Best Defender Bytes:

November 10, 2014

Operation ‘Cat Eyes’ Targets Illegal Sale of ‘Misbranded’ and Adulterated Cosmetic Contact Lenses that Pose Risk to Eyesight

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:16 am

LOS ANGELES – Federal prosecutors this week filed a series of criminal charges against Los Angeles-area retail outlets, as well as their owners and managers, that allegedly sold contact lenses without prescriptions – some of which were contaminated with dangerous pathogens.

Two criminal informations filed this morning, as well as four additional informations filed on Tuesday, charge a total of 12 defendants with the illegal sale of decorative and cosmetic contact lenses.

All six cases allege that the defendants sold “misbranded” contact lenses because they were sold without prescriptions.

Two of the cases also allege that the defendants sold adulterated contact lenses that were contaminated with bacteria known as Bacillus cereus. According to court documents, the Bacillus cereus bacterial strain can cause severe infections that, even with prompt treatment, can lead to blindness.

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Founder of Bankrupt O.C. Real Estate Investment Firm Pleads Guilty in Fraud Scheme that Resulted in $110+ Million Bankruptcy

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:09 am

SANTA ANA, California – One of the owners of a now-defunct Southern California real estate investment firm pleaded guilty today to perpetrating a fraudulent scheme that ended with the bankruptcy of the company, in which investors and banks collectively lost more than $110 million.

John Packard, 64, of Long Beach, pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud before United States District Judge Cormac J. Carney.

During today’s hearing, Packard admitted bilking investors in Pacific Property Assets (PPA), which had offices in Long Beach and Irvine. Packard and his co-defendant, Phoenix resident Michael J. Stewart, created PPA in 1999 to purchase, renovate, operate and resell or refinance apartment complexes in Southern California and Arizona. Typically, PPA financed property acquisitions through mortgages, and it raised money from private investors to pay for renovations to the properties. After several years, PPA would usually refinance (or sometimes sell) each property.

Although PPA’s apartment rental operations were not profitable, it was able to raise cash through refinancing and selling properties. As real estate values were generally increasing until approximately 2007, the properties were refinanced at ever-higher values, which enabled PPA to use the extra refinancing proceeds to not only pay off the original mortgages, but also to make payments on other loans, make payments to investors, and to pay Stewart and Packard. In its 10 years of operations, PPA acquired more than 100 real estate properties and raised tens of millions of dollars from hundreds of investors.

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Justice Department Reaches $5 Million Settlement with Flakeboard, Arauco, Inversiones Angelini and Sierrapine for Illegal Premerger Coordination

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

The department today announced a settlement with Flakeboard America Limited; its parent companies, Celulosa Arauco y Constitución S.A. and Inversiones Angelini y Compañía Limitada; and SierraPine.  The settlement requires the companies to pay a combined $3.8 million in civil penalties for violating the Hart–Scott–Rodino (HSR) Act of 1976.  In addition, for violating Section 1 of the Sherman Act, Flakeboard must disgorge $1.15 million in illegally obtained profits and both Flakeboard and SierraPine must establish antitrust compliance programs and agree to certain restrictions.

The settlement resolves the department’s allegations that Flakeboard, Arauco and SierraPine engaged in illegal premerger coordination while Flakeboard’s proposed acquisition of three SierraPine mills was under antitrust review by the Department of Justice.

Flakeboard and SierraPine abandoned the proposed acquisition on Sept. 30, 2014, after the department expressed concerns about the transaction’s likely anticompetitive effects in the production of medium-density fiberboard (MDF).  MDF is a manufactured wood product widely used in furniture, kitchen cabinets, and decorative mouldings.

The department today filed, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, a civil antitrust complaint alleging violations of the HSR Act (Section 7A of the Clayton Act) and Section 1 of the Sherman Act.  At the same time, the department filed an agreement that, if approved by the court, would resolve the lawsuit.

“Companies proposing to merge must remain separate and independent during the government’s investigation,” said Bill Baer, Assistant Attorney General of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.  “These two competitors did not.  Instead they closed a plant and allocated customers when they should have been competing vigorously.  As a result both companies are paying substantial civil penalties and Flakeboard is being forced to surrender the ill-gotten profit it gained from violating the antitrust laws.” (more…)

November 7, 2014

Founder of Bankrupt O.C. Real Estate Investment Firm Pleads Guilty in Fraud Scheme that Resulted in $110+ Million Bankruptcy

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:29 am

SANTA ANA, California – One of the owners of a now-defunct Southern California real estate investment firm pleaded guilty today to perpetrating a fraudulent scheme that ended with the bankruptcy of the company, in which investors and banks collectively lost more than $110 million.

