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February 11, 2015

Two Men Who Orchestrated $21 Million Movie Investment Scheme Sentenced to Federal Prison for Defrauding Hundreds of Investors

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

LOS ANGELES – Two men who were leaders of a scheme involving a company called Gigapix that defrauded hundreds of victims by promising large returns on movie investments and a production company’s imminent public offering were sentenced today, receiving sentences of up to eight years in federal prison.

The two defendants sentenced this morning – Christopher Blauvelt, 59, a former Woodland Hills resident who was transient when he was arrested last year, and David Pritchard, 67, of Hollywood (formerly of Malibu) – were convicted at trial last year on a series of federal charges, including mail fraud, wire fraud and offering for sale unregistered securities.

United States District Judge Manuel Real sentenced Blauvelt to eight years in prison, and Pritchard was sentenced to five years.

Judge Real scheduled a restitution hearing for April 20.

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MAN FORMERLY ON SAPD’S MOST WANTED LIST TO FACE TRIAL FOR MURDERING EMPLOYER IN 2009

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

SANTA ANA - A man who was on the Santa Ana Police Department’s (SAPD) most wanted list is scheduled to face trial tomorrow for murdering his employer. Gerald Guy Byrne, 54, is charged with one felony count of murder. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 60 years to life in state prison. Opening statements are scheduled to begin tomorrow, Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015, at 9:15 a.m. in Department C-41, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

At the time of the crime, Byrne was working for 69-year-old Charles Samo.

Between July 19, 2009, and July 21, 2009, Byrne is accused of entering Samo’s residence in Santa Ana and strangling him to death. Byrne is accused of fleeing to Washington and was placed on the “Santa Ana Police Department’s 10 Most Wanted Suspects” list.

On Oct. 22, 2011, Byrne was arrested in Everett, Wash. by the Everett Police Department on an unrelated charge. He was identified during the booking process as a wanted parole suspect in California and was extradited back to Orange County.

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District Court Enters Permanent Injunction Against San Francisco Soy and Tofu Company and Senior Officers to Stop Distribution of Adulterated Products

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

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California entered a consent decree of permanent injunction against Fong Kee Tofu Co. Inc., Yan Hui Fong, the firm’s co-owner and chief executive officer, and Jen Ying Fong and Suny Fong, co-owners and corporate officers, to prevent the distribution of adulterated tofu and other soy food products, the Department of Justice announced today.

The department filed a complaint in the Northern District of California on Jan. 23 at the request of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  The complaint alleges that the defendants have a history of processing soy food products under insanitary conditions.  As detailed in the complaint, the company receives, prepares, processes, manufactures, labels, packs, holds and distributes soy food products including soy drinks, firm tofu, soft tofu, fried tofu balls (oil bean cake) and soybean cake.  The complaint also alleges that Yan Hui Fong, Suny Fong and Jen Yin Fong are Fong Kee Tofu’s corporate officers with the authority and responsibility for preventing and correcting violations of federal law at the company.

In conjunction with the filing of the complaint, the defendants agreed to settle the litigation and to be bound by a permanent injunction that requires Fong Kee Tofu to cease all operations and requires that if the defendants wish to resume manufacturing and distributing food in the future, the FDA first must determine that the firm’s manufacturing practices have come into compliance with the law.

“Fong Kee Tofu was repeatedly informed that the sanitation practices at its facility were deficient,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Joyce R. Branda of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “The failure to make sure that its facility was operating under sanitary conditions could be a serious risk to the public health and needed to be remedied.

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February 10, 2015

LAW ENFORCEMENT SEEKS POTENTIAL ADDITIONAL VICTIMS OF DEFENDANT CHARGED WITH ILLEGALLY PERFORMING COSMETIC SURGERY RESULTING IN VICTIM’S DEATH

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:35 am

SANTA ANA – The Orange County District Attorney’s Office and the Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) are seeking the public’s help identifying potential additional victims of a defendant charged with illegally performing cosmetic surgeries which resulted in the death of one victim. Liborio De La Luz Ramos, 44, Santa Ana, was charged today with one felony count of involuntary manslaughter by unlawful act and two felony counts of unauthorized practice of medicine. If convicted, Ramos faces a maximum sentence of four years and eight months in state prison. The People will request that the defendant be held on $500,000 bail at today’s arraignment in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.

