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March 21, 2016

Former Executive of Defense Contractor Sentenced to 63 Months in Prison for $30 Million Fraud Scheme

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

A former executive of a Singapore-based defense contracting firm was sentenced to 63 months in prison today for his participation in a fraud scheme that over-billed the U.S. Navy by more than $34 million for ship husbanding services.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy of the Southern District of California, Special Agent in Charge Chris D. Hendrickson of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service’s (DCIS) Western Field Office and Director Andrew Traver of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) made the announcement.

Alex Wisidagama, 42, of Singapore, the former global manager for government contracts of Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Janis L. Sammartino of the Southern District of California.  In addition to imposing the prison term, Judge Sammartino ordered Wisidagama to pay $34.8 million in restitution to the Navy.  In March 2014, Wisidagama pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to submit false claims for payment.  He is the third defendant to be sentenced in a massive fraud and corruption scheme involving GDMA, which provided port services to U.S. Navy ships in the Asia-Pacific region.

According to admissions made as part of his plea agreement, Wisidagama and his cousin, GDMA CEO Leonard Glenn Francis, 51, of Malaysia, perpetrated a scheme to defraud the U.S. Navy on ship husbanding contracts by, among other things, over-billing for the sale of goods, fuel and port tariffs.  Records show that GDMA’s contracts with the U.S. Navy allowed it to sell certain categories of supplies for which GDMA was the lowest bidder.  To make it appear that GDMA’s prices were competitive, Wisidagama and others created false price quotations purporting to be from third-party vendors and submitted them to the U.S. Navy, he admitted.  Because the contracts forbade GDMA from making up the price of fuel that it supplied to U.S. Navy ships, Wisidagama admitted that he and his conspirators created false invoices purporting to show that GDMA paid more to purchase fuel than was actually the case, which allowed GDMA to build undisclosed markups into the prices at which it supplied fuel to the U.S. Navy.  According to the plea, GDMA inflated the cost of port tariff expenses that it passed on to GDMA, despite the fact that the contracts did not allow GDMA to mark up these items.


Man Convicted of Monterey Park Murder in 2014

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

A 20-year-old man was convicted today of fatally stabbing another man in Monterey Park, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

The jury deliberated for a day before finding Angel Octavion Garcia guilty of second-degree murder in case GA095071.

Jurors also found true a special allegation that the defendant personally used a deadly and dangerous weapon, a knife, during the commission of the crime.

Garcia is scheduled to be sentenced on April 8 in Department T of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Alhambra Branch. He faces a maximum possible sentence of 16 years to life in state prison.

Deputy District Attorney Theodore Swanson, who prosecuted the case, said on Oct. 14, 2014, Garcia stabbed Edward Mendoza, 35, in a Monterey Park parking lot.


Jury Convicts Inglewood Man of Attempted Murder of Police Officers

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

An Inglewood man was convicted today of nine counts of willful, premeditated attempted murder of police officers, rape of a hostage and other counts following a nine-hour standoff more than two years ago, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Jurors, who deliberated just over two days, also found Christopher Warsaw, 47, guilty of nine counts of assault on a peace officer with a semiautomatic firearm, one count each of kidnapping and forcible rape of a 14-year-old child, two counts of false imprisonment of a hostage and one count of possession of a firearm by a felon. The jury also found true the gun allegations.

Warsaw is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole plus multiple life terms when he returns to Department 101 on April 15 for sentencing before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Ronald Coen.

Deputy District Attorney Mary Murray with the Crimes Against Peace Officers Unit prosecuted the case.

On Nov. 27, 2013, Inglewood police were called after neighbors heard piercing screams from a 14-yearold girl who was being dragged at gunpoint into a residence in the 10700 block of 5th Avenue.


March 18, 2016

California Man Indicted in Chicago for Attempting to Provide Material Support to Overseas Terrorists

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 1:44 am

Aws Mohammed Younis Al-Jayab, 23, of Sacramento, California, was indicted today in the Northern District of Illinois for attempting to provide material support to acts of violence overseas.

