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June 29, 2015

Former Senior Executive of Qualcomm Sentenced to 18 Months and Fined $500,000 for Insider Trading and Money Laundering

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:38 am

The former Executive Vice President and President of Global Business Operations for Qualcomm Inc., was sentenced today to 18 months in prison and fined $500,000 for his role in a three-year insider trading scheme.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy of the Southern District of California made the announcement.

“Through his position as a high-ranking executive at Qualcomm, Jing Wang gained unique access to information about the company’s earnings and intended acquisitions and illegally exploited that inside information for personal gain,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “He then enlisted the services of others – his stock broker and his brother – to cover up the scheme.  This prosecution demonstrates the Criminal Division’s commitment to holding accountable corporate executives who would undermine the integrity of the financial marketplace.”

“Jing Wang was a powerful insider at one of the world’s top corporations – but he threw it all away to make a few hundred thousand dollars,” said U.S. Attorney Duffy. “While Wang has lost his power, his position and his freedom, the real losers here are investors who play by the rules, and our nation’s financial system, which is diminished with every one of these schemes.”

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Northern California Real Estate Investor Indicted for Bid-Rigging and Fraud Conspiracies at Public Foreclosure Auctions

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:33 am

A federal grand jury in San Francisco returned an indictment against a Northern California real estate investor for his role in bid-rigging and fraud conspiracies at public foreclosure auctions in Northern California, the Department of Justice announced today.

A two-count indictment has been filed in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California in Oakland, charging Ramin Rad “Ray” Yeganeh of San Mateo, California, with participating in conspiracies to rig bids and defraud mortgage holders and others in Alameda County.

“This defendant conspired to rig bids at home mortgage foreclosure auctions in Alameda County,” said Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.  “Lenders and those who lost their homes to foreclosure are entitled to the proceeds of a competitive auction, and they did not get that here.  Whether a conspiracy is local, national or international in scope, the division will investigate and prosecute those who conspire rather than compete.”

To date, 54 individuals have pleaded guilty to criminal charges as a result of the department’s ongoing antitrust investigations into bid rigging and fraud at public foreclosure auctions in Northern California.  In addition, 21 real estate investors have been charged in six multi-count indictments for their roles in bid-rigging and fraud schemes at foreclosure auctions in Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and San Francisco counties in California.

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Former OtisMed CEO Sentenced for Selling Unapproved Surgical Devices

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:29 am

The former president and CEO of OtisMed Corporation was sentenced today to serve two years in prison for intentionally distributing a medical device used in knee replacement surgery after its application for marketing clearance had been rejected by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Department of Justice announced.

Charlie Chi, 46, of San Francisco, pleaded guilty in December 2014 to three counts of distributing adulterated medical devices in interstate commerce in violation of the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) after having been told by the FDA, legal counsel and his own board of directors not to do so.  U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi in Newark, New Jersey, delivered Chi’s 24-month sentence today and also ordered him to serve one year of supervised release and to pay a $75,000 fine.  In September 2014, Judge Cecchi sentenced OtisMed Corporation, now a subsidiary of Stryker Corporation, to a criminal fine of $34.4 million and ordered the company to pay $5.16 million in criminal forfeiture.  Stryker acquired the company after the criminal conduct for which he was sentenced today.  In a related civil settlement, OtisMed agreed to pay approximately $41.2 million, including interest, to resolve its civil liability for submitting false claims to the Medicare, TRICARE, Federal Employees Health Benefits and Medicaid programs.

“Today’s sentencing of OtisMed’s CEO ought to send a clear message to others in positions of authority within the medical device and pharmaceutical industries: the Department of Justice will vigorously prosecute not only corporations, but also the individuals at their helm who are responsible for endangering public health and safety in pursuit of profit,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.

“The defendant betrayed the trust of patients whose doctors were using his unapproved surgical device for a serious medical procedure,” said U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman of the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the District of New Jersey.  “With everything else people have to deal with when they are facing surgery, they shouldn’t have to worry whether their doctor is using equipment that has been approved for use. The punishment meted out to Chi and his company is appropriate.”

