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April 13, 2017

Owners of Two Los Angeles-Area Drug Wholesale Companies Arrested in $20 Million Federal ‘Structuring’ Conspiracy

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

LOS ANGELES – The owners of two local drug wholesale companies were among four defendants taken into custody this morning on federal “structuring” charges that allege they made millions of dollars in cash deposits designed to circumvent federal reporting requirements.

Law enforcement authorities this morning arrested Richard Kayseryan, 41, of Burbank, the owner of Burbank-based TriMed Medical Wholesalers, Inc. Kayseryan is the lead defendant in a 20-count indictment returned on April 6 by a federal grand jury that charges four individuals and TriMed in relation to two separate schemes to structure millions of dollars in proceeds through “funnel” bank accounts set up in the names of shell companies.

Two other defendants – Derou Biglari, 31, and Jivani Markarian, 33, who own the Glendale-based drug wholesale business JD Pharmaceutical Wholesaler, Inc. – and the fourth defendant – Rafik Mesropyan, 56 – surrendered this morning. These three co-conspirators, all Glendale residents, are charged with depositing millions of dollars of TriMed checks for Kayseryan, and returning the funds to him in the form of cash.

The four individuals and TriMed are expected to be arraigned on the indictment this afternoon in United States District Court.

As part of the scheme, TriMed collected millions of dollars from business activities and Kayseryan prepared checks that he delivered to his co-defendants. The co-conspirators deposited the checks into the funnel accounts and immediately withdrew the funds in cash in amounts at or under $10,000 per transaction, according to the indictment. These transactions were designed to prevent banks from reporting the cash withdrawals to the federal government, which is required for every cash transaction of more than $10,000.

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5 Eastern European Immigrants Plead Guilty to Credit Card Fraud and Identity Theft Charges Related to Cyberattacks on 3 U.S. Companies

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

LOS ANGELES – The fifth and final defendant charged with using credit and debit cards obtained from a series of cyberattacks on U.S. companies that resulted in an estimated $5 million in losses – and caused one victim company to go out of business – has pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges.

Irina Fedoseeva, 33, a Russian national who resides in the Koreatown District of Los Angeles, pleaded guilty yesterday afternoon to conspiracy to use unauthorized credit and debit cards and admitted causing more than $225,000 in losses.

In a plea agreement filed in United States District Court, Fedoseeva admitted to helping make fraudulent purchases with debit cards obtained as a result of cyberattacks on two healthcare administrators in December 2015 and February 2016.

After helping a co-defendant make unauthorized purchases from retail stores that included Apple and Best Buy, Fedoseeva resold the merchandise on the internet.

Four other defendants previously pleaded guilty to federal fraud charges for their roles in the computer attacks.

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April 12, 2017

Bakersfield Man Sentenced to 15 Years in Prison for Hate Crime

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

U.S. District Judge Dale A. Drozd sentenced a Bakersfield man to 15 years in prison for federal hate crimes for firing a shotgun while yelling racist slurs at a Latino man, Acting Assistant Attorney General Tom Wheeler of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, and U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert of the Eastern District of California announced.

Justin Cole Whittington, 25, was convicted in December 2016 of interfering with a person’s housing rights because of race, color, or national origin by use of force or threat of force; use of a firearm during a crime of violence; and making a false statement to a special agent of the FBI. Whittington had earlier pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of a prohibited firearm in connection to the same crime.

“Hate violence has no place in our society.  It harms individuals and entire communities by threatening their sense of security and freedom,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Wheeler.  “In this case, Whittington fired a shotgun at the victim, terrorizing him and his family, because of his Latino ethnicity.  The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute hate crimes so that all people, no matter the color of their skin, their country of origin, or how they worship, can live their lives freely and without fear.”

“The sentence handed down today reflects the seriousness of hate crimes such as this, which cause not only the victims but entire communities to feel vulnerable and unsafe,” said U.S. Attorney Talbert.  “Our district is one that is rich in diversity, and my office is committed to investigating and prosecuting those who violate community members’ civil rights through acts of hate and intimidation.”

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California Twice Convicted Felon Sentenced to Prison for Operating Fake Law Firms That Promised to Help Struggling Homeowners

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

An Orange County, California man was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, California to serve 109 months in prison including the last 12 months in a halfway house for his role as the owner and operator of a multi-million dollar fraudulent mortgage modification scheme that posed as a successful law firm, the Justice Department announced.

Bryan D’Antonio, 50, of Brea, California, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud on Aug. 9, 2016. In addition to the term of prison imposed by U.S. District Judge David O. Carter, Judge Carter ordered D’Antonio to pay $3,826,977.95 in restitution.

