Best Defender Bytes:

November 10, 2015

Woman Who Used Checks Stolen from Elderly Victim while under Supervision in another Fraud Case Gets 58-Month Prison Term

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:57 am

LOS ANGELES – A woman with a 40-year history of fraudulent conduct who used checks stolen from a woman in a West Hills nursing home to purchase hundreds of dollars in merchandise – a crime she committed while on supervised released in another federal fraud case – was sentenced today to 58 months in federal prison.

Carol Ejdowski, 66, a transient who had recently been residing in Beverly Hills, was sentenced by United States District Judge Dolly M Gee, who imposed a 37-month term for the current bank fraud case and a consecutive 21-month sentence because the offense was committed while Ejdowski was on supervised release.

When she defrauded the elderly victim, Ejdowski was serving a three-year period of supervised released after pleading guilty to passport fraud related to a credit card scam, serving a 63-month federal prison term and being released in late 2012.

In sentencing Ejdowski, Judge Gee said “the facts of this case are particularly despicable.” Pointing to the defendant’s multiple prior convictions for fraud, grand theft and perjury, Judge Gee called Ejdowski “a recidivist of the highest order” who had “shown her disrespect for the law repeatedly.”

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THREE MEN CHARGED WITH ARMED ROBBERY OF MISSION VIEJO JEWELRY STORE AND THROWING STOLEN ITEMS ON 405 FREEWAY

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:52 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Three men have been charged with the armed robbery of a Mission Viejo jewelry store and throwing the stolen items out of a car window on the 405 freeway. Levon Michael Tippit, 23, Inglewood, Devan Devell Howard, 18, Los Angeles, and Marshawn Marshall, 18, Palmdale, are each charged with three felony counts of second degree robbery, one felony count of assault with a semiautomatic firearm, one felony count of unlawful taking of a vehicle, one felony count of receiving stolen property, three felony counts of false imprisonment by menace, violence, fraud, or deceit, and sentencing enhancements for being armed with an assault weapon, being armed with a firearm, and property loss over $200,000. If convicted, the defendants each face a maximum sentence of 24 years in state prison.  Marshall is scheduled to be arraigned today, Nov. 9, 2015, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.

Co-defendants Tippit and Howard were arraigned Friday, Nov. 6, 2015, and are scheduled for pre-trial Nov. 17, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in Department H-1, Harbor Justice Center, Newport Beach.

On Oct. 21, 2015, Tippit, Howard, and Marshall are accused of arming themselves with a semiautomatic firearm and entering the Fredric H. Rubel Jewelry store inside The Shops at Mission Viejo. The defendants are accused of entering the business and threatening the jewelry store employees with the firearm. The defendants are accused of breaking the glass display cases in the jewelry store and stealing jewelry and Rolex wristwatches. The defendants are accused of then putting the stolen items in a bag and fleeing the scene.

Approximately 30 minutes after the robbery, the defendants are accused of throwing a bag containing the stolen items, which contained tracking devices, out of the window of a stolen 2002 Chevy Tahoe on the northbound 405 freeway. The items were ultimately recovered.

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Downey Man Pleads Guilty to Falsely Certifying Beef as Free of E. coli

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:49 am

LOS ANGELES – A Downey man who falsely certified that beef being sold by his employer was free of E. coli bacteria – which later proved to be false when one beef sample was found to be contaminated with the pathogen – has pleaded guilty to a federal offense of making and using a false writing and document.

Jim Johnson, 67, who worked as a consultant to the now-defunct Huntington Meat Packing Company, pleaded guilty to the felony offense Monday afternoon in United States District Court.

Huntington Meat was a Montebello-based meat processing and distribution company that sold raw ground beef that was used by other companies to make products such as beef patties and burrito mix. Under a food safety plan approved by the United States Department of Agriculture, Huntington Meat was required to test its meat for the Escherichia coli 0157:H7 bacterium

When he pleaded guilty earlier this week, Johnson admitted that in 2010 he knowingly and willfully provided the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) with a fake Certificate of Analysis which falsely stated that a beef sample from the company had tested negative for E. coli. Subsequent lab results showed that some of this meat was contaminated with E. coli. – which prompted the FSIS to issue recall 864,000 pounds of meat (see: http://go.usa.gov/crQ7H). There were no illnesses linked to the recalled beef.

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November 9, 2015

Owner of Los Angeles Medical Supply Company Convicted in $4 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:48 am

A federal jury in Los Angeles convicted a Los Angeles man and owner of a medical supply company today for his role in a $4 million Medicare fraud scheme.

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, Special Agent in Charge Christian J. Schrank of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services-Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Los Angeles Region and Assistant Director in Charge David L. Bowdich of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office made the announcement.

