Best Defender Bytes:

December 16, 2013

Doctor Pleads Guilty to Tax Offense Related to Health Care Fraud Scheme involving People Recruited from ‘Skid Row’

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

LOS ANGELES – In the first case filed in relation to the second major investigation into the illegal recruitment of “Skid Row” denizens for unnecessary medical procedures, a La Mirada doctor pleaded guilty this afternoon to federal tax charges and admitted participating in a large-scale scheme to defraud Medicare and Medi-Cal.

Dr. Ovid Mercene, 61, of La Mirada, pled guilty today to subscribing to a false tax return. Mercene pleaded guilty before United States District Judge R. Gary Klausner, who is scheduled to sentence the defendant on July 21.

From 2008 and 2012, while Mercene worked at a Los Angeles-area hospital, he admitted patients, the vast majority of whom were homeless, who had been referred from a purported “care consortium.” The patients, many of whom did not require hospitalization, were admitted for the purpose of defrauding taxpayer-funded health programs such as Medicare, Mercene admitted in court today.

Mercene admitted the “patients” after watching them being transported by van from Skid Row to the hospital, where they were often kept on a special floor away from the hospital’s “regular” patients. These “patients” also were given smoking breaks while in the hospital, even though many of them supposedly suffered from respiratory diseases. After a short hospital stay where numerous unnecessary tests were typically performed, Mercene discharged the “patients” to skilled nursing facilities, even though they did not require such care.

Mercene billed Medicare and Medi-Cal more than $1.8 million for medically unnecessary services provided to the Skid Row patients while in the hospital or at a skilled nursing facility. (more…)

MAN TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR SEX TRAFFICKING MINOR AFTER HAVING UNLAWFUL SEX WITH VICTIM

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:12 am

SANTA ANA A man will be arraigned today on charges of sex trafficking a 17-year-old girl after having unlawful sexual intercourse with the victim. Dominique Dashawn Tillman-Brown, 20, Los Angeles, is charged with one felony count each of human trafficking, pimping a minor, pandering with a minor over 16 years old by procuring, and unlawful sexual intercourse. If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 13 years in state prison. The People will request the defendant be held on $100,000 bail at his arraignment today, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.

Circumstances of the Case

Tillman-Brown is accused of being a pimp/modern-day slave owner who exploits women and/or children for financial gain. Pimps often establish rigid rules that their victims are expected to follow including requiring victims to speak only when spoken to, address the pimp as “Sir” or “Daddy.” The victims are required to turn over all payment they receive for sex acts from sex purchasers to their pimp.

On Dec. 6, 2013, Tillman-Brown is accused of meeting 17-year-old Jane Doe in Los Angeles. He is accused of immediately instructing the victim to engage in acts of commercial sex.

On Dec. 7, 2013, Tillman-Brown is accused of having unlawful sexual intercourse with Jane Doe. He is accused of driving her from Los Angeles County to Anaheim to have her engage in illegal sexual conduct in exchange for payment. Tillman-Brown is accused of posting advertisements of Jane Doe on a website known for prostitution and renting a motel room where she could meet potential sex purchasers.

On Dec. 10, 2013, an undercover officer of the Anaheim Police Department (APD) contacted Jane Doe. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Innocence Lost Task Force had been searching for her and with the assistance of APD, found the victim in an Anaheim. Tillman-Brown was arrested by APD later that night. (more…)

December 13, 2013

MAN CONVICTED OF SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES MURDER FOR 4TH OF JULY ROBBERY AND STABBING-MURDER OF 67-YEAR-OLD MAN

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:30 am

SANTA ANA – Man convicted of special circumstances murder today for the stabbing-murder of a 67-year-old man following a robbery on the 4th of July. Felipe Jesus Delgado, 22, Anaheim, was convicted by a jury of one felony count of special circumstances murder for murder during the commission of a robbery and one felony count of robbery. He faces a sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole at his sentencing Jan. 31, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-30, Central Justice Center Santa Ana.

At the time of his arrest, Delgado had a warrant for his arrest in Santa Cruz County for attempted murder.

On the night of July 4, 2012, Delgado approached 67-year-old Daniel Rowlett outside of a business on Olive Street in Anaheim. Delgado robbed the victim of his wallet and then stabbed him over a dozen times in the legs and chest before he fled the scene on foot.

