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April 16, 2014

S.F. Valley Woman Who Orchestrated Health Care Fraud Scheme that Submitted Nearly $25 Million in Bogus Bills Sentenced to over 7 Years

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:06 am

LOS ANGELES – A North Hollywood woman who worked in the health care industry was sentenced this afternoon to 76 months in federal prison for orchestrating a scheme that submitted nearly $25 million in fraudulent bills to Medicare for services and supplies that were medically unnecessary and sometimes were never provided.

Susanna Artsruni, 46, who formerly owned a durable medical equipment (DME) company and worked at a number of medical clinics in Los Angeles, was sentenced by United States District Judge Margaret M. Morrow.

Artsruni, who often used the names “Mary” and “Rose,” was sentenced after pleading guilty earlier this year to one count of health care fraud and one count of money laundering. In addition to the prison term, Judge Morrow ordered Artsruni to pay $9,624,556 in restitution to the Medicare program.

In a plea agreement filed in United States District Court, Artsruni admitted that she defrauded Medicare in a number of ways. In one part of the scheme, Artsruni had physician’s assistants at three Los Angeles medical clinics sign prescriptions and orders for medically unnecessary DME and diagnostic tests that were later referred to other Medicare providers that billed for the equipment and tests. Artsruni also caused the three clinics to bill Medicare for medically unnecessary services.



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:01 am

NEWPORT BEACH – A bookkeeper faces charges for embezzling over $1.4 million from two law firms and issuing unauthorized checks to her husband. Shawna Renee Barretto, 39, Anaheim, was charged in March 2014 with 22 felony counts of computer access fraud, 21 felony counts of falsifying records, seven felony counts of grand theft, two felony counts of identity theft, one felony count of theft from elder, with sentencing enhancements for aggravated white collar crime over $100,000, aggravated white collar crime over $500,000, property damage or loss over $65,000, property loss over $200,000, property damage over $1.3 million, money laundering over $50,000, and money laundering over $150,000. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of 32 years in state prison.

Co-defendant and husband Roberto Nilo Barretto, 53, Anaheim, was charged in March 2014 with one felony count of grand theft. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of three years in jail. Shawna Barretto is out of custody on $1.4 million bail and Roberto Barretto is out of custody on $20,000 bail. Both defendants were arraigned April 11, 2014, and face a pre-trial hearing Aug. 8, 2014, at 8:30 a.m. in Department H-2, Harbor Justice Center, Newport Beach.

Between 2005 and 2012, Shawna Barretto is accused of working as a bookkeeper and an office manager for two law firms. Shawna Barretto is accused of embezzling over $1.4 million from the law firms through deceptive record-keeping. She is accused of making unauthorized payments to her personal credit card accounts and opening credit card accounts in the law firms’ names and hiding those fraudulent payments by entering false entries in the law firms’ computer-based accounting records. Shawna Barretto is accused of using those accounts to make payments on personal expenses including her children’s private school tuition, golf club memberships, and other unauthorized expenses.

Between 2005 and 2008, Roberto Barretto is accused of accepting five fraudulent checks issued by his wife totaling $10,825.



Filed under: Los Angeles sexual assault attorney — fayarfa @ 4:57 am

SANTA ANA – A man will face a jury trial tomorrow for forcibly raping two women after luring them under the pretense of performing a spiritual cleansing. Alberto Flores Ramirez, 39, San Clemente, was charged in April 2012 for Jane Doe #1 with one felony count each of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, and sexual penetration by foreign object by force. In May 2012, he was charged for Jane Doe #2 with one felony count each of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, and attempted forcible oral copulation. He faces a sentencing enhancement for sex crimes against multiple victims. If convicted on all counts, he faces a maximum sentence of 75 years to life in state prison. Opening statements are expected to begin tomorrow, Wednesday, April 16, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-43, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Jane Doe #1

Ramirez is accused of meeting 33-year-old Jane Doe #1 through an online dating website. On April 3, 2012, he is accused of meeting Jane Doe #1 at a McDonald’s in Santa Ana. Ramirez is accused of telling Jane Doe #1 that he could help her to bring her children to California from Mexico by performing a spiritual cleansing on her to get rid of her negative vibes. Jane Doe #1 agreed to participate.

The defendant is accused of driving Jane Doe #1 from the McDonald’s to a motel in Santa Ana. Once inside a motel room, he is accused of instructing Jane Doe #1 to undress in order for him to perform the cleansing. Jane Doe #1 removed her clothing but left on her bra and underwear. Ramirez is accused of rubbing raw eggs on the victim’s body and fondling Jane Doe #1.

When the victim attempted to cover herself with the comforter from the bed, Ramirez is accused of jumping on top of the victim and restraining her. Jane Doe #1 struggled to get away and the defendant is accused of digitally penetrating the victim and then strangling her. He is accused of threatening Jane Doe #1 that she had to stop fighting and then forcibly orally copulating and raping the victim.


April 15, 2014

Former Chief Administrative Officer for City of Bell Sentenced to Federal Prison for Cheating IRS to Avoid Taxes on Corrupt Activities

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:30 am

LOS ANGELES – Robert A. Rizzo, the former top administrator in the City of Bell who has admitted his role in a widespread municipal corruption scandal, was sentenced today to 33 months in federal prison in a tax fraud scheme designed to hide part of the massive income he was bilking from the small Los Angeles County city.

Rizzo was sentenced today by United States District Judge George H. King, who said Rizzo’s activities demonstrated “greed in cheating the taxpayers of the United States after cheating the citizens of Bell.” In issuing the 33-month prison term, Judge King ordered that it run consecutive to a prison term Rizzo is expected to receive Wednesday when he is sentenced in Los Angeles Superior Court in his corruption case.

