Best Defender Bytes:

May 15, 2015

Former Number Two of Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Charged with Obstructing Federal Investigation into Misconduct at County Jails

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:15 am

Paul Tanaka, 56, who was the second in command of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) and William Thomas Carey, 56, who oversaw internal criminal investigations at the LASD, have been indicted on obstruction of justice charges for allegedly directing efforts to quash a federal investigation into corruption and civil rights violations by sheriff’s deputies at two downtown jail complexes.

A federal grand jury yesterday returned a five-count indictment against Tanaka and Carey, who allegedly participated in a broad conspiracy to obstruct the investigation, a scheme that started when the sheriff’s department learned that an inmate at the Men’s Central Jail (MCJ) was an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).  Tanaka and Carey allegedly directed, oversaw and participated in a conspiracy that last year resulted in the conviction of seven other former LASD deputies.

The obstruction of justice case was announced at a news conference this morning by Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Yonekura for the Central District of California and Assistant Director in Charge David Bowdich for the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.

Tanaka and Carey are charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice and each is named in one count of obstruction of justice.  Carey is charged with two counts of making false declarations for perjuring himself last year during the trials of co-conspirators.

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MAN ARRAIGNED ON CHARGES OF PIMPING AND PANDERING WOMAN

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:10 am

FULLERTON – A man was arraigned today on charges of pimping and pandering a woman. Tremain Haynes, 25, Anaheim, is charged with one felony count each of pandering and pimping, and a prior second strike conviction for discharging a firearm at an inhabited dwelling in Texas in 2013. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 12 years in state prison. He is being held on $100,000 bail and was arraigned today in Central Jail on the charges. Haynes is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on May 21, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in in Department N-3, North Justice Center, Fullerton.

Circumstances of the Case

Haynes is accused of being a pimp who exploits women and/or children for financial gain.

On May 11, 2015, Haynes is accused of pimping and pandering 29-year-old Jane Doe by arranging to have a client, an undercover police officer posing as a sex purchaser, to meet with the victim at the Quality Inn on Harbor Boulevard in Anaheim for the purpose of commercial sex. Haynes was arrested at the scene.

Members of Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF) and the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) Office work proactively to protect women and minors from falling victim to commercial sexual exploitation. This case was investigated by OCHTTF, a partnership between the Anaheim Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Huntington Beach Police Department, OCDA, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and community and non-profit partners.

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Motorist Charged with Assault, False Imprisonment, Hit-and-Run

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:07 am

A 43-year-old man accused of attacking motorists will be arraigned today, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Donald James Kleven (dob 4/8/72) has been charged with eight counts: three counts of assault with a deadly weapon — an automobile, three counts of hit-and-run driving resulting in property damage and one count each of false imprisonment by violence and vandalism over $400 damage in case NA101810.

Kleven is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in Department S01 at the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Long Beach Branch. Prosecutors will ask bail be set at $160,000.

Prosecutors said between March and April of this year, Kleven reportedly assaulted several motorists with his car in the Long Beach and Carson area.

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May 14, 2015

Southern California Medical Supply Company Owner Sentenced to Four Years in Prison for $8.3 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:54 am

A registered nurse who owned a medical supply company was sentenced today in Los Angeles to four years in federal prison for her role in an $8.3 million Medicare fraud scheme.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the 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, Assistant Director in Charge David L. Bowdich of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Erick Martinez of the IRS-Criminal Investigation’s Los Angeles Field Office made the announcement.

Olufunke Ibiyemi Fadojutimi, 43, of Carson, California, was convicted by a jury on July 31, 2014, of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, seven counts of health care fraud and one count of money laundering.  In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder of the Central District of California ordered Fadojutimi was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $4,372,466, jointly and severally with a co-defendant.

During trial, the evidence showed that Fadojutimi, a registered nurse and the former owner of Lutemi Medical Supply, fraudulently billed Medicare for more than $8 million of durable medical equipment that was not medically necessary.  The evidence specifically showed that, between September 2003 and May 2010, Fadojutimi and others paid cash kickbacks to patient recruiters in exchange for patient referrals, and additional kickbacks to physicians for fraudulent prescriptions for medically unnecessary durable medical equipment, such as power wheelchairs.  Fadojutimi and others then used these prescriptions to support fraudulent claims to Medicare.

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Jury Convicts Father of Throwing Young Daughter Off Cliff

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:49 am

A jury today found Cameron John Brown guilty of the first-degree murder of his 4-year-old daughter by throwing her off a 120-foot cliff nearly 15 years ago, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

The jury of six women and six men, who deliberated about 1 ½ days, also found the special circumstances of murder for financial gain and lying in wait to be true.

Brown, 53, will be sentenced to a mandatory term of life in state prison without the possibility of parole when he returns to court on June 19 before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge George Lomeli.

“It’s a good day for justice,” Deputy District Attorney Craig Hum with the Major Crimes Division said outside of court.

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Tujunga Man Charged with Stabbing Wife to Death

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:45 am

A 54-year-old man has been charged with stabbing his wife to death at their Tujunga home last week, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today.

Deputy District Attorney Carmelia Mejia said Henrik Avetyan (dob 9/15/60) faces one count of willful, deliberate and premeditated murder with the allegation that a knife was used in case PA083496.

