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August 4, 2014

Former Immigration Officer Convicted at Trial for Taking Bribes and Witness Tampering

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:48 am

SANTA ANA, California – A former immigration officer was convicted on Friday afternoon in federal court for taking bribes from Cambodian immigrants in exchange for immigration benefits, including granting the immigrants temporary legal status, while he was working in the Santa Ana federal building. The former immigration officer and his wife were also convicted of witness tampering.

Billy Louis Nelms, Sr., 54, of Los Angeles, was convicted of felony counts of conspiracy to commit bribery and defraud the United States, bribery, conspiracy to witness tamper, and witness tampering. Sokhon Nelms, 60, of Los Angeles, was convicted of conspiracy to witness tamper and witness tampering. As a result of Friday’s convictions, Mr. Nelms faces a statutory maximum sentence of 95 years, and Mrs. Nelms faces a statutory maximum sentence of 60 years.

The evidence at trial showed that between 2005 and August 2008, Mr. Nelms worked in the Santa Ana federal building as an immigration officer in the Fraud Detection and National Security unit. The evidence showed that during that time, as part of the scheme, the Cambodian immigrants were promised permanent legal status. The Cambodian immigrants were present in the United States without legal status. The immigrants typically paid approximately $5,000 in cash for the permanent legal status. In exchange, Mr. Nelms stamped immigration documents, giving the immigrants temporary legal status in the United States. The evidence at trial showed that following Mr. Nelms’s original indictment in this case for bribery and defrauding the United States in June 2013, Mr. Nelms and Mrs. Nelms tampered with two of the witnesses identified in the original indictment. On one occasion, with Mr. Nelms present, Ms. Nelms told a witness not to speak to anyone.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General (DHS-OIG). The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Immigration & Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations Forensic Laboratory (HSI-FL) provided assistance in the investigation.

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August 1, 2014

Hewlett-Packard Company Agrees to Pay $32.5 Million for Alleged Overbilling of the U.S. Postal Service

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 9:29 pm

The Justice Department announced today that Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) has agreed to pay $32.5 million to resolve allegations under the False Claims Act that HP overcharged the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) for products between October 2001 and December 2010.  HP is a manufacturer and vendor of information technology products and services headquartered in Palo Alto, California.

“Protecting the federal procurement process from false claims is central to the mission of the Department of Justice,” said Assistant Attorney General Stuart F. Delery for the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “We will continue to ensure that when the government purchases commercial products, it receives the prices to which it is entitled.”

The United States alleged that under a contract between HP and the USPS, HP overcharged USPS by failing to comply with pricing terms of the contract, including a requirement that HP provide prices that were no greater than those offered to HP customers with comparable contracts.  The United States also alleged that HP made misrepresentations during the negotiation of the contract regarding its pricing and its plans to ensure it would provide the required most favored customer pricing.

“The Major Fraud Investigations Division (MFID) within the Postal Service Office of Inspector General fully investigates those contractors who wrongly take advantage of the Postal Service,” said Thomas Frost, MFID’s Special Agent in Charge.  “The Postal Service and the public must have complete confidence in the procurement process and MFID will continue to work diligently to make that happen.”

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Former Owner of Southern California Medical Supply Company Found Guilty for a 10-Year, $8.3 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 9:25 pm

On July 31, 2014, a federal jury in Los Angeles found that the former owner of a durable medical equipment (DME) supply company located in Carson, California, was guilty of health care fraud charges relating a 10-year scheme in which Medicare was fraudulently billed more than $8 million for DME that was not medically necessary.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. of the Central District of California, Special Agent in Charge Glenn R. Ferry of the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) Los Angeles Region, Assistant Director in Charge Bill L. Lewis of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Erick Martinez of the IRS-Criminal Investigation’s (IRS-CI) Los Angeles Field Office made the announcement.

Olufunke Ibiyemi Fadojutimi, 42, of Carson, California, is a registered nurse and the former owner of Lutemi Medical Supply. He was found guilty after trial of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, seven counts of health care fraud and one count of money laundering.  Sentencing will be scheduled at a later date.

The trial evidence showed that between September 2003 and January 2013, Fadojutimi and others paid cash kickbacks to patient recruiters and physicians for fraudulent prescriptions for DME, such as power wheelchairs, that the Medicare patients did not actually need. Fadojutimi and others then used these prescriptions to bill Medicare for the power wheelchairs and other DME. Approximately $8.3 million in false and fraudulent claims were submitted to Medicare, and Medicare paid almost $4.3 million on those claims.

