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August 31, 2015

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Files Involuntary Manslaughter Charges Against Skilled Nursing Facility Verdugo Valley, LLC

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 1:03 am

SAN FRANCISCO – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced today that her office has filed involuntary manslaughter charges against Montrose, California-based Verdugo Valley Skilled Nursing & Wellness Centre, LLC for failing to provide requisite nursing care to a burn victim resident, leading to his death.

“Families who entrust loved ones to the care of a nursing home rightfully expect residents will receive the care and attention they need and that nursing homes have a legal duty to provide,”  said Attorney General Harris.  “We have filed criminal charges because we allege Verdugo Valley and its employees violated that trust and their legal duties in a way that resulted in a senseless, tragic and unnecessary death.  I thank the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse attorneys and agents working tirelessly to ensure these individuals are held accountable.”

The complaint filed by Attorney General Harris alleges that Verdugo Valley, LLC was grossly negligent in its care of James Populus, a resident with burns on 90 percent of his body from an arson fire two decades earlier.  In the 14 months that Populus was in the care of Verdugo Valley, he was examined by a doctor far fewer times than required by law, despite the respiratory and other health needs of burn victims.

His declining health led to severe weight loss, sepsis, and pneumonia and on August 30, 2014, Populus died of multiple system failure due to sepsis. At the time of his death, Populus had infections throughout his body.


Five Indicted on Federal Fraud Charges Related to Multi-Million Dollar Pyramid Scheme that Targeted Chinese-American Victims

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:09 am

LOS ANGELES – A federal grand jury returned a 14-count indictment late yesterday that charges five defendants with participating in a fraud scheme that generated tens of millions of dollars by soliciting investments in a company that purportedly offered children’s educational courses, but in reality was a pyramid scheme designed to generate revenue by adding new investors.

Members of the conspiracy allegedly made false promises about the company, including claims that it generated substantial revenues from the sale of courses, that investments could be quickly liquidated for significant returns, and that they planned to take the company public through an IPO. In fact, according to the indictment, “the only way for investors to earn any meaningful returns was for them to actively recruit new investors.” The defendants promoted the company through YouTube videos and other postings on the Internet, as well as through meetings with prospective investors and live presentations about the purported investment opportunity.

The indictment alleges that the defendants solicited investments primarily from members of the Chinese-American communities in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City.

The five defendants charged in the indictment are:

· Cheong Wha “Heywood” Chang, 47, formerly of Hacienda Heights and most recently a resident of           Taiwan;



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:06 am

WESTMINSTER, Calif. - Two men were sentenced today for money laundering and conspiring to sell counterfeit electronic goods valued at nearly $3 million, including counterfeit iPhones and iPads, following an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) and the Fountain Valley Police Department (FVPD).

RatebSaid Najjar, 60, and his son, Eyad Rateb Najjar, 36, both of Westminster, pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to commit trademark counterfeiting, one felony count of trademark counterfeiting, one felony count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, one felony count of money laundering, and sentencing enhancements for the value of the counterfeit merchandise seized over $1.3 million and money laundering over $2.5 million. Both defendants were each sentenced to eight years and four months in jail stayed pending the completion of three years formal probation, ordered to serve one year in jail and ordered to forfeit over $500,000 in cash assets to the County of Orange General Fund.

Eyad Najjar was arrested by HSI special agents and detectives from FVPD on Dec. 10, 2014. Rateb Najjar surrendered himself to the court on Dec. 17, 2014.

A third defendant, Amir Ali Shaerzadeh, 36, Irvine, is charged with 134 felony counts of money laundering, six felony counts of manufacturing and sale of a counterfeit mark, two felony counts of conspiracy to commit a crime with sentencing enhancements for property damage over $1.3 million, and money laundering in excess of $2.5 million. If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 104 year! s in jail. Shaerzadeh is currently a fugitive with an outstanding warrant for his arrest.


August 28, 2015

Four Men Named in Federal Child Pornography Indictment that Alleges Filming of 15-Year-Old Girl Engaged in Sex Acts

Filed under: California Chid Pornography Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:22 am

LOS ANGELES – Three men were taken into custody this morning after being indicted by a federal grand jury on a host of federal charges related to the sexual exploitation of a 15-year-old girl. A fourth defendant named in the indictment is expected to be taken into custody later today.

The indictment alleges that the defendants participated in the production of child pornography involving the 15-year-old victim. The three arrested this morning are:

· Darrius Marques Sutton, also known as “Biz,” 25, of Compton;

· Darius Dajohn Burks, 26, of Los Angeles;

· Edwin Donnell Franklin, 28, of Bellflower.

These defendants are expected to be arraigned on the federal charges this afternoon in United States District Court.


San Diego Tax Return Preparer Indicted for Preparing False Tax Returns

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:18 am

A San Diego tax return preparer was arrested today after being indicted by a federal grand jury sitting in the Southern District of California on 36 counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation of false federal income tax returns, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

The indictment alleges that Marla Lynn Cunningham owned and operated Cunningham’s Tax Service, a tax preparation business located in El Cajon, California.  According to the charges in the indictment, in 2010, 2011 and 2012, Cunningham prepared false individual income tax returns for others, which included false Schedules C that reported fictitious business losses and false Schedules A that reported inflated or fictitious itemized deductions, such as charitable contributions and medical, dental and unreimbursed employee expenses.  Cunningham also attached forms claiming fictitious education credits that her clients were not entitled to receive.

