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May 29, 2015

Justice Department and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Reach Settlement with Provident Funding Associates to Resolve Allegations of Mortgage Lending Discrimination

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:57 am

The Justice Department and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) filed a consent order today to resolve allegations that Provident Funding Associates (Provident) engaged in a pattern or practice of discrimination that increased loan prices for African-American and Hispanic borrowers who obtained residential mortgages between 2006 and 2011 from Provident’s nationwide network of mortgage brokers.

The settlement, which is subject to court approval, was filed in conjunction with the agencies’ complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.  The complaint alleges that Provident violated the Fair Housing Act and Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) by charging thousands of African-American and Hispanic borrowers higher fees on mortgage loans not based on borrower risk, but because of their race or national origin.  Provident cooperated fully with the agencies’ investigation into its lending practices and agreed to settle this matter without contested litigation.

“The Civil Rights Division is committed to ensuring that all types of lending institutions, including wholesale mortgage lenders, comply with the fair lending laws,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division.  “We look forward to further collaboration with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in protecting consumers from illegal and discriminatory lending practices.”

“The settlement demonstrates this U.S. Attorney’s office will devote the resources necessary to root out and address unfair lending practices that affect citizens of this district,” said U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of the Northern District of California.  “The law is clear: access to mortgage loans may not be made more difficult because of an applicant’s race or national origin.  We are glad that Provident has agreed to put an end to this practice without engaging in protracted litigation.”

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USED CAR DEALERSHIP PRESIDENT TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR FILING FRAUDULENT TAX RETURNS AND FAILING TO PAY MORE THAN $1.3 MILLION IN SALES TAXES

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:53 am

SANTA ANA – A used car dealership president is scheduled to be arraigned today for filing fraudulent tax returns and failing to pay more than $1.3 million in sales taxes. John Joseph Paradise, 53, San Clemente, is charged with six felony counts of making a false and fraudulent return over $25,000 tax liability with sentencing enhancement allegations for property damage over $1.3 million and aggravated white collar crime over $500,000. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 14 years and four months in state prison. The People will be requesting that he be held on $1.3 million bail and prove the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond. He is scheduled to be arraigned today, May 28, 2015, at 11:30 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

Between Jan. 1, 2009, and Sept. 30, 2014, Paradise is accused of being the president and corporate officer of Paradise Automotive Group, Inc. (PAG), selling used luxury vehicles.

Paradise is accused of being the signatory of PAG and preparing the business’s sales tax returns. The defendant is accused of submitting fraudulent sales tax returns to the State Board of Equalization (BOE).

The BOE investigated this case after a discrepancy in the sales figures and sales taxes collected by Paradise and reported to the California Department of Motor Vehicles was substantially higher than the sales taxes the defendant is accused of reporting and paying to the BOE.

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Justice Department Settles Immigration-Related Claim Against Luis Esparza Services, Inc.

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:49 am

The Justice Department reached an agreement today with Luis Esparza Services, Inc. (LES), a farm labor contractor company based in Bakersfield, California, resolving claims that the company discriminated against individuals because of citizenship status in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).  This agreement contains the largest civil penalty the Justice Department has ever secured to resolve a discrimination claim under the INA.

The Justice Department’s investigation found that LES required work-authorized non-U.S. citizens to produce documents issued by the Department of Homeland Security as a condition of employment, but did not require the same of U.S. citizen workers.  The anti-discrimination provision of the INA prohibits employers from placing additional documentary burdens on workers during the employment eligibility verification process based on their citizenship status.

Under the settlement agreement, LES will pay $320,000 in civil penalties; compensate a worker who lost wages due to LES’s employment eligibility verification practices; undergo training on the anti-discrimination provision of the INA; revise its employment eligibility verification policies; and be subject to monitoring of its employment eligibility verification practices for three years.

“Creating unlawful discriminatory barriers that prevent work-authorized immigrants from working is unacceptable,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta of the Civil Rights Division.  “The Justice Department is committed to removing these barriers and ensuring equal employment opportunities.”