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ARMY SOLDIER CONVICTED OF MURDERING FRIEND AND ATTEMPTED MURDER OF FATHER AND ANOTHER MAN IN HOTEL SHOOTING

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 9:22 pm

SANTA ANA – An Army Specialist was convicted today of murdering a friend and attempting to murder his father and another man in an unprovoked shooting at a Cypress hotel. Steven Matthew LeClaire Jr., 26, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of second degree murder, two felony counts of attempted murder, and sentencing enhancements for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death and the personal discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury. He faces a sentence of 90 years to life in state prison at his sentencing Oct. 10, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-30, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

In February 2011, LeClaire Jr. was absent without leave from his duty station in Texas.

At approximately 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 24, 2011, LeClaire Jr. was in a hotel room drinking and socializing with three other men at the Cypress Lodge on Lincoln Avenue. The other men included the defendant’s father, Steven LeClaire Sr., then 42, and friends Marques Murray, 24, and Raymond Eligan, then 51.

The defendant pulled out a firearm, pointed it at the three men, and fired the weapon multiple times. LeClaire Jr. murdered Murray by shooting him in the arm and chest. He attempted to murder his father by shooting him several times. He attempted to murder Eligan by shooting him in the legs as the victim attempted to escape into the bathroom. LeClaire Sr. and Eligan survived the attack.

During the trial, evidence presented before the court showed that the shooting stemmed from relationship issues surrounding defendant LeClaire’s upbringing by his biological father along with an incident between the defendant’s 14-year-old sister and the defendant’s biological father. (more…)

July 31, 2014

41 Linked To El Monte Street Gang Charged In Federal Racketeering Indictment That Alleges Murders, Robberies And Narcotics Trafficking

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

LOS ANGELES – More than 400 law enforcement officers this morning conducted an operation that led to the arrest of 17 members and associates of the El Monte Flores gang, an organization that takes direction from the Mexican Mafia prison gang and controls criminal activity in the cities of El Monte and South El Monte.

Those taken into custody today are among 41 defendants named in a 167-page racketeering indictment that alleges “El Monte Flores gang members commit crimes, including acts of violence (ranging from battery to murder), drug trafficking offenses, robbery, burglary, carjacking, witness intimidation, kidnapping, weapons trafficking, credit card fraud, identity theft, and hate crimes directed against African-Americans who might reside or be present in the cities of El Monte and South El Monte in an effort to rid these cities of all African-Americans.”

Other gang-related crimes are outlined in the 62-count indictment, including the execution of a former Mexican Mafia member and the fatal shooting of four others in an El Monte residence in 1995. The indictment also outlines an ongoing dispute involving members of the Mexican Mafia who are attempting to exercise control over the gang. One of those Mexican Mafia members – James “Chemo” Gutierrez, 52, who is currently in federal custody after his supervised release following a 20-year sentence in a federal homicide case was revoked – is the lead defendant in the indictment. Other Mexican Mafia members serving life prison terms are not charged in the indictment, but they are listed as co-conspirators.

The gang maintains a significant presence at the Boys & Girls Club of America – San Gabriel Valley Club on Mountain View Road, where gang members openly sold drugs, held gang meetings and even held a car wash fundraiser, according to the indictment. Members of the gang also regularly use and threaten to use violence to extort “taxes” from drug dealers at “Crawford’s Plaza” (at Valley Boulevard and Garvey Avenue) and the “Klingerman” apartments, as well as from fraudulent document vendors who operate at Crawford’s Plaza. The indictment further alleges several incidents dating back to early 2001 in which African-American victims in El Monte were attacked, threatened and subjected to racial epithets.

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THREE DEFENDANTS SCHEDULED TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING, KIDNAPPING, AND TORTURING WOMAN

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

SANTA ANA – Three defendants are scheduled to be arraigned today for human trafficking, kidnapping, and torturing a woman. Renice Stevenson Flores-Davis, 26, Costa Mesa, is charged with two felony counts each of torture, kidnapping, mayhem, and one felony count each of human trafficking, aggravated assault, pimping, and pandering, with sentencing enhancement and allegations for personal infliction of great bodily injury and great bodily injury. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 56 years to life in state prison.

Oscar Gonzalez-Salinas, 33, Costa Mesa, and Cierra Rose Thompson, 27, Silverton, OR, are both charged with two felony counts of kidnapping, one felony count each of torture, human trafficking, mayhem, aggravated assault, pimping, and pandering, with sentencing enhancement and allegations for personal infliction of great bodily injury and great bodily injury. If convicted, Gonzalez-Salinas and Thompson each face a maximum sentence of 39 years to life in state prison. The People will be requesting the three defendants be held on $1 million bail at their arraignment this afternoon in Department CJ-1, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.

