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September 30, 2015

Lancaster Man Sentenced to Nearly Seven Years in Prison for Defrauding State’s Unemployment Insurance System and Tax Fraud

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 2:06 am

LOS ANGELES – A Lancaster man was sentenced today to 80 months in federal prison on fraud charges related to a scheme to defraud the state’s unemployment insurance program and a related scheme to obtain fraudulent federal tax refunds.

Carl Artis, 55, was sentenced by United States District Judge George Wu, who also ordered the defendant to pay $598,000 in restitution.

Artis pleaded guilty in February to one count of mail fraud and one count of making false claims against the United States government.

According to the plea agreement filed in the case, from at least August 2010 through August 2014, Artis operated a scheme to defraud the California Employment Development Department (EDD) of unemployment insurance benefits. To execute the scheme, Artis registered fictitious companies with the EDD, submitted false wage information for individuals whom he falsely claimed worked for these companies, and then fraudulently applied for and obtained unemployment insurance benefits in the names of these individuals.

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4 Involved in Inland Empire Loan Modification Scam that Targeted Financially Distressed Homeowners Sentenced to Federal Prison

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 2:02 am

RIVERSIDE, California – Four people who worked at a Rancho Cucamonga business that offered bogus loan modification programs to thousands of financially distressed homeowners – victims who lost more than $7 million when they paid for services that were never provided – were sentenced today to federal prison, with one of the leaders of the scheme being ordered to spend 20 years in custody.

The Southland residents sentenced today were convicted of federal fraud charges for their roles in a telemarketing operation known under a series of names – including 21st Century Legal Services, Inc. – that bilked more than 4,000 homeowners across the nation, many of whom lost their homes to foreclosure.

The defendants sentenced today by United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips were:

•           Christopher Paul George, 45, of Rancho Cucamonga, a co-owner of 21st Century, who was sentenced to 20 years in federal prison;

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Bakersfield, California, Man Indicted for Racial Intimidation and Firearm Charges

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 1:58 am

A federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment today against Justin Whittington, 24, of Bakersfield, California, charging him with interfering with a person’s housing rights because of his race, color or national origin by use of force or threat of force, use of a firearm during a crime of violence, unlawful possession of a prohibited firearm and making a false statement to a special agent of the FBI, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and U. S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner of the Eastern District of California.

According to court documents, on Dec. 19, 2012, Whittington shouted racist slurs at a Latino man outside the Latino man’s home in Oildale, California, and fired a sawed off shot gun in an attempt to intimidate and interfere with the victim’s occupancy of his home because of his race, color or national origin.

This case is the product of an investigation by the FBI and the Kern County, California, Sheriff’s Office. Trial Attorney Samantha Trepel of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and Assistant U. S. Attorney Brian K. Delaney of the Eastern District of California are prosecuting the case.

If convicted, Whittington faces a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a $250,000 fine.

An indictment is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. (more…)

September 29, 2015

Owner of San Gabriel Valley Surrogacy Agency Sentenced to Federal Prison for Ripping Off Would-Be Parents who Paid for Egg Donations

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:39 am

LOS ANGELES – The owner of a Glendora egg donation and surrogacy company who admitted defrauding would-be parents, egg donors and surrogate mothers over the course of more than three years was sentenced this morning to 18 months in federal prison.

Allison Layton, a 38-year-old resident of Star, Idaho, was sentenced by United States District Court Judge George H. Wu, who ordered that the defendant serve three years of supervised released after completing the prison term.

Layton, who owned and operated Miracles Egg Donation and sometimes used the name Allison Jarvie, lived in Glendora during the course of the scheme.

Between August 2008 and January 2012, would-be parents – who in the surrogacy and egg donation world are known as intended parents – paid tens of thousands of dollars for egg donation and surrogacy services that Miracles promised to coordinate. Layton took money from the intended parents, but, instead of putting the funds into escrow accounts to be withdrawn only for certain costs related to the surrogacy or egg donation, Layton used the money for her own personal expenses (including a wedding that cost $60,000 and other costs that supported a lavish lifestyle) or to cover unpaid costs related to other clients. When confronted by victims, Layton lied about why payments had not been made and refunds not issued and strung victims along, leading them to believe they might soon be paid, when, in fact, many were not.

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Ex-San Fernando Valley Man Extradited from Mexico to Face Wildlife Trafficking Charges Related to Illegal Export of South American Fish

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:35 am

LOS ANGELES – Mexico has extradited an American citizen who formerly lived in West Hills to face federal charges related to the illegal trafficking of the world’s largest freshwater fish, a South American species known as Arapaima gigas.

Isaac Zimerman, 66, is expected to appear this afternoon in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles. He was extradited last week and arrived in the United States on September 24.

Zimerman was charged in a 13-count indictment with using his company, the Hawthorne-based River Wonders LLC, to import piranhas and river stingrays into the United States. Zimerman allegedly possessed those fish in California, and then they were advertised for sale, sold to customers, and shipped to states outside of California.  The indictment also contains allegations that Zimerman engaged in additional criminal conduct related to the falsification of documents, obstruction of proceedings, false statements, and smuggling of protected Arapaima gigas from the United States while on pre-trial release.

Zimerman was initially charged in 2009, along with his company and his wife, Leonor Catalina Zimerman. While Leonor Zimerman pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor offense in 2010, Isaac Zimerman fled the United States that same year after prosecutors filed additional charges alleging that he continued to illegally export fish while on bond. Special agents with the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) tracked Zimerman’s movements through Europe, to Israel and eventually to Mexico.