D’Antonio admitted that, between October 2008 and June 2009, he participated in a scheme with Ronald Rodis, Charles Wayne Farris, and others to induce homeowners to pay between $3,500 and $5,500 for the services of Rodis Law Group (RLG) and its successor entity, America’s Law Group (ALG). RLG and ALG advertised on radio stations nationwide, urging struggling homeowners to call a toll-free number and stating that the companies consisted of “a team of experienced attorneys” who were “highly skilled in negotiating lower interest rates and even lowering your principal balance.” In fact, RLG and ALG were telemarketing operations that never had teams of experienced attorneys, and that collected these payments from distressed homeowners, without providing anything of value to the overwhelming majority of them. During much of the scheme, Ronald Rodis was the only attorney at RLG.

“This defendant – a repeat telemarketing fraudster - took advantage of vulnerable homeowners facing foreclosure during the mortgage crisis,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “His two fake law firms promised homeowners assistance saving their homes and modifying their mortgages. The sad reality is both firms were nothing more than telemarketing scams.”

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CO-DEFENDANTS ENGAGING IN UNLICENSED BROKER DEALER ACTIVITY ARRAIGNED FOR DEFRAUDING INVESTORS OUT OF MORE THAN $200,000 IN AN INVESTMENT BOILER ROOM SCHEME

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Defendants not licensed to effectuate trades in securities were arraigned last week for defrauding investors and stealing more than $200,000 in a securities scheme involving boiler room high-pressured sales tactics. Kevin David Grace, 51, Long Beach, was charged on March 20, 2017, with 12 felony counts of using untrue statements in the purchase or sale of a security over $100,000, five felony counts of acting as a broker-dealer without certification, and one felony count of use of a device or scheme to defraud, with sentencing enhancements for aggravated white collar crime over $100,000, Property loss over $200,000, and property damage or loss over $65,000. If convicted, Grace faces a maximum sentence of 24 years in state prison and is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on April 26, 2017, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-55, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Co-defendant Madelynn Renee Jones, 58, Anaheim, is charged with 14 felony counts of using untrue statements in the purchase or sale of a security over $100,000, eight felony counts of acting as a broker-dealer without certification, and one felony count of use of a device or scheme to defraud, with sentencing enhancements for aggravated white collar crime over $500,000, aggravated white collar crime over $100,000, property loss over $200,000, and property damage or loss over $65,000. If convicted, Jones faces a maximum sentence of 31 years in state prison and is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on April 26, 2017, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-55, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Facts of the Case

At the time of the crime, Grace is accused of being listed as the president and Jones is accused of being listed as the treasurer of Neoteric Energy, Inc. (NEOTERIC), a fictitious energy company. The defendants are accused of not possessing the required certifications to act as brokers/dealers of securities in California and for engaging in Securities Fraud. Securities Fraud, also known as stock fraud and investment fraud, is a practice that induces investors to make purchase or sale decisions on the basis of false information, frequently resulting in losses, in violation of the securities laws.

Between May 2013 and April 2014, the defendants are accused of defrauding more than $200,000 from five clients by convincing them to invest in NEOTERIC without disclosing material facts as required by law, including Grace’s prior felony convictions and Desist and Refrain Orders received from other agencies and using investor money for personal use. Furthermore, Grace and Jones are accused of making material, misrepresentations by misrepresenting the commissions being paid to Jones, NEOTERIC’s distribution rights and company affiliation.

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April 11, 2017

Garden Grove Man Who Traveled to Canada to Have Sex with Girl He Met Online Sentenced to over 7 Years in Federal Prison

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:39 am

SANTA ANA, California – A Garden Grove man who convinced a 13-year-old girl he met online to send him explicit videos – and then traveled to Canada to have sex with the victim – was ordered this afternoon to serve 87 months in federal prison.

Paul Binh Do, 30, was sentenced by United States District Judge David O. Carter.

Once he completes the prison term, Do will be on supervised release for the rest of his life.

Do pleaded guilty in May 2016 to one count of traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and one count of receipt of child pornography.

According to documents filed in United States District Court, Do began an online relationship with the then-13-year-old girl in September 2013, and soon thereafter they began exchanging naked videos of themselves engaging in sexual conduct.

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Investigations by IRS Lead to Cases Against Tax Return Preparers

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:35 am

LOS ANGELES –The United States Attorney’s Office and IRS Criminal Investigation today announced a 10-year prison sentence against one defendant and the filing of three criminal cases against four individuals who were involved in the preparation of fraudulent income tax returns.

