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November 17, 2017

FORMER TEACHER AND ELDER FOR JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES CHURCH CONVICTED OF SEXUALLY ASSAULTING TEEN BOY

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

FULLERTON, Calif. – A former teacher and elder for a Jehovah’s Witnesses church was convicted yesterday of sexually assaulting a teenage boy he met at church.

Defendant Charges Maximum Sentence Court Date
Jason Morris Gorski, 44, Fort Mill, South Carolina, Pleaded guilty yesterday to the following felony counts:

  • (2) Lewd or lascivious acts with a minor under 14
10 years in state prison Sentencing

Jan. 26, 2018, 8:30 a.m.

Department N-3, North Justice Center, Fullerton

Circumstances of the Case

  • Prior to April 2007, Gorski was employed as a school teacher at the now-closed Southwestern Longview Private School in Long Beach for approximately four years. He met John Doe at the school. (more…)

Man and Woman Charged in Connection With Fatal Crash in Torrance

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

A 19-year-old man has been charged in connection with a car crash that killed one person and injured another at Hawthorne and Del Amo boulevards in Torrance, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Elizabeth Dickinson said Monte Lashawn Collins (dob 3/4/98), of Long Beach, faces one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence and two felony counts of hit-and-run driving resulting in injury.

Collins also faces five misdemeanor counts of hit-and-run driving resulting in property damage and one misdemeanor count of driving a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license. The complaint also alleges Collins fled the scene after committing a vehicular manslaughter.

Additionally, case YA097210 charges Karin Taylor Dixson (dob 9/27/98), of Los Angeles, with one felony count of accessory after the fact to a vehicular manslaughter.

Arraignment is scheduled for today in Department 4 of the Los Angeles Superior Court, Torrance Branch. (more…)

Man Convicted of Elder Abuse, Burglary in Pomona

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

A 25-year-old man pleaded no contest today to breaking into his grandfather’s Pomona home and severely beating the elderly man, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Sammeon Christian Waller entered his plea to two felony counts in case KA115541: elder abuse and first-degree burglary, person present.

Waller is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 6 in Department N of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Pomona Branch. The defendant faces seven years in state prison.

Deputy District Attorney Sandra Jimenez, who prosecuted the case, said police were called on June 9 to conduct a welfare check on an 82-year-old Pomona man who had not been seen for several days.

When police arrived at the home, they discovered the elderly victim with significant injuries to his body and he was taken to the hospital for treatment, according to the prosecutor. (more…)

November 16, 2017

Attorney General Becerra Announces Embezzlement, Theft Charges Against Couple That Booked Student Trips To Japan

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

SAN DIEGO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan today announced that a Florida couple was indicted in San Diego Superior Court on multiple charges related to a cancelled high school band trip to Japan. Bradley Matheson, 52, and Margaret Matheson, 43, together operating as Harmony International, have been charged with 93 felony counts and 2 misdemeanor counts, including embezzlement, failing to maintain passenger funds in a trust account, and failing to provide refunds. The total loss to the high school band students and their families is $99,000, and 32 victims are identified in the indictment.

In a joint prosecution, the Attorney General’s Office and the San Diego County District Attorney’s Consumer Protection Unit worked collaboratively to investigate the case and take it to a grand jury, which handed down the indictment on October 20, 2017. Defendant Bradley Matheson was arrested in Miami, Florida by the Miami-Dade Police Department on November 10, 2017. He will appear in a Florida state court tomorrow. An arrest warrant has been issued for Margaret Matheson, who is currently at large and out of custody. Anyone with information about her whereabouts is asked to contact the California Department of Justice at (800) 952-5225 or (916) 210-6276.

“The California Department of Justice is committed to protecting students and their families from predatory practices,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Today’s action is an important step toward justice for the San Diego area families affected by this scam.”