At the time of the crime, Ramos is accused of having no medical license or authorization to perform medical or surgical procedures in California.

Between Dec. 30, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2014, Ramos is accused of meeting with 40-year-old transgender woman Felipe De La Riva, who went by the name of Katya, at a hotel in Orange and illegally administering silicone injections to the victim’s buttocks.

On Jan. 1, 2015, De La Riva admitted herself into Kaiser Hospital in Garden Grove and was then transferred to Kaiser Hospital in Anaheim to be treated for a respiratory problem, where she later died on Jan. 21, 2015. The defendant is accused of illegally administering the silicone injections to De La Riva, which led to silicone embolism syndrome, resulting in the victim’s death.

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MOTHER CONVICTED OF MURDERING 2-MONTH-OLD BABY GIRL BY DROWNING HER IN BATHTUB FOUND SANE BY SAME JURY

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:31 am

SANTA ANA – A jury determined today that a mother was legally sane when she murdered her 2-month-old baby girl by drowning her in a bathtub. Lucero Carrera, 30, Santa Ana, was previously found guilty by the same jury, Jan. 26, 2015, of one felony count each of first degree murder and assault on a child under 8 years old with force likely to produce great bodily injury resulting in death. Carrera faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison at her sentencing March 27, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-45, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

As Carrera entered pleas of “not guilty” and “not guilty by reason of insanity,” the trial was held in two phases. The first phase was the guilt phase, during which jurors heard evidence about the crime and the prosecution proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the crime. In the second phase, the sanity phase, the same jury considered evidence and determined Carrera was legally sane at the time of the crime. When a defendant pleads “not guilty by reason of insanity,” the burden is on the defense to prove that the defendant was more likely than not legally insane when she committed the crime. To be considered legally insane, the defense must prove that the defendant had a mental disease or defect when she committed the crime, and also that this defect kept the defendant from understanding the nature of her act or from understanding that his act was morally or legally wrong.

In June 2012, Carrera lived in a trailer in Santa Ana with her mother and her 2-month-old baby daughter Kimberly Gutierrez.

At approximately 4:20 p.m. on June 29, 2012, immediately after Carrera ingested a large quantity of pills in an attempt to kill herself, she filled her Jacuzzi bathtub halfway with water and intentionally murdered her baby by drowning her in the tub.

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Ambulance Company Manager Sentenced to 78 Months in Prison for $5.5 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

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

The general manager of a Southern California ambulance company was sentenced today to 78 months in federal prison for his role in a $5.5 million scheme to defraud the Medicare program.

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 Bill Lewis of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office made the announcement.

Wesley Harlan Kingsbury, 34, of Bloomington, California, pleaded guilty on Sept. 15, 2014, to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, one count of conspiracy to obstruct a Medicare audit and one count of making materially false statements to federal law enforcement officers.  In addition to the prison sentence, U.S. District Judge Dale S. Fischer of the Central District of California ordered Kingsbury to pay $1,338,413 in restitution.

According to admissions made in connection with his guilty plea, Kingsbury was the general manager of Alpha Ambulance Inc. (Alpha), which specialized in the provision of non-emergency ambulance transportation services to Medicare beneficiaries, primarily to and from dialysis treatments.  Kingsbury admitted that between April 2010 and July 2012, he conspired with the owners of Alpha, Alex Kapri and Aleksey Muratov, and the training supervisor, Danielle Medina, to bill Medicare for ambulance transportation services for individuals that did not need to be transported by ambulance.  In addition, as general manager, Kingsbury instructed emergency medical technicians employed by Alpha to conceal the true medical condition of patients they were transporting by altering paperwork and creating false justifications for the transportation services.

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February 9, 2015

MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH PENALTY FOR RAPE AND STABBING-MURDER OF 22-YEAR-OLD WOMAN OUTSIDE OF BAR IN 1983

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:27 am

SANTA ANA – A man was sentenced today to receive the death penalty for raping and murdering a 22-year-old woman in an alley behind a bar in 1983. The defendant was previously convicted and sentenced to receive the death penalty in this case in 1985. In June 1990, Ramirez appealed to the California Supreme Court, who affirmed the defendant’s conviction. His conviction was later overturned by the Federal District Court for the Central District of California on writ of habeas corpus.

