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January 17, 2018

Man Charged with Capital Murder in Los Angeles Slaying, Blaze

Filed under: Uncategorized — fayarfa @ 3:54 am

A Los Angeles man was charged today with special circumstance murder and other counts in connection with a fatal stabbing and fire, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Kevyn Ramirez (dob 5/21/88) is expected to be arraigned today in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center. The criminal complaint in case BA464341 includes a special circumstance allegation of murder during the commission of an attempted first-degree robbery and an allegation of personal use of a deadly and dangerous weapon, a knife.

The defendant is additionally charged with two counts of arson with allegations of multiple structures and use of an accelerant. Deputy District Attorneys Rachel Bowers and Holly Harpham of the Arson and Explosives Section are assigned to the case.

Ramirez is accused of killing Victoria Ramos Gutierrez, a transgender woman whom he met online, in the early morning hours of January 10, 2018. Ramirez allegedly stabbed the victim and set ablaze her residence located in the 1700 block of South New Hampshire Avenue in Los Angeles, prosecutors said. (more…)

January 16, 2018

Former Veterans Affairs Official Agrees to Plead Guilty to Federal Charges after Taking Bribes for Years from Parking Lot Operator

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

LOS ANGELES – A former contract officer with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs was charged today with filing a false federal tax return and lying to VA investigators when he denied taking bribes from the operator of parking lots at the VA’s Los Angeles medical campuses.

Ralph Tillman, 58, of Whittier, who was a VA contract officer until he resigned in 2014 after being confronted by special agents with the VA’s Office of Inspector General, was named in a criminal information filed today that charges him with making false statements and subscribing to a false tax return.

In a plea agreement also filed today, Tillman agreed to plead guilty to the two felony offenses and admitted that he took well over $250,000 in bribes from the parking lot operator, Richard Scott, the owner of Westside Services LLC (WSS), which for years had a contract to operate parking lots across the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (VA GLAHS).

Scott, 58, faces charges – including conspiracy and major fraud against the United States – contained in a 15-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury last month. Scott allegedly paid bribes to Tillman to conceal a scheme in which he allegedly failed to pay the VA more than $11 million generated by his operation of parking facilities at VA GLAHS. The vast majority of the activity authorized under the WSS contract took place at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center near Westwood.

As part of his duties at the VA, Tillman was responsible for managing contracts with “sharing partners,” such as WSS, which were required to perform services for the VA and share revenues with the agency. In his plea agreement, Tillman admitted that he approached Scott in late 2003 and solicited a bribe to pay for a family matter. One to two years later, Scott began making monthly cash payments to Tillman, with Scott personally delivering the bribes in sealed FedEx envelopes, according to the plea agreement. (more…)

MAN SENTENCED TO 16 YEARS IN PRISON FOR USING FACEBOOK IN ATTEMPT TO RECRUIT UNDERAGE TEENAGE GIRL TO WORK AS PROSTITUTE

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was sentenced to 16 years in state prison today for using Facebook in an attempt to recruit an undercover officer posing as an underage teenage girl to work for him as a prostitute.

Defendant

Charges

Sentence

Donald Levan Clark, 27, Los Angeles

Found guilty by a jury on Dec. 5, 2017, of the following felony counts:

  • Human trafficking of a minor
  • Attempted pimping of a minor
  • Pandering

Sentencing Enhancements

  • Prior strike conviction for robbery in Los Angeles County in 2011
  • Prior prison conviction for felony false imprisonment in Los Angeles County in 2013

16 years in state prison

Sex offender registration pursuant to Penal Code 290

Circumstances of the Case

  • Clark is a human trafficker/pimp who exploits women and/or children for financial gain. With the rise in popularity of social media and ease of meeting people on the Internet, many pimps and human traffickers utilize a variety of social media to locate potential victims. (more…)

Woman Charged with Running Immigration Services Scam

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

A Los Angeles woman pleaded not guilty today to 17 felony counts for allegedly operating a fraudulent immigration services business, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said.

Dalila Moreno (dob 11/23/54) faces charges of grand theft of personal property, forgery, counterfeit seal and extortion in case BA462322. Her next scheduled court appearance is a preliminary hearing setting on Feb. 13 in Department 50 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

According to prosecutors, Moreno ran the immigration business from her home between May 7, 2011, and October 31, 2014, falsely promising to expedite the processing of visas, resident alien cards and citizenship petitions for her clients and their families.

The defendant allegedly told victims she worked for the government and had special government connections. She allegedly pretended to provide services by creating false visas and passport stamps, collecting $129,000 from 13 victims without providing the promised services.