The indictment was announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Zachary T. Fardon of the Northern District of Illinois, Special Agent in Charge Monica M. Miller of the FBI’s Sacramento Division and Special Agent in Charge Michael J. Anderson of the FBI’s Chicago Division.

Al-Jayab was also indicted earlier this year by a grand jury in Sacramento for allegedly making a false statement involving international terrorism.  He pleaded not guilty to that charge, and his next court appearance will be a status hearing on May 12, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. PDT, before U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. of the Eastern District of California.

According to a criminal complaint filed in the Eastern District of California, Al-Jayab is a Palestinian born in Iraq, who came to the United States as an Iraqi refugee in October 2012.  Between October 2012 and November 2013, while living in Arizona and Wisconsin, Al-Jayab communicated via social media with numerous individuals about his intention to go to Syria to fight for terrorist organizations, the complaint alleges.  The complaint further alleges that on Nov. 9, 2013, he flew from Chicago to Turkey and then traveled to Syria.


DEA Agents Arrest Four Men on Federal Charges of Distributing Narcotics, including Pills Manufactured with a Fentanyl Analogue

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 1:41 am

LOS ANGELES – Capping a year-long investigation, special agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration have arrested four Southland men on federal narcotics and money laundering charges related to an operation in which they allegedly imported a powerful synthetic opiate from China and produced their own pills that were then distributed in bulk.

In addition to the arrests yesterday, DEA agents uncovered a working laboratory in Baldwin Park, where they found large quantities of pill presses and variously colored powders that will be tested to determine their chemical compositions.

A criminal complaint unsealed yesterday afternoon charges the four defendants with participating in a ring that imported acetyl-fentanyl, an analogue (meaning it is very similar) to the powerful painkiller fentanyl. Acetyl-fentanyl – which is sometimes called “fake heroin,” even though it is significantly more potent that heroin – is not approved for any use in the United States.

“So-called ‘designer drugs’ may seem to have a similar effect as traditional narcotics, but these back-alley laboratory concoctions are very dangerous,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “They have caused many deaths in the United States, and this abuse led the DEA to put it on a list of the most dangerous and easily abused drugs in our country.”

As part of the investigation discussed in the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, authorities in January seized narcotics – including acetyl-fentanyl pills, methamphetamine, Xanax, hydrocodone pills and “ecstasy” – from a man who has just purchased the drugs from members of the drug trafficking organization.


Justice Department Files Antitrust Lawsuit to Stop L.A. Times Publisher from Acquiring Competing Newspapers

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 1:39 am

The Department of Justice filed a civil antitrust lawsuit today seeking to block the acquisition by Tribune Publishing Company, publisher of the Los Angeles Times, of Freedom Communications Inc., publisher of the Register in Orange County, California, and the Press-Enterprise in Riverside County, California.  Tribune was selected as purchaser of Freedom’s newspapers following a bankruptcy auction and will seek bankruptcy court approval of its acquisition on March 21.  The department is seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent the sale to Tribune from proceeding.

According to the department’s complaint, filed in federal district court in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times and theRegister together account for 98 percent of newspaper sales in Orange County and the Los Angeles Times and Freedom’s newspapers together account for 81 percent of English-language newspaper sales in Riverside County.  Tribune’s acquisition of its most significant competitor would give it a monopoly over newspaper sales in each county and allow it to increase subscription prices, raise advertising rates and invest less to maintain the quality of its newspapers.

“If this acquisition is allowed to proceed, newspaper competition will be eliminated and readers and advertisers in Orange and Riverside Counties will suffer,” said Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.  “Newspapers continue to play an important role in the dissemination of news and information to readers and remain an important vehicle for advertisers.  The Antitrust Division is committed to ensuring that competition in this important industry is protected.”

Tribune Publishing Company is a Delaware corporation headquartered in Chicago.  It publishes 11 major daily newspapers across California, Illinois, Florida, Maryland, Connecticut, Virginia and Pennsylvania.


