Maximum Sentence Court Date
Matthew Snoyman, 34, Westminster Charged on May 23, 2018, with the following counts:

Felony

  • (2) Aggravated assault on a peace officer

Misdemeanor

  • Driving under the influence
  • Driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or more
Six years and four months in state prison plus one year in county jail Arraignment

May 30, 2018, 1:30 p.m.

Department W-2, West Justice Center, Westminster

Circumstances of the Case

  • During the late evening on Oct. 13, 2017, a fatal traffic collision occurred at the intersection of Magnolia Street and Mint Avenue in the city of Fountain Valley. Fountain Valley Police Department (FVPD) officers responded to the scene and blocked off the area with illuminated alert boards, traffic cones, police tape, and multiple road closure signs.
  • At approximately 5:15 a.m. on Oct. 14, 2017, Snoyman is accused of driving southbound on Magnolia while under the influence of alcohol. (more…)

FORMER CHP OFFICER AND EMPLOYEE CLUB PRESIDENT SENTENCED TO 30 DAYS JAIL FOR EMBEZZLING MONEY FROM CLUB

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:39 am

WESTMINSTER, Calif. – A former California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer was sentenced to 30 days in jail for embezzling funds from a CHP employee club of which he was the president.

Defendant Charges Sentence
Mark Matthew Linza, 41, Huntington Beach Pleaded guilty today to:

  • One misdemeanor count of embezzlement by fiduciary of trust
  • 30 days in county jail
  • Three years of informal probation
  • Restitution

Circumstances of the Case

  • In January 2014, Linza was selected as the president of “The 670 Club” (Club), a social organization intended to promote camaraderie among employees of the CHP Westminster Area.
  • The defendant was in control of the club bank account and took a series of steps that allowed his activities as club president to remain unmonitored. (more…)

May 24, 2018

Federal Racketeering Indictment Targets Mexican Mafia Control of Inmates and Drug Trafficking Inside Los Angeles County Jail System

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:02 am

LOS ANGELES – More than 500 law enforcement personnel executed a major operation this morning, taking into custody 32 defendants who are charged in two federal racketeering indictments, one of which outlines how members of the Mexican Mafia were able to control drug smuggling, narcotics sales and the extortion of prisoners inside the Los Angeles County jail system (LACJ).

The defendants arrested this morning are among 83 defendants who were charged by a federal grand jury in the two indictments unsealed today. A total of 35 defendants are already in custody in state prison or county jail facilities and are expected to be brought to federal court in the near future. Authorities continue to search for 16 fugitive who are expected to be arrested in the near future.

The indictments – which allege a host of criminal violations, including conspiracies to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) – detail the power structure of the Mexican Mafia and its violent exercise of authority over Latino street gangs in Southern California and inside the sprawling LACJ.

According to the indictment that focuses on the LACJ, a criminal enterprise led by members of the Mexican Mafia allegedly engaged in five broad areas of criminal activities that collectively served to enrich members of the enterprise and to maintain control and authority over LACJ, which includes the Men’s Central Jail and the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles. The criminal offenses carried out by this enterprise fall generally into five categories:

· the Mexican Mafia-sanctioned smuggling of drugs into LACJ, narcotics that were sold to inmates to generate profits for the enterprise; (more…)

California Man Claiming to be a Billionaire Financier Convicted in Multimillion-Dollar Fraud Scheme

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:56 am

Following a two-week trial, a federal jury in Denver, Colorado, has convicted a California man of multiple charges for his role in an investment scheme in which he falsely told investors that he was a billionaire who could access certain financing, including hundreds of millions in cash in an overseas bank account, in exchange for up-front fees.

Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Inspector in Charge Craig Goldberg of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Denver Division and Acting Inspector in Charge Bill Hedrick of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Chicago Division, made the announcement.

Kenneth Brewington, 55, of Corona, California, was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, one count of mail fraud, five counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, one count of laundering monetary instruments, and two counts of engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity.