Moreno faces up to 14 years in state prison if convicted as charged. Bail was set at $550,000. (more…)

January 15, 2018

Brother of San Diego Man Killed Fighting for ISIS Sentenced to 10 Years for Terrorism Related Charges and Illegal Firearms Possession

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

Marchello Dsaun McCain, a convicted violent felon and the brother of Douglas McCain, the first known American who died fighting for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), was sentenced in federal court today to 10 years in prison for his illegal possession of a cache of firearms and body armor and making false statements to federal agents involving international terrorism.

In a related case, the United States unsealed a two-count indictment charging Canadian national and former San Diego resident Abdullahi Ahmed Abdullahi with providing, and conspiring with Douglas and other individuals in the United States and Canada to provide, material support to terrorists engaged in violent activities in Syria, that is, a conspiracy to murder, kidnap and maim persons in a foreign country.

On March 9, 2014, Douglas McCain departed the U.S. and traveled to Syria where he joined and fought for ISIS.  Approximately five months later, on or about Aug. 25, 2014, Douglas McCain was killed in Syria fighting a battle against the Free Syrian Army. Following Douglas McCain’s death, Federal Bureau of Investigation Joint Terrorism Task Force (FBI-JTTF) agents interviewed Marchello McCain on several occasions from Aug. 26, 2014 through Jan. 23, 2015, when agents arrested him on federal firearms charges.

In January 2016, Marchello McCain, who was previously convicted of two felony crimes of violence in Minnesota involving assault with a firearm, pleaded guilty to five counts of possession of firearms and ammunition by a felon and one count of possession of body armor by a violent felon.  Eight months later, in September 2016, he pleaded guilty to making false statements to FBI-JTTF agents concerning his assistance to and knowledge of individuals providing material support (personnel and money) to individuals engaged in violent terrorist activities abroad and ISIS, including Douglas McCain and Abdullahi.

As part of his guilty pleas, McCain admitted that he made material false statements to the agents about his knowledge of the purpose of his brothers’ travel abroad and the methods of payment and source of monies to fund such travel. McCain acknowledged that he possessed over nine firearms, which included a stolen firearm and several semi-automatic 9 mm pistols, an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle and an M1 Carbine .30 caliber semi-automatic rifle with a large capacity magazine. Marchello McCain also admitted that on Feb. 13, 2014, approximately three weeks prior to Douglas McCain’s departure to fight in Syria, Marchello McCain went to a San Diego gun range with his brother and shot firearms, including an AR-15 style semi-automatic rifle and a 12-gauge pump-action shotgun. (more…)

Former Hospital Owner Sentenced to over 5 Years in Prison for Orchestrating Scheme that Paid over $40 Million in Illegal Kickbacks to Doctors, Other Medical Professionals for Spinal Surgery Referrals

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

SANTA ANA, California – A federal judge today sentenced the former owner of Pacific Hospital in Long Beach to 63 months in prison for overseeing a 15-year-long health care fraud scheme that involved more than $40 million in illegal kickbacks paid to doctors and other medical professionals in exchange for referring thousands of patients who received spinal surgeries.

The scheme operated by Michael D. Drobot led to more than $500 million in fraudulent bills being submitted during last five years of the scheme – much of which was paid by the California worker’s compensation system.

Drobot, 73, of Corona Del Mar, was sentencing this morning by United States District Judge Josephine L. Staton, who noted that Drobot “introduced greed into the doctor-patient relationship.”

Drobot pleaded guilty in 2014 to charges of conspiracy and paying illegal kickbacks, admitting that he orchestrated a wide-ranging fraud scheme in which “[t]housands of patients received surgeries at Pacific Hospital not knowing that [Drobot] bribed their physician to perform their surgery at Pacific Hospital,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed with the court. Drobot “was motivated by greed and ultimately profited millions of dollars through the scheme.”

From at least 1997 thorugh 2013, Drobot, who owned and/or operated Pacific Hospital during this time, ran a scheme in which he billed workers’ compensation insurers hundreds of millions of dollars for spinal surgeries performed on patients who had been referred by dozens of doctors, chiropractors and others who were paid illegal kickbacks. (more…)

Three Named in Federal Indictment Alleging $2.5 Million Loan Modification Scheme that Affected Over 500 Distressed Homeowners

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

SANTA ANA, California – Three Southern California men have been indicted on federal mail fraud charges that allege they solicited homeowners on the verge of foreclosure with bogus promises of loan modifications with interest rates as low as 2 percent.

