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February 25, 2014

Co-workers testify about man accused of workplace execution

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:12 am

RANCHO CUCAMONGA  - Juan Arias, who is on trial for killing a co-worker in 2011, was always singing at work.

Sometimes the songs he sang were inappropriate, co-workers said.

Once Arias was heard singing, “My enemies better watch out.”

Nearly 10 days later, Robert Davalos was shot to death in his office at Arlon Incorporated in Rancho Cucamonga.

Arias, 55, is suspected of killing Davalos, 36, of San Bernardino, after being fired from the manufacturing company he worked for about 33 years.

On Dec. 1, 2011 Arias was escorted off the property. But he returned to the company less than an hour later, entered the building, and shot Davalos in his office, prosecutors said.

(more…)

February 24, 2014

California State Senator Ronald Calderon Charged with Taking Bribes in Exchange for Official Acts on Behalf of Hospital Owner and Independent Film Studio that Was Actually an FBI Front

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:45 am

LOS ANGELES – Ronald Calderon, a member of the California State Senate, has agreed to surrendered to federal authorities on Monday after being named in a federal grand jury indictment that accuses him of taking tens of thousands of dollars in bribes from a businessman and from people who were associated with a Hollywood film studio, but who were in actuality undercover FBI agents.

Ronald S. Calderon, 56, of Montebello, is charged in a 24-count indictment that was returned late yesterday by a federal grand jury with mail fraud, wire fraud, honest services fraud, bribery, conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering and aiding in the filing of false tax returns.

The indictment also charges Thomas M. Calderon, 59, also of Montebello, who is Ronald’s brother and a former member of the California State Assembly. Along with his brother, Thomas Calderon is charged in the money laundering conspiracy and with seven substantive counts of money laundering.

Tom Calderon self-surrendered this morning after being informed of the indictment and is expected to be arraigned this afternoon in United States District Court.

Ron Calderon is travelling and has agreed to surrender Monday morning. Ron Calderon’s arraignment will be Monday afternoon.                                     (more…)

Former Owner of Long Beach Hospital Charged in Health Care Fraud Scheme that Paid Tens of Millions of Dollars in Kickbacks for Referrals for Spinal Surgeries Billed to Workers’ Comp Programs

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:40 am

Santa Ana, California – The former owner of Pacific Hospital in Long Beach was charged today in a long-running health care fraud scheme that involved tens of millions of dollars in illegal kickbacks in exchange for referrals of thousands of patients who received spinal surgeries. The referrals to the hospital led to more than $500 million in bills being fraudulently submitted during last five years of the scheme, much of which was paid by the California worker’s compensation system.

Michael D. Drobot, 69, of Corona Del Mar, was charged this morning in a criminal information with orchestrating a wide-ranging conspiracy and with paying illegal kickbacks.

In a plea agreement also filed this morning, Drobot agreed to plead guilty to the two counts which could send him to federal prison for as long as 10 years.

From 1997 to 2013, Drobot, who owned Pacific Hospital until late last year, ran a scheme in which he billed workers’ compensation insurers hundreds of millions of dollars for spinal surgeries performed on patients who had been referred by dozens of doctors, chiropractors and others who were paid illegal kickbacks. For referrals for spinal surgeries, Drobot typically paid a kickback of $15,000 per lumbar fusion surgery and $10,000 per cervical fusion surgery. Some of the patients lived as much as hundreds of miles away from Pacific Hospital, and closer to other qualified medical facilities. The patients were not informed that the medical professionals had been offered kickbacks to induce them to refer the surgeries to Pacific Hospital.                                                  (more…)

February 21, 2014

DEFENDANT FACES TRIAL FOR MURDERING MAN AFTER FIGHT OVER SEX

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 9:37 pm

SANTA ANA - A defendant faces trial tomorrow for murdering a man after a fight over the victim’s attempted initiation of a sexual relationship. Edgar Salvador Lucio, 24, Buena Park, is charged with one felony count of murder and faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison if convicted. Opening statements are expected to begin Monday, Feb. 24, 2014, in Department C-41, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.                                                     

The Buena Park Police Department investigated this case. Senior Deputy District Attorney Steve McGreevy of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.

Prior to Dec. 14, 2011, Lucio is accused of being friendly with 47-year-old Ricardo Rios for approximately three months. On Dec. 14, 2011, the defendant is accused of being with the victim in a detached garage, where Rios lived.

