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January 22, 2018

Scripps Health to Pay $1.5 Million to Settle Claims for Services Rendered by Unauthorized Physical Therapists

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

Scripps Health (Scripps), a health care system based in San Diego, California, has agreed to pay $1.5 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by charging federal health care programs for physical therapy services that were rendered by therapists who did not have billing privileges for these programs and were not supervised by an authorized provider, the Justice Department announced today.

“Federal health care programs require that services are rendered by authorized providers or under the appropriate supervision of an enrolled physician,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division Chad A. Readler.  “These requirements help protect patients from unscrupulous or unqualified medical professionals.  The Department of Justice will continue to ensure that those who knowingly violate these requirements face appropriate consequences.”

Medicare and TRICARE limit billing privileges to enrolled providers.  Services from unenrolled providers can be billed as “incident to” the services of an enrolled physician, but only if the physician provided direct supervision.  The United States alleged that Scripps billed Medicare and TRICARE for physical therapy services provided by therapists without billing privileges and without the appropriate supervision by a physician.

“This settlement illustrates the United States Attorney’s Office’s continued commitment to protecting the integrity of the Medicare and TRICARE programs,” said U.S. Attorney Adam L. Braverman.  “Unlawfully obtained payment from taxpayer-funded programs harms the entire health care system.  We will hold accountable all providers who defraud these programs.” (more…)

2 Los Angeles-Area Men Charged with Conspiring to Illegally Obtain Technology and Computer Chips that Were Sent to China

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

LOS ANGELES – Federal authorities this morning arrested two local men on federal charges that allege a scheme to illegally obtain technology and integrated circuits with military applications that were exported to a Chinese company without the required export license.

Yi-Chi Shih, 62, an electrical engineer who is a part-time Los Angeles resident, and Kiet Ahn Mai, 63, of Pasadena, were arrested this morning without incident by federal agents.

Shih and Mai, who previously worked together at two different companies, are named in a criminal complaint unsealed this morning that charges them with conspiracy. Shih is also charged with violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), a federal law that makes illegal, among other things, certain unauthorized exports.

The complaint alleges that Shih and Mai conspired to illegally provide Shih with unauthorized access to a protected computer of a United States company that manufactured specialized, high-speed computer chips known as monolithic microwave integrated circuits (MMICs). The conspiracy count also alleges that the two men engaged in mail fraud, wire fraud and international money laundering to further the scheme. (more…)

Couple Sentenced to Prison for Fleeing Police in U-Haul Vehicle

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

A woman and man who led police on a lengthy pursuit that ended in Montebello were sentenced to prison today, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

At today’s court appearance, Trisha Marie Martinez, 24, pleaded no contest to three counts in case VA146661: driving or taking a vehicle without consent; fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle while driving; and driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage.

Martinez’s co-defendant, Harold Brian Escobar, 29, also pleaded no contest to two counts: receiving a stolen vehicle, trailer, construction equipment or vessel; and fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle while driving. Escobar also admitted he was previously convicted of carjacking in 2010.

Following the plea, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Joseph R. Porras sentenced Martinez to 16 months in state prison, while Escobar received a four-year prison sentence.

Prosecutors said on Jan. 3, officers observed a U-Haul rental truck running through a stop sign in Bell Gardens. When authorities checked the vehicle’s license plate, they discovered the truck had been stolen, according to prosecutors. (more…)

January 19, 2018

Attorney General Becerra: Retailer Sentenced to Prison for $5.6 Million Fraud Scheme

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

LOS ANGELES – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced today that Jeong Kim, the owner and operator of Fashion Q and Q retail clothing stores throughout Southern California, was sentenced to two years in prison for sales tax evasion, false income tax returns, failure to pay taxes and workers’ compensation fraud. Attorney General Becerra filed a felony complaint against Kim in the Los Angeles Superior Court on June 19, 2017.

“Like the rest of us, businesses must pay their taxes. Tax evasion is a crime,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Failing to pay payroll taxes, sales taxes, and workers compensation insurance hurts employees, our local communities, and businesses that are playing by the rules. The California Department of Justice will continue to hold criminals accountable and protect the pockets of Californians who pay their fair share.”

