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May 30, 2015

Valley Duo That Bilked Medicare By Billing Nearly $2 Million For Unneeded Power Wheelchairs Found Guilty Of Federal Fraud Charges

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

LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles-area woman and man who were responsible for more than $1.8 million in fraudulent Medicare billings – almost entirely for medically unnecessary power wheelchairs – have been found guilty of health care fraud.

Queen Anieze-Smith, 53, of Woodland Hills, and Abdul King Garba, 49, of Van Nuys, each were convicted Tuesday afternoon of five counts of health care fraud. The guilty verdicts concluded a nine-day trial before United States District Judge Dolly M. Gee.

Anieze-Smith and Garba, who operated ITC Medical Supply in Van Nuys, were found guilty of submitting fraudulent claims to the Medicare program. The duo billed Medicare for durable medical equipment – mostly power wheelchairs – for beneficiaries who were often recruited off the street, who were mobile and did not need a power wheelchair, and who could not use the power wheelchairs in their homes. As part of their scheme, Anieze-Smith and Garba’s falsified paperwork required by Medicare and sometimes failed to deliver the power wheelchairs altogether. Anieze-Smith and Garba submitted more than $1.8 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare, and they received nearly $900,000 for those claims.

As a result of the guilty verdicts, Anieze-Smith and Garba each face a statutory maximum sentence of 50 years when they are sentenced by Judge Gee this fall.

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MAN EXTRADITED FROM TEXAS TO FACE CHARGES OF DEFRAUDING VICTIMS AND BANKS IN $13.5 MILLION PONZI SCHEME

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

SANTA ANA – A man was extradited from Texas to Orange County today to face charges of defrauding more than $10.5 million from victims and nearly $3 million from banks through a Ponzi scheme. Brandon Walton Stewart, 30, Newport Beach, is charged with three felony counts of residential burglary, 24 felony counts of using untrue statements in purchase or sale of a security, two felony counts of financial elder abuse, 126 felony counts of money laundering, 38 felony counts of writing non-sufficient funds, and four felony counts of failing to file a California state tax return. He also faces sentencing enhancements for aggravated white collar crime in excess of $500,000, property damage over $3.2 million, and money laundering in excess of $2.5 million. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 159 years and eight months in state prison and fines in excess of $27 million. The People will request he be held on $13.5 million bail and must prove the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond at his arraignment. He is expected to be arraigned Monday, June 1, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail Santa Ana.

The Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) investigated this case with assistance from the State of California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

A Ponzi scheme is when investors are offered high, short-term returns on investments, but instead of the investments generating actual income and legitimate profits, the money from the investors is kept for the benefit of the defendant or used to repay earlier investors.

Between April 7, 2009, and Jan. 22, 2013, Stewart is accused of operating a Ponzi scheme, resulting in victims to lose in excess of $10.6 million.

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TWO MEN TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR TRAFFICKING, PIMPING, AND PANDERING FOUR WOMEN AND ONE MINOR GIRL FROM TEXAS TO ORANGE COUNTY

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

SANTA ANA – Two men are scheduled to be arraigned today on charges for trafficking, pimping, and pandering five women and one minor girl from Texas to Orange County. Lynn Anthony Bishop, 45, Houston, Texas, and Henry Ray Perry, 33, Burbank, were previously charged with one felony count each of human trafficking, pandering by procuring, human trafficking of a minor, pimping a minor, pandering with a minor over 16 years old by procuring, four felony counts of pimping, and three felony counts of pandering. The defendants have been additionally charged with one felony count of pimping and two felony counts of pandering. Bishop faces a sentencing enhancement for a prior strike conviction for committing a robbery in 2000 in Harris County, Texas. Perry faces a sentencing enhancement for a prior federal prison conviction for transporting for prostitution in 2012 in Texas and serving a separate prison term of one year and more and not remaining free for a period of five years. If convicted, Bishop faces a maximum sentence of 56 years in state prison and Perry faces a maximum sentence of 29 years in state prison. They are each being held on $1 million bail and must prove the funds are from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond. They are scheduled to be arraigned today in Department C-5, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.

Circumstances of the Case
The defendants in this case are accused of being human traffickers/pimps who exploit women and for financial gain. Pimps often establish rigid rules that their victims are expected to follow including setting daily quotas that the victims are expected to fulfill. The victims are required to turn over all payment they receive for sex acts from sex purchasers to their pimp. Failure to follow these rules can result in physical and/or emotional abuse.

Between April 16, 2015, and April 30, 2015, Bishop and Perry are accused of traveling from Houston, Texas to Orange County. They are accused of trafficking six women in two vehicles, including one victim who was 17 years old, to have the victims solicit commercial sex. The defendants are accused of dropping the victims off in Santa Ana, Stanton, and cities in Los Angeles County to solicit commercial sex and collecting the proceeds they earned from performing commercial sex acts. Perry is accused of setting daily quotas for each of the women and ordering them to turn over all the money they earned to the defendants.