While the vast majority of tax professionals provide honest and high-quality services, there are some dishonest return preparers who operate each filing season and perpetrate refund fraud, identity theft and other scams that hurt taxpayers. IRS Criminal Investigation and federal prosecutors work closely to shut down tax fraud schemes and prosecute the criminals behind them.

“The majority of tax return preparers are focused on helping taxpayers comply with their obligations to file timely and honest tax returns. The IRS relies upon these professionals to file truthful and accurate returns to deter tax fraud,” said Acting United States Attorney Sandra R. Brown. “Dishonest tax return preparers who defy the tax laws, whether for their own personal financial gain or to fraudulently obtain money for their clients, will be shut down permanently and face federal prosecution, which can result in significant prison sentences.” (more…)

Orange County Man Sentenced to over 9 Years for Operating Fake Law Firms that Promised to Help Struggling Homeowners

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:32 am

SANTA ANA, California – A Brea man was sentenced today to 109 months in custody for operating a multi-million dollar fraudulent mortgage modification scheme that posed as a successful law firm.

Bryan D’Antonio, 50, was sentenced by United States District Judge David O. Carter, who ordered the defendant to spend 97 months in federal prison and to serve the final year of the sentence in a halfway house. In addition to the sentence of over eight years, Judge Carter ordered D’Antonio to pay $3,826,977 in restitution.

D’Antonio pleaded guilty last August to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in relation to his role as owner and operator of Rodis Law Group (RLG) and America’s Law Group (ALG). D’Antonio admitted that, between October 2008 and June 2009, he participated in a scheme that induced homeowners to pay between $3,500 and $5,500 for the services of RLG and its successor entity, ALG.

In connection with his gulty plea, D’Antonio admitted that the RLG and ALG schemes fraudulently obtained approximately $9 million from more than 1,500 victims.

RLG and ALG advertised on radio stations nationwide, urging struggling homeowners to call a toll-free number and stating that the companies consisted of “a team of experienced attorneys” who were “highly skilled in negotiating lower interest rates and even lowering your principal balance.” In fact, RLG and ALG were telemarketing operations that never had teams of experienced attorneys.

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April 10, 2017

Attorney General Xavier Becerra Announces Guilty Plea and Sentencing of Long Beach Gang Member and Mastermind of Tax Fraud Scheme

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

LOS ANGELES –Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced that late yesterday, Dominique Lewis, an influential member of the Baby Insane Crips, a Long Beach street gang that operated a scheme to perpetrate tax fraud, pled guilty to 18 felony charges including identity theft, grand theft, and conspiracy. Lewis was sentenced to 23 years in prison.

Lewis, who was brought into custody after being at large for 10 months, was a ringleader behind a theft scheme that compromised the personal identifying information of hundreds of Californians and resulted in losses of more than $3.2 million in taxpayer funds.

“Stealing the identity and personal information of hundreds of innocent people who work hard to earn their money is unconscionable, and it is also against the law,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Lewis is answering for his reckless behavior and the crimes he committed that put the privacy and safety of Californians at risk. I want to thank the Long Beach Police Department, United States Postal Inspection Service, the prosecution team from my eCrime Unit (eCU) and Financial Fraud and Special Prosecutions Section for their hard work in bringing Lewis to justice.”

Tax return fraud occurs when an individual files a fraudulent tax return with someone else’s personal identifying information and collects a tax refund from the IRS. Victims are unlikely to know their identities have been stolen until they attempt to file a tax return that is rejected by the IRS because one has already been filed.

The Attorney General’s Office has issued tips for Californians to avoid tax-related identity theft and on how consumers can protect themselves. These tips and additional resources can be found here.

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Ventura County Man Indicted by Federal Grand Jury for Allegedly Producing Child Pornography Involving 6-Year-Old Girl

Filed under: California Chid Pornography Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:06 am

LOS ANGELES – A Simi Valley man was indicted today by a federal grand jury on charges of producing child pornography in a case involving a 6-year-old girl.

Eric Allen Haensgen, 38, who until August 2015 lived in Huntley, Illinois, is also charged with distributing and possessing child pornography.

The indictment alleges that Haensgen produced still photos and videos of the young victim. Investigators found 83 images and three videos of a 6-year-old girl that had been shot with Haensgen’s iPhone and downloaded to a computer, according to court documents.

Haensgen allegedly distributed over the BitTorrent Network other examples of child pornography he obtained from the internet.

Haensgen was arrested on March 24 by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) after federal prosecutors filed a criminal complaint that accused him of one count of producing child pornography.

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