Jeong Kim owned and operated more than fifty retail clothing stores in Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. From 2010 through 2016, Kim failed to report more than $29 million in taxable sales to the Department of Tax and Fee Administration, more than $39 million in taxable income to the Franchise Tax Board, more than $8 million in wages to the Employment Development Department, and evaded payment of $5.6 million in sales, income and payroll tax. Kim also failed to report more than $7 million in wages to his insurance carriers and evaded payment of $353,792 in workers’ compensation insurance.

The Department of Justice, Department of Tax and Fee Administration, Franchise Tax Board, and Employment Development Department pursued this case in partnership as part of the Tax Recovery and Criminal Enforcement (TRaCE) Task Force. On July 18, 2017, Kim entered a guilty plea to four counts. He has paid $7,636,725 in restitution, including tax, interest, insurance premiums, and the cost of investigation.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra  / Wednesday, January 17, 2018

MAN CHARGED WITH HATE CRIMES FOR YELLING RACIAL SLURS AT GYM MANAGER AND SPITTING ON BREA POLICE OFFICER

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:58 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was charged with hate crimes and arraigned today for yelling racial slurs at gym employees and spitting on a Brea Police Department (BPD) officer.

Defendant Charges Maximum Sentence Court Date
Erik Lee Overturf, 33, La Habra Charged today with: Felony

  • Hate crime (Assault) with present ability to commit violent injury

Misdemeanor

  • Violation of civil rights
  • Battery on a peace officer
Three years in state prison Pre-trial Jan. 25, 2018, 8:30 a.m. Department N-3, North Justice Center, Fullerton

Circumstances of the Case

  • At approximately 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 12, 2018, Overturf is accused of entering a gym in Brea where his membership was previously revoked due multiple instances of disruptive behavior. (more…)

Youth Boxing Coach to be Arraigned in Sex Assault Case

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

A former Olympic gold medalist and youth boxing coach is scheduled to be arraigned today on charges that he sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl last year, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Paul Gonzales (dob 4/18/64) is expected to be arraigned in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center. He is charged in case BA464024 with four counts of lewd act upon a child and one count each of attempted lewd act upon a child, possession of child pornography, distributing or showing pornography to a minor and contact with a minor for sexual offense.

Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Hall Cops of the Sex Crimes Division is prosecuting the case.

Gonzales, who won a gold medal in boxing at the 1984 Summer Olympics, worked at the Eddie Heredia Boxing Club in East Los Angeles. He occasionally trained the 13-year-old victim and allegedly committed the crimes between May and December 2017.

If convicted as charged, he faces a possible maximum sentence of 18 years and four months in state prison. (more…)

January 18, 2018

FORMER CLASSMATE CHARGED WITH MURDERING 19-YEAR-OLD BLAZE BERNSTEIN AND BURYING HIS BODY IN SHALLOW GRAVE IN BORREGO PARK

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A former classmate of 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein was charged today with murdering the victim and burying his body in a shallow grave in Borrego Park in Lake Forest.

Defendant Charges Maximum Sentence Court Date
Samuel Lincoln Woodward, 20, Newport Beach Charged today with:

  • One felony count of murder

Sentencing Enhancement

  • Personal use of a knife
26 years to life in state prison Arraignment

Jan. 17, 2018, 1:30 p.m.

Department C-5, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana

Circumstances of the Case

  • At approximately 11:00 p.m. on Jan. 2, 2018, Woodward is accused of picking up the victim, 19-year-old University of Pennsylvania student Blaze Bernstein, from his residence in Lake Forest. The victim and the defendant knew each other from attending Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana. (more…)

Attorney General Becerra: Central Valley Sex Traffickers Plead Guilty

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

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced that defendants Quinton Brown and Gerald Turner have pled guilty to multiple felony charges of sex trafficking of a minor.  The defendants entered guilty pleas in Tulare County Superior Court. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Quinton Brown is expected to serve a 28-year sentence, and Gerald Turner is expected to serve an 11-year sentence. The third defendant, Mia McNeil, is expected back in court on February 26.