Perry is accused of directing one of the females to be responsible for recruiting other females to work as sex workers for the defendant and publishing advertisements of the victims soliciting commercial sex on a website known for prostitution. Perry is accused of ordering the woman where to work, directing the women to perform commercial sex acts, including when one of the victims was menstruating. On one occasion, Perry is accused of spitting in the face of one the victims and strangling her after finding out she returned to the motel room without the defendant’s permission and was requesting to return home.

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May 29, 2015

Justice Department and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Reach Settlement with Provident Funding Associates to Resolve Allegations of Mortgage Lending Discrimination

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:57 am

The Justice Department and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) filed a consent order today to resolve allegations that Provident Funding Associates (Provident) engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination that increased loan prices for African-American and Hispanic borrowers who obtained residential mortgages between 2006 and 2011 from Provident’s nationwide network of mortgage brokers.

The settlement, which is subject to court approval, was filed in conjunction with the agencies’ complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.  The complaint alleges that Provident violated the Fair Housing Act and Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) by charging thousands of African-American and Hispanic borrowers higher fees on mortgage loans not based on borrower risk, but because of their race or national origin.  Provident cooperated fully with the agencies’ investigation into its lending practices and agreed to settle this matter without contested litigation.

“The Civil Rights Division is committed to ensuring that all types of lending institutions, including wholesale mortgage lenders, comply with the fair lending laws,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division.  “We look forward to further collaboration with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in protecting consumers from illegal and discriminatory lending practices.”

“The settlement demonstrates this U.S. Attorney’s office will devote the resources necessary to root out and address unfair lending practices that affect citizens of this district,” said U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of the Northern District of California.  “The law is clear: access to mortgage loans may not be made more difficult because of an applicant’s race or national origin.  We are glad that Provident has agreed to put an end to this practice without engaging in protracted litigation.”

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USED CAR DEALERSHIP PRESIDENT TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR FILING FRAUDULENT TAX RETURNS AND FAILING TO PAY MORE THAN $1.3 MILLION IN SALES TAXES

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:53 am

SANTA ANA – A used car dealership president is scheduled to be arraigned today for filing fraudulent tax returns and failing to pay more than $1.3 million in sales taxes. John Joseph Paradise, 53, San Clemente, is charged with six felony counts of making a false and fraudulent return over $25,000 tax liability with sentencing enhancement allegations for property damage over $1.3 million and aggravated white collar crime over $500,000. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 14 years and four months in state prison. The People will be requesting that he be held on $1.3 million bail and prove the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond. He is scheduled to be arraigned today, May 28, 2015, at 11:30 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

Between Jan. 1, 2009, and Sept. 30, 2014, Paradise is accused of being the president and corporate officer of Paradise Automotive Group, Inc. (PAG), selling used luxury vehicles.

Paradise is accused of being the signatory of PAG and preparing the business’s sales tax returns. The defendant is accused of submitting fraudulent sales tax returns to the State Board of Equalization (BOE).

The BOE investigated this case after a discrepancy in the sales figures and sales taxes collected by Paradise and reported to the California Department of Motor Vehicles was substantially higher than the sales taxes the defendant is accused of reporting and paying to the BOE.

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Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Claim Against Luis Esparza Services, Inc.

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:49 am

The Justice Department reached an agreement today with Luis Esparza Services, Inc. (LES), a farm labor contractor company based in Bakersfield, California, resolving claims that the company discriminated against individuals because of citizenship status in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  This agreement contains the largest civil penalty the Justice Department has ever secured to resolve a discrimination claim under the INA.

The Justice Department’s investigation found that LES required work-authorized non-U.S. citizens to produce documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security as a condition of employment, but did not require the same of U.S. citizen workers.  The anti-discrimination provision of the INA prohibits employers from placing additional documentary burdens on workers during the employment eligibility verification process based on their citizenship status.

Under the settlement agreement, LES will pay $320,000 in civil penalties; compensate a worker who lost wages due to LES’s employment eligibility verification practices; undergo training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA; revise its employment eligibility verification policies; and be subject to monitoring of its employment eligibility verification practices for three years.

“Creating unlawful discriminatory barriers that prevent work-authorized immigrants from working is unacceptable,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division.  “The Justice Department is committed to removing these barriers and ensuring equal employment opportunities.”

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May 28, 2015

OWNER OF LOS ANGELES MEDICAL SUPPLY COMPANY SENTENCED TO SEVEN YEARS IN PRISON FOR $3.3 MILLION MEDICARE FRAUD SCHEME

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:06 am

WASHINGTON – The former owner of a Los Angeles-based medical supply company was sentenced today to seven years in prison for his role in a fraud scheme that resulted in $3.3 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Yonekura of the Central District of California, Special Agent in Charge Glenn R. Ferry 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.