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June 26, 2015

Owner of California Payment Processing Company Charged with Fraud

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:59 am

The Justice Department announced today that the owner and operator of a payment processing company that was involved in the unauthorized withdrawal of millions of dollars from consumers’ bank accounts was charged with fraud.

The criminal information, filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, charged Neil Godfrey, 76, of Santa Ana, California, with one count of wire fraud.  Godfrey owned and operated Check Site Inc., based in Santa Ana, which from 2006 to 2010 enabled fraudulent merchants to withdraw money from consumers’ bank accounts without the consumers’ knowledge or consent.  If convicted, Godfrey faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

According to the information, Godfrey worked with at least two fraudulent merchants who operated websites that purportedly offered payday loans.  The websites were simply a ruse to harvest consumers’ bank account information.  Instead of providing consumers with payday loans, the merchants operating the websites used the information provided by the consumers in loan applications to withdraw money from the consumers’ bank accounts.  Using Check Site, Godfrey knowingly processed the merchants’ fraudulent withdrawals and provided the merchants access to the banking system

“Neil Godfrey used his understanding of the banking system to help his partners in crime steal money from hard-working, often low-income Americans,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “The amounts that were illegally withdrawn generally did not exceed a few hundred dollars per victim, but the scheme was so massive and went on so long that altogether it added up to millions of dollars in fraudulent withdrawals.  As this prosecution demonstrates, the Department of Justice will continue to prosecute individuals and corporations involved in this kind of fraud.”

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FIVE PROTESTORS TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR DELAYING POLICE OFFICERS AND OBSTRUCTING SANTA ANA STREET BY CHAINING THEMSELVES TOGETHER

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:55 am

SANTA ANA – Five protesters are scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow for delaying police officers and obstructing a Santa Ana street by chaining themselves together. Mariela Martinez, 23, Los Angeles, Jorge Hernandez, 25, Oakland, Sandra Paola Jara Riveros, 33, Pasadena, Isaia Celestino Noyola, 36, Vellejo, and Jeffrey Christopher Neel, 43, Anaheim, are charged with one misdemeanor count each of obstructing or delaying a peace officer, obstructing passage on a public street, and unlawfully loitering or sitting on a public street. If convicted, each of the defendants face a maximum sentence of one year in jail and $1,000 fine. The defendants are scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, Friday, June 26, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-54, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

At approximately 8:30 a.m. on May 28, 2015, the five defendants were part of a group of approximately 50 individuals participating in a protest regarding the detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants who are part of the LGBT community. The protestors gathered at the intersection of Civic Center Drive and Flower Street in Santa Ana, near the Central Justice Center to begin their demonstration. The protest was not pre-planned with the City of Santa Ana, and no permits had been issued allowing blockage of the intersection as required by law.

The defendants are accused of walking into the middle of the intersection and chaining themselves together with metal chains and locks. Despite the lack of notice to the city, Santa Ana police officers allowed the demonstration to continue, but instructed the protesters to clear the intersection and move to the sidewalk so that blocked vehicles could pass. Continual dispersal orders were given to the protesters in both English and Spanish through an amplified speaker system.

The defendants are accused of delaying officers from the Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) by refusing to unchain themselves or move out of the intersection. At approximately 9:10 a.m., all of the other protestors followed SAPD orders, moved to the sidewalk, and were not cited or arrested.  They were then allowed to continue their protest from the sidewalk.

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MAN CHARGED WITH PANDERING AND ATTEMPTING TO PIMP TWO WOMEN

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:51 am

FULLERTON – A man was charged yesterday for pandering and attempting to pimp two women. Dameon Dupree Jefferson, 37, is charged with two felony counts of pandering and two felony counts of attempted pimping. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of seven years and four months in state prison. He is being held on $50,000 bail and must prove that the funds come from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond. Jefferson is scheduled to appear for pre-trial on June 29, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in Department N-3, North Justice Center, Fullerton.