The three men charged – Michael Paul Paquette, 34, of San Juan Capistrano; Allan Jessie Chance, 34, of Temecula; and Dennis Edward Lake, 59, of Costa Mesa –were arrested Thursday pursuant to an eight-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury on December 20.

Paquette, Chance and Lake were arraigned on the indictment yesterday afternoon in United States District Court, where they all entered not guilty pleas and were ordered to stand trial on March 6. All three defendants were released on $15,000 bonds.

According to the indictment, Paquette and Chance operated under aliases and told distressed homeowners that they worked for the Laguna Hills-based HAMP Services – which sounded similar to the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), a legitimate government program which permanently reduced mortgage payments to affordable levels for qualifying buyers.

Paquette and Chance told victims that they were approved for a government-affiliated loan modification, but they needed to make three “trial payments” before the loan would be modified, according to the indictment. They also falsely told the victims that their money would be held in a trust or escrow account. Chance falsely claimed that he had experience in getting home loans modified because he had worked at Bank of America. (more…)

January 12, 2018

Connecticut Man Charged with Hacking Apple iCloud Accounts Belonging to More Than 250 People, Including Many Celebrities

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

LOS ANGELES – A Connecticut man was charged today in federal court with a felony computer hacking offense related to a phishing scheme that gave him illegal access to over 250 Apple iCloud accounts, many of which belonged to members of the entertainment industry in Los Angeles.

George Garofano, 26, of Northford, Connecticut, was named today in a criminal information that accuses him of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

In a plea agreement that was also lodged today in United States District Court in Los Angeles, Garofano agreed to plead guilty to one count of unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information.

While the case was filed by federal prosecutors in Los Angeles, the parties have agreed to transfer the case to the District of Connecticut for the entry of Garofano’s guilty plea and sentencing. Once he enters the guilty plea, Garofano will face a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.

According to the plea agreement, from April 2013 through October 2014, Garofano engaged in a phishing scheme to obtain usernames and passwords for iCloud accounts. Garofano admitted that he sent e-mails to victims that appeared to be from security accounts of Apple and encouraged the victims to send him their usernames and passwords, or to enter them on a third-party website, where he would later retrieve them.

(more…)

Attorney General Becerra: BP Energy Company Pays $102 Million in Settlement for Overcharging Californians for Natural Gas

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

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced a $102 million settlement with BP Energy Company and affiliates (BP) over allegations that it intentionally overcharged the State of California for natural gas that the State purchased under three successive contracts from March 2003 to August 2012. The contracts allowed the California Department of General Services, which buys natural gas for numerous state agencies and political subdivisions, to cap the price it would pay BP for specific volumes of gas. BP regularly quoted and charged the State of California prices that violated this cap and concealed its overpricing by providing false and misleading information. These acts constitute violations of the California False Claims Act.

“BP thought it could get away with providing false and misleading information in order to line its own pockets. Today, we send a clear message: cheating the People of California will cost you more than it’s worth,” said Attorney General Becerra. “My Office is committed to holding accountable those who unscrupulously put profits ahead of people.”

The case began on July 3, 2012, when a former employee filed a complaint alleging the overcharges. According to the complaint, BP knowingly quoted and charged prices in excess of the contractual price cap. Upon receiving the complaint, the California Attorney General’s Office investigated and concluded that BP was liable for overpricing. The Attorney General intervened in the case and took primary responsibility for prosecuting the action.

Under the settlement, BP will be required to pay $102 million in damages, which will be shared by the state and local agencies that purchased gas under the contracts, the former employee whistleblower, and the Attorney General’s office.

An electronic version of this release is available at oag.ca.gov/news.

Attachment

Size

Settlement Agreement.pdf

606.65 KB

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra / Thursday, January 11, 2018

Attorney Convicted of Stealing from Client

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

A 60-year-old man pleaded no contest today to stealing from his client’s work-related civil settlement in 2014, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

At Tuesday’s court appearance, Mark Haddon of La Verne pleaded no contest to three misdemeanor counts in case KA116294: grand theft of property, identity theft and forgery relating to an item exceeding $950 in value.

Following the plea, Haddon was immediately sentenced to three years of summary probation and ordered to serve four days in county jail. Additionally, the defendant paid the victim the full restitution amount of $12,000.

Deputy District Attorney Brandy Chase, who prosecuted the case, said Haddon, a civil attorney, represented a man in reaching a settlement with his employer in December 2014.

The settlement agreement was for $50,000, however, Haddon told his client it was for $40,000, the prosecutor said. It was later discovered that the defendant had forged his client’s signature on the original settlement documents, according to the prosecutor, and then pocketed some of the funds. (more…)

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