Best Defender Bytes:

June 30, 2015


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:09 am

WASHINGTON – The former owner of Ezcor Medical Supply in Valencia was sentenced today to serve 97 months in federal prison for her role in a fraud scheme that resulted in $3.5 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medi-Cal.

Sylvia Walter-Eze, 48, of Stevenson Ranch, California, was sentenced by U.S District Judge R. Gary Klausner, who also ordered Walter-Eze to pay restitution in the amounts of $1,866,260 to Medicare and $73,268 to Medi-Cal.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker of the Central District of California; Special Agent in Charge Glenn R. Ferry of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Los Angeles Region; Assistant Director in Charge David Bowdich of the FBI’s Los Angeles Division; and Special Agent in Charge Joseph Fendrick of the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse made the announcement.

Walter-Eze was found guilty by a federal jury on March 20 of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, four counts of health care fraud, and one count of conspiracy to pay illegal health care kickbacks. The evidence presented at trial showed that Walter-Eze, the former owner of Ezcor, a durable medical equipment (DME) supply company, fraudulently billed more than $3.5 million to Medicare and Medi-Cal for DME that was not medically necessary.  The trial evidence also demonstrated that Walter-Eze paid illegal kickbacks to patient recruiters in exchange for patient referrals.  The evidence further showed that Walter-Eze paid kickbacks to physicians for fraudulent prescriptions for medically unnecessary, and expensive, power wheelchairs, which prescriptions Walter-Eze then used to support her fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medi-Cal.  The evidence showed that, between 2007 and 2012, Walter-Eze submitted $3,521,786 in fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medi-Cal, and that she received $1,939,529 in reimbursement for those claims.


2 Sentenced to Prison for Defrauding Union and PPO Insurance Plans by Seeking Millions of Dollars for Unneeded Medical Procedures

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:04 am

SANTA ANA, California – Two Southern California residents were sentenced today to federal prison in connection with a scheme to defraud union and PPO health insurance programs by submitting bills for more than $71 million in medical procedures performed on insurance beneficiaries who received free or discounted cosmetic surgery.

An investigation into the fraudulent scheme – which was run out of a surgery center in Orange known at various times as Princess Cosmetic Surgery, Vista Surgical Center and Empire Surgical Center – showed that many of the bills were for unneeded medical procedures. At today’s sentencing, prosecutors took a very conservative position, based on a careful medical review of only some of the claims, that the documented loss figure related to unnecessary medical procedures was at least $2.6 million.

The two defendants sentenced today by United States District Judge Josephine L. Staton are:

Theresa Fisher, 45, of Tustin, who was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $2.6 million in restitution; and Lindsay Hardgraves, 30, of San Pedro, who was sentenced to five months in prison and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $85,000.



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:57 am

FULLERTON - A juvenile corrections officer was charged today with possession of cocaine and a loaded firearm after leaving both in a hotel room he checked out of during a family vacation to Disneyland. Robert Dandrea Minor, 51, Hercules, CA, is charged with one felony count of possession of a controlled substance with a firearm. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of four years in state prison. The defendant is not in custody and the People will be requesting he be held on $25,000 bail at his scheduled arraignment on July 29, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in Department N-3, North Justice Center.

Minor is a juvenile corrections officer for the Probation Department in San Francisco.

At the time of the crime, Minor is accused of traveling to Anaheim with his family to visit Disneyland.

On June 5, 2015, Minor is accused of checking out of a Hilton Hotel in Anaheim, and leaving behind a fanny pack containing a loaded firearm, Glock 20 handgun, and .45 grams of cocaine in the hotel room.


June 29, 2015

Former Senior Executive of Qualcomm Sentenced to 18 Months and Fined $500,000 for Insider Trading and Money Laundering

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:38 am

The former Executive Vice President and President of Global Business Operations for Qualcomm Inc., was sentenced today to 18 months in prison and fined $500,000 for his role in a three-year insider trading scheme.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy of the Southern District of California made the announcement.

“Through his position as a high-ranking executive at Qualcomm, Jing Wang gained unique access to information about the company’s earnings and intended acquisitions and illegally exploited that inside information for personal gain,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “He then enlisted the services of others – his stock broker and his brother – to cover up the scheme.  This prosecution demonstrates the Criminal Division’s commitment to holding accountable corporate executives who would undermine the integrity of the financial marketplace.”