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May 28, 2015

OWNER OF LOS ANGELES MEDICAL SUPPLY COMPANY SENTENCED TO SEVEN YEARS IN PRISON FOR $3.3 MILLION MEDICARE FRAUD SCHEME

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:06 am

WASHINGTON – The former owner of a Los Angeles-based medical supply company was sentenced today to seven years in prison for his role in a fraud scheme that resulted in $3.3 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare.

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 David L. Bowdich of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office made the announcement.

Hakop Gambaryan, 55, of East Hollywood, California, was convicted following a jury trial on March 20, 2015, of four counts of health care fraud.  In addition to the prison sentence, U.S. District Court Judge Otis D. Wright II of the Central District of California ordered Gambaryan to pay $1,740,009 in restitution.

At trial, the evidence showed that Gambaryan, the former owner of a durable medical equipment supply company, fraudulently billed more than $3 million to Medicare for durable medical equipment, such as expensive power wheel chairs, that was not medically necessary.  Medicare paid approximately $1.7 million on those fraudulent claims.

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MAN SENTENCED FOR PIMPING AND PANDERING FEMALE RELATIVE TO UNDERCOVER OFFICER

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:02 am

SANTA ANA – A man was sentenced on Friday, May 22, 2015, to four years in state prison for pimping and pandering a female relative to an undercover officer. An Ngoc Dai Dang, 33, Garden Grove, was found guilty by a jury on March 26, 2015, of one felony count of pimping and one felony count of pandering.

Circumstances of the Case

Dang is a pimp who exploits women for financial gain.

In June 2012, Dang and Jane Doe, in the meaning of California Penal Code section 273.5 (b), were operating an unlawful commercial sex business in Santa Ana under the guise of being a hair salon. Dang induced and persuaded Jane Doe to perform commercial sex acts, and to give him all of the money that she received from sex purchasers. Dang kept the money that Jane Doe received from performing commercial sex acts and sent a portion to relatives living outside of the United States.

On June 14, 2012, Dang took the money that Jane Doe received as a fee for a commercial sex act from an undercover officer posing as a sex purchaser at the business. The Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) then arrested the defendant.

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MAN CONVICTED OF DEFRAUDING INVESTORS IN SCHEMES INVOLVING FAKE BUYERS AND COMPANIES

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:59 am

SANTA ANA – A man was convicted today of defrauding investors in schemes involving close-out clothing. Shaine Joseph LaVoie, 46, Dana Point, was found guilty by a jury of 12 felony counts of grand theft, 10 felony counts of using an untrue statement in the purchase or sale of a security, one felony count of theft from an elder, one felony count of forgery, and one felony count of writing a non-sufficient funds check, with sentencing enhancements for property loss over $150,000 and aggravated white collar crime over $500,000. LaVoie faces a maximum sentence of 24 years and four monthsin state prison at his sentencing July 17, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-34, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

In 1992, the defendant co-founded Ezekial, a skateboarding clothing company. He left the company in 2003.

Between February 2004 and October 2004, LaVoie approached his friends and acquaintances to invest in the purchase of over-produced and out-of-season clothing for re-sale. He convinced them to invest in a fraudulent $1 million scheme that he claimed involved a large shipment of designer jeans being sold to a Japanese buyer. LaVoie also claimed that the deal would close in under three months with up to a 100 percent profit.

When investors began to contact LaVoie for payment on their investments, the defendant lied and said that the shipment had been delayed due to customs problems. He created a Ponzi scheme to pay back early investors with money from new investors. A “Ponzi” scheme is when investors are offered high, short-term returns on investments, but instead of the investments generating actual income and legitimate profits, the money from the investors is kept for the benefit of the defendant or used to repay earlier investors. He is also accused of forging documents to trick the investors into believing that the investment deal was legitimate.

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May 27, 2015

Two California Men Arrested on Charges of Conspiring to Provide Material Support to ISIL

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

Two California men, one of whom attempted to travel to the Middle East to allegedly join ISIL, have been arrested on charges of conspiring to provide material support to the designated foreign terrorist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), announced Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin and Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Yonekura of the Central District of California.

Muhanad Badawi, 24, and Nader Elhuzayel, 24, both of Anaheim, California, were arrested late Thursday afternoon by the FBI.  Badawi and Elhuzayel were charged in a criminal complaint filed today in U.S. District Court of the Central District of California, and both men are expected to make their initial court appearance this afternoon.