“These defendants took money from the students and their families, then turned around and spent it on business and personal expenses instead of honoring their agreement,” said District Attorney Summer Stephan. “Our Consumer Protection Unit’s investigation has been thorough, and it’s our hope that these charges will not only hold the defendants accountable but will also result in restitution for the victims.” (more…)

South L.A. Man Arrested on Federal Charges Alleging He Made Online Threats to Kill Sheriff’s Dept. Personnel at the Inglewood Courthouse

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

LOS ANGELES – Federal authorities this morning arrested a South Los Angeles man who allegedly made a series of online threats to kill law enforcement personnel and others at the Los Angeles Superior Court’s Inglewood Courthouse, a nearby school and a private business.

John Patrice Hale, 42, who used the online moniker “Frost K Blizzard,” allegedly made the threats using techniques designed to make his internet communications anonymous, which included using Tor and proxy servers.

Hale is expected to be arraigned on a 10-count indictment this afternoon in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles.

The indictment alleges that Hale sent the online threats over several days in May 2017 to the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department’s Court Services Division website. Some of the threats invoked ISIS, but authorities have not uncovered any evidence linking Hale to international terrorism. The threats specifically alleged in the indictment are: (more…)

Manager of Home Health Agency Sentenced to 30 Months in Federal Prison for Paying Illegal Kickbacks for Medicare Referrals

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

LOS ANGELES – An Inland Empire woman who ran a home health agency that paid more than $1.25 million in illegal kickbacks for referrals of Medicare patients has been sentenced to 30 months in federal prison.

Elaine C. Lat, 47, of Fontana, was sentenced on Monday by United States District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez. In addition to the prison term, Judge Gutierrez ordered Lat to pay $41,930 in restitution to Medicare.

Lat pleaded guilty in May to one count of conspiracy and four counts of paying illegal kickbacks.

Lat was the chief operating officer of Star Home Health Resources, Inc., a La Verne-based home health agency that received more than $8.5 million from Medicare after Star submitted bills for services provided to patients who were referred through the illegal kickback scheme.

According to court documents, from May 2008 through May 2016, Lat conspired with others to pay illegal kickbacks to physicians and individuals in exchange for referrals of Medicare beneficiaries to Star for home health services. Lat and her co-conspirators paid kickbacks totaling at least $1,257,487 to physicians and other referral sources, including marketers. Lat paid the kickbacks with cash she withdrew from Star’s bank accounts or with checks drawn from the accounts, directly to the physicians and marketers. (more…)

November 15, 2017

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT OBTAINS $5.4 MILLION IN ADDITIONAL RELIEF TO COMPENSATE SERVICEMEMBERS FOR UNLAWFUL REPOSSESSIONS BY WELLS FARGO DEALER SERVICES

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

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department announced today that it has obtained an additional $5.4 million for servicemembers whose vehicles were unlawfully repossessed by Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. in violation of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA). The bank, which does business under the name Wells Fargo Dealer Services, has agreed to pay this money to approximately 450 servicemembers under a 2016 settlement that resolved the department’s SCRA lawsuit against the company. This additional amount brings the total compensation under the settlement to more than $10.1 million and the total number of servicemembers eligible for relief to more than 860.

On Sept. 29, 2016, the department filed a complaint in United States v. Wells Fargo Bank N.A., d/b/a Wells Fargo Dealer Services in United States District Court in Los Angeles, alleging that Wells Fargo repossessed 413 vehicles of SCRA-protected servicemembers without court orders between Jan. 1, 2008 and July 1, 2015. On the same day, the department agreed to a settlement that required Wells Fargo to pay $10,000 to each of the affected servicemembers, plus any lost equity in the vehicle with interest. Wells Fargo was also required to pay a $60,000 civil penalty to the United States and repair the credit of all affected servicemembers. At the time of the settlement, the department announced that 413 servicemembers were eligible to receive compensation.

Since entering into the settlement with the department in September 2016, Wells Fargo has identified additional violations affecting approximately 450 servicemembers that occurred during the period covered by the settlement. Wells Fargo has begun to provide over $5.4 million in compensation to these additional servicemembers under the agreement. Together with the compensation previously announced by the department in September 2016, a total of more than 860 servicemembers and their co-borrowers are eligible to receive $10,183,950.