John Packard, 64, of Long Beach, pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud before United States District Judge Cormac J. Carney.

During today’s hearing, Packard admitted bilking investors in Pacific Property Assets (PPA), which had offices in Long Beach and Irvine. Packard and his co-defendant, Phoenix resident Michael J. Stewart, created PPA in 1999 to purchase, renovate, operate and resell or refinance apartment complexes in Southern California and Arizona. Typically, PPA financed property acquisitions through mortgages, and it raised money from private investors to pay for renovations to the properties. After several years, PPA would usually refinance (or sometimes sell) each property.

Although PPA’s apartment rental operations were not profitable, it was able to raise cash through refinancing and selling properties. As real estate values were generally increasing until approximately 2007, the properties were refinanced at ever-higher values, which enabled PPA to use the extra refinancing proceeds to not only pay off the original mortgages, but also to make payments on other loans, make payments to investors, and to pay Stewart and Packard. In its 10 years of operations, PPA acquired more than 100 real estate properties and raised tens of millions of dollars from hundreds of investors.

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Biotronik Inc. to Pay $4.9 Million to Resolve Claims that Company Paid Kickbacks to Physicians

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:22 am

Biotronik Inc. of Lake Oswego, Oregon, has agreed to pay the United States $4.9 million to resolve allegations made under the False Claims Act that the company made various improper payments to induce physicians to use devices that it manufactured and sold, the Justice Department announced today.

“When medical device manufacturers make improper payments to physicians, they encourage medical decision-making based on financial gain rather than the best interests of patients,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Joyce R. Branda for the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “Today’s resolution demonstrates the Department of Justice’s continuing commitment to ensuring that beneficiaries of federal health care programs receive appropriate medical care.”

The settlement resolves allegations that Biotronik, through the payment of kickbacks to physicians, caused hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers to submit false claims to Medicare and Medicaid for the implantation of Biotronik pacemakers, defibrillators and cardiac resynchronization therapy devices.  Biotronik allegedly induced electrophysiologists and cardiologists practicing in Nevada and Arizona to continue using Biotronik devices, or to convert to Biotronik devices, by paying the implanting physician in the form of repeated meals at expensive restaurants and inflated payments for membership on a physician advisory board.

“Today’s resolution of claims underscores one of the key purposes of the Anti-Kickback law – to ensure that the judgment exercised by health care providers in treating Medicare and Medicaid patients is not influenced by illegal payments,” said U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner for the Eastern District of California.

The settlement announced today stems from a whistleblower complaint filed by a former Biotronik employee, Brian Sant, pursuant to the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, which permit private persons to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the United States and to share in the proceeds of the suit.  The act permits the United States to intervene and take over the lawsuit, as it did in this case as to some of Sant’s allegations.  Sant will receive approximately $840,000 of the federal settlement.  (more…)

Former Studio Money Man Sentenced To Federal Prison For Embezzlement

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:18 am

LOS ANGELES – A former finance manager of a television production studio was sentenced this morning to two years in federal prison for embezzling approximately $2.5 million from the Culver City company.

Nolan Mitchell Ransdell, 41, of Canyon Country, was sentenced by United States District Judge George Wu. In addition to the prison term, Judge Wu ordered Ransdell to pay $2,458,589 in restitution.

Ransdell previously pleaded guilty to bank fraud and admitted that he stole money from his employer, Studio Lambert USA, which is now known as All3Media America. Ransdell embezzled the money in several ways, including forging an executive’s signature on checks Ransdell had made out to himself. Ransdell also took checks that the executive had pre-signed for “emergency” use and made himself the payee. In addition, Ransdell made checks payable to a subordinate, and then instructed that employee to cash the checks and return the money to him. Ransdell also made unauthorized cash withdrawals from Studio Lambert’s bank accounts.

Studio Lambert USA, a subsidiary of a British studio, produced television shows for distribution in the United States, including Undercover Boss. Studio Lambert’s parent company noticed that the accounting for the production accounts was not consistent with the accounting for the corporate accounts. When asked to explain the differences, Ransdell made up excuses, for instance, saying that discrepancies were the result of payment delays in connection with prepaid debit cards. Once it realized it was the victim of embezzlement, Studio Lambert contacted the FBI and assisted in the investigation.