At approximately 10:45 p.m., the Anaheim Police Department (APD), who investigated this case, responded to the scene after receiving a call regarding a possible traffic accident. Rowlett was found by officers bleeding in the driver’s seat of his truck and was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

(more…)

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Arrest of Revenge Porn Website Operator

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:15 am

SAN FRANCISCO—Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the arrest of the alleged owner and operator of a revenge porn website who facilitated the posting of more than 10,000 sexually explicit photos and extorted victims for as much as $350 each to remove the illicit content.

“This website published intimate photos of unsuspecting victims and turned their public humiliation and betrayal into a commodity with the potential to devastate lives,” Attorney General Harris said. “Online predators that profit from the extortion of private photos will be investigated and prosecuted for this reprehensible and illegal internet activity.”

Kevin Christopher Bollaert, 27, of San Diego, was arrested today in San Diego by California Department of Justice agents and is being held in San Diego County jail on $50,000 bail. According to documents filed in San Diego County Superior Court, Bollaert has been charged with 31 felony counts of conspiracy, identity theft and extortion and is facing possible jail time and fines.

Court documents allege that, in December 2012, Bollaert created the website ugotposted.com, which allows the anonymous, public posting of private photographs containing nude and explicit images of individuals without their permission. Commonly knows as revenge porn, the photos are typically obtained consensually by the poster during a prior relationship or are stolen or hacked. Unlike many other revenge porn websites where the subject of the photos is anonymous, ugotposted.com required that the poster include the subject’s full name, location, age and facebook profile link.

(more…)

Former San Luis Obispo Police Officer Sentenced to 18 Months in Federal Prison in Corruption Case

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:08 am

LOS ANGELES—A former detective with the San Luis Obispo Police Department has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for extorting sources he cultivated while working on a narcotics task force.

Cory Pierce, 40, of Arroyo Grande, was sentenced Monday afternoon by United States District Judge Margaret M. Morrow. In addition to the prison term, Judge Morrow sentenced Pierce to three years of supervised release and ordered him to pay $5,500 in restitution. Pierce was ordered to begin serving his sentence by January 27.

Pierce, who served with the San Luis Obispo Police Department for six years, pleaded guilty in June to a federal extortion charge. When he pleaded guilty, Pierce admitted that while assigned to a narcotics task force, he cultivated as sources an individual who had been arrested for heroin possession, and the man’s girlfriend. Pierce obtained painkillers from the sources in exchange for providing them with placebo oxycodone pills that they could sell.

As part of the plea agreement, Pierce admitted to using his position as a police officer to obtain $11,000 from someone who he thought was a drug dealer in exchange for the placebo pills.

The investigation was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Central District of California Department of Justice / Release No. 13-144 / December 10, 2013

December 12, 2013

Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney Sentenced to a Year in Prison in Federal Bribery Case

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:55 am

SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA – An Orange County criminal defense attorney, who was convicted by a jury of executing a bribery scheme to obtain dismissal of a state criminal case against one of his clients, was sentenced today to 12 months and one day in federal prison.

Lawrence Anthony Witsoe, age 70, a resident of Mission Viejo, CA, was sentenced by United States District Judge Andrew J. Guilford.  In September, Witsoe’s co-defendant, Aaron Scott Vigil, who was a police officer with the Rialto Police Department and a Task Force Officer with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), was sentenced to 33 months in prison for his role in the bribery scheme.

In addition to his prison sentence, Witsoe’s license to practice law was suspended on August 12, 2013 as a result of his conviction in this case, according to State Bar records.

Earlier this year, a federal jury convicted both Witsoe and Vigil of conspiring to solicit a $2,500 bribe from one of Witsoe’s clients, who was charged with assault in a state criminal case, in exchange for having Officer Vigil falsely represent to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office that Witsoe’s client had been cooperating with Officer Vigil and the DEA in connection with drug investigations.  In addition to the conspiracy count, Witsoe was also found guilty of two other counts, namely, soliciting the bribe payment from his client and offering and giving the bribe payment to Officer Vigil.

Central District of California Department of Justice / Release No. 13-143a / December 09, 2013

Glendale Man Who Admitted Hacking into Hundreds of Computers in ‘Sextortion’ Case Sentenced to Five Years in Federal Prison

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:49 am

LOS ANGELES – A Glendale man who hacked into hundreds of online accounts and victims’ computers, using extortion to coerce women into showing their naked bodies, was sentenced today to 60 months in federal prison.