March 17, 2016

Federal Court Permanently Bars California-Based Tax Preparer from Preparing Federal Tax Returns

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:31 am

The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California has permanently barred Stacy John Sanchez of Orange County, California, from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today.

The civil injunction order prohibits Sanchez from acting as a federal tax return preparer and from owning, operating, or profiting from tax-return preparation businesses.  Sanchez agreed to the entry of the injunction but did not admit the allegations in the civil complaint against him.

According to the complaint, Sanchez owned and operated 12 Liberty Tax Service franchise locations, primarily in the Los Angeles and Las Vegas areas.  At these locations, Sanchez and his employees prepared federal income tax returns that, among other things, contained bogus Schedules C (Profit or Loss From Business), fake Form W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) information and falsely claimed dependents, the suit alleged.  These fraudulent returns improperly generated federal income tax refunds and tax credits, such as the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Credit, for Sanchez’s clients, according to the complaint.

In addition, the complaint alleged that Sanchez and his employees prepared fraudulent income tax returns using stolen names and social security numbers and kept the bogus refunds generated by these identity theft returns.  The estimated loss to the U.S. Treasury from Sanchez and his employees’ misconduct is at least $14 million, according to the complaint.


Mother Sentenced to Prison for Abandoning Baby in Compton

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:26 am

A 33-year-old woman was sentenced today to 14 years in state prison for deserting her newborn baby near a Compton riverbed, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

At today’s court appearance, Porche Laronda Washington pleaded no contest to attempted murder in case TA138783. The defendant also admitted a special allegation that she committed great bodily injury on a child under six years old.

Deputy District Attorney Adrian Roxas, who prosecuted the case, said on Nov. 27, 2015, a three-day old baby girl was found abandoned in a hole near a Compton riverbed.

Law enforcement immediately began an investigation into the desertion and a week later identified a person of interest through the assistance of tips from the public, the prosecutor said.

On Dec. 3, 2015, Washington was arrested in connection with the crime and subsequently charged.

The case was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Los Angeles County District Attorney / case TA138783 / March 16, 2016

Arraignment Set For Trio Charged With Murdering Ex-High School Football Player

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:24 am

Three men are scheduled to be arraigned today on murder charges for the 2013 slaying of a former Garfield High School football player, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Jonathon Joseph Gonzalez (dob 12/4/87), Roque Solis (dob 11/4/85) and Anthony Aaron Gabriel (dob 7/23/90), all of Los Angeles, are expected to be arraigned in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

Deputy District Attorney Hilary Williams of the Hardcore Gang Division is prosecuting the case.

Each defendant was charged in case BA442133 with murdering 21-year-old Gabriel S., who was at a party with some former teammates on May 25, 2013, in East Los Angeles. All three also face gang allegations.

The victim was in a garage when a car drove by and Gonzalez and Solis are accused of opening fire. The young man was shot and killed while another partygoer was wounded.


March 16, 2016

Pennsylvania Man Charged with Hacking Apple and Google E-Mail Accounts Belonging to More Than 100 People, Mostly Celebrities

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

LOS ANGELES – A Pennsylvania man was charged today with felony computer hacking related to a phishing scheme that gave him illegal access to over 100 Apple and Google e-mail accounts, including those belonging to members of the entertainment industry in Los Angeles.

Ryan Collins, 36, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, has signed a plea agreement and agreed to plead guilty to a felony violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. In the plea agreement also filed today, Collins agreed to plead guilty to one count of unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information.

Although Collins has been charged in Los Angeles, the parties have agreed to transfer the case to Harrisburg in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, near Collins’ home, for the entry of his guilty plea and sentencing. Once he enters the guilty plea, Collins will face a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison. The parties have agreed to recommend a prison term of 18 months, but that recommendation will not be binding on the sentencing judge.

“Today, people store important private information in their online accounts and in their digital devices,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Lawless unauthorized access to such private information is a criminal offense. My Office remains committed to protecting sensitive and personal information from the malicious actions of sophisticated hackers and cyber criminals.”


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