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September 23, 2014

Former Owner of Long Beach Medical Equipment Supply Company Sentenced to 2½ Years in Prison in $2.6 Million Medicare Scam

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:41 am

LOS ANGELES – The former owner of a Long Beach medical supply company was sentenced today to 30 federal months in prison and ordered to pay nearly $1.5 million in restitution for his role in a scheme to provide unnecessary power wheelchairs to Medicare patients.

Akinola Afolabi, 55, of Long Beach, received the sentenced from United States District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez.

Afolabi was the owner and president of Emmanuel Medical Supply, which sold durable medical equipment. Afolabi provided medically unnecessary power wheelchairs and other medical equipment to Medicare beneficiaries, and submitted fraudulent claims to Medicare for this equipment. Afolabi admitted that he paid “marketers” to obtain Medicare beneficiary information that he used on the false claims. Afolabi admitted that prescriptions for the equipment and related medical documents were fraudulent, and that some of the beneficiaries did not even receive the wheelchairs or other medical supplies that were the subject of bills submitted to Medicare.

From June 2006 through September 2009, Afolabi submitted approximately $2,668,384 in fraudulent claims to Medicare for power wheelchairs and related services, and Medicare paid approximately $1,490,532 on those claims.

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O.C. Resident Sentenced to Federal Prison for Selling Stolen Hospital Supplies over Internet in Scheme that Brought Him $1.8 Million

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:38 am

SANTA ANA, California – An Irvine man has been sentenced to serve 15 months in federal prison for selling stolen hospital supplies over the Internet, including on eBay and Alibaba.com.

Bahram Khandan, 50, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Cormac J. Carney, who also ordered the defendant to spend nine months on home detention following the completion of the prison term.

Additionally, Judge Carney scheduled a hearing for November 10 to determine how much Khandan shall pay in restitution to victim hospitals.

Khandan pleaded guilty on February 20 to misbranding of a drug with intent to defraud and interstate transportation of stolen property.

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September 22, 2014

Leader of Medicare Fraud Scheme that Submitted Over $7 Million in Bogus Bills for Unnecessary Equipment Convicted in Federal Court

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

LOS ANGELES – A Hawthorne woman who was responsible for more than $7 million in fraudulent Medicare billing for durable medical equipment – mostly power wheelchairs – was found guilty today of 16 federal charges stemming from the health care fraud scheme.

Adeline Ekwebelem, 51, was found guilty following a seven-day trial before United States District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald.

Ekwebelem was convicted of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, 12 counts of health care fraud and three counts of paying illegal kickbacks for health care referrals. As a result of the 16 guilty verdicts, Ekwebelem will face a statutory maximum sentence of 145 years when she is sentenced by Judge Fitzgerald on December 15.

Ekwebelem becomes the fifth person convicted in relation to the scheme run out of her Gardena-based durable medical equipment (DME) supply company, Adelco Medical Distributors, Inc.

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FORMER EXECUTIVE SENTENCED TO SEVEN YEARS IN PRISON AND RESTITUTION FOR FAILING TO PAY TAXES ON OVER $180 MILLION IN UNREPORTED INCOME FROM POWER PLANT REFURBISHING BUSINESS

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

SANTA ANA - A former executive was sentenced today to seven years in state prison for failing to pay taxes on over $180 million in unreported income from their power plant refurbishing business. Richard Engel, 70, pleaded guilty Dec. 16, 2011, to three felony counts of filing false personal tax returns and five felony counts failing to file tax returns for himself and his company. The defendant also admitted to sentencing enhancements for fraud in excess of $500,000 causing a loss in excess of $1 million.  Engel will also be required to pay restitution in an amount to be determined by the Court.

Richard Engel’s ex-wife Jolene Engel, 63, pleaded guilty Dec. 16, 2011, to one felony count of failure to file tax returns for her corporation and one felony count of failing to provide material information in a tax return.  She was sentenced today to three years of informal probation and will also be subject to restitution in an amount to be determined.

At the time of their convictions in December 2011, both defendants were ordered to pay the California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) approximately $1.2 million prior to sentencing.  Since the time of the restitution order, Jolene Engel has repaid approximately $1 million. Richard Engel has only repaid approximately $350,000

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MAN CONVICTED OF PIMPING AND PANDERING WOMAN BY DRIVING HER TO ORANGE COUNTY TO PERFORM COMMERCIAL SEX ACTS

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

WESTMINSTER - A man was convicted yesterday of pimping and pandering a woman from Riverside County by driving her to Orange County for the purpose of performing commercial sex acts for his benefit. Damaris Markyse Thompson, 24, Hemet, was found guilty by a jury Sept. 18, 2014, of one felony count each of pimping and pandering. He faces a maximum sentence of six years in state prison at his sentencing Oct. 2, 2014, at 1:30 p.m. in Department W-9, West Justice Center, Westminster.

Circumstances of the Case
Thompson is a pimp who exploits women for financial gain. Pimps often establish rigid rules that their victims are expected to follow including requiring them to address the pimp as “Daddy.” The victim in this case was required to turn over all payment she received for sex acts from sex purchasers to her pimp.

In 2011, Thompson was driving in Hemet and engaged in conversation with 22-year-old Jane Doe as she was walking on a street. He convinced the victim to go to Orange County with him. Later that evening, the defendant told Jane Doe that he owns her and provided revealing clothing for the victim to wear and a cell phone to communicate with when arranging meetings with sex purchasers.

Thompson pimped the victim by having her perform commercial sex acts with sex purchasers and collecting the money she made.