“Jing Wang was a powerful insider at one of the world’s top corporations – but he threw it all away to make a few hundred thousand dollars,” said U.S. Attorney Duffy. “While Wang has lost his power, his position and his freedom, the real losers here are investors who play by the rules, and our nation’s financial system, which is diminished with every one of these schemes.”


Northern California Real Estate Investor Indicted for Bid-Rigging and Fraud Conspiracies at Public Foreclosure Auctions

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:33 am

A federal grand jury in San Francisco returned an indictment against a Northern California real estate investor for his role in bid-rigging and fraud conspiracies at public foreclosure auctions in Northern California, the Department of Justice announced today.

A two-count indictment has been filed in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California in Oakland, charging Ramin Rad “Ray” Yeganeh of San Mateo, California, with participating in conspiracies to rig bids and defraud mortgage holders and others in Alameda County.

“This defendant conspired to rig bids at home mortgage foreclosure auctions in Alameda County,” said Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.  “Lenders and those who lost their homes to foreclosure are entitled to the proceeds of a competitive auction, and they did not get that here.  Whether a conspiracy is local, national or international in scope, the division will investigate and prosecute those who conspire rather than compete.”

To date, 54 individuals have pleaded guilty to criminal charges as a result of the department’s ongoing antitrust investigations into bid rigging and fraud at public foreclosure auctions in Northern California.  In addition, 21 real estate investors have been charged in six multi-count indictments for their roles in bid-rigging and fraud schemes at foreclosure auctions in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and San Francisco counties in California.


Former OtisMed CEO Sentenced for Selling Unapproved Surgical Devices

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:29 am

The former president and CEO of OtisMed Corporation was sentenced today to serve two years in prison for intentionally distributing a medical device used in knee replacement surgery after its application for marketing clearance had been rejected by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Department of Justice announced.

Charlie Chi, 46, of San Francisco, pleaded guilty in December 2014 to three counts of distributing adulterated medical devices in interstate commerce in violation of the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) after having been told by the FDA, legal counsel and his own board of directors not to do so.  U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi in Newark, New Jersey, delivered Chi’s 24-month sentence today and also ordered him to serve one year of supervised release and to pay a $75,000 fine.  In September 2014, Judge Cecchi sentenced OtisMed Corporation, now a subsidiary of Stryker Corporation, to a criminal fine of $34.4 million and ordered the company to pay $5.16 million in criminal forfeiture.  Stryker acquired the company after the criminal conduct for which he was sentenced today.  In a related civil settlement, OtisMed agreed to pay approximately $41.2 million, including interest, to resolve its civil liability for submitting false claims to the Medicare, TRICARE, Federal Employees Health Benefits and Medicaid programs.

“Today’s sentencing of OtisMed’s CEO ought to send a clear message to others in positions of authority within the medical device and pharmaceutical industries: the Department of Justice will vigorously prosecute not only corporations, but also the individuals at their helm who are responsible for endangering public health and safety in pursuit of profit,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.

“The defendant betrayed the trust of patients whose doctors were using his unapproved surgical device for a serious medical procedure,” said U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of New Jersey.  “With everything else people have to deal with when they are facing surgery, they shouldn’t have to worry whether their doctor is using equipment that has been approved for use. The punishment meted out to Chi and his company is appropriate.”


June 26, 2015

Owner of California Payment Processing Company Charged with Fraud

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:59 am

The Justice Department announced today that the owner and operator of a payment processing company that was involved in the unauthorized withdrawal of millions of dollars from consumers’ bank accounts was charged with fraud.

The criminal information, filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, charged Neil Godfrey, 76, of Santa Ana, California, with one count of wire fraud.  Godfrey owned and operated Check Site Inc., based in Santa Ana, which from 2006 to 2010 enabled fraudulent merchants to withdraw money from consumers’ bank accounts without the consumers’ knowledge or consent.  If convicted, Godfrey faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

According to the information, Godfrey worked with at least two fraudulent merchants who operated websites that purportedly offered payday loans.  The websites were simply a ruse to harvest consumers’ bank account information.  Instead of providing consumers with payday loans, the merchants operating the websites used the information provided by the consumers in loan applications to withdraw money from the consumers’ bank accounts.  Using Check Site, Godfrey knowingly processed the merchants’ fraudulent withdrawals and provided the merchants access to the banking system

“Neil Godfrey used his understanding of the banking system to help his partners in crime steal money from hard-working, often low-income Americans,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “The amounts that were illegally withdrawn generally did not exceed a few hundred dollars per victim, but the scheme was so massive and went on so long that altogether it added up to millions of dollars in fraudulent withdrawals.  As this prosecution demonstrates, the Department of Justice will continue to prosecute individuals and corporations involved in this kind of fraud.”



