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October 9, 2015

Former New York Fire Captain Sentenced In Sexual Molestation

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

Case A former New York City Fire Department captain was sentenced today to 270 days in county jail and ordered to register as a sex offender for life after earlier pleading to sexually molesting twin brothers, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Wilbert Riera, 52, also was ordered to complete a minimum of one year of sex offender therapy and placed on probation for five years by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David Horwitz.

Riera, who resigned from the New York City Fire Department last month, was remanded to begin serving his jail term.

He pleaded no contest on Sept. 10 to two felony counts of lewd act with a child under 14, one count for each victim, in case BA429510. Riera pleaded to sexually molesting the brothers, who were 11 at the time, between Sept. 12 and Sept. 14, 2014, while he was in Los Angeles visiting family members.

Deputy District Attorney Mara McIlvain with the Sex Crimes Division prosecuted the case.

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October 8, 2015

BUSINESS OWNER CONVICTED OF $120,000 TAX FRAUD AND FAILING TO PAY EMPLOYEES PREVAILING WAGE ON PUBLIC WORKS CONTRACTS

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:00 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – An Orange County business owner was convicted today of committing over $120,000 in tax fraud and failing to pay employees prevailing wage for work performed on two public works contracts. Shamseddin Hashemi-Mousavi, 63, Irvine, was found guilty by a jury of 37 felony counts including taking and receiving a portion of worker’s wage on public works, attempted taking and receiving a portion of worker’s wage on public works, forgery, recording false and forged instruments, and willful failure to pay tax. He faces a maximum sentence of 26 years and eight months in state prison and determine restitution at his sentencing, Jan. 8, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-28, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

At the time of the crime, Hashemi-Mousavi owned AAA-HVAC, an Orange County-based heating and air conditioning business.

Between 2009 and 2012, the defendant applied for and received two public works contracts in Los Angeles County. For these projects, Hashemi-Mousavi fraudulently paid several of his employees less than the prevailing wage in cash or by check and kept the extra money owed to his employees for himself.

Hashemi-Mousavi forged, falsified, and submitted bank records to fraudulently show that his employees had been paid their prevailing wage. He willfully failed to pay his tax to the Employment Development Department. In all, the defendant committed over $120,000 in fraud.

The case was investigated by the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Contract Administration and the California Labor Commissioner’s Office (Department of Industrial Relations).

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Australian Man, Who Ran Third Largest Car Dealership in the United States and Was Fugitive for 24 Years, Pleads Guilty in $50 Million Scheme that Defrauded Multiple Banks in the 1980s

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:49 am

LOS ANGELES – An Australian man, who ran the third largest car dealership in the United States before he fled the country 27 years ago, pleaded guilty late yesterday afternoon to federal charges for bank fraud and lying to banks.

Eminiano “Jun” Reodica, Jr., 71, ran a fraud scheme that caused nearly $50 million in loss to the banks in the 1980s. At that time Reodica was the President of the Grand Wilshire Group of Companies, which included Grand Chevrolet, then the third largest car dealership in the country. The Grand Wilshire Group was headquartered in Glendora, California.

In his guilty plea yesterday, Reodica admitted to engaging in schemes to defraud and making false statements to at least five banks, including Union Bank, Imperial Savings, First Los Angeles Bank, Manilabank, and First Central Bank, from 1984 to 1988. Specifically, Reodica admitted to promising the same car contract as collateral to two different banks at the same time. This scheme involved directing employees to forge customer signatures on car contracts and then promising the forged contract to a second bank. The fraudulent conduct also involved repossessing and reselling cars without telling the banks. Reodica also admitted to hiding from the banks that customers were delinquent on their car loans. Reodica admitted that he made his employees sign for car loans for cars that they were not really buying so that Reodica could put more money into his businesses.

As a result of Reodica’s fraud and false statements, the Grand Wilshire Group and Grand Chevrolet collapsed into bankruptcy in August of 1988 while Reodica fled the United States to his native Philippines. He was missing for over 24 years until FBI agents arrested him at Los Angeles International Airport in November of 2012. At the time of his arrest, Reodica was traveling using an Australian Passport in the name of Roberto Coscolluela.

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Whittier Woman Sentenced to Nearly 6 Years in Prison for Having Duped 400 Victim Homeowners – Many Spanish Speakers – of Nearly $4 Million with False Promises of Eliminating Their Mortgages

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:43 am

LOS ANGELES—A Whittier woman was sentenced today to nearly 6 years in prison for her lead role in a scheme that falsely promised to eliminate mortgage debts for approximately 400 distressed homeowners who each paid a $15,000 fee, totaling nearly $4 million in victim payments. Instead of working on behalf of the homeowners, the woman simply sent worthless “Sovereign Citizen” paperwork to lenders—paperwork that did nothing to affect the mortgage of a single homeowner.

Maria Marcela Gonzalez, 45, was sentenced by Judge Stephen V. Wilson in United States District Court in Los Angeles, for two counts of making a false bankruptcy declaration.  In rejecting her request for a probationary sentence and imposing the 70-month sentence, Judge Wilson said that the defendant’s actions were “callous and in gross disregard of the law.”