Circumstances of the Case

Flores-Davis is accused of being a human trafficker/pimp who exploits women and/or children for financial gain. The victims are required to turn over all payment they receive for sex acts from sex purchasers to their pimp. Failure to follow these rules can result in deprivation of food and/or physical and/or emotional abuse.

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“Spiritual Healer” Sentenced to Prison for Rape

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

A “spiritual healer” convicted of rape was sentenced today to nine years in state prison, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Jose Romulo Felix, 42, of Victorville pleaded no contest on July 1 to two felony counts: rape and sexual battery by fraud.

At the sentencing, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Larry Knupp also ordered Felix to register as a sex offender for life.

Deputy District Attorney Heba Matta, who prosecuted the case, said Felix advertised in Spanish newspapers that he was a “spiritual healer” who could solve love issues for women.

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July 30, 2014

Owner Of Home Health Agency Sentenced To Nearly Five Years For Bilking Medicare Out Of $5 Million In Health Care Fraud Scheme

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

LOS ANGELES – A registered nurse who operated GreatCare Home Health, Inc., a home health agency based in the Westlake district of Los Angeles, has been sentenced to 57 months in federal prison for orchestrating a $5 million Medicare fraud scheme involving kickbacks to doctors and patients who did not qualify for in-home health services provided by GreatCare.

Hee Jung Mun, who often used the name Angela Mun, 52, of Rancho Palos Verdes, was sentenced late yesterday by United States District Judge Dean D. Pregerson. In addition to the prison term, Judge Pregerson also ordered Mun to pay $5.144 million in restitution to Medicare.

As part of the investigation, authorities previously seized $1.2 million from bank accounts owned by Mun and GreatCare. Another federal judge ordered Mun to pay nearly $15 million to resolve a “whistleblower” lawsuit associated with the scheme (see: http://www.justice.gov/usao/cac/Pressroom/2013/116.html).

Mun pleaded guilty in 2012 and admitted orchestrating a three-year scheme to defraud Medicare. In her plea agreement, Mun admitted that she bilked Medicare out of millions by 1) paying illegal kickbacks to doctors and individuals known as “cappers” or “marketers” for patient referrals, and to patients themselves to sign up for home health services, 2) billing Medicare for patients who were not homebound or who otherwise did not quality for home health services, and 3) billing Medicare for services provided by unlicensed individuals or not provided at all.

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Four Teens Charged with Murder in USC Grad Student Death

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

Three males and a female, all under 20, were charged today with capital murder in the beating death of a 24-year-old USC graduate student whose body was found Thursday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Jonathan Del Carmen (dob 6/02/95), Andrew Garcia (dob 12/19/95), Alberto Ochoa (dob 1/23/97), and Alejandra Guerrero (dob 6/02/98) are scheduled to be arraigned after 1:30 p.m. today at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Department 30. Prosecutors will ask that they be held without bail.

Deputy District Attorney John McKinney with the Major Crimes Division is assigned to the case.

The four are charged in case BA427590 with one count each of murder of Xinran Ji with the special circumstance of murder during an attempted robbery. Ochoa, Garcia and Guerrero are each charged with a special allegation that they personally used a dangerous weapon, a bat.

Ji, an engineering student from China, was walking home from a study group when he was attacked by a group of three males and one female juvenile who tried to rob him. The attack occurred about 12:45 a.m. Thursday near the corner of 29th Street and Orchard Avenue, a few blocks from the USC campus. (more…)

MAN CONVICTED OF MURDERING ARMY VETERAN ROOMMATE AND DISPOSING HER BODY IN CANYON

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

SANTA ANA – A man was convicted today of murdering his roommate and disposing of her body in a canyon. Kwang Chol Joy, 55, Orange, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of second degree murder. He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in state prison at his sentencing Sept. 12, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

At the time of the crime, Joy lived at a home in Orange with 36-year-old roommate Maribel Ramos. The victim was an Army veteran who had served two combat tours in Iraq and was also a student at California State University, Fullerton.

On May 2, 2013, the defendant got into an argument with Ramos after she told him to move out of the home because he was not paying his rent. That night, Ramos was seen on video surveillance dropping off a rent check at the property manager’s office. It was the last time she was seen alive.

Sometime between May 2, 2013, and May 3, 2013, Joy murdered Ramos and disposed of her body in Santiago Canyon.

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