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March 25, 2015

CONSTRUCTION COMPANY FOREMAN SENTENCED FOR DEFRAUDING EMPLOYEES BY TAKING $330,000 IN WAGES FROM TWO PUBLIC WORKS CONTRACTS AND BURGLARIZING NEIGHBOR’S HOME

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:52 am

SANTA ANA – A construction company foreman was convicted and sentenced Friday for defrauding employees of $330,000 in wages and keeping the money for himself from two public works contract. Antonio Naranjo Jr., 41, Costa Mesa, pleaded guilty Friday, March 20, 2015, to 11 felony counts of taking and receiving a portion of a worker’s wage on public works project and two felony counts of recording a false and forged instrument. He was sentenced to four years and six months in state prison. Naranjo Jr. is currently serving two years and eight months in state prison for a residential burglary conviction in 2012 (Case #12HF3186) and will now serve seven years and four months in state prison.

Co-defendant and construction company owner Mustafa Mohamed Bdaiwi, 43, Irvine, is charged with 11 felony counts of taking and receiving a portion of a worker’s wage on public works project, 10 felony counts of willful failure to pay tax, four felony counts of misrepresenting facts to state compensation insurance fund, two felony counts of recording a false and forged instrument, and sentencing enhancements for property loss over $200,000. If convicted on all counts, he faces a maximum sentence of 21 years in state prison. He is out of custody on $2 million bail and is scheduled for a preliminary hearing tomorrow, March 24, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-55.

Naranjo Jr. was convicted of and Bdaiwi is accused of committing the following crimes:

At the time of the crime, Bdaiwi owned a construction company, Malcon Civils Inc. (MCI). Naranjo Jr. worked for Bdaiwi as his project administrator at MCI. In December 2010, Bdaiwi was awarded a project by the City of Irvine and given contracts to do work at an Irvine elementary school. Bdaiwi and Naranjo Jr. are constructed a wall, which later began to lean over and subsequently needed to be removed due to faulty construction and causing a safety hazard. The defendants were awarded a project by the City of Hemet, and upon completion, embezzling the funds meant to be used to pay their workers for the construction.

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March 24, 2015

United States Sues to Block San Diego Man Posing as Attorney and CPA from Promoting Bogus Tax Schemes and Preparing Fraudulent Returns

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:19 am

The United States has sued a former attorney and certified public accountant to bar him from promoting and implementing tax fraud schemes and preparing tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California, alleges that Lawrence Preston Siegel, aka Larry Lave, Yehuda Lave and Larry Easy, falsely represented that he is a licensed attorney and CPA in order to solicit business for his tax practice.

According to the civil injunction suit, Siegel pleaded guilty to one count of tax evasion and two counts of subscribing false tax returns in 1994.  He subsequently resigned from the California bar in 1994, lost his CPA license in 1997, and never regained either accreditation, according to the suit.  The complaint alleges that following his release from federal prison in 2001 for additional convictions, Siegel established a tax practice and stated online that he is an “[i]interesting combination of a Tax Lawyer and CPA who is also a Rabbi trained in Spirituality.”  Siegel, the complaint alleges, claimed to others that his “goal as a spiritual Rabbi, Tax Attorney and CPA is to save people money without going to jail … Everybody wants to pay very little tax, I do it legally and morally under the Torah.”

According to the complaint, among his tax fraud schemes, Siegel falsely advised his customers, typically high earners who own profitable businesses, that they can establish companies in Nevada and treat their California home as an out-of-state corporate office.  Siegel falsely claimed that doing so would transform a vast array of non-deductible personal expenses into tax deductible business expenses, according to the suit.  According to the complaint, Siegel boasted about this tax fraud scheme in e-mails, including one where he falsely claimed that his customers are entitled to free housing as tax-free compensation from their out-of-state companies and that “[t]he housing can [b]e luxurious and cost thousands a [] month” because “[t]here is an assumption that corporations don’t waste money.”

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Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company to Pay $44 Million to Settle False Claims Act Allegations

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:12 am

Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company has agreed to pay $44 million to settle allegations under the False Claims Act that it knowingly issued insurance policies that were ineligible under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) federal crop insurance program and falsified documents, the Justice Department announced today.  Fireman’s Fund, an Allianz SE subsidiary headquartered in Novato, California, provides personal and commercial property insurance throughout the United States.

“Federal crop insurance provides vital support for farmers suffering crop losses due to natural disasters,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer of the Department’s Civil Division.  “The Department of Justice will continue aggressively to pursue those who abuse this important program.”