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:55 am

SANTA ANA – Five protesters are scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow for delaying police officers and obstructing a Santa Ana street by chaining themselves together. Mariela Martinez, 23, Los Angeles, Jorge Hernandez, 25, Oakland, Sandra Paola Jara Riveros, 33, Pasadena, Isaia Celestino Noyola, 36, Vellejo, and Jeffrey Christopher Neel, 43, Anaheim, are charged with one misdemeanor count each of obstructing or delaying a peace officer, obstructing passage on a public street, and unlawfully loitering or sitting on a public street. If convicted, each of the defendants face a maximum sentence of one year in jail and $1,000 fine. The defendants are scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, Friday, June 26, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-54, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

At approximately 8:30 a.m. on May 28, 2015, the five defendants were part of a group of approximately 50 individuals participating in a protest regarding the detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants who are part of the LGBT community. The protestors gathered at the intersection of Civic Center Drive and Flower Street in Santa Ana, near the Central Justice Center to begin their demonstration. The protest was not pre-planned with the City of Santa Ana, and no permits had been issued allowing blockage of the intersection as required by law.

The defendants are accused of walking into the middle of the intersection and chaining themselves together with metal chains and locks. Despite the lack of notice to the city, Santa Ana police officers allowed the demonstration to continue, but instructed the protesters to clear the intersection and move to the sidewalk so that blocked vehicles could pass. Continual dispersal orders were given to the protesters in both English and Spanish through an amplified speaker system.

The defendants are accused of delaying officers from the Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) by refusing to unchain themselves or move out of the intersection. At approximately 9:10 a.m., all of the other protestors followed SAPD orders, moved to the sidewalk, and were not cited or arrested.  They were then allowed to continue their protest from the sidewalk.



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:51 am

FULLERTON – A man was charged yesterday for pandering and attempting to pimp two women. Dameon Dupree Jefferson, 37, is charged with two felony counts of pandering and two felony counts of attempted pimping. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of seven years and four months in state prison. He is being held on $50,000 bail and must prove that the funds come from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond. Jefferson is scheduled to appear for pre-trial on June 29, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in Department N-3, North Justice Center, Fullerton.

Circumstances of the Case
Jefferson is accused of being a pimp who exploits women for financial gain. Between June 15, 2015, and June 22, 2015, Jefferson is accused of dropping off two women, both 20, in an area known for prostitution in Anaheim to solicit commercial sex. Members of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF) approached the women and were led to the defendant while investigating this case. OCHTTF located the defendant’s vehicle and performed a traffic stop on Jefferson’s vehicle. The defendant is accused of possessing property belonging to the two women and exchanging text messages with the victims suggesting that he was unlawfully attempting to live and derive support from the earnings and proceeds from them.

OCHTTF and the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) Office work proactively to protect women and minors from falling victim to commercial sexual exploitation. This case was investigated by OCHTTF, a partnership between the Anaheim Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Huntington Beach Police Department, OCDA, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and community and non-profit partners.

Deputy District Attorney Daniel Varon of the HEAT Unit is prosecuting this case.

Proposition 35 and HEAT
In November 2012, California’s anti-human trafficking Proposition 35 (Prop 35) was enacted in California with 81 percent of the vote, and over 82 percent of the vote in Orange County, to increase the penalty for human trafficking, particularly in cases involving the trafficking of a minor by force.


June 25, 2015

Three Deputy Sheriffs Found Guilty of Federal Civil Rights Offense in Beating of Visitor at Downtown Los Angeles Jail

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:59 am

LOS ANGELES – A federal jury this afternoon returned guilty verdicts against three deputies with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department who violated the civil rights of a visitor to the Men’s Central Jail by beating him while he was restrained with handcuffs.

Concluding a one-week trial, the jury determined that Deputies Fernando Luviano and Sussie Ayala, as well as former Sergeant Eric Gonzalez, violated the civil rights of the victim in 2011 when they beat the man and caused bodily injury. The jury also determined that all three defendants falsified records when they prepared reports about the incident.

Ayala and Gonzalez were additionally convicted of conspiring to violate the victim’s civil rights by using unreasonable force.

Two other defendants who were named in a federal grand jury indictment in late 2013 – Pantamitr Zunggeemoge and Noel Womack – previously pleaded guilty and are pending sentencing.


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