“Just a few days ago, we observed Veterans Day to honor those who have served our country so bravely,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John M. Gore. “The Justice Department will continue to honor their service throughout the year by vigorously enforcing servicemembers’ rights under federal law. The men and women of our armed forces should be able to devote their full attention to their military duties, without having to worry about their cars being repossessed back home. We are pleased that our settlement agreement has ensured that hundreds of additional servicemembers will be compensated for the damages they suffered as a result of illegal auto repossessions.” (more…)

California Resident Sentenced to Prison for Filing Fraudulent Tax Returns Using Stolen IDs of Homeless and Unemployed Individuals

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

A California resident was sentenced to 54 months in prison today for conspiring to file false claims for tax refunds, submitting false claims for tax refunds, mail fraud, and aggravated identity theft, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch for the Northern District of California.

According to documents and information provided to the court, Diep Vo aka Nancy Vo, 71, conspired with codefendant Trong Nguyen aka John Nguyen, to use the IDs of homeless and unemployed individuals in the San Jose, California area to file fraudulent claims for refunds with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  Vo went to homeless shelters and halfway houses and falsely represented to individuals that she could get them money from a government program designed to assist people who had not worked in previous years.  Vo convinced people to write down their names and social security numbers and to sign blank income tax returns.  Vo and Nguyen then falsified the signed returns by including bogus income and income tax withheld amounts, and seeking fraudulent tax refunds totaling approximately $3.4 million.  Vo and Nguyen directed the refund checks to private mailboxes they controlled.

In addition to the term of prison imposed, U.S. District Court Judge Beth Labson Freeman ordered Vo to serve three years of supervised release and to pay $700,816 in restitution to the IRS. Nguyen previously pleaded guilty to submitting and conspiring to submit false claims for refund and was sentenced in September to 25 months in prison.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg and U.S. Attorney Stretch thanked special agents of IRS Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Amber Rosen and former Trial Attorney Gregory Bernstein of the Tax Division prosecuted the case. (more…)

Three Men Sentenced for Series of Cell-Phone Store Robberies

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

Three homeless men were sentenced today for robbing a dozen mobile phone stores in the Downtown Los Angeles area, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Jeff Megee said Renell Samuel Collins, 52, pleaded no contest to two counts of second-degree robbery and admitted four prior felony convictions.

Collins was immediately sentenced to 10 years in state prison.

Additionally, Dexter Powell, 49, and Stephen Wayne Rodgers, 46, both pleaded no contest to two counts of second-degree robbery and were immediately sentenced to two years in prison.

The robberies, in which Collins used a BB gun to threaten employees, took place between July and August 2016 in and around Downtown Los Angeles, the prosecutor said. The defendants made off with hundreds of dollars in cash and cell phones, the prosecutor added.

The case was investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department, Robbery/Homicide Division.

Los Angeles District Attorney / November 14, 2017

November 14, 2017

Concert Promoter Who Raised Money for Events that Would Never Take Place Pleads Guilty to Bilking Investors

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

LOS ANGELES – A concert promoter who operated in Dallas, Texas and West Hollywood pleaded guilty this morning to a federal fraud charge for defrauding investors, promoters and performers who invested in concerts and World Wrestling Entertainment events.

Gabriel Martin Reed, 46, a former Malibu resident who currently lives in McKinney, Texas, pleaded guilty this morning to one count of wire fraud.

Reed, who conducted business under the name Gabe Reed Productions, admitted in court today that he received money from victims after falsely telling them that events would take place, certain performers had agreed to participate in those events, and their money would be used to organize and promote the events. Instead of using the money for concerts and other events as promised, Reed used investor funds to pay his personal expenses, including rent, utility bills and travel expenses.

According to court documents, over an 8½-year period, Reed represented himself as a promoter and organizer of hard rock and wrestling events. Reed solicited investors by touting what he claimed were longstanding relationships with well-known musicians, showing props from alleged previous tours, and fabricating records related to music events. (more…)

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