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Fugitive Who Operated San Fernando Valley Chiropractic Clinic Indicted on Federal Health Care Fraud and Identity Theft Charges

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:30 am

LOS ANGELES – A federal grand jury has named an Encino-based chiropractor in a 15-count indictment that accuses him defrauding health care programs by submitting more than $300,000 in fraudulent bills for office visits that never took place and for medical equipment that was never provided.

Yoav Stein, 39, who until about a year ago resided in Encino, was indicted yesterday in a scheme that allegedly defrauded several health care plans, including the National Railroad Passenger Corporation’s (Amtrak) health care plan.

According to the indictment, Stein participated in corporate health care fairs, where he induced employees to provide insurance information by offering Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulus units for no “out-of-pocket costs.” Armed with the employees’ insurance information, Stein allegedly submitted fraudulent claims to health care plans.

The indictment charges Stein with 13 counts of health care fraud and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court.

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September 28, 2015

$1.5 Million Grant Will Establish Human Trafficking Task Force to be Led by U.S. Attorney’s Office and L.A. County Sheriff’s Department

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

LOS ANGELES – The Justice Department today announced that the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department will receive a $1.5 million grant to fund the establishment of a multi-agency Los Angeles Human Trafficking Task Force that will jointly be led by the United States Attorney’s Office and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD). The Task Force will investigate high-priority trafficking crimes – particularly the sex trafficking of minors – while also bringing together federal, state and local leaders to address the needs of trafficking victims.

Combatting human trafficking is one of the top priorities of the Department of Justice, United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker and Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell. The Task Force and the grant award represent the latest effort by Sheriff McDonnell to enhance LASD capacity in this vitally important area, while also leveraging the resources and expertise of multiple agencies and justice system partners in a strategic and comprehensive regional focus on human trafficking.

The grant announced this morning by Attorney General Loretta Lynch, which received the strong support of the United States Attorney’s Office, will fund an expansion of the LASD’s Human Exploitation and Trafficking Team. The grant is part of $44 million in federal grant funding going to 16 sites around the nation to fund anti-trafficking task forces (see: http://go.usa.gov/3t7gJ).

The Task Force will be based on a model that emphasizes bringing prosecutors, investigators, justice system partners, service agencies and victim advocates together to provide wraparound care to victims while ensuring strong investigations and prosecutions. Using a collaborative, victim-centered model, these professionals will work together from the beginning of each case to ensure the best possible outcomes for victims and the strongest possible prosecutions of traffickers. With the establishment of the Task Force, the United States Attorney’s Office will be expanding its own human trafficking program with the addition of several prosecutors who will specialize in trafficking cases.

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FUGITIVE ARRAIGNED ON CHARGES OF RAPING AND MOLESTING 14-YEAR-OLD GIRL IN HER HOME

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A fugitive was arraigned today on charges of raping and molesting a 14-year-old girl in her home. Anthony Allen Tealer, 44, Brea, is charged with one felony count of forcible rape, one felony count of committing lewd acts upon a child, and sentencing enhancement allegations for a prior strike conviction for assault with a deadly weapon in San Diego County in 2003 and not remaining free from custody for a period of five years. If convicted, Tealer faces a maximum sentence of 21years in state prison. Tealer is being held on $250,000 bail and is scheduled for pre-trial, Dec. 11, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in Department N-12, North Justice Center, Fullerton.

At the time of the crime, the defendant lived with his girlfriend in Brea.

Around Feb. 2, 2009, Tealer is accused of committing lewd acts on 14-year-old Jane Doe, a relative of the defendant’s girlfriend, in their residence in Brea. The defendant is also accused of raping Jane Doe in a bedroom inside of the residence while the defendant’s girlfriend and another relative were in the home.

Jane Doe reported the crime to a relative, who then contacted the Brea Police Department (BPD). The defendant is accused of fleeing to Killeen, Texas after the crime occurred. BPD officers, who investigated this case, and law enforcement agents in Texas located and arrested the defendant on Aug. 21, 2015. Tealer was subsequently transported back to Orange County.

Deputy District Attorney Rebecca Reed of the Sexual Assault Unit is prosecuting this case.

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DEFENDANT SENTENCED TO 50 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR SHOOTING-MURDER OF MAN DURING CONFRONTATION OUTSIDE BAR

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:03 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was sentenced today to 50 years to life in state prison for shooting and murdering a fellow patron during a confrontation outside a Stanton bar. Leobardo Valladares, 45, Anaheim, was found guilty by a jury Aug. 4, 2015, of one felony count of first degree murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death.

On the night of Sept. 15, 2013, Valladares went to Oasis Bar in Stanton. He went to the bar regularly and was acquainted with the staff. The defendant started an altercation outside the bar with 48-year-old Francisco Salgado Torres. At some point during the confrontation, Valladares pulled out a gun and murdered Torres by shooting him twice, hitting him in the face and chest, then fled the scene on foot.

On Sept. 17, 2013, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, who investigated this case, issued a press release with a photo of the defendant.

At approximately 3:00 a.m. on Sept. 20, 2013, Valladares surrendered to law enforcement at a residence in Garden Grove. The Garden Grove Police Department assisted in the defendant’s arrest.

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September 25, 2015

Former “Scandal” Actor Columbus Short Pleads in Assault Case

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:10 am

Actor Columbus Short pleaded no contest today to punching a man and knocking him out at a West Los Angeles restaurant last year, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Short, 33, who appeared on the hit TV show “Scandal,” pleaded to an amended felony count of assault likely to cause great bodily injury.

He was immediately sentenced by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Leslie Brown to three years formal probation, 60 days of community labor and ordered to complete 26 anger management classes.

Short, who was given credit for serving 12 days in county jail, was ordered to pay restitution.

The amount will be determined at an Oct. 21 hearing at the Airport Branch court in case SA086874.

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