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March 26, 2014

Two Medical Product Companies Pay More Than $1 Million to Resolve False Claims Lawsuit that Alleged They Overbilled Federal Agencies

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:38 am

LOS ANGELES – The publicly traded Stryker Corporation and the privately held Alliant Enterprises have paid the United States a total of $1.05 million to resolve a “whistleblower” lawsuit that alleged a failure to disclose complete information about projected government sales, allowing them to avoid heightened scrutiny of a government contract.

The case was resolved when a federal judge dismissed and unsealed the case on March 13.

The lawsuit alleged that Stryker and Alliant failed to disclose to government negotiators complete pricing information, which resulted in higher costs to government agencies that purchased medical products from the Federal Supply Schedule contract awarded by the Department of Veterans Affairs to Alliant. As a result of the conduct by Stryker and Alliant, the VA and other government agencies allegedly purchased products at inflated prices.

The two companies paid the settlement in December. Stryker paid the United States $911,219, and Alliant paid $151,215.

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California Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Racially Motivated Assault on White Man and African-American Woman

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:33 am

Billy James Hammett, 30, of Marysville, Calif., was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez to serve 87 months in prison for violating the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in a 2011 racially motivated attack against a white man and an African-American woman in Marysville.  The court also ordered Hammett to pay restitution in the amount of $175 and to serve three years of supervised release following his prison sentence.  Hammett pleaded guilty on Dec. 17, 2013, and his co-defendants, Perry Sylvester Jackson, 28, and Anthony Merrell Tyler, 33, have also pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

According to documents filed with the court, around 10:45 p.m. on April 18, 2011, a white man and an African-American woman parked their car at a convenience store in Marysville.  Shortly afterward, the three defendants, each of whom has white supremacist tattoos, attacked the man and woman based on race.  After calling the male victim a “[racial slur]-lover,” Jackson punched him twice in the head through the open passenger window.  At the same time, Hammett kicked the woman in the chest.  A few seconds later, Tyler smashed the car’s windshield with a crowbar.   As the attack continued, the woman managed to take refuge inside the convenience store.  All three assailants then descended upon the male victim and began attacking him in the parking lot.  He sustained abrasions on his right forearm and knees, while the woman suffered bruising to her chest.  At the end of the incident, Tyler used a racial slur to refer to an African-American witness.

In sentencing the defendant, Judge Mendez said he found surveillance video footage of the assault “disturbing.”  He noted that Hammett’s attack on the victims was “unprovoked and unwarranted,” and that the victims continue to suffer.

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March 25, 2014

Southern California Man Found Guilty of Health Care Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft for Role in $1.5 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:46 am

A Southern California man who ran a durable medical equipment (DME) supply company has been found guilty by a federal jury in Los Angeles for his role in a $1.5 million Medicare fraud scheme.

Acting Assistant Attorney General David A. O’Neil of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. of the Central District of California, Assistant Director in Charge Bill Lewis of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Glenn R. Ferry of the Los Angeles Region of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) made the announcement.

Vahe Tahmasian, 36, of Glendale, Calif., was found guilty on March 21, 2014, in U.S. District Court in the Central District of California of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, six counts of health care fraud and six counts of aggravated identity theft.   Sentencing is set for June 9, 2014.

The evidence introduced at trial showed that between April 2009 and February 2011, Tahmasian operated a Medicare fraud scheme at Orthomed Appliance Inc. (Orthomed), a DME supply company in West Hollywood, Calif.   Tahmasian and his co-conspirator, Eric Mkhitarian, purchased Orthomed from the previous owners and put the company in the name of a straw owner.   The defendant and his co-conspirator then stole the personal identifying information of Medicare beneficiaries and doctors in the company’s patient files and used that information to submit a large volume of fraudulent claims to Medicare.   The evidence showed that during a three-month period in late 2010, Tahmasian submitted more than $1.2 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare for services that were never prescribed by a physician and never provided to the Medicare beneficiaries.   Tahmasian and his co-conspirator then took out more than $622,000 in cash from the company over a six-week period in early 2011.   The evidence at trial showed that Tahmasian used a fake California driver’s license during the course of the fraudulent scheme.   Tahmasian submitted a total of $1,584,640 in claims to Medicare and received approximately $994,036 on those claims.