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November 6, 2014

LAW ENFORCEMENT SEEKS POTENTIAL ADDITIONAL VICTIMS OF LAPD OFFICER ARRESTED ON CHARGES FOR ATTEMPTED LEWD ACT WITH 12-YEAR-OLD GIRL AND INDECENT EXPOSURE TO FIVE FEMALE VICTIMS

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

SANTA ANA – The Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) and the Huntington Beach Police Department (HBPD) are seeking potential additional victims of a Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officer arrested on charges for attempting to commit a lewd act with a 12-year-old girl and indecent exposure to five female victims in Huntington Beach. Ryan Eric Galliher, 33, Huntington Beach, is charged with one felony count of attempted lewd act upon a child under 14 years old, one felony count of contacting a minor with the intent to commit a lewd act, five misdemeanor counts of indecent exposure, and one misdemeanor count of engaging in lewd conduct. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of four years in state prison and mandatory lifetime sex offender registration. Galliher is out of custody on $100,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 5, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in Department W-2, West Justice Center, Westminster.

At the time of the crimes, Galliher was employed as an officer with the LAPD.

On Feb. 27, 2014, Galliher is accused of approaching 12-year-old Jane Doe #1 in the Bolsa Chica wetlands area. He is accused of approaching the victim, exposing his penis to her, and asking the victim to touch his penis. On March 10, 2014, Galliher is accused of approaching Jane Doe #1 near Bolsa Chica Street in Huntington Beach and exposing his penis to her.

On April 18, 2014, Galliher is accused of approaching 80-year-old Jane Doe #2 who was walking in the area of Bolsa Chica Street and exposing his penis to her.

On June 17, 2014, Galliher is accused of approaching 43-year-old Jane Doe #3 who was walking in the Bolsa Chica wetlands area. The defendant is accused of standing naked wearing only tennis shoes and exposing himself to the victim.

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Man Convicted of Vandalism after Santa Fe Springs Standoff

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

A man accused of invading a home, barricading himself inside, which resulted in extensive damage to the dwelling was sentenced today, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Paul Barragan (dob 3/20/94) of Norwalk pleaded no contest to one felony count of felony vandalism over $400 damage in case VA137445.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Peter Espinoza immediately sentenced Barragan to two years in state prison to be served in county jail. Additionally, the judge ordered Barragan to pay restitution in the amount of $5,000 to the victimized homeowner.

Prosecutors said in the early morning of Oct. 27, Barragan entered a Santa Fe Springs home without permission and barricaded himself in a room.

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Man Charged With Attempted Murder in Griffith Park Beating

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

A 54-year-old Encino man was charged today in connection with the brutal beating of a man in Griffith Park earlier this week, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Tyrone Isumu (12/30/59) was charged with one count of attempted murder in case BA431209. The criminal complaint also has a great bodily injury allegation, noting the victim is comatose and has paralysis.

He is scheduled to appear today in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

Prosecutors said that Isumu struck the victim with a rock multiple times on Nov. 3 while the two were in Griffith Park. Isumu then grabbed a large steel trash can and hit the man with it, prosecutors added.

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November 5, 2014

NAIL SALON MANAGER SENTENCED TO TWO YEARS AND TWO MONTHS IN PRISON FOR ATTEMPTED PIMPING OF EMPLOYEE

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:15 am

SANTA ANA – A nail salon manager was convicted and sentenced today to two years and two months in state prison for the attempted pimping of an employee. Cam Da Le, 48, Garden Grove, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of attempted pimping.

Circumstances of the Case

On April 30, 2014, Le instructed 25-year-old Jane Doe to perform commercial sex acts on a customer of a nail salon they both worked at. Le collected all of the money the victim earned while performing sex acts and only paid the victim the tips she collected.

The Orange Police Department (OPD) conducted an investigation as to whether the nail salon was acting as a brothel. Le derived support from the earning and proceeds of the prostitution of Jane Doe knowing she was working as a prostitute. The defendant caused, induced, persuaded, and encouraged Jane Doe to prostitute and to agree to engage in commercial sex acts with an OPD undercover officer.

Members of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF) and the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) Office work proactively to protect women and minors from falling victim to commercial sexual exploitation. This case was investigated by OCHTTF, a partnership between APD, CHP, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Huntington Beach Police Department, OCDA, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and community and non-profit partners.

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