Gonzalez, who pled guilty in July of this year, started the Crown Point Education Inc. scheme in early 2010 and operated from offices in Montebello.  She admitted in her plea agreement that she spoke at seminars to recruit distressed homeowners and salespersons in the Crown Point program and ran the day-to-day operations of the scheme. Many of the victims were primarily or exclusively Spanish speakers.

In her plea agreement, Gonzalez admitted that she and others promised distressed homeowners at these seminars that, in exchange for fees that were generally $15,000 per property, Crown Point would eliminate the homeowners’ mortgages within six to eight months through a secret process that involved sending packets of documents to lenders. Even though she told victims that she could eliminate their mortgage woes, Gonzalez admitted in her plea agreement that the process had never been successful. Gonzalez failed to tell distressed homeowners that earlier Crown Point clients had lost their houses to foreclosure and been evicted from their houses.

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October 7, 2015

Eight People Charged in a Bank Fraud Scheme that Allegedly Used Information Stolen by Wells Fargo Employees to Access Accounts

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

LOS ANGELES – Special agents with the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service have 1arrested the lead defendant in a bank fraud case, an Inglewood man who allegedly orchestrated a scheme in which Wells Fargo Bank employees stole customer account information, and other conspirators used that information to impersonate customers and steal money from their accounts.

Ronald Reed is among eight defendants who were charged in two indictments returned by a federal grand jury last week. Three of the defendants have not yet been identified, and authorities are seeking the public’s help in identifying and apprehending the currently unknown individuals. Reed was arrested yesterday, and two former bank employees surrendered to federal authorities this morning. All three defendants are expected to be arraigned this afternoon in United States District Court. The indictments charge Reed, four former bank employees and the three unknown individuals in a scheme that caused Wells Fargo to suffer losses of approximately $1.4 million. The scheme detailed in the indictments alleges that Reed recruited four bank employees in 2013 and 2014, asked them to access the bank’s computer records, and then purchasedpersonal identifying information belonging to bank customers, including dates of birth, account numbers, driver’s license numbers and social security numbers. With this information, the currently unidentified “runners” used fake IDs to impersonate bank customers and made substantial cash withdrawals from the customers’ accounts. In some cases, the runners also used the customer’s account to deposit worthless checks and  receive cash back. The fraudulent transactions  were made at bank branches across Southern California and in other states, including  Minnesota and Nevada.

The defendants charged in the indictments are:

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Government Files Enforcement Actions against Two California Companies and Three Individuals to Stop Importation of Dangerous Children’s Products

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

The Department of Justice announced today that it filed two civil actions in federal court in the Central District of California seeking to enjoin the importation and sales activities of two California companies and three individuals in connection with their importation of illegal and dangerous children’s products.  The department filed the two actions at the request of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), alleging that the defendants were responsible for importing children’s products containing, among other things, lead, phthalates and small parts posing a choking hazard for children under the age of three.  The companies and defendants have agreed to settle the lawsuits and be bound by a consent decree of permanent injunction.

“Companies who do not comply with CPSC’s statutes and regulations regarding toys put American children at risk,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “Parents have a right to feel confident that the toys their children play with are safe.”

“We have zero tolerance for companies and individuals who put children at risk,” said CPSC Chairman Elliot F. Kaye.  “To protect our children from unsafe and dangerous toys, we’ll continue to use all available enforcement tools at our disposal as well as continue to collaborate with our federal partners.  Parents deserve no less when it comes to the safety of their children’s toys.”

“There is no greater responsibility of the Department of Justice than to protect our nation’s children,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker of the Central District of California.  “Today’s action demonstrates the Department’s commitment to keeping our children safe from all sources of harm.”

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MAN TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR KILLING SKATEBOARDER IN HIT-AND-RUN CRASH AS VICTIM WAS CROSSING STREET

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man is scheduled to be arraigned today for killing a skateboarder in a hit-and-run crash as the victim was crossing a street. Andrew Christopher Michaels, 19, Laguna Niguel, is charged with one felony count of hit and run with death. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of four years in state prison. He is being held on $500,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon at 2:45 p.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

At approximately 10:10 p.m. on Oct. 2, 2015, Michaels is accused of driving a Dodge Ram pickup truck traveling eastbound on Del Obispo Street approaching an intersection at Paseo Carolina in San Juan Capistrano. Michaels is accused of hitting 23-year-old Cesar Medina, as he was crossing the street on a skateboard, and dragging his body with the truck for approximately 100 feet. The defendant is accused of driving away from the scene without stopping the vehicle to render aid or assistance to the victim. Witnesses at the scene called 911 and paramedics transported Medina to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo. Medina was pronounced dead at 10:45 p.m. as a result of injuries he sustained in the crash.

On the evening of Oct. 3, 2015, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD), who investigated this case, arrested the defendant at his home.