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March 24, 2014

LOS ANGELES POLICE OFFICER CHARGED WITH CHILD ABUSE FOR REPEATEDLY HITTING TEEN RELATIVE, CAUSING BRUISING AND WELTS

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:38 am

FULLERTON – A Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer has been charged with child abuse for repeatedly striking a teen relative, leaving welts and bruises, for poor grades and behavior.  Daniel Hun Chun, 39, is charged with one felony count of child abuse and one felony count of corporal injury on a child and faces a maximum sentence of six years in state prison. He is out of custody on $100,000 bail. Chun was scheduled for an arraignment today, and the arraignment was continued to May 6, 2014, at8:30 a.m. in Department N-12, North Justice Center, Fullerton.

At the time of the crime, Chun was a police officer with LAPD. He is accused of committing the crime while off-duty.

At approximately 4:00 p.m. on March 13, 2014, Chun is accused of confronting a young teen male relative about poor grades and other behavior issues. The defendant is accused of repeatedly hitting the victim with a variety of household items in the shoulders, back, and buttocks. He is accused of leaving welts and bruises on the victim.

A school counselor noticed the child’s injuries and reported it to police.

Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Duke of the Family Protection Unit is prosecuting this case.

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 14NF1316 / March 21, 2014

“MARKET DUO” BANK ROBBER SENTENCED TO SIX YEARS IN PRISON FOR COMMITTING ROBBERIES IN FIVE ORANGE COUNTY BANKS

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:36 am

SANTA ANA – A man, who was part of the group dubbed the “Market Duo” Bank Robbers by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), was sentenced today to six years in state prison for committing robberies in five Orange County banks and leading police on a high speed pursuit. Paul Acosta Jr., 30, Los Angeles, pleaded guilty Feb. 18, 2014, to five felony counts of second degree robbery, one felony count of evading a peace officer while driving recklessly, and sentencing enhancements for prior felony prison convictions for drug possession and theft in 2008 and 2010 in Los Angeles County. Acosta cooperated with law enforcement and testified against his two co-defendants during their jury trial.

Co-defendant Andres Soto Jr., 52, Whittier, was found guilty by a jury March 11, 2014, of eight felony counts of second degree robbery and four felony counts of second degree commercial burglary. Soto has prior strike violations committed in Los Angeles County for a residential burglary in 1983 and two bank robbery convictions in 1993. He faces a maximum sentence of 110 years to life in state prison at his sentencing May 9, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-29, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Co-defendant Richard Valdez, 54, La Habra was found guilty by a jury March 11, 2014, of two felony counts of second degree robbery and one felony count of second degree commercial burglary. Valdez has prior strike convictions committed in Los Angeles County for a robbery in 1983, two robberies in 1987, and assault with a deadly weapon in 2003. Valdez faces a maximum sentence of 44 years to life in state prison at his sentencing May 9, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-29, Central Justice Center.

Acosta and Soto planned four robberies that took place in the banks. Valdez was an acquaintance of Acosta and participated in their last bank robbery.

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FEMALE PIMP WHO POSTED ADS FOR TWO VICTIMS ON INTERNET SENTENCED FOR ATTEMPED PIMPING

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:33 am

SANTA ANA – A female pimp who posted ads for two victims on the Internet was sentenced to two years in state prison yesterday for attempted pimping. Teresa Marie Adame, 36, La Mirada, was sentenced yesterday, March 20, 2014, for two felony counts of attempted-pimping.

On June 6, 2013, Adame posted a sexually suggestive ad on a website known for prostitution with the purpose of soliciting sex purchasers.  Huntington Beach Police Department (HBPD) officers discovered the ad and called Adame. The defendant arranged an appointment for the undercover officer to meet with the victim, 26-year-old Jane Doe #1, for commercial sex. The victim and the officer met and agreed on payment of $200 for sexual intercourse. Adame pre-arranged to collect a percentage of the money. The officer then terminated the meeting.

On June 11, 2013, undercover officers of the Anaheim Police Department (APD), working with HBPD, located another sexually suggestive ad on the same website. When contacted, Adame arranged for a commercial sex act with the second victim, 22-year-old Jane Doe #2. Adame then drove the victim to a motel in Anaheim, which was the agreed upon meeting place. An undercover officer met the victim, paid her the agreed upon price, and then terminated the meeting.