At approximately 3:30 a.m., Lucio is accused of getting thrown out of Rios garage after he refused the victim’s attempt to initiate a sexual act. Lucio then exchanged angry words with Rios as he was on the driveway by his 2000 Cadillac sedan.  The victim then threw a small metal weight that struck Lucio’s car. The defendant is accused of chasing Rios back to his converted garage and attacking Rios by punching him repeatedly, breaking the victim’s jaw, nose, orbital bone, and several ribs.                                                      (more…)

TRUCK DRIVER TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR KILLING BICYCLIST IN HIT-AND-RUN CRASH AFTER DRAGGING VICTIM THROUGH THE STREET

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 9:34 pm

FULLERTON - A truck driver is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow for killing a bicyclist in a hit-and-run crash after dragging the victim through the street. Filemon Reynaga, 48, is charged with one felony count of hit and run causing death and one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of five years in state prison. He is out of custody on $50,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 21, 2014, at 8:30 a.m. in Department N-3, North Justice Center, Fullerton.

At approximately 5:35 a.m. on Oct. 30, 2013, Reynaga is accused of driving a semi-trailer truck with attached trailers out of a driveway on Missile Way onto Orangethorpe Avenue in Anaheim. He is accused hitting 19-year-old bicyclist Morales Rodriguez and dragging him, along with his bicycle, onto Orangethorpe Avenue and driving away from the scene without rendering aid to the victim, or contacting police.

Morales was subsequently struck by a second vehicle, but the driver in that crash stopped at the scene and cooperated with the Anaheim Police Department (APD), who investigated this case. Rodriguez died as a result of multiple blunt traumatic injuries in the two collisions.

APD arrested Reynaga on Jan. 8, 2014, after further investigation.

Deputy District Attorney Anna McIntire of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.

Orange County District Attorneys Office / Case # 14NF0063 / February 20, 2014

February 20, 2014

Three Found Guilty for Roles in $20 Million Health Care Fraud Scheme Involving Bogus Prescriptions for Expensive Anti-Psychotic Drugs

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:03 am

LOS ANGELES – Three people linked to a Glendale medical clinic – including a doctor who took money to let his name be used thousands times on bogus prescriptions – were found guilty today of federal fraud charges related to a $20 million scheme to defraud Medicare and Medi-Cal by, among other things, fraudulently prescribing expensive anti-psychotic medications and then re-billing the government for those drugs over and over.

Today’s convictions stem from the first case in the nation alleging an organized scheme to defraud government health care programs through fraudulent claims for anti-psychotic medications. The evidence presented at trial showed how the operators of Manor Medical Imaging in Glendale operated a clinic authorized to make claims to Medicare and Medi-Cal, employed an unlicensed medical practitioner to write bogus prescriptions using an American doctor’s name and license number, and had close relationships with pharmacies and a fraudulent drug wholesale company that were used to funnel prescription drugs back to the pharmacies participating in the scheme.

In the largest case of its kind in Southern California brought against defendants who bilked Medicare Part D, prosecutors showed a federal jury how employees of Manor Medical generated thousands of prescriptions for identify theft victims – such as elderly Vietnamese beneficiaries of Medicare or Medi-Cal, military veterans who were recruited from drug rehab programs, and denizens of Skid Row. Members of the conspiracy created or doctored patient files to make it falsely appear the drugs were necessary and the patients were legitimately treated. After the prescriptions were filled at pharmacies and paid for by Medicare and Medi-Cal, they were sold on the black market and redistributed to pharmacies, where the drugs would be subject to new claims made to Medicare and Medi-Cal as though they were new bottles of drugs.

The scheme generated fraudulent billings of more than $20 million dollars, of which Medi-Cal and Medicare actually paid more than $8 million.

The three defendants convicted today are:                                                              (more…)

SELF-APPOINTED PASTOR/BIBLE STUDY LEADER SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR SEXUALLY ASSAULTING TWO YOUNG MALE RELATIVES

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:57 am

WESTMINSTER – A self-appointed pastor who hosted regular “church” meetings and Bible studies in his Westminster home was sentenced today to 15 years to life in state prison for sexually assaulting two young male relatives beginning when the victims were 12 years old. James Ray Guerrero, 54, Westminster, was found guilty by a jury Nov. 27, 2013, of eight felony counts of lewd acts upon a child under 14, one felony count of distributing pornography to a minor, and sentencing enhancement allegations for substantial sexual conduct with a child and lewd acts on more than one child.

