Best Defender Bytes:

August 7, 2015


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:33 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A truck driver was convicted today of killing a bicyclist in a hit-and-run crash after dragging the victim through the street. Filemon Reynaga, 49, Sylmar, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of hit and run causing death and one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence. He faces a maximum sentence of four years in state prison at his sentencing Sept. 25, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

At approximately 5:35 a.m. on Oct. 30, 2013, Reynaga drove a semi-trailer truck with an attached trailer out of a driveway on Missile Way onto Orangethorpe Avenue in Anaheim. He drove through a stop sign and made a right turn when he struck 19-year-old bicyclist Manuel Rodriguez and dragged him, along with his bicycle, onto Orangethorpe Avenue. Reynaga then got out of his truck, walked over to the victim, got back inside his truck and drove away from the scene without rendering aid to the victim or contacting police.

Rodriguez was subsequently struck by a second vehicle, but the driver in that crash stopped at the scene and cooperated with the Anaheim Police Department (APD), who investigated this case. Rodriguez died as a result of multiple blunt trauma injuries in the two collisions.

APD arrested Reynaga on Jan. 8, 2014, after further investigation.


Former LAUSD Teacher Pleads to Child Abuse

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:31 am

A former fourth grade teacher at Rosewood Elementary School in Los Angeles pleaded no contest today to one count of child abuse for placing a plastic bag over a student’s head in class, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Thelmo Garcia, 37, was ordered to attend weekly psychiatric counseling for an undetermined amount of time and to complete 100 days of CalTrans work. In addition, he must complete 52 weeks of child abuse counseling and he is barred from teaching minors under 18 while on probation for five years in case BA434476.

Deputy District Attorney Samuel Hulefeld with the Family Violence Division, who prosecuted the case, said if Garcia successfully completes all of the required terms and conditions, his felony conviction will be reduced to a misdemeanor when he returns for sentencing in two years.

Garcia admitted placing a plastic bag over a 10-year-old girl’s head during class on Feb. 5. After several seconds, he removed the bag. The child was uninjured.


Man Receives 18-Year Prison Sentence for One-Day Crime Spree

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:28 am

A Los Angeles man was sentenced today to 18 years in state prison for carrying out a one-day crime spree involving several victims in West Los Angeles and El Segundo, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Sarah Ballog said Jason Faison, 23, entered a no contest plea today to two felony counts of second-degree robbery in case SA086079.

Faison also admitted a prior strike allegation for case TA124781, a first-degree burglary, person present conviction in 2012.

On Dec. 22, 2013, the defendant stole a pick-up truck and robbed a man at a gas station, the prosecutor said. Faison then robbed a woman at a restaurant and then fled in the stolen truck and hit a man with his car, the prosecutor added.


August 6, 2015

Justice Department Reaches Agreement with Los Angeles County To Implement Sweeping Reforms on Mental Health Care and Use of Force throughout the County Jail System

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:25 am

LOS ANGELES – The Justice Department has reached a comprehensive settlement agreement with the County of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles County Sheriff to protect prisoners from serious suicide risks and excessive force in the Los Angeles County jails, United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mark J. Kappelhoff announced today.

The settlement agreement was filed this morning, along with a complaint that alleges a pattern or practice of inadequate mental health care and excessive force at the jails in violation of prisoners’ federal constitutional rights. The Justice Department, together with the county and the Sheriff, has requested that the District Court enter the settlement agreement as an order to bring court oversight to the reforms, to ensure that the reforms are implemented fully and transparently, and to strengthen public confidence in the jails.

Today’s settlement resolves claims stemming from the Justice Department’s long-standing civil investigation into mental health care at the jails, which found a pattern of constitutionally deficient mental health care for prisoners, including inadequate suicide prevention practices. In addition, the settlement agreement includes remedial measures to address a separate civil investigation into use of force by jails staff.

The Justice Department’s investigations involved an in-depth review of thousands of pages of documents and other records, on-site visits and interviews with numerous jails staff members, prisoners and others. The Justice Department was assisted by subject matter experts in the fields of mental health care, suicide prevention and correctional practices.



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:20 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon for the stabbing murder of his stepbrother in their Garden Grove home. Andres Adolfo Serrat, 25, is charged with one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a knife. If convicted, Serrat faces a maximum sentence of 26 years to life in state prison. The defendant is being held on $1 million bail and is scheduled to be arraigned today, Aug. 5, 2015, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.

At the time of the crime, the defendant lived with his stepbrother, 20-year-old Donte Barcelona and other family members.

At approximately 6:00 p.m. on Aug. 3, 2015, Serrat is accused of using a knife to stab the victim in thechest and the side of his stomach. Serrat is accused of fleeing from the residence.

A relative of the two victims was in the home at the time of the crime and called the Garden Grove Police Department (GGPD). Shortly thereafter, paramedics responded to the scene and transported the victim to the University of California, Irvine Medical Center where the victim died from the stab wounds. GGPD investigated this case, and arrested the defendant several blocks from the residence.


Former Santa Monica Doctor Pleads in Prescription Fraud Scheme

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:13 am

A former Santa Monica physician pleaded no contest today to obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Dr. Daniel Shin, 50, returns to court on Nov. 4 for sentencing before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Charlaine Olmedo. Under the terms of a negotiated plea, he will be sentenced to three years in county jail in case BA421892.

Deputy District Attorneys Emily Street and Keith Koyano of the Major Narcotics Division are prosecuting the case.

Shin, who has since lost his license to practice medicine, operated a pain management clinic in Santa Monica. Prosecutors said Shin along with his office manager, Thomas Mark Oseransky, 50, and a colleague, Dyno Travato West, 39, orchestrated a complex scheme to write and fill prescriptions for oxycodone.