According to evidence presented at trial, Valery Bogomolny, 43, used his company, Royal Medical Supply, to bill Medicare $4 million between January 2006 and October 2009 for power wheelchairs (PWCs), back braces and knee braces that were medically unnecessary, not provided to beneficiaries or both.  The evidence further showed that Bogomolny created false documentation to support his false billing claims, including creating fake reports of home assessments that never occurred.  Bogomolny personally delivered PWCs to beneficiaries who were able to walk without assistance and signed documents stating that he had delivered equipment when the equipment was not actually delivered.  Bogomolny ultimately received $2.7 million from Medicare on these false claims.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Feb. 29, 2016, before U.S. District Judge S. James Otero of the Central District of California, who presided over the trial.

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FORMER DISNEYLAND EMPLOYEE SENTENCED FOR ATTEMPTING TO SELL TICKETS IN EXCHANGE FOR SEX WITH MINOR

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:45 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A former Disneyland employee pleaded guilty today to a court offer and was sentenced to one year in jail, five years of formal probation, and mandatory lifetime sex offender registration for attempting to sell tickets to Disneyland in exchange for sex with a minor. Darreck Michael Enciso, 27, Adelanto, pleaded guilty to one felony count of attempted lewd act upon a child, one felony count of contacting a child with the intent to commit a specified sex crime, and one felony count of meeting a minor with the intent to engage in lewd conduct.

At the time of the crime, Enciso was an employee at the Disneyland Resort.

On July 1, 2015, Enciso posted an ad on Craigslist seeking women willing to engage in sex acts in exchange for tickets to the Disneyland parks. He communicated with an HBPD undercover officer, whom he believed to be a 14-year-old girl, interested in the tickets. Enciso set up a place and time to meet with a person he thought was a minor girl to give her the tickets in exchange for sex acts.

On July 9, 2015, Enciso arrived at the meeting location with condoms and Disneyland tickets. HBPD officers then arrested the defendant near the pre-arranged location on Beach Boulevard in Huntington Beach.

Deputy District Attorney Bobby Taghavi of the Sexual Assault Unit prosecuted this case.

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 15WF1533 / November 06, 2015

DAUGHTER TO FACE TRIAL FOR SHOOTING-MURDER OF 96-YEAR-OLD MOTHER

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:43 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A daughter is scheduled to face trial Monday for shooting and murdering her 96-year-old mother. Christine Marie Reynolds, 72, Rossmoor, is charged with one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of 50 years to life in state prison. Opening statements are scheduled to begin Monday, Nov. 9, 2015, at 9:15 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

At approximately 4:15 p.m. on Aug. 28, 2014, Reynolds is accused of using a firearm to murder her mother Gretchen DeStefano by shooting her in the head in their Rossmoor home.

Shortly after the shooting, another resident in the home contacted the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD), who investigated this case, and arrested the defendant.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Keith Burke of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 14WF3283 / November 06, 2015

November 7, 2015

California Man Pleads Guilty to Producing Child Pornography

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

A Yuba City, California, man pleaded guilty today to producing child pornography, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner of the Eastern District of California, Special Agent in Charge Ryan Spradlin of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) San Francisco Field Division and Chief of Police Robert D. Landon of the Yuba City, California, Police Department.

Nathan Penner, 25, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley of the Eastern District of California to one count of production of child pornography.  The sentencing hearing is set for Jan. 21, 2016.

In connection with his plea, Penner admitted that he produced sexually explicit photos and videos of a five-year-old girl in September and October of 2012.  Penner further acknowledged that he had downloaded child pornography.  Subsequent forensic analysis of Penner’s computer and digital media revealed both the child pornography that he produced and hundreds of other child pornography files.

This case is being investigated by HSI and the Yuba City Police Department.  This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Reginald E. Jones of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS) and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Josh F. Sigal of the Eastern District of California.  CEOS’ High Technology Investigative Unit assisted with computer forensic analysis for the case.

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U.S. Trustee Program Reaches $81.6 Million Settlement with Wells Fargo Bank N.A. to Protect Homeowners in Bankruptcy

Filed under: Uncategorized — fayarfa @ 12:03 am

The Department of Justice’s U.S. Trustee Program has entered into a national settlement agreement with Wells Fargo Bank N.A. (Wells Fargo) requiring Wells Fargo to pay $81.6 million in remediation for its repeated failure to provide homeowners with legally required notices, thereby denying homeowners the opportunity to challenge the accuracy of mortgage payment increases. These failures violated federal bankruptcy rules that took effect in December 2011 and imposed more detailed disclosure requirements to ensure proper accounting of fees and charges on homeowners in bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy Rule 3002.1 requires mortgage creditors to file and serve a notice 21 days before adjusting a Chapter 13 debtor’s monthly mortgage payment.  Wells Fargo acknowledges that it failed to timely file more than 100,000 payment change notices (PCNs) and failed to timely perform more than 18,000 escrow analyses in cases involving nearly 68,000 accounts of homeowners in bankruptcy between Dec. 1, 2011, and March 31, 2015.  Under the settlement, Wells Fargo also will change internal operations and submit to oversight by an independent compliance reviewer.  The proposed settlement has been filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland, where it is subject to court approval.