Hakop Gambaryan, 55, of East Hollywood, California, was convicted following a jury trial on March 20, 2015, of four counts of health care fraud.  In addition to the prison sentence, U.S. District Court Judge Otis D. Wright II of the Central District of California ordered Gambaryan to pay $1,740,009 in restitution.

At trial, the evidence showed that Gambaryan, the former owner of a durable medical equipment supply company, fraudulently billed more than $3 million to Medicare for durable medical equipment, such as expensive power wheel chairs, that was not medically necessary.  Medicare paid approximately $1.7 million on those fraudulent claims.

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MAN SENTENCED FOR PIMPING AND PANDERING FEMALE RELATIVE TO UNDERCOVER OFFICER

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:02 am

SANTA ANA – A man was sentenced on Friday, May 22, 2015, to four years in state prison for pimping and pandering a female relative to an undercover officer. An Ngoc Dai Dang, 33, Garden Grove, was found guilty by a jury on March 26, 2015, of one felony count of pimping and one felony count of pandering.

Circumstances of the Case

Dang is a pimp who exploits women for financial gain.

In June 2012, Dang and Jane Doe, in the meaning of California Penal Code section 273.5 (b), were operating an unlawful commercial sex business in Santa Ana under the guise of being a hair salon. Dang induced and persuaded Jane Doe to perform commercial sex acts, and to give him all of the money that she received from sex purchasers. Dang kept the money that Jane Doe received from performing commercial sex acts and sent a portion to relatives living outside of the United States.

On June 14, 2012, Dang took the money that Jane Doe received as a fee for a commercial sex act from an undercover officer posing as a sex purchaser at the business. The Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) then arrested the defendant.

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MAN CONVICTED OF DEFRAUDING INVESTORS IN SCHEMES INVOLVING FAKE BUYERS AND COMPANIES

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:59 am

SANTA ANA – A man was convicted today of defrauding investors in schemes involving close-out clothing. Shaine Joseph LaVoie, 46, Dana Point, was found guilty by a jury of 12 felony counts of grand theft, 10 felony counts of using an untrue statement in the purchase or sale of a security, one felony count of theft from an elder, one felony count of forgery, and one felony count of writing a non-sufficient funds check, with sentencing enhancements for property loss over $150,000 and aggravated white collar crime over $500,000. LaVoie faces a maximum sentence of 24 years and four monthsin state prison at his sentencing July 17, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-34, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

In 1992, the defendant co-founded Ezekial, a skateboarding clothing company. He left the company in 2003.

Between February 2004 and October 2004, LaVoie approached his friends and acquaintances to invest in the purchase of over-produced and out-of-season clothing for re-sale. He convinced them to invest in a fraudulent $1 million scheme that he claimed involved a large shipment of designer jeans being sold to a Japanese buyer. LaVoie also claimed that the deal would close in under three months with up to a 100 percent profit.

When investors began to contact LaVoie for payment on their investments, the defendant lied and said that the shipment had been delayed due to customs problems. He created a Ponzi scheme to pay back early investors with money from new investors. A “Ponzi” scheme is when investors are offered high, short-term returns on investments, but instead of the investments generating actual income and legitimate profits, the money from the investors is kept for the benefit of the defendant or used to repay earlier investors. He is also accused of forging documents to trick the investors into believing that the investment deal was legitimate.

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May 27, 2015

Two California Men Arrested on Charges of Conspiring to Provide Material Support to ISIL

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

Two California men, one of whom attempted to travel to the Middle East to allegedly join ISIL, have been arrested on charges of conspiring to provide material support to the designated foreign terrorist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), announced Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin and Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Yonekura of the Central District of California.

Muhanad Badawi, 24, and Nader Elhuzayel, 24, both of Anaheim, California, were arrested late Thursday afternoon by the FBI.  Badawi and Elhuzayel were charged in a criminal complaint filed today in U.S. District Court of the Central District of California, and both men are expected to make their initial court appearance this afternoon.

The affidavit in support of the criminal complaint outlines a scheme in which Badawi and Elhuzayel used social media to discuss ISIL and terrorist attacks, expressed a desire to die as martyrs and made arrangements for Elhuzayel to leave the United States to join ISIL.

According to the affidavit, on May 3, 2015, Elhuzayel saw a tweet from Elton Simpson, one of the two gunmen who were killed trying to attack a conference in Garland, Texas.  In this tweet, Simpson stated that he and his “bro” had pledged allegiance to the leader of ISIL.  In response, Elhuzayel tweeted his support for the attempted attack and praised Simpson as a “martyr.”

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