If convicted, Cunningham faces a statutory maximum sentence of three years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for each count.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo commended the special agents of the Internal Revenue Service–Criminal Investigation, who investigated the case, and Trial Attorneys Matthew R. Hoffman and Benjamin J. Weir of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case.  Ciraolo also thanked the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of California for their substantial assistance.


Brothers Charged with Killing Neighbor in La Puente

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:15 am

Two brothers were charged today in connection with the fatal beating of their neighbor in La Puente, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Flavio Macias Jr. (dob 1/10/87) and Jonathan Macias (dob 9/20/91) have each been charged with one count of murder in case KA110524.

The felony complaint includes a special allegation that Flavio Macias Jr. used deadly and dangerous weapons, hammer and blocks, during the commission of the crime.

The charging document also alleges Flavio Macias Jr. was previously convicted of injuring a cohabitant in 2005, carrying a dirk and dagger in 2006 and possession of a controlled substance in 2012.

The defendants are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in Department F of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Pomona Branch. Prosecutors will ask bail be set at $1 million for each defendant.


August 27, 2015

Arrowhead Regional Medical Center Agrees to Comply with Federal Law by Improving Access for People Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 2:35 am

Arrowhead Regional Medical Center (ARMC) in Colton, California, has entered into an agreement with the United States to resolve allegations that the hospital violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to provide qualified interpreters and other services to persons who are deaf or hard of hearing.  Under the voluntary compliance agreement, ARMC will provide equipment and services to ensure that people who are deaf or hard of hearing have equal access to medical services, which includes giving them the ability to effectively communicate with hospital staff.

“Ensuring equal access to hospital services for individuals with disabilities, including those who are deaf or hard of hearing, is a priority of the Civil Rights Division,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division.  “We are proud to partner with and support the U.S. Attorney’s important work in this area.”

“People who are deaf or hard of hearing have a right to clear and effective communication with physicians, nurses and all hospital staff members in order to ensure that they and their loved ones receive the same medical care that is available to every other person,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker of the Central District of California.  “This settlement is the latest step in the Justice Department’s ongoing efforts to eliminate discriminatory barriers of all kinds.”

ARMC, which is operated by San Bernardino County, California, is a 456-bed general medical and surgical hospital that includes a burn center, a primary stroke center, a behavioral health center and four primary care centers.  The hospital’s emergency room saw more than 116,000 patient visits in 2014.


Palmdale Woman Sentenced for Killing Romantic Partner, Framing Victim's Boyfriend

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 2:32 am

A Palmdale woman was sentenced today to two consecutive 25-year-to-life prison terms for shooting a 31-year-old woman who she had a romantic relationship with after meeting her through Craigslist, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Jason Quirino said Larene Eleanor Austin, 33, was found guilty by a jury on Aug. 13 of one count of first-degree murder with a use-of-handgun allegation in case MA051956.

Austin had a brief romantic relationship with the victim, Lanell Barsock. On June 16, 2010, the defendant killed Barsock by shooting her in the head after the victim ended the relationship to focus on her boyfriend, according to court testimony.

Austin attempted to frame the victim’s boyfriend for the killing, going as far as forging a letter in which the victim purportedly broke up with the boyfriend and presenting it to police, according to evidence presented at trial.


Acting Coach Found Guilty of Lewd Act on a Teenage Girl

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 2:27 am

A Los Angeles acting coach was found guilty today of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl six years ago, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Jurors deliberated for about a day before determining Cameron Thor (dob 3/17/60) was guilty of one count of lewd act upon a child and the special allegation of substantial sexual contact was found to be true. Thor faces up to eight years in state prison when he is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 9.

Simone Shay of the Sex Crimes Division said the victim took private classes from Thor at his Agoura Hills home. In March 2009, Thor drove the girl, then 13, to the Santa Monica Mountains where he sexually assaulted her.

Thor was arrested last year.

Case LA078037 was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Special Victims Bureau.

Los Angeles County District Attorney / Case LA078037 / August 26, 2015

August 26, 2015

Orange County Man Pleads Guilty in Two-Pronged Ponzi Scheme that Cause Scores of Investors to Lose More Than $14 Million

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:00 am

LOS ANGELES – An Orange County man who operated a Ponzi scheme that featured false promises of large returns to victims who invested in debt obligations and distressed real estate pleaded guilty today to federal mail fraud and wire fraud charges.

William Donnelly Yotty, 69, who currently resides in Monarch Beach, but during the course of the scheme lived in Lodi, California, pleaded guilty to the two felony counts before United States District Judge Margaret M. Morrow.

Yotty, who has been held without bond since being arrested in this case in May 2014, faces a statutory maximum sentence of 40 years in federal prison when he is sentenced by Judge Morrow on November 23.

In a plea agreement filed last week in United States District Court, Yotty admitted that he ran several Lodi-based companies that offered bogus investments in corporate debt obligations and in distressed real estate that he and his salespeople said could be “flipped” for substantial profit.


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