The People objected to the sentence of 15 years to life in state prison by the Honorable Michael Beecher, arguing for a sentence of 120 years to life in state prison. The maximum possible sentence based on the conviction is 123 years to life in state prison.

John Doe #1 and John Doe #2 regularly attended Guerrero’s Bible study meetings in his Westminster home. Guerrero groomed the victims by frequently having the victims in his home and showing them pornographic movies.

Between January 2006 and December 2007, Guerrero sexually assaulted John Doe #1 on two occasions when the victim was 12 to 13 years old. The defendant invited John Doe #1 to his home and masturbated the victim.                                    (more…)

MAN CONVICTED OF MURDERING GRANDMOTHER AND SETTING HOUSE ON FIRE WITH TWO YOUNG CHILDREN INSIDE FOUND SANE BY JURY

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:53 am

SANTA ANA – A jury determined today that a man was legally sane when he murdered his grandmother and set her house on fire while his 8-year-old brother and 3-year-old niece were inside the home. Joseph Elija Ettima, 30, was found guilty by the same jury Feb. 4, 2014, of one felony count of second degree murder, one felony count of arson of an inhabited dwelling, two felony counts of child abuse, and a sentencing enhancement for arson with an accelerant. Ettima faces a maximum sentence of 27 years and eight months to life in state prison at his sentencing March 7, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-41, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

As Ettima entered pleas of “not guilty” and “not guilty by reason of insanity,” the trial was held in two phases. The first phase was the guilt phase, during which jurors heard evidence about the crime and the prosecution proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is guilty of the crime. In the second phase, the sanity phase, the same jury considered evidence to determine if the defendant was legally sane at the time of the crime, Ettima was found to be sane. When a defendant pleads “not guilty by reason of insanity,” the burden is on the defense to prove that the defendant was more likely than not legally insane when he committed the crime. To be considered legally insane, the defense must prove that the defendant had a mental disease or defect when he committed the crime, and also that this defect kept the defendant from understanding the nature of his act or from understanding that his act was morally or legally wrong.

On Jan. 19, 2009, Ettima visited the Los Alamitos home of his 69-year-old grandmother, Emma Louise Hardwick–Street, to see if he could move in with her. Hardwick-Street was already raising two young children in her home including the defendant’s 8-year-old brother and 3-year-old niece. When the victim refused to let Ettima move in, the defendant argued with his grandmother and stabbed her to death. The two children were present in the home at the time that Ettima murdered Hardwick-Street.

Ettima doused clothes and other flammable items in the house with rubbing alcohol and set the home on fire. He then fled the scene, leaving the two children. The 8-year-old boy was able to escape from the fire to the front of the house and rescued the 3-year-old girl by taking her with him.                                                (more…)

February 19, 2014

Woman Charged with Vehicular Manslaughter In Death of Friends

Filed under: Uncategorized — fayarfa @ 12:11 am

A 23-year-old woman has been charged with vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence after her car struck a tree, killing two passengers and injuring two others, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Jeanette Romero (dob 12/1/90) was arrested earlier this week and charged today in an amended complaint BA421146 with two counts each of vehicular manslaughter and two counts each of driving under the influence causing injury.

She is expected to be arraigned this afternoon in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center. Prosecutors will ask that bail be set at $330,000.

Romero had been at a downtown Los Angeles club with four of her girlfriends on Nov. 3, 2013, celebrating 22-year-old Ana Cuadra’s birthday. Romero was driving northbound on the 110 Freeway when she hit a curb at a turnout, struck a chain link fence and a tree, prosecutors said.                                                       (more…)

Man Charged with Fatal Motel Stabbing

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:08 am

A Los Angeles man has been charged today with the stabbing of a man found dead in a motel room in January, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Oscar Richmond Bridges, 54 (dob 6/29/59), is charged with one count of murder with a special allegation that he used a knife.

The felony complaint also alleges Bridges was previously convicted for lewd act upon a child, a serious felony.

Bridges is scheduled to be arraigned in case YA089581 today in Department 5 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Inglewood Branch.                                            (more…)

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