Adame retrieved the victim from the motel and fled the scene. Shortly thereafter, Adame was arrested in a traffic sto

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March 21, 2014

THIRD-STRIKER CONVICTED OF STABBING-MURDER OF MAN AFTER ARGUMENT OVER RIDE

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 2:10 am

SANTA ANA – A third-striker was convicted yesterday of stabbing and murdering a man after being an argument over a ride. Joseph Robert Suess, 38, Anaheim, was convicted by a jury yesterday, March 19, 2014, of one felony count of first degree murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon. The defendant has prior strike convictions for kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon, and attempted robbery in 1994, and assault with a deadly weapon in 2002.

The Court will hear a bifurcated trial on the defendant’s prior strike convictions May 23, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. Suess faces a maximum sentence of 75 years to life in state prison if convicted of the prior strike offenses.

Co-defendant Heriberto Erick Vergara Calvillo, 28, Anaheim, is charged with one felony count of murder with a prior prison conviction for street terrorism in 2010. If convicted, Calvillo faces a maximum sentence of 50 years to life in state prison. He is scheduled for jury trial April 25, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center.

At approximately midnight on Aug. 30, 2012, Suess, Calvillo, and 53-year-old Mikel Williams are accused of drinking alcohol and socializing in an alley near Zeyn Street in Anaheim. Suess asked Williams for a ride out of the area but the victim refused.

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DRUG SUPPLIER CONVICTED OF SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES SHOOTING-MURDER AS REVENGE FOR STOLEN DRUGS

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 2:08 am

SANTA ANA – A drug supplier was convicted today of the special circumstances kidnapping and shooting-murder following a drug deal where his drugs were stolen. Jose Felix Zepeda, 41, Los Angeles, was found guilty by a jury today of one felony count of first degree special circumstances murder during the commission of a kidnapping, one felony count of kidnapping for ransom, reward, extortion, or to exact from another person money and other valuable things, and one felony count of conspiracy to sell methamphetamine with a sentencing enhancement for possession of a substance to distribute exceeding one kilogram. Zepeda faces a maximum sentence of two life terms in state prison without the possibility of parole at his sentencing May 16, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-28, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

On April 25, 2012, Zepeda supplied three pounds of methamphetamine to two men, who attempted to sell the drugs but instead were robbed at gunpoint by two other men in Montebello. Zepeda spotted John Doe acting as a lookout near the scene of the robbery.

Zepeda, with the assistance of an unidentified accomplice, kidnapped John Doe, recruited reinforcements, armed themselves, and forced John Doe to lead the crew to the home of the men who robbed the drugs. Zepeda’s associates held John Doe at gunpoint in the back of a vehicle in a caravan while they went to Anaheim.

Upon arrival outside of the Anaheim apartment complex, they forced John Doe to point out the men involved in the drug robbery. Zepeda’s fellow accomplices then shot and murdered Leder Sanchez in the street outside his home. Sanchez died at the scene from two gunshot wounds to his back.

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Los Angeles Man Pleads to Animal Cruelty Charge

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 2:03 am

A Los Angeles man accused of brutally beating his dog pleaded no contest today, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Eric James Fowler, 40, was convicted of one felony count of cruelty to an animal. The defendant is expected to be sentenced to 365 days in county jail and three years probation on June 18 at the Metropolitan Courthouse, said Deputy District Attorney Cindy Waterman.

The prosecutor said on March 5 sheriff deputies were driving through an unincorporated area of Los Angeles when they allegedly observed Fowler kicking and stomping on a white object.

As the deputies got closer to Fowler, they saw the white object was a dog, the prosecutor added. The deputies intervened and yelled at Fowler to stop.

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March 20, 2014

Former Bank Employee and Ex-Boyfriend Guilty in Bank Robbery that Yielded over $500,000 with Staged Kidnapping and Fake Bomb

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:01 am

LOS ANGELES – The former assistant manager of a Bank of America branch in East Los Angeles and her onetime boyfriend were convicted today of plotting a heist in which the woman wore a fake bomb to simulate a kidnapping to steal approximately $565,000 from the bank.

Following a one-week trial in United States District Court, the couple was found guilty today of conspiracy to commit bank robbery and bank robbery in the September 5, 2012 heist.

Reyes “Ray” Vega, 34, of Bell, and Aurora Barrera, 33, who now resides in Downey, each face up to 30 years in federal prison when they are sentenced on May 19 by United States District Judge Manuel Real.

During the robbery, Barrera walked into the bank with what appeared to be an explosive device taped to her body, convinced a co-worker that she had been kidnapped that morning by two black men, told the co-worker that they had to open the vault and place money outside the bank or else the kidnappers would harm them.

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