Between 1999 and 2002, Fireman’s Fund operated a crop insurance business and participated in the federal crop insurance program.  Under the program, Fireman’s Fund sold and serviced crop insurance policies that were reinsured by the USDA for a portion of the risks.

The United States alleged that between Jan. 1, 1999, and Dec. 31, 2002, Fireman’s Fund knowingly issued federally reinsured crop insurance policies that were ineligible for federal reinsurance.  Specifically, Fireman’s Fund allegedly backdated policies, forged farmers’ signatures, accepted late and altered documents, whited-out dates and signatures, and signed documents after relevant deadlines.  The policies were issued by Fireman’s Fund offices in Modesto, California; Lambert, Mississippi; Fargo, North Dakota; Lubbock, Texas; Prosser, Washington; and Overland Park, Kansas.

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ATTORNEY SENTENCED TO NINE MONTHS IN JAIL FOR CONSPIRING TO EXTORT $350,000 FROM CLIENT’S FORMER EMPLOYER BY THREATENING TO PUBLICLY DEFAME HER WITH FALSE CLAIMS AND LIES

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:09 am

SANTA ANA – An attorney was sentenced today to nine months in jail for conspiring to extort $350,000 from his client’s former employer by threatening to publicly defame her with false claims and lies. James Toledano, 70, Newport Beach, was found guilty by a jury Nov. 26, 2014, of one felony count of conspiracy to commit a crime and one felony count of attempted extortion by threat. Toledano was also sentenced to three years formal probation, search and seizure, must submit a DNA sample, pay a $1,000 restitution fine, and was ordered to have no contact with the victim or the co-defendant in this case. On Feb. 4, 2015, Toledano’s license to practice law in the state of California was suspended. The California State Bar Association will determine whether the defendant’s license will continue to be suspended or if he will be disbarred at a later date.

Co-defendant, and Toledano’s client Michael Earl Roberts, 40, pleaded guilty on Oct. 27, 2014, to one felony count of conspiracy to commit a crime, one felony count of attempted extortion by threat, two misdemeanor counts of harassing phone calls, and two misdemeanor counts of annoying phone calls. He was sentenced to six months in jail, three years of formal probation, and ordered to have no contact with the victim.

Circumstances of the Case

Between 1995 and 2005, Roberts worked as a personal trainer for the victim and her husband. In 2005, his employment was terminated. Between August 2006, and June 2008, Roberts made dozens of harassing and threatening phone calls to the victim and her friends indicating that he planned to make her life difficult and sue her. He left increasingly threatening and harassing messages telling the victim, “You better hang onto something, because it’s going to get bumpy,” and that he was going to “destroy” her.

In May 2008, Toledano, acting on behalf of and as attorney to Roberts, met with the victim’s attorney and indicated that Roberts wanted $350,000 in exchange for not releasing information he claimed would be damaging to the victim. Roberts threatened to publicly humiliate the victim with a negative media campaign by having false and damaging stories printed in the Orange County Register, the Los Angeles Times, Orange Coast Magazine, and on ABC television broadcasts.

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March 23, 2015

Owner of Los Angeles Medical Supply Company Convicted in $3.3 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

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

A federal jury in Los Angeles found the owner of a medical supply company guilty of four counts of health care fraud today in connection with a $3.3 million Medicare fraud scheme.

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, the owner of Colonial Medical Supply, was convicted of four counts of health care fraud.  A sentencing hearing will take place before U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II of the Central District of California, and will be scheduled at a later date.

According to evidence presented at trial, between March 2006 and December 2012, Gambaryan paid cash kickbacks to medical clinics for fraudulent prescriptions for durable medical equipment, such as expensive power wheelchairs, which the patients did not need.  Gambaryan then used these prescriptions to bill Medicare for the unnecessary power wheelchairs and other equipment.

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Owner of Los Angeles Medical Supply Company Convicted in $3.3 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

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

A federal jury in Los Angeles found the owner of a medical supply company guilty of four counts of health care fraud today in connection with a $3.3 million Medicare fraud scheme.

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, the owner of Colonial Medical Supply, was convicted of four counts of health care fraud.  A sentencing hearing will take place before U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II of the Central District of California, and will be scheduled at a later date.

According to evidence presented at trial, between March 2006 and December 2012, Gambaryan paid cash kickbacks to medical clinics for fraudulent prescriptions for durable medical equipment, such as expensive power wheelchairs, which the patients did not need.  Gambaryan then used these prescriptions to bill Medicare for the unnecessary power wheelchairs and other equipment.