Avetyan pleaded not guilty yesterday and is due to return on June 9 in Department S of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, San Fernando Branch.

The defendant is accused of stabbing his 50-year-old wife on May 7 following an argument at their home, the prosecutor said.

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May 13, 2015

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces No Contest Plea By Cyber Exploitation Website Operator

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:22 am

SAN FRANCISCO – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced today that cyber exploitation website operator, Casey E. Meyering, has pled no contest to one count of extortion, three counts of attempted extortion, and one count of conspiracy. He is expected to be sentenced on June 8, 2015. Meyering operated WinByState.com, a cyber exploitation website on which intimate images of unsuspecting victims were posted without the victims’ consent.

Meyering, 28, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, entered his no contest plea today in Napa County Superior Court. Meyering’s no-contest plea is considered by the court the same as a plea of guilty and, following his plea today, the court found him guilty.

“Today’s plea makes it clear that there will be severe consequences for those who profit from exploiting women online,” said Attorney General Harris. “This is a turning point in the fight against cyber exploitation and a message to those who cowardly profit from victimizing, belittling, and harassing women. My office will continue to be vigilant, and we will investigate and prosecute those who commit these deplorable acts.”

Meyering was arrested in Tulsa on February 13, 2014, and extradited to California following an investigation led by the California Department of Justice’s eCrime Unit. The investigation revealed that the website Meyering owned and administered, WinByState.com, solicited the anonymous, public posting of private photographs containing nude and explicit images of individuals without their permission.

Described as “a user supported website where you can trade your ex-girlfriend, your current girlfriend, or any other girl that you might know,” WinByState.com solicited uploaders to identify their “wins” by city and state, sometimes using the victim’s complete or partial name. In the California-specific user forum for this website, there were over 400 postings.

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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Cramming Settlements with Sprint and Verizon

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:17 am

LOS ANGELES – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced that the California Department of Justice—along with the Attorneys General of the other 49 States and the District of Columbia, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Federal Communications Commission—reached settlements with Sprint Corporation (Sprint) and Cellco Partnership d/b/a Verizon Wireless (Verizon) to resolve allegations that Sprint and Verizon placed charges for third-party services on consumers’ mobile telephone bills that were not authorized by the consumers, a practice known as “mobile cramming.”

The state of California will receive $549,731.29 in the Sprint settlement, and $733,298.41 in the Verizon settlement.

“To boost their profits, Sprint and Verizon deceived consumers and added unauthorized charges to their monthly bills,” Attorney General Harris said. “This settlement holds Sprint and Verizon accountable for their actions, ends these bad business practices and refunds consumers. I encourage Californians who were victims of Sprint and Verizon’s cramming practices to file a claim immediately.”

Under the terms of the settlements, Sprint will pay $68 million and Verizon will pay $90 million. Of this amount, Sprint and Verizon are required to provide $50 million and $70 million, respectively, to consumers who were victims of cramming.  Sprint and Verizon will each distribute refunds to harmed consumers through redress programs that will be under the supervision of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

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TV Reporter Pleads to Domestic Violence Charge

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:12 am

A television reporter pleaded no contest today to beating his wife during an argument in December of last year, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Frederick Mesropi said Carlos Zapata, 51, of Sherman Oaks entered the plea to one felony count of willfully inflicting corporal injury resulting in a traumatic condition upon his spouse in case LA079898.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Kellogg of the Van Nuys Branch immediately sentenced Zapata to five years formal probation and one year of domestic violence counseling.

The defendant threw a flower pot at his wife’s head causing serious injuries during an argument on Dec. 3, the prosecutor said. Zapata was a local reporter for MundoFox 22.

The case was investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department, Van Nuys Station.

Los Angeles County District Attorney / case LA079898 / May 12, 2015

May 12, 2015

CONSTRUCTION COMPANY OWNER SENTENCED FOR DEFRAUDING EMPLOYEES BY TAKING OVER $220,000 IN WAGES FROM TWO PUBLIC WORKS CONTRACTS

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:36 am

SANTA ANA – A construction company owner was convicted and sentenced today for defrauding employees of over $220,000 in wages and keeping the money for himself from two public works contracts. Construction company owner Mustafa Mohamed Bdaiwi, 43, Irvine, pleaded guilty today to one felony count of taking and receiving a portion of a worker’s wage on public works project, nine misdemeanor counts of willful failure to pay employment tax, one felony count of misrepresenting facts to state compensation insurance fund, one felony count of recording a false and forged instrument, and a sentencing enhancement for property loss over $200,000. He was sentenced to one year in jail, five years of formal probation and ordered to pay $220,463.38 in restitution.

Co-defendant and construction company foreman Antonio Naranjo Jr., 41, Costa Mesa, pleaded guilty 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 and 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.

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. 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 also awarded a project by the City of Hemet, and upon completion, embezzled the funds meant to be used to pay their workers for the construction.

Between Jan. 11, 2011, and Aug. 10, 2011, Bdaiwi and Naranjo Jr. required workers to return a portion of their wages and threatened to terminate their employment if they did not comply. Over the course of the two projects, the defendants submitted fraudulent and forged certified payroll records showing the correct amount due to his staff for proper bookkeeping. The defendants had employees return some of their wages back to them and kept that money for their own personal use.

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