On a later date, Jane Doe attempted to leave the defendant. Thompson threatened Jane Doe by placing his hand around her neck and telling her he owns her.

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September 19, 2014

Four Defendants in Custody for Allegedly Making Credit Cards with ‘Skimmed’ Information in Schemes that Cost Banks at least $2 Million

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:33 am

LOS ANGELES – Four men were taken into custody this morning on federal charges related to alleged schemes involving the use of “skimming devices” to steal credit card data and using that data to manufacture and sell fraudulent credit cards.

The four were arrested pursuant to federal indictments returned late last month by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles. The two schemes involve stolen information from more than 10,000 accounts and more than $2 million in losses. Two federal indictments charge a total of five defendants.

Among those arrested this morning are three named in a 13-count indictment:

Armen Bislamian, 32, of Van Nuys;

Khachatur Bislamyan, 31, of Pasadena; and

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MAN CONVICTED OF SHOOTING-MURDER OF RIVAL 17-YEAR-OLD

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:30 am

SANTA ANA – A man was convicted today of shooting and murdering a 17-year-old rival. Reda Hassan Safieddine, 20, Fountain Valley, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of second degree murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death and one misdemeanor count of brandishing a firearm. He faces a maximum sentence of 40 years to life in state prison at his sentencing Nov. 7, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

At the time of the crime, Safieddine, then 18 years old, and the victim had an ongoing rivalry. A few hours before the shooting on Aug. 13, 2012, the defendant encountered the victim and argued with him in a residential neighborhood in Santa Ana. After the verbal confrontation, the two went separate ways.

At approximately 1:20 p.m. the defendant drove and parked his car in a convenience store parking lot in Fountain Valley. The defendant then grabbed a shotgun from the backseat of his car upon seeing the victim drive into the parking lot.

Safieddine stood outside his car as the unarmed victim walked toward the defendant’s vehicle. Safieddine murdered the victim by firing one round from his shotgun and hitting the victim’s neck. The victim died at the scene.

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Foster Care Executives Charged With Embezzlement

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:27 am

A couple who contracted with Los Angeles County to operate a series of foster homes has been arrested and charged with embezzling more than $460,000 since 2008, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today.

CSJ Kidogo, executive director of Little People’s World, Inc., and his wife, Hitaji Kidogo, LPW’s assistant executive director, were arrested today at their home in Banning by the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation. A felony warrant filed Tuesday charges them with 22 counts of misappropriation of public funds and embezzlement.

“I am pleased to announce that Little People’s World Group Homes will be closing soon because of these arrests today,” District Attorney Jackie Lacey said. “Money intended to care for children in fosterhomes instead lined the pockets of the executives who ran the programs. We take these crimes very seriously.”

Deputy District Attorney Kennes Ma with the Public Integrity Division is prosecuting the case.

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September 18, 2014

MAN CONVICTED OF SHOOTING-MURDER OF VICTIM PREPARING COFFEE IN BAKERY

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 2:34 am

SANTA ANA – A man was convicted today of the shooting-murder of a victim in a Santa Ana bakery while the victim was preparing a cup of coffee. Israel Pena Lopez, 38, Santa Ana, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of murder, possession of a firearm by a felon, and a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death. He faces a maximum sentence of 75 years to life in state prison at his sentencing Oct. 10, 2014, in Department C-30, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Co-defendant Frankie Esteban Giraldo, 32, Santa Ana, was charged with murder but was found not guilty in this case.

At approximately 7:40 p.m. on Oct. 13, 2010, Lopez and Giraldo drove in separate vehicles to Panaderia La Chapina bakery on Edinger Avenue in Santa Ana. Lopez parked in a marked stall in front of the bakery and Giraldo drove through the parking lot before parking on a side street. The defendants got out of their vehicles and met outside the bakery.

Lopez walked around to the front of the business while Giraldo waited at the west entrance. Both defendants entered the bakery simultaneously. Lopez shot 32-year-old Alejandro Sanchez several times in the back, murdering him. Sanchez had his back turned while preparing his coffee at a counter at the time of the murder.

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MAN LINKED THROUGH DNA SENTENCED TO 40 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR FORCIBLY RAPING TWO WOMEN IN 2004 COLD-CASE

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 2:31 am

SANTA ANA – A man was sentenced today to 40 years to life in state prison for forcibly raping two women after being linked to the cold-case sexual assaults through DNA. Kevin Lawrence Saint John, 45, Hemet, was found guilty by a jury Aug. 20, 2014, of two felony counts of forcible rape with sentencing enhancement allegations for committing a sexual assault against multiple victims and committing a sexual assault during the commission of a kidnapping.

At approximately 3:00 a.m. on Aug. 10, 2004, Saint John entered a 7-Eleven convenience store in Westminster wearing a baseball cap pulled down over his face. He approached 21-year-old Jane Doe #1 in the back area of the store, where she was working. The defendant forced the victim into the freezer area away from the view of any customers and forcibly raped her. He then carried empty boxes out and covered his face from surveillance cameras as he left the store.

Between the late evening hours on Sept. 7, 2004, and early morning hours on Sept. 8, 2004, Saint John approached 21-year-old Jane Doe #2, who was using a payphone in a Walmart parking lot in Cathedral City to find a ride home. Saint John offered Jane Doe #2 a ride, to which she agreed. During the ride, Saint John drove to a deserted construction area in the City of Highland, where he pulled over his vehicle and forcibly raped Jane Doe #2.

In 2012, Saint John was convicted of receiving stolen property in Riverside County and his DNA was entered into the state DNA database and subsequently matched to the DNA collected from the crime scenes in 2004.

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