“Kenneth Brewington and his coconspirators deceived investors by falsely claiming to have hundreds of millions of dollars in cash in an overseas bank account as part of a criminal scheme to steal the investors’ hard earned money,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan.  “The Department of Justice is dedicated to working with our law enforcement partners to identify and prosecute people who are involved in fraudulent investment schemes, and to pursuing justice for the victims of those crimes.”

“Fraudsters believe they can maintain this lifestyle on the backs of unsuspecting victims, but this arrest should be a warning to all that law enforcement will not stand for these schemes,” said Acting Inspector in Charge Nicole Davis of U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Criminal Investigations Group.  “Postal Inspectors have made it our mission to protect our customers from exploitation and fraud and we will continue to actively investigate these schemes and pursue convictions of these fraudsters.” (more…)

Immigration Fraud Case Grows to 38 Felony Counts, 32 Victims

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:53 am

A woman who allegedly ran a fraudulent immigration services business was charged today with 21 additional felony counts after investigators discovered new victims, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Dalila Moreno (dob 11/23/54) already faced 17 felony counts involving 13 alleged victims in case BA462322 filed on Oct. 30. An additional 19 victims have since been identified with the help of the Consumer Protection Division’s telephone hotline, said Deputy District Attorney Ryann Gerber Jorban, who is prosecuting the case.

The 38 total charges listed in the amended criminal complaint include 27 counts of grand theft of personal property, along with attempted grand theft of personal property, forgery, counterfeit seal and extortion. The charges include allegations of taking property valued at more than $100,000 and concealing some of the offenses through fraud and misrepresentation.

Moreno pleaded not guilty to the original charges on Jan. 12 and bail was set at $550,000. She is expected to be arraigned on the new charges on June 19 in Department 50 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

According to the prosecutor, Moreno ran the immigration business from her East Los Angeles home, falsely promising to expedite the processing of visas, resident alien cards and citizenship petitions for her clients and their families. The defendant allegedly told victims she worked for the government and had special government connections. (more…)

May 23, 2018

Orange County Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Second Conviction of Illegally Importing Protected Asian Songbirds

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:29 am

LOS ANGELES – A local man has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for conspiring to unlawfully import Asian songbirds from Vietnam to the United States.

Sony Dong, 56, of Westminster, was sentenced Monday morning by United States District Judge S. James Otero, who immediately remanded Dong into custody.

In handing down the sentence, Judge Otero noted the “deplorable” conditions under which the birds were smuggled, and further noted that if birds died while in route that was something looked upon as a cost of doing business.

Dong admitted in a plea agreement that he recruited a courier who travelled to Vietnam on several occasions and brought back Asian songbirds that were packed into one or more suitcases in a manner designed to escape detection by U.S. authorities. At the conclusion of one trip in December 2016, the courier arrived at Los Angeles International Airport, where authorities discovered 30 Asian songbirds concealed in two suitcases. (more…)

Five Individuals, Including One-Time Fraud Investigator, Arrested in Health Care Fraud Scheme that Allegedly Sought $20 Million

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:25 am

LOS ANGELES – Five people linked to two San Fernando Valley clinics were arrested this morning on federal health care fraud charges for allegedly participating in a scheme that submitted fraudulent claims to health insurance companies and used some of the fraud proceeds to provide patients with “free” cosmetic procedures.

A federal grand jury indictment unsealed this morning alleges that the five defendants – including a former fraud investigator at Anthem Blue Cross – engaged in a multi-year conspiracy to commit health care fraud against at least eight health insurance companies.

Those arrested this morning include the owner and operator of the clinics, Roshanak Khadem, also known as “Roxanne” and “Roxy” Khadem, 50, of Sherman Oaks. Khadem owned and operated the two clinics at the center of the alleged scheme – R&R Med Spa, which was located in Valley Village until early 2016, and its successor company, Nu-Me Aesthetic and Anti-Aging Center, which operated in Woodland Hills.

