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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.”

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MAN CONVICTED OF MURDERING UNCLE IN LA PALMA BEFORE DUMPING AND BURNING BODY IN SANTA BARBARA COUNTY

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.

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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.

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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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SoCal Doctor Charged with Illegally Writing Prescriptions for Addictive Narcotics and Laundering Proceeds of His Drug Dealing

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:12 am

LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles-area doctor surrendered this morning to federal authorities after being indicted on federal drug trafficking charges for allegedly illegally distributing drugs, including powerful and addictive painkillers.

Dr. Andrew Sun, 78, of La Mirada, surrendered this morning at the United States Courthouse, where he is expected to be arraigned this afternoon.

Sun, who operated medical clinics in San Gabriel and East Los Angeles, is named in an indictment that was returned by a federal grand jury on March 18. The indictment specifically charges Sun with 24 counts of illegally prescribing controlled substances including hydrocodone (a powerful narcotic painkiller commonly known by the brand names Vicodin and Norco), alprazolam (commonly known by the brand name Xanax), carisoprodol (best known as Soma), diazepam (the generic form of the brand name product Valium), and promethazine with codeine (a Schedule V cough syrup). The indictment also charges Sun with four counts of laundering the proceeds generated by his illegal prescriptions.

Sun issued nearly 5,000 prescriptions for controlled substances in a one-year period that ended in July 2010, according to an affidavit in support of a search warrant executed at Sun’s residence and two medical offices on July 11, 2012. During the investigation detailed in the affidavit, Sun prescribed drugs, including hydrocodone, to undercover agents on 13 separate occasions, each time in exchange for $150 cash.

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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Issues Statement on Federal Indictment of PG&E

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:10 am

SAN FRANCISCO—Attorney General Kamala D. Harris issued the following statement on the federal grand jury indictment of Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) for criminal violations of the federal Natural Gas Pipeline Safety Act of 1968:

“Today’s indictment is an important step in providing justice for the individuals, families and community devastated by the 2010 pipeline explosion and fire in San Bruno. As alleged in the indictment, PG&E knowingly and willfully failed to identify and evaluate threats to its transmission pipelines, including Line 132 underneath much of San Bruno. When allegedly faced with evidence of transmission line problems, PG&E knowingly and willfully chose not to assess and remediate them.

My office will continue our work with local and federal partners in prosecuting this matter in federal court and holding PG&E accountable for its alleged conduct.”

On September 9, 2010, a portion of Line 132 in San Bruno exploded and resulted in a fire that killed eight people, injured 58 others, and damaged or destroyed numerous homes.  The California Department of Justice has been conducting a criminal investigation related to the explosion in partnership with local authorities from the San Mateo District Attorney’s Office, the San Bruno Police Department, and the San Bruno Fire Department, as well as federal agencies including the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration.

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April 10, 2014

California-Based Masonry Companies Pay Nearly $1.9 Million to Settle Claims of Misrepresenting Disadvantaged Small Business Status in Connection with Military Contracts

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:05 am

Five California-based masonry subcontractors and two individuals paid the government nearly $1.9 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by misrepresenting their disadvantaged small business status in connection with military construction contracts, the Department of Justice announced today.  The defendants are Frazier Masonry Corp., F-Y Inc., CTI Concrete & Masonry Inc., Masonry Technology Inc., Masonry Works Inc., Russell Frazier and Robert Yowell.

“This settlement demonstrates our continuing vigilance to ensure that those doing business with the military do so legally and honestly and that taxpayer funds are not misused,” said Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division Stuart F. Delery.  “Among the rules that military contractors and subcontractors must follow are those relating to the use and hiring of small businesses.”

The case involved contracts to construct facilities at Marine Corps bases at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Camp Pendleton, Calif.  Under the rules of the Small Business Administration, the contracts required that a certain percentage of the work be performed by disadvantaged small businesses.  This contract requirement was intended to benefit small firms owned by women, minorities and other disadvantaged groups.

The government alleged that the defendant masonry subcontractors and their principals misrepresented to the prime contractors that they were small businesses, and that these misrepresentations caused the prime contractors to falsely certify that they had complied with the small business provisions of the contracts in claiming payment.  Russell Frazier previously pleaded guilty in related criminal proceedings to causing false statements.

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