The investigation in this case is ongoing. Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact OCSD Traffic Bureau Sergeant Ray Wert at (949) 425-1860.

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October 6, 2015

Pair Sentenced For Five Murders in Antelope Valley

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

Two defendants were sentenced today for the murders of two men, a woman and her two children during a bloody rampage seven years ago in Quartz Hills, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Jae Shim, 46, was sentenced to five consecutive terms of life in state prison without the possibility of parole, while Steve Kwon, 45, was sentenced to 125 years to life in prison.

Both men pleaded guilty to the first-degree murders of Shim’s ex-wife Jenny Young Park, 34; her daughter, Jamie, 13; her son, Justin, 11; Young Park’s cousin, Joseph Ciganek, 60; and Young’s boyfriend, Si Young Yoon, also 34. Shim and Kwon also pleaded guilty to one count of arson of an inhabited structure.

The five victims were viciously stabbed and bludgeoned to death on June 23, 2008. The two children, along with their mother, also were set on fire.

Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman with the Major Crimes Division, who prosecuted the case along with Deputy District Attorneys Tannaz Mokayef and Eileen Kim, said Shim became enraged that his ex-wife was recently engaged to Yoon. (more…)

FORMER INSURANCE CLAIMS ADJUSTER SENTENCED TO FIVE YEARS IN PRISON FOR DEFRAUDING OVER $400,000 FROM TWO INSURANCE COMPANIES

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A former insurance claims adjuster was sentenced today to five years in state prison for defrauding over $418,000 from two insurance companies. Santos Aristires Rodriguez, 40, Monterey Park, pleaded guilty to a court offer today to 111 felony counts of insurance fraud written claim, two felony counts of grand theft, and sentencing enhancements for a pattern of related fraudulent felony conduct involving the taking of more than $100,000 but less than $500,000 and a taking exceeding $200,000. He is also expected to pay over $418,000 restitution in an upcoming court hearing.

From December 2010 to October 2011, Rodriguez worked as an insurance claims adjuster for Avizent, which is now owned by York Risk Group, Inc., and he also worked for Risk Enterprise Management, now known as Tristar Risk Enterprise Management from Oct. 20, 2011, to July 31, 2012. While employed there, he had access to the company’s database of insurance claimants.

Between 2011 and 2012, Rodriguez created three fraudulent medical companies Comp Medical Services, Linguistic Interpreting, and Imaging and Diagnostic Center. He used the companies as a way to create fraudulent lien demand letters, forged court documents, and other supporting documentation belonging to a legitimate claimant, which he obtained from the two companies he was working at, and then authorized the payments to be sent to his three companies. The defendant’s companies provided no medical services. Rodriguez defrauded over $400,000 from Avizent and Tristar Risk Enterprise Management.

Prior conviction in Los Angeles County
Prior to the Orange County case, between June 27, 2005, and June 30, 2009, Rodriguez worked as a claims adjuster for Chubb & Son Insurance Company where he embezzled more than $500,000 in a similar fraud scheme. On May, 14, 2015, Rodriguez pleaded guilty to one felony count of grand theft, one felony count of failure to file income tax return, one felony count of filing a false tax return, two felony counts of attempting to dissuade a witness, and a sentencing enhancement for money laundering and aggravated white collar crime involving a taking of more than $500,000 and sentenced to 10 years in state prison for that case. The defendant will serve the Orange County prison sentence consecutive to the Los Angeles County prison sentence. (more…)

SIX FAMILY MEMBERS TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR DEFRAUDING OVER $100,000 IN GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES BY FALSIFYING INFORMATION TO RECEIVE HOUSING ASSISTANCE

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Six family members are scheduled to be arraigned today for defrauding over $100,000 in government subsidies by falsifying information to receive housing assistance. The defendants are each being held on $175,000 bail and must prove the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond. The defendants are scheduled to be arraigned today, Oct. 2, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

Charges
Thang Chinh Ly, 66, and Thu Ha Le, 53, both of Westminster, are each charged with one felony count of aid by misrepresentation, one felony count of grand theft by public housing fraud, and sentencing enhancement allegations for over $100,000 loss, aggravated white collar crime over $100,000, property damage or loss over $65,000. Thang Ly is additionally charged with seven felony counts of perjury by declaration and Le is additionally charged with six felony counts of perjury by declaration. If convicted, Thang Ly faces a maximum sentence of 13 years and four months in state prison and Le faces a maximum sentence of 12 years and eight months in state prison.

John Giang Ly, 26, Westminster, is charged with one felony count of aid by misrepresentation, one felony count of grand theft by public housing fraud, three felony counts of perjury by declaration, and sentencing enhancement allegations for over $100,000 loss, aggravated white collar crime over $100,000, property damage or loss over $65,000. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years and eight months in state prison.

Linda Linh Gia Ly, 22, Westminster, is charged with, one felony count of grand theft by public housing fraud, two felony counts of perjury by declaration, and sentencing enhancement allegations for over $100,000 loss, property damage or loss over $65,000. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of nine years and four months in state prison. (more…)

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