The indictment alleges that Khadem and others induced patients to visit the clinics to receive free cosmetic procedures – including facials, laser hair removal and Botox injections – which were not covered by insurance. The conspirators obtained the insurance information from the patients and fraudulently billed insurance companies for unnecessary medical services or for services that were never provided. Using the fraudulent proceeds from the insurance companies, Khadem and other conspirators calculated a “credit” that patients could use to receive “free” or discounted cosmetic procedures. (more…)

Former U.S. Air Force Staff Sergeant Pleads Guilty to Accepting Bribe While Serving in Afghanistan

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:22 am

A former U.S. Air Force staff sergeant pleaded guilty today to seeking and receiving a bribe from an Afghan contractor while serving in Afghanistan.  The sergeant worked at the Humanitarian Aid Yard (HA Yard) at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan and was involved in the issuance of contracts to replenish supplies at the HA Yard under the Commander’s Emergency Response Program (CERP).  The sergeant is the eighth defendant to plead guilty in the investigation of this matter.

Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott of the Eastern District of California, Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno of the FBI’s Washington Field Office’s Criminal Division, Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) John F. Sopko, Special Agent in Charge Robert Craig of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service’s (DCIS) Mid-Atlantic Field Office, Director Frank Robey of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s (CID) Major Procurement Fraud Unit (MPFU) and Colonel Kirk B. Stabler, Commander of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) made the announcement.

David A. Turcios, 41, currently of San Jose, California, was charged in an indictment filed in July 2017 in the Eastern District of California with two counts of seeking and receiving bribes.  The indictment charges him with seeking and receiving $8,500 in bribes from two Afghan contractors who sought contracts for companies with which they were associated.  Turcios pleaded guilty to count two of the indictment before U.S. District Court Judge John A. Mendez of the Eastern District of California, in Sacramento.  Turcios is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Mendez on Aug. 28.

Turcios admitted at the time of the guilty plea that, from November 2010 until November 2011, he worked as a U.S. Air Force staff sergeant at the HA Yard.  He was the yard supervisor responsible for replenishing supplies such as rice, beans and clothing at the HA Yard and overseeing the loading of trucks that took the supplies off the base.  During Turcios’s tenure, approximately nine contracts in which Turcios was involved were awarded to Afghan vendors with a value of over $2 million. (more…)

May 22, 2018

Long Beach Man Sentenced to Over 26 Years in Prison for Role in Federal Narcotics Conspiracy Involving Counterfeit Opioids, Including Acetylfentanyl

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:15 am

LOS ANGELES – A former Los Angeles resident has been sentenced to 320 months in federal prison for participating in a federal drug trafficking conspiracy that imported acetylfentanyl, a drug very similar to fentanyl, a powerful and highly addictive opioid. Acetylfentanyl, which is five times more potent that heroin, is not approved for any use in the United States.

Christopher Bowen, 32, of Los Angeles was sentenced today for his role in a conspiracy to manufacture, possess with intent to distribute, and distribute four narcotics, specifically: acetylfentanyl; a-pyrrolidinovalerophenone, a so-called designer drug also known as “PVP” that is sometimes used in “bath salts”; ecstasy: and alprazolam. It is also sold under the brand name Xanax.

United States District Judge S. James Otero imposed the prison sentence, and remarked that the seriousness of the sentence reflected the quantities of drugs seized by investigators. During the investigation, DEA agents seized more than 11 kilograms of acetylfentanyl from the organization. The drug organization obtained pill presses from China that were used illegally to make tablets in labs in a storage unit in Long Beach and a house in Baldwin Park.

“The opioid crisis in our country has risen to epidemic proportions in large part due to drug trafficking conspiracies such as this one,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna. “These dangerous drugs end up in our neighborhoods and pose a significant public health emergency.”

Bowen was sentenced after being convicted on two counts following a jury trial in October 2017. The evidence presented during a trial in United States District Court showed that Bowen and other members of the drug organization imported acetylfentanyl from China, which they then used to produce homemade pills designed to look like legitimate pharmaceuticals. Bowen and his co-conspirators then distributed the pills in bulk across the nation. (more…)

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