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DMV EMPLOYEE ARRESTED AND CHARGED FOR TAKING BRIBES TO OBTAIN DRIVER’S LICENSES FOR TWO APPLICANTS

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:01 am

WESTMINSTER – A Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) employee was arrested and charged today for accepting bribes from customers in exchange for providing California driver’s licenses (CDL). Jose Alberto Carrillo, 47, Fresno, is charged with two felony counts of altering public documents and two felony counts of computer access and fraud. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of five years in jail. He was arrested today in Fresno and is out of custody on $20,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear for arraignment on April 20, 2015, at the North Justice Center, Fullerton. The time and department are to be determined.

At the time of the crimes, Carrillo worked as a Motor Vehicle Representative at the Westminster DMV Office.

On May 10, 2012, Carrillo is accused of offering to alter a customer’s DMV record to reflect that the customer had passed a written driving test, that he had previously failed, in exchange for $100. Carrillo is accused of instructing the customer to go to the men’s bathroom to hide the money in between papers to avoid video surveillance. When the customer returned from the bathroom, the defendant is accused of accepting the money that was hidden between the papers. Carrillo is accused of unlawfully accessing the man’s DMV record on the computer and falsely inputting that the customer had passed the written tests.

An interim CDL was issued to this customer. Without the record being altered to indicate that the customer passed the written tests, the CDL process could not have continued and the interim CDL could not have been issued.

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March 20, 2015

Justice Department Highlights Ongoing Efforts to Protect the Public and the Fisc from Fraudulent Tax Return Preparers and Tax Scheme Promoters

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:42 am

During this tax-filing season, the Justice Department announced today the results of its ongoing efforts to combat fraudulent tax return preparers and promoters of tax fraud schemes.  The department’s Tax Division has an active program to stop fraudulent return preparers and promoters from violating federal tax laws, particularly where the fraudulent activity can harm individual customers or drain the U.S. Treasury.

According to available Internal Revenue Service (IRS) statistics, taxpayers filed approximately 145 million individual income tax returns in 2014, with more than 84 million individuals using a paid tax return preparer.  The division’s civil enforcement efforts have been directed against both large-scale return preparation franchises and smaller, independent return preparers and promoters.  Last year, the Tax Division obtained permanent injunctions against more than 40 preparers, promoters and businesses operating all over the United States.

“In 2014, the Tax Division continued its pursuit of tax return preparers and promoters who violate the tax laws through abusive schemes and scams, and take advantage of their customers,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Tax Division.  “The division’s attorneys and staff, along with our colleagues in the IRS, are committed to identifying, enjoining, and where appropriate, prosecuting those individuals who engage in such conduct.”

Preparers

As in past years, the IRS has again designated return preparer fraud as one of the “Dirty Dozen” tax scams to avoid during return filing season.  The Tax Division took action in 2014 against preparers to curb some of the most common types of return preparation fraud:

Your refund should never be deposited directly into a preparer’s bank account.

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Former High School Teacher Pleads to False Imprisonment of Students in Altadena

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:36 am

A former high school teacher pleaded no contest today to falsely imprisoning students in their car while they drove over a weekend through Altadena, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Melanie Buccat said John Edward Maust (dob 4/23/80) entered the plea to two felony counts of false imprisonment by violence in case GA094098.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Elaine Lu of the Pasadena Branch immediately sentenced Maust to five years of formal probation, 180 days of community service and more than 50 Alcoholics Anonymous sessions.

Maust also was ordered to one year of counseling and to stay away from the victims. Additionally, he is prohibited from consuming any alcohol while on probation.

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Man Pleads No Contest to Scamming Elderly Motorists, Attempting to Bribe Police Officer

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:26 am

A man pleaded no contest today to charges that he scammed elderly motorists by falsely claiming they had been involved in traffic collisions and then demanding money, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

David Stevens, 43, entered his plea to one count each of residential burglary, two counts of theft from an elder and one count of bribing an executive officer in case LA076682. Stevens is scheduled to return to court on April 22 when he is expected to be sentenced to 10 years in state prison.

Deputy District Attorney William Chung of the Elder Abuse Section said Stevens approached elderly drivers and told them they had been in a traffic collision.  Stevens then pressured the victims to give money for alleged vehicle damage or personal injuries caused by the accident.

After his arrest Stevens complained about his health and was taken to a hospital for observation.  While there Stevens offered to pay off a police officer if the officer would give him time to escape.

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