August 5, 2015

District Court Enters Permanent Injunction against California Soy Food Producer and Three Individuals to Stop Distribution of Adulterated Foods

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

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California entered a consent decree of permanent injunction against Henh Wong Fresh Produce, of Sacramento, California, its owner, David C. Ly, and employees, Kin S. Ly and Thahn “Danny” C. Ly, to prevent the distribution of adulterated food, the Department of Justice announced today.

Henh Wong Fresh Produce manufactured and distributed tofu, seasoned tofu, fried tofu, fried bean cakes, soy jello and soy bean drinks.  It also grew, harvested, prepared, packed, held and distributed ready-to-eat mung bean and soy bean sprouts.  In addition to manufacturing and distributing products under the name Henh Wong Fresh Produce, the firm also manufactured and distributed products as Henh Wong Fresh Product and Henh Wong Tofu.

The department filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), alleging that the company and individuals have a history of processing food products under insanitary conditions.

In conjunction with the filing of the complaint, the defendants agreed to settle the litigation and be bound by a consent decree of permanent injunction that prohibits them from committing violations of the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA).  The consent decree states that the defendants have ceased operations at their production facility.  The consent decree also requires Henh Wong Fresh Produce to remain closed, and requires that if the defendants wish to resume manufacturing and distributing food, the FDA first must determine that the firm’s manufacturing practices have come into compliance with the law.



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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A tutor was convicted and sentenced today for illegally changing grades of students at Corona Del Mar High School (CDMHS) during the 2012 and 2013 school year. Timothy Lance Lai, 29, pleaded guilty to a court offer to 20 felony counts of computer access and fraud and one felony count of second degree commercial burglary. He was sentenced to one year in jail and five years formal probation over the objection of the People.

At the time of the crimes, Lai was a private tutor for students who attended CDMHS. In 2013, Lai broke into Corona Del Mar High School and inserted a USB device into a teacher’s computer that was able to record the teacher’s keystrokes.

Between Jan. 25, 2013, and June 14, 2013, Lai accessed the school’s network using the information from recorded keystrokes and changed the grades of students on 19 separate occasions. Between Dec. 1, 2013, and Dec. 17, 2013, Lai copied login information for a CDMHS teacher that gave him access to the school grading program.

On June 14, 2013, one of the teachers discovered that grades for students had been changed and contacted school administrators. In December 2013, another USB device was discovered on a third teacher’s computer. The Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) was contacted and investigated this case.



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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A gang member on probation was charged today by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) with possession of a firearm after evading police in an enjoined gang neighborhood on Townsend Street in Santa Ana. He was alsoinvolved in an officer-involved shooting (OIS) in relation to this case. Armando Antunez, 24, Santa Ana, is charged with one felony count of possession of a firearm by a felon, one felony count of possession of a firearm by a probationer, one felony count of possession of a firearm within 1,000 feet of a school, one felony count of street terrorism, and a sentencing enhancement for criminal street gang activity. Armando Antunez has a prior strike conviction for Case #14CF0791. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 19 years in state prison. The People will request he be held on $200,000 bail in this case and is subject to a no-bail probation violation hold. Armando Antunez is expected to be arraignedat a later date and the time is to be determined.

Deputy District Attorney Mena Guirguis of the TARGET Unit is prosecuting this case.

Probation Case #14CF0791

On March 1, 2014, Armando Antunez, his friend, and two other members of the same criminal street gang were driving through a street in a Santa Ana area known for gang activity. When officers from the Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) attempted a traffic stop, a short car chase ensued. The pursuit ended shortly thereafter in a parking lot and the four defendants were arrested. A loaded unregistered firearm was found in the vehicle.

On Dec. 11, 2014, Armando Antunez pleaded guilty to one felony count of having a concealed loaded unregistered firearm in a vehicle and one felony count of street terrorism and was sentenced to one year in jail and three years of special gang-term formal probation by the court which expressly prohibited him from possession of any firearm and associating with other criminal street gang members. Armando Antunez explained the basis of his guilty plea by stating that on, “March 1, 2014, I was a member and active participant in the [named] criminal street gang, and I, with other members of my gang, carried an unregistered loaded and concealed firearm within a vehicle.”


August 4, 2015

Los Angeles Pharmacist Sentenced to 18 Months in Prison for Medicare Part D Scheme

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:11 am

The owner and operator of a Los Angeles pharmacy was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for his role in a fraud scheme involving the Medicare Part D prescription drug program.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker of the Central District of California and Assistant Director in Charge David Bowdich of the FBI’s Los Angeles Division made the announcement.

Rouzbeh Javaherian, 35, of Beverly Grove, California, pleaded guilty to health care fraud on March 16, 2015.  In addition to imposing the prison term, U.S. District Court Judge Stephen V. Wilson of the Central District of California ordered Javaherian to pay $644,060 in restitution to Medicare.

Javaherian was a licensed pharmacist and owner of Emoonah Inc., doing business as Westaid Pharmacy and Medical Supply (Westaid), which was located in Los Angeles.  According to admissions in the plea agreement, from January 2008 to November 2014, Javaherian devised and executed a scheme to defraud the Medicare Part D program by paying illegal cash kickbacks to Medicare beneficiaries to induce them to submit their prescriptions to Westaid.  Javaherian then filled some of those prescriptions, but also submitted false and fraudulent claims to Medicare Part D plan sponsors for prescriptions that he did not actually fill.  Javaherian received approximately $644,060 in overpayments from Medicare as the result of the fraud scheme.


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