“I am pleased that Wells Fargo has acted responsibly by accepting accountability for its deficient bankruptcy practices, agreed to compensate affected homeowners for those deficiencies and committed to making necessary improvements in its bankruptcy operations,” said Director Cliff White of the U.S. Trustee Program.  “When creditors fail to comply with the bankruptcy laws and rules, they compromise the integrity of the bankruptcy system and must be held accountable.  Transparency in the process is of paramount importance.  Homeowners in bankruptcy have the right to proper and timely notices, particularly when they are being asked to pay more.  The U.S. Trustee Program remains diligent in its effort to hold financial institutions that disregard the law accountable for their actions.”

Settlement Terms

Wells Fargo agrees to pay a total of $81.6 million to homeowners who were in bankruptcy between Dec. 1, 2011, and March 31, 2015, and who were affected by Wells Fargo’s failure to timely file PCNs and escrow statements, including:

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November 6, 2015

MAN FALSELY ACCUSED OF RAPE RELEASED AFTER SERVING 10 YEARS IN PRISON

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 10:50 am

Forensic Evidence Showed Accuser Self-inflicted Her Wounds

Los Angeles. After ten years, two trials and two reversals on appeal, the prosecution and the defense reached an agreement releasing Daniel Clarke from state prison. Prominent defense attorney Fay Arfa, fought for Clarke’s freedom and never gave up hope. Daniel Clarke had been serving a sentence of twenty six years to life in prison for six felonies including the rape of pregnant T.G., the mother of his son. Forensic evidence proved Clarke’s accuser lied and self-inflicted her wounds to keep Clarke from gaining custody of their son.

The saga began when Clarke filed for custody of the couple’s son because T.G., now pregnant with the couple’s unborn child, refused to let him see his son. On April 14, 2005, Clarke filed a petition seeking legal and physical custody of their son. Two days before the custody hearing, T.G. invited Clarke to her house where they engaged in sex. After Clarke fell asleep, T.G. called the police. When the police arrived, T.G. grabbed her pajama shirt and ran out of the house naked and claimed Clarke broke into her house, held a knife to her throat, cut her chest, thighs and genitalia with a knife and forced her to have sex. The police arrested Clarke. He was tried and convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

Clarke hired Attorney Arfa who uncovered forensic evidence that T.G. self-inflicted her wounds. The California Court of Appeal granted Clarke a new trial. The second trial started and the prosecution hired their own expert to evaluate T.G.’s wounds. The prosecution’s expert agreed that T.G. had self-inflicted her wounds, but the prosecution kept their expert’s exculpatory report from the defense. Once again, the jury convicted Clarke and he was again sentenced to life in prison. Undeterred, Attorney Arfa contacted the prosecution’s wound expert. The prosecution’s expert gave Attorney Arfa the extensive report proving T.G.’s wounds had been self-inflicted. The Court of Appeal found the prosecutor unconstitutionally failed to give the defense the exculpatory report proving T.G. self-inflicted her wounds. The Court of Appeal again granted a new trial.

Before the third trial started, the prosecution offered to release Mr. Clarke if he agreed to plead guilty to a lesser a non-strike, non-registerable felony. Mr. Clarke accepted the offer and the trial court ordered him released from custody.

“We always believed in his innocence; it’s a shame he spent ten years of his life in prison; but we are thrilled with his release and we wish him all the best in the world,” said Attorney Arfa.

CONTACT: Attorney Fay Arfa, (310) 841-6805 or info@bestdefender.com.

DRUNKEN DRIVER TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR HIT-AND-RUN CRASH THAT KILLED PEDESTRIAN SITTING ON SIDEWALK

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:14 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A drunken driver is scheduled to be arraigned today for hit-and-run crash that killed a pedestrian sitting on a sidewalk. Ramon Horta, 55, Santa Ana, is charged with one felony count of murder, one felony count of driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury, hit and run with permanent injury or death, one misdemeanor count of driving on a suspended license due to a prior DUI, and sentencing enhancements for inflicting great bodily injury. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in state prison. He is being held on $1 million bail and is expected to be arraigned today in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.

At approximately 1:10 p.m. on Nov. 3, 2015, Horta is accused of driving a van, while under the influence of alcohol, traveling approximately 30 mph eastbound approaching the intersection of McFadden Avenue and Cedar Street in Santa Ana. He is accused of slowly veering the van to his right and driving over a curb and onto the sidewalk. He is accused of hitting and running over 24-year-old Marcello Bisarello, who was sitting on the sidewalk.

Horta is accused of tapping his brakes and looking over his right shoulder and rear window before continuing to drive eastbound on McFadden Avenue at the same speed. A good Samaritan called 911 and followed the defendant’s vehicle and caused the defendant to pull over approximately half a mile from the scene of the crash.

The victim died at the scene from injuries he sustained in the crash. The Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) arrived to the scene and arrested Horta. SAPD investigated this case.

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