“These guilty pleas are a prime example of how we will fight to ensure that justice is served upon those who commit the heinous crime of sex trafficking,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Delivering justice for victims of these crimes is a top priority for me as Attorney General. I want to thank all of the law enforcement agents and officers throughout the State who worked tirelessly on this investigation and who work every day to ensure Californians are safe. My team will continue to work to protect victims from sex trafficking and prosecute those who profit from the exploitation of human beings.”

In July 2017, Attorney General Becerra filed 54 felony charges against Brown, Turner and McNeil, following a six-month investigation by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, and the Division of Law Enforcement of the California Department of Justice. The criminal complaint alleged that Brown lured victims from the Central Valley and trafficked them throughout the State.  It also alleged that Turner trafficked minors in the Central Valley and that McNeil fraudulently procured luxury vehicles and apartments used to facilitate the trafficking. The victims, including eight minors, were sold for commercial sex throughout the Central Valley, Bay Area and Los Angeles.

Victims and survivors of human trafficking are encouraged to call any police department or the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at (888) 373-7888.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra / Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Attorney General Becerra Urges Congress to Incorporate $6.7 Billion Cannabis Industry into Banking System

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

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today joined a bipartisan group of 18 state attorneys general in urging Congress to advance legislation that will enable the cannabis industry to participate in the banking system in states that have legalized medicinal or adult use of cannabis. The recent decision by the Trump Department of Justice to rescind prior federal guidance rolled back critical protections for the legal cannabis industry.

“California voters have made it clear: when it comes to the cannabis industry, California is moving forward, not backwards,” said Attorney General Becerra. “This is an issue that is impacting both red and blue states. The future of small and local licensed businesses has been clouded by the Trump Administration’s relentless attacks on progress, in conflict with the will of voters. Congress has the power to protect a growing $6.7 billion industry and the public safety of our communities. My team at the Department of Justice is committed to implementing and enforcing the law in California in a way that most effectively protects the health and safety of our people.”

California, along with 28 other states and several U.S. territories, has legalized the medical use of cannabis. However, under the Controlled Substance Act and certain federal banking statutes, banks providing services to state-licensed cannabis businesses can be subject to criminal and civil liability, as the federal government classifies cannabis as an illegal substance. Accordingly, financial institutions are reluctant to provide services to cannabis businesses operating legally within their state jurisdiction. Forced to operate on a cash basis, cannabis businesses are left vulnerable to criminal targeting. Additionally, law enforcement is less able to track potential financial crimes, and it is more difficult for businesses to pay—and for the state to collect—tax deposits.

In their letter, the Attorneys General note that the enactment of legislation such as the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act would not only bring billions of dollars into the banking sector, but would also give law enforcement greater ability to monitor transactions. Moreover, compliance with tax requirements would be simpler and easier to enforce with a better-defined tracking of funds. This would, in turn, result in higher tax revenue. (more…)

January 17, 2018

Deputy Sheriff, Three Cohorts Arrested in Drug Trafficking Scheme After Agreeing to Provide Security for Narcotics Shipments

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 9:29 pm

LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles County deputy sheriff who allegedly agreed on two occasions to oversee the delivery of narcotics and other contraband in exchange for cash payments was arrested this morning, along with three other men, on federal narcotics charges.

Special agents with the Federal Bureau Investigation this morning arrested Deputy Sheriff Kenneth Collins and the other three after they arrived in Pasadena, allegedly to provide “security” for the transport of nearly 45 pounds of cocaine and more than 13 pounds of methamphetamine. During the FBI’s undercover investigation, Collins allegedly agreed that he and his team would accompany the narcotics and take calculated steps to prevent legitimate law enforcement from intercepting the drugs – in exchange for cash payments as high as $250,000.

Collins and two other men were charged in a federal criminal complaint filed last week. Collins and these two co-defendants allegedly provided security in November for the transport of what they thought was six kilograms of methamphetamine, as well as marijuana and counterfeit cigarettes.

In justifying the high fees for his services, Collins allegedly told an undercover FBI agent “we’re cops” and “all of our transports make it through.”

Those named in the complaint are: (more…)

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