Karen “Gary” Kazaryan, 27, was sentenced by United States District Judge George H. King, who said the defendant was a “cyber-terrorist.” Judge King remanded Kazaryan into custody at the conclusion of the sentencing hearing.

Kazaryan pleaded guilty in July to felony counts of computer hacking and aggravated identity theft.

In sentencing papers that recommended a six-year prison term, prosecutors wrote: “Kazaryan is a sexual cyber terrorist. He hacked into hundreds of victims’ email, Facebook, and Skype accounts using their usernames and passwords or password reset questions. He then methodically searched their accounts for naked pictures, passwords, and the contact information of their friends. He had two goals every time that he accessed these accounts: get more naked pictures in any way he could, and get more victims.”

(more…)

18 Charged as Result of Federal Investigation into Corruption and Civil Rights Abuses by Members of L.A. County Sheriff’s Department

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:39 am

Current and Former Deputies Charged with Federal Crimes, including Illegal Beatings of Jail Inmates and Obstruction of Justice

LOS ANGELES – Five criminal cases that charge a total of 18 current or one-time deputy sheriffs of various ranks were unsealed today as part of ongoing and wide-ranging FBI investigation into allegations of civil rights violations and corruption involving members of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Four grand jury indictments and one criminal complaint allege crimes that include unjustified beatings of jail inmates and visitors at downtown Los Angeles jail facilities, unjustified detentions and a conspiracy to obstruct a federal investigation into misconduct at the Men’s Central Jail.

Federal authorities announced the charges after 16 of the defendants were taken into custody earlier today. Those defendants are expected to be arraigned on the charges this afternoon in United States District Court in Los Angeles.

“The five cases allege a wide scope of illegal conduct,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. “This investigation started by focusing on misconduct in county jails, and we uncovered examples of civil rights violations that included excessive force and unlawful arrests.

(more…)

December 11, 2013

Jury Convicts Former Bell Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Pier’ Angela Spaccia of Public Corruption

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:58 am

District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced that a jury today found Pier’ Angela Spaccia, former Bell assistant chief administrative officer, guilty of a massive public corruption scheme to boost her pay and that of her boss, Robert Rizzo.

The jury of eight women and four men found Spaccia guilty of 11 of the 13 felony counts, including writing her own employment contracts, taking loans without council approval, removing public documents and creating her own retirement plan that would have cost Bell taxpayers $8 million.

“I am pleased the jury viewed this extremely complex case for precisely what it was – greed,” District Attorney Lacey said. “Their reign of fraud left the working-class city of 35,000 nearly bankrupt. Their unbridled greed also forced Bell’s 35,000 hardworking residents to pay higher tax rates than residents of Beverly Hills.”

District Attorney Lacey said today’s verdicts mean major players in the Bell corruption case now have been convicted. Spaccia joins Rizzo, who pleaded no contest to all 69 felony counts, and five former council members who have been convicted of multiple counts of misappropriation of public funds and conflict of interest.

(more…)

MAN FACES TRIAL FOR BLUDGEONING AND MURDERING VICTIM IN LAGUNA BEACH APARTMENT

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

SANTA ANA – A man faces trial tomorrow for the bludgeoning-murder of a Laguna Beach resident inside his apartment. Matthew Thomas Dragna, 23, Lake Forest, charged with one felony count of special circumstances murder during the commission of a robbery and faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted. Opening statements are expected to begin tomorrow, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, in Department C-35, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.

Co-defendant Jacob Anthony Quintanilla, 25, Lake Forest, faces the same charges and maximum sentence as Dragna. He faces a pre-trial hearing Jan. 10, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-35.

On Oct. 23, 2009, Dragna and Quintanilla are accused of going to the Laguna Beach home of 40-year-old Damon Nicholson. The defendants are accused of murdering the victim by bludgeoning him repeatedly in the torso and head with a baseball bat. They are accused of leaving the victim’s body on his couch and fleeing the scene after stealing personal items from Nicholson including a laptop computer and cell phone.

The victim was discovered Oct. 24, 2009, when a concerned co-worker went to check on him after Nicholson failed to show up for work or return any phone calls.

(more…)

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

Powered by WordPress