The affidavit in support of the criminal complaint outlines a scheme in which Badawi and Elhuzayel used social media to discuss ISIL and terrorist attacks, expressed a desire to die as martyrs and made arrangements for Elhuzayel to leave the United States to join ISIL.

According to the affidavit, on May 3, 2015, Elhuzayel saw a tweet from Elton Simpson, one of the two gunmen who were killed trying to attack a conference in Garland, Texas.  In this tweet, Simpson stated that he and his “bro” had pledged allegiance to the leader of ISIL.  In response, Elhuzayel tweeted his support for the attempted attack and praised Simpson as a “martyr.”

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MAN SENTENCED TO 13 YEARS IN PRISON FOR ATTEMPTING TO MURDER FEMALE JOGGER BY STABBING HER MULTIPLE TIMES

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

WESTMINSTER – A man was sentenced today to 13years in state prison for the attempted murder of a female jogger by stabbing her multiple times. James Anthony Rivas, 20, Rossmoor, was found guilty by a jury on April 3, 2015, of one felony count each of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and mayhem, with sentencing enhancements for great bodily injury and the personal use of a deadly weapon.

At approximately 9:00 p.m. on Oct. 23, 2012, Rivas, then 18 years old, approached 27-year-old Jane Doe, who was jogging through a residential neighborhood in Rossmoor.

Rivas ran up behind Jane Doe who turned around and confronted the defendant. Rivas then stabbed Jane Doe multiple times with a knife as he knocked her to the ground and got on top of her. The defendant cut the victim’s face, back, arm, and hand. Jane Doe knocked the knife out of his hand and Rivas fled the scene after a neighbor heard screaming and came outside. Jane Doe was taken to the hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries.

On Oct. 25, 2012, Orange County Sheriff’s Department detectives, who investigated this case, arrested Rivas.

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PERFORMANCE AUDIT CONDUCTED BY INDEPENDENT CONSULTING FIRM OF OCDA PUBLISHED

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

SANTA ANA –An independent consulting firm has published the performance audit of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA). The audit was conducted by Altmayer Consulting (Altmayer) and focused on the daily operation and management of the OCDA divisions, including Branch Court Operations, General Felonies/Economic Crimes, Special Projects, Vertical Prosecutions/Violent Crimes, Administrative Services, and the Bureau of Investigation.

The report, which describes the OCDA as performing at a “high-level,” includes findings and recommendations to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

Process of Choosing Independent Firm Uniquely Qualified to Conduct Audit

In November 2013, the then-Performance Audit Director, Phillip Cheng, and the OCDA met to discuss an audit in 2015, but that audit would later be moved to an earlier date in 2014 by the Board of Supervisors.

In August 2014, Performance Audit Director Cheng met with the OCDA again, and a day later, presented the Office with a scope of work outlining their proposed audit, including a review of OCDA’s allocation of resources, conviction rate, investigative and prosecutorial methodology, and deliberative process.

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May 26, 2015

MAN SENTENCED TO 13 YEARS IN PRISON FOR ATTEMPTING TO MURDER FEMALE JOGGER BY STABBING HER MULTIPLE TIMES

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

WESTMINSTER – A man was sentenced today to 13years in state prison for the attempted murder of a female jogger by stabbing her multiple times. James Anthony Rivas, 20, Rossmoor, was found guilty by a jury on April 3, 2015, of one felony count each of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and mayhem, with sentencing enhancements for great bodily injury and the personal use of a deadly weapon.

At approximately 9:00 p.m. on Oct. 23, 2012, Rivas, then 18 years old, approached 27-year-old Jane Doe, who was jogging through a residential neighborhood in Rossmoor.

Rivas ran up behind Jane Doe who turned around and confronted the defendant. Rivas then stabbed Jane Doe multiple times with a knife as he knocked her to the ground and got on top of her. The defendant cut the victim’s face, back, arm, and hand. Jane Doe knocked the knife out of his hand and Rivas fled the scene after a neighbor heard screaming and came outside. Jane Doe was taken to the hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries.

On Oct. 25, 2012, Orange County Sheriff’s Department detectives, who investigated this case, arrested Rivas.

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