Richard Raymond Ramirez, 55, was found guilty by a jury in the re-trial of this case on May 15, 2013, of one felony count of special circumstances murder in the commission of rape, one felony count of rape, and a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon. A mistrial was declared in the previous penalty phase of the trial on June 3, 2013. A new jury recommended Ramirez receive the death penalty on Nov. 24, 2014.

Circumstances of the Crime

On the night of Nov. 20, 1983, 22-year-old Kim Gonzalez was at Mr. Barry’s bar in Garden Grove. Throughout the night, Gonzalez was seen in the bar with then-24-year-old Ramirez, whom she had met two weeks earlier at the same bar while out with her brother and a friend. The defendant spent the night drinking, talking, dancing with, and kissing the victim.

At approximately 1:00 a.m. on Nov. 21, 1983, Gonzalez left the bar through a door that led to the rear parking lot. Ramirez followed Gonzalez outside carrying a longneck bottle of Budweiser beer. Once outside in a nearby alley, Ramirez attacked the victim.

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GANG MEMBERS TO FACE TRIAL FOR FIRING SEVERAL ROUNDS AT OFFICER’S VEHICLE ON PATROL IN ANAHEIM

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

SANTA ANA – Three defendants are expected to face trial Monday for firing several rounds at a police officer’s vehicle that was out on patrol in Anaheim for the benefit of their Hispanic criminal street gang. Juan Carlos Covarrubias, 22, Jordy Roman Martinez, 21, Andrew Gomez Sanchez, 21, all of Anaheim, are each charged with one felony count of conspiracy to commit murder, two felony counts of attempted murder on a peace officer, one felony count of shooting at an occupied motor vehicle, and one felony count of street terrorism, with sentencing enhancements for the vicarious discharge of a firearm by a gang member and criminal street gang activity. If convicted, they each face a maximum sentence of 45 years to life in state prison. Opening statements are expected to begin Monday, Feb. 9, 2015, at 1:30 p.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

At the time of the crime, Covarrubias, Martinez, and Sanchez are accused of actively participating in a criminal Hispanic street gang with knowledge that its members engage is a pattern of criminal gang activity.

At approximately 3:30 a.m. on June 1, 2012, Sanchez is accused of driving Martinez and Covarrubias and pulling up in front of an unmarked Anaheim Police Department (APD) vehicle that was patrolling the street. Sanchez is accused of driving the car on the wrong side of the road to block the officer’s vehicle from moving forward on Palm Street at Boysen Avenue in Anaheim. The officers were in their full uniform at the time of the incident.

Martinez accused of getting out of the vehicle with a loaded firearm and shooting several rounds at the officers inside the vehicle with specific intent, premeditation, and deliberation to murder the police officers. The officers attempted to find safety by turning their vehicle around, switching on their police emergency lights, and attempting to drive to safety.

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North Hollywood Man Found Guilty of Killing Sister

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:27 am

A jury has found a 24-year-old man guilty of stabbing his sister to death, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today.

Deputy District Attorney Matthew Vodnoy said Mario Alejandro Martínez of North Hollywood was found guilty yesterday of first-degree murder in case LA075140.

The jury also found true a special allegation that he used a knife.

Sentencing for Martínez is scheduled on March 27 in Department R of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Van Nuys Branch. He will be facing 26 years to life in state prison.

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February 6, 2015

HUSBAND CHARGED WITH STRANGLING-MUDER OF WIFE IN THEIR MISSION VIEJO HOME

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:59 am

SANTA ANA - A husband will be arraigned today for strangling and murdering his wife in their Mission Viejo home. Gary Lee Parsons, 74, is charged with one felony count of murder. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison. The defendant is being held on $1 million bail and is scheduled to be arraigned today, Thursday, Feb. 5, 2015, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.

In the early hours of Feb. 3, 2015, Gary Parsons is accused of engaging in an argument with his wife, 73-year-old Barbara Parsons, inside their home. The argument escalated to a physical altercation and the defendant is accused of throwing the victim onto their bed and strangling her until she was unresponsive. He is accused of tucking her into the bed and leaving the home in his car. Gary Parsons is accused of calling a family member, who then called the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) to report the crime.

At approximately 12:30 p.m., OCSD received a call from the defendant and deputies arrived at the Mission Viejo home shortly thereafter. The defendant is accused of arriving home and parking in the driveway. After entering the home and finding Barbara Parsons deceased in her bed, OSCD deputies arrested the defendant.

OCSD investigated this case.

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