Rizzo, 60, of Torrance, pleaded guilty in January to federal charges – conspiracy and filing a false federal income tax return with the Internal Revenue Service – in a scheme that resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid federal income tax. At today’s sentencing hearing, Judge King ordered Rizzo to pay $255,984 in restitution, a figure that equals the amount of unpaid taxes directly attributable to the defendant.

In his plea agreement, Rizzo admitted that he created a corporation to fraudulently claim losses on his income tax return, which served to illegally reduce his tax liability on the significant income he was receiving from the City of Bell. Rizzo also admitted claiming personal expenses as business deductions.

Rizzo’s “conduct can only be described as corrupt,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo filed with the court. Not only did Rizzo fleece the City of Bell and its residents, he also bilked the Internal Revenue Service “in an extraordinary display of greed.”



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:15 am

SANTA ANA – A man was convicted today of murdering his uncle and dumping the victim’s body in a remote area of Santa Barbara County after setting it on fire in an attempt to destroy the evidence. Kirk Michael Galvin, 25, La Palma, pleaded guilty today to one felony count of second degree murder. He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in state prison at his sentencing May 23, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-45, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

On July 27, 2011, Kirk Galvin murdered his 53-year-old uncle Douglas Galvin. He committed the murder in his father’s La Palma apartment while his father was out of town. Kirk Galvin drove the victim’s murdered body to Santa Barbara County, dumped it in a remote area, and attempted to destroy the body by setting it on fire. He then fled the scene.

On July 30, 2011, two people found Douglas Galvin’s burned body while out on a walk and contacted the police.  Following an investigation by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department and La Palma Police Department, Kirk Galvin was arrested Aug. 5, 2011.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Susan Price of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 11CF2110 / April 14, 2014

Man Sentenced for Murder, Attempted Murder in Stabbing Spree

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

A man was sentenced today to life without the possibility of parole for the murder and attempted murder of two transients in the Hollywood area five years ago, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Robert Perry also sentenced 58-year-old Domingo Linares Rodas to two consecutive life sentences. Rodas was convicted last month of one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder.

Prosecutors said Rodas fatally stabbed Keith Fallin on Aug. 6, 2009 while he was asleep outside the Music Box Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.

A few hours later, Rodas attacked a second man with a knife. That victim was stabbed in the chest but survived the assault, prosecutors said. Rodas also stabbed and wounded a third man on the same day.

The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorneys Ian Phan and Jeffrey Herring. It was investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department.

Los Angeles County District Attorney / April 14, 2014

April 14, 2014

Man Pleads Not Guilty to Killing Cousin

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

A Lake Elsinore man accused of stabbing his cousin to death pleaded not guilty this afternoon, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Bryant Keith Underwood (dob 3/21/85) was arraigned on one count of murder in case NA098831. The felony complaint includes a special allegation that Underwood personally used deadly and dangerous weapons, knives, in the commission of the crime.

The defendant appeared before Judge Laura Laesecke at the Los Angeles Long Beach. His bail was set at $1.02 million.

Prosecutors said in the early morning of April 8, police received 911 calls regarding strange noises coming from victim Ahkeem Johnson’s Long Beach apartment.


Los Angeles Grocer Sentenced in EBT Fraud Case

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:51 am

A South Los Angeles grocer paid more than $190,000 in restitution today as part of his sentence for fraudulently using EBT cards, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Curtis Rappe sentenced Sabino Reynoso Cedano, 62, to two years probation and ordered him to perform 240 hours of community service. Cedano also turned over a check for $192,199 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of restitution in the case.

Last June, Cedano pleaded no contest to one count of food and nutrition benefits fraud. Deputy District

Attorney Bill Clark said the defendant owned two small grocery stores and was illegally using Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards.


Palmdale Man Charged with Attempted Murder, Kidnapping of Female Roommate

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

A Palmdale man was charged today with attacking and kidnapping his female roommate, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Theodore Swanson said Omar Oswaldo Hernández (dob 1/21/87) faces one count each of attempted murder, battery with serious bodily injury, criminal threats, and kidnapping in case MA062693.

Hernández is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in Department A01 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Antelope Valley Branch.

On April 8, the defendant hit and strangled his roommate after she refused to be in a relationship with him, according to the prosecutor. She lost consciousness during the attack and when she awoke the victim was in his truck. Not knowing where Hernández was taking her, she jumped out of the moving truck so she could escape, Swanson added.

A 14-year-old Good Samaritan saw her near 25th St. and Avenue S and called 9-1-1. (more…)

April 11, 2014

Spaccia Sentenced to Prison

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:18 am

Bell’s former assistant chief administrative officer, Pier’ Angela Spaccia, was sentenced today to 11 years, eight months in state prison for her role in a massive public corruption scheme to boost her pay and that of her boss, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy also ordered Spaccia, 55, to pay more than $8.2 million in restitution to the City of Bell.

The case was successfully prosecuted by Deputy District Attorneys Max Huntsman and Sean Hassett with the Public Integrity Division.

“The residents of Bell depended and relied upon defendant Spaccia to do her job honestly and with integrity. Defendant Spaccia wholly abandoned her duty to the people of Bell and acted only in furtherance of her own corrupt and selfish motives, Hassett wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

At the height of the scandal, Spaccia and her boss Robert Rizzo, illegally boosted their salaries by writing their own employment contracts. Spaccia’s salary in Bell went from $102,310 a year when she was hired in July 2003 to $376,000 a year in 2008.


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