Circumstances of the Case
Jefferson is accused of being a pimp who exploits women for financial gain. Between June 15, 2015, and June 22, 2015, Jefferson is accused of dropping off two women, both 20, in an area known for prostitution in Anaheim to solicit commercial sex. Members of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF) approached the women and were led to the defendant while investigating this case. OCHTTF located the defendant’s vehicle and performed a traffic stop on Jefferson’s vehicle. The defendant is accused of possessing property belonging to the two women and exchanging text messages with the victims suggesting that he was unlawfully attempting to live and derive support from the earnings and proceeds from them.

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.

Deputy District Attorney Daniel Varon of the HEAT Unit is prosecuting this case.

Proposition 35 and HEAT
In November 2012, California’s anti-human trafficking Proposition 35 (Prop 35) was enacted in California with 81 percent of the vote, and over 82 percent of the vote in Orange County, to increase the penalty for human trafficking, particularly in cases involving the trafficking of a minor by force.

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June 25, 2015

Three Deputy Sheriffs Found Guilty of Federal Civil Rights Offense in Beating of Visitor at Downtown Los Angeles Jail

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

LOS ANGELES – A federal jury this afternoon returned guilty verdicts against three deputies with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department who violated the civil rights of a visitor to the Men’s Central Jail by beating him while he was restrained with handcuffs.

Concluding a one-week trial, the jury determined that Deputies Fernando Luviano and Sussie Ayala, as well as former Sergeant Eric Gonzalez, violated the civil rights of the victim in 2011 when they beat the man and caused bodily injury. The jury also determined that all three defendants falsified records when they prepared reports about the incident.

Ayala and Gonzalez were additionally convicted of conspiring to violate the victim’s civil rights by using unreasonable force.

Two other defendants who were named in a federal grand jury indictment in late 2013 – Pantamitr Zunggeemoge and Noel Womack – previously pleaded guilty and are pending sentencing.

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ORANGE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY PUBLIC ADMINISTRATOR APPOINTED BY COURT TO REPLACE CARETAKER/TRUSTEE WHO DECEITFULLY CLAIMED ASSETS OF DECEASED WOMAN

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:37 am

SANTA ANA – The Orange County District Attorney – Public Administrator’s Office (OCDA – PA) was appointed to replace a trustee, who was disqualified by the Probate Court, a caretaker who used undue influence on a senior citizen to wrongfully place himself in charge of her assets and become beneficiary of her assets after her death.

The Orange County District Attorney was appointed the Orange County Public Administrator in 2014 by the Orange County Board of Supervisors, forming the OCDA – PA. The OCDA – PA protects the assets and manages the affairs of deceased residents of Orange County who at the time of death left no person available, willing or qualified to act to administer the estate or trust of a decedent. Most public administrator cases involve the public administrator acting to secure the assets of a decedent, represent the estate, and distributing property to the rightful heirs under law.

Background of the Case

In 2002, Anna Lou Horspool, who is now deceased and whose assets are the subject of the trust, was recovering from knee surgery at a care facility in Fullerton. Prior to the surgery, she lived independently in her home in Brea.

Brimah Vonjo met Horspool while he worked as a caregiver at the same facility. In June 2003, Horspool was discharged and returned to her home in Brea but needed physical assistance and care. She did not have any children and her husband was deceased. Horspool’s neighbors assisted her extensively when she returned home.

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Department of Justice Filed Charges on more than 2,700 Human Smugglers in Fiscal Year 2014

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:32 am

The Justice Department is committed to using its resources to bring to justice those that are breaking the law by smuggling migrants into the United States.  In Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14, Oct. 1, 2013, up to Sept. 30, 2014), the Justice Department filed criminal charges against 2,762 individuals for human smuggling or harboring immigrants.  Nearly 90 percent of the criminal charges filed in FY14 for smuggling took place in Texas (1,515), California (511), Arizona (394), Florida (75) and New York (31).  The announcement of these actions is just one part of ongoing, collaborative efforts to tackle unlawful migration.  These efforts also helped to address last year’s influx of Central American migrants, including unaccompanied children and families crossing into the Rio Grande Valley, and demonstrate a continued commitment to dismantling human smuggling operations that put so many lives at risk.

Individuals that facilitate smuggling acts need to be aware that they face criminal prosecution and fines.  They also need to be aware of the dangers faced by the individuals that are being smuggled and also that the Department of Justice will seek forfeiture of funds transferred to others in connection with a smuggling crime.  In addition, individuals trying to bring a family member to the United States by transferring funds to a coyote should be aware that those acts are against the law and their funds can be seized by the federal government.

The penalty for human smuggling if done for commercial benefit is up to 10 years in prison and an accompanying fine.  For example, in January, Ruth Fernandez Morales-Lopez pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Hilda G. Tagle of the Southern District of Texas to bringing in and harboring aliens and money laundering.  Morales-Lopez admitted that she was the person who decided, based on whether they paid their smuggling fees, which individuals could stay at the “stash house,” located in San Benito, Texas.  She further admitted that more than $1 million in her bank account was comprised of smuggling fees and that she structured her withdrawals from that account to circumvent the Bank Secrecy Act.  Morales-Lopez faces up to 10 years in federal prison for the smuggling charge and up to 20 years for money laundering.  The remaining five defendants in the case, all of whom pleaded guilty, each face up to 10 years of federal imprisonment.

Many of the stories revealed in court cases outline the severe examples of exploitation and violence against migrants.  For example, in April 2014, a federal jury in Del Rio, Texas, convicted Eduardo Rocha Sr., 44, for his role in a human smuggling ring operation in Carrizo Springs, Texas, known for torturing its victims and exploiting their families.  The evidence presented during the trial showed that Rocha Sr. extorted additional money from family members of migrants that already lived in the United States.  In some instances, he ordered his accomplices to subject migrants to brutal violence and mutilation while their family members were forced to listen over the phone.

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June 24, 2015

MAN CHARGED WITH MURDER FOR HIT-AND-RUN CRASH THAT KILLED WOMAN AND HER 2-YEAR-OLD GRANDDAUGHTER

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:17 am

SANTA ANA – A man was charged today with murder for a hit-and-run crash that killed a woman and her granddaughter in Irvine. Alec Scott Abraham, 20, Costa Mesa, was charged today with two felony counts of murder. He was originally charged June 15, 2015, with two felony counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, one felony count of hit-and-run with permanent injury or death, one felony count of reckless driving with bodily injury, and one misdemeanor count of petty theft by taking and carrying away, and sentencing enhancements for fleeing the scene of a vehicular manslaughter and inflicting great bodily injury. After further investigation by the Irvine Police Department (IPD) and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA), newly discovered scientific evidence and witness information allowed OCDA to pursue murder charges against the defendant. No further information about the investigation will be disclosed at this time. If convicted, Abraham faces a maximum sentence of 30 years to life in state prison. Abraham is being held on $1 million bail. Today’s scheduled arraignment was continued in court to July 8, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

OCDA released a press release June 15, 2015, with the following information on the Abraham case:

At approximately 8:50 p.m. on June 10, 2015, Abraham is accused of driving a Ford Mustang and traveling westbound on Alton Parkway in Irvine. He is accused of speeding and failing to stop for a red light at the intersection of Alton Parkway and Barranca Parkway. Abraham is accused of slamming into the driver’s side of a Chevy Cruze being driven by Katherine Hampton, 54, who was traveling southbound on Barranca Parkway through a green light with her daughter and two grandchildren also in the car. The defendant is accused of causing the crash which forced the vehicles into a Honda Civic that was stopped at the red light going eastbound on Alton Parkway. The solo driver in the Honda Civic was treated for minor injuries at the hospital and released.

Shortly after the crash, the defendant is accused of approaching a bystander and requesting to use their cellphone. Abraham is accused of taking the bystander’s phone and fleeing from the scene on foot.

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