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February 6, 2014

Founders of Bankrupt Real Estate Investment Firm Indicted in Wide-Ranging Scheme that Led to Over $110 Million in Losses

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

SANTA ANA, California – The owners of a now-defunct Southern California real estate investment firm were arrested today for allegedly perpetrating a Ponzi scheme that ended with the bankruptcy of their company and caused private investors and banks collectively to lose well over $110 million when the scheme collapsed.

Michael Stewart, 66, of Phoenix, and John Packard, 63, of Long Beach, California, were arrested this morning without incident by special agents with the FBI. The two men were named last month in a 16-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury. The two men each face 11 counts of mail fraud, three counts of bank fraud, and two counts of bankruptcy fraud.

Stewart and Packard owned and were the chief executives of Pacific Property Assets (PPA), which had offices in Long Beach and Irvine. The two men 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. 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, to pay other business expenses, 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. Stewart and Packard paid themselves annual salaries of $400,000 to $750,000, and each received millions of dollars in additional payments.                                                          (more…)

W.R. Grace Pays Over $63 Million Toward Cleanup and Restoration of Hazardous Waste Sites in Communities Across the Country

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

W.R. Grace & Co, based in Columbia, Md., paid over $63 million to the U.S. government under its bankruptcy plan of reorganization to resolve claims for environmental cleanups at approximately 39 sites in 21 states, the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today.

“Communities across the United States will benefit from this payment of present and future cleanup costs,” said Robert G. Dreher, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division.  “The Justice Department is committed to holding polluters responsible for their environmental legacy, and won’t just walk away leaving taxpayers to pick up the tab.”

“Cleaning up toxic pollution in communities is the responsibility of the company that created it, not the American taxpayer,” said Cynthia Giles, Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.  “This money will be used to clean up contaminated sites and to make a tangible difference for local communities across the country.”

W.R. Grace’s payment includes approximately $54 million for the EPA.  The company agreed to pay another $9 million to other federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Interior and the U.S. Army.                                                                       (more…)

February 5, 2014

Woodland Hills Woman Ordered to Stand Trial for Mother’s Murder

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:35 am

A 25-year-old woman was ordered to stand trial today for the fatal shooting of her mother in Woodland Hills, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Laura L. Purviance was held to answer to one count of murder with a special circumstance allegation of lying in wait following a preliminary hearing presided by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Kellogg.

Purviance will be arraigned on Feb. 18 in Department E of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Van Nuys Branch.

The defendant allegedly shot and killed her 61-year-old mother, Caroline Purviance, on Feb. 13, 2013.

The felony complaint, case LA073342, also alleges that Purviance personally and intentionally discharged a handgun.

The special circumstance allegation makes this a potential death penalty case. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty.

The case was investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department.

Los Angeles County District Attorney / case LA073342 / February 04, 2014

Drug counselor convicted of murder, DUI in death of pedestrian

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:33 am

A substance abuse counselor was convicted today of second-degree murder for the 2012 death of a pedestrian who was embedded in her windshield as she continued to drive for two miles, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.


A jury of five men and seven women also found Sherri Lynn Wilkins, 52, guilty of DUI causing injury, driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent or higher and leaving the scene of an accident. Phillip Moreno, 31, was walking on Torrance Boulevard near Madrid Avenue when he was struck by a car driven by Wilkins. Wilkins finally was forced to stop after witnesses surrounded her car at Crenshaw Boulevard and 182nd Street and detained her until police arrived. She was arrested following the Nov. 24, 2012 accident.


Deputy District Attorneys John Harlan and Saman Ahmadpour, who prosecuted the case, said Wilkins consciously disregarded her victim as a human being.


“As she unsealed each container of alcohol, she unleashed death on Phillip Moreno,” Harlan argued in closing argument.                                       (more…)

February 4, 2014


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

SANTA ANA – An attorney was convicted today of stealing over $780,00 from nine victims, including over $720,000 from his client trust account from two elderly sisters after offering to assist them with their finances. Peter David Nitschke, 47, Newport Beach, pleaded guilty to a court offer to six felony counts of grand theft, two felony counts of elder financial abuse, and one felony count of issuing a check with non-sufficient funds, with white collar crime sentencing enhancements. He is expected to be sentenced to up to 12 years in state prison at his sentencing April 4, 2014, in Department C-37, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

In March 2010, the 95-year-old mother of 69-year-old Virginia C. and mother-in-law of 65-year-old Diane C. died, leaving the women a property in Northern California and over $675,000 in bank accounts.

Nitschke, a then-Irvine-based attorney, was friends with the victims’ family and was president of their church congregation, the Lutheran Church of the Cross in Laguna Woods. The defendant offered to help Diane C. and Virginia C. settle the financial accounts and directed them to give him cashier’s checks in the amount of all the funds left to them in the bank accounts by their mother/mother-in-law.

He stole over $675,000 from the victims by depositing the money in his client trust and then almost immediately transferring the money his personal and business bank accounts. The defendant also stole an additional $46,000 from the victims by failing to return the funds to them from a real estate transaction. Nitschke then spent the money or hid it by moving it into other accounts.                                                   (more…)


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

SANTA ANA – A drunken driver is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow for murder after driving into oncoming traffic and crashing head-on into a minivan driven by a mother of three children. William Joseph Carroll, 47, Mission Viejo, is charged with one felony count of murder. He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years to life if convicted. The People will request he be held on $1 million bail at his arraignment tomorrow, Feb. 4, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

At approximately 11:30 p.m. on May 7, 2013, Carroll is accused of driving a pickup truck while under the influence of alcohol in Mission Viejo. He is accused of making a left turn from El Toro Road onto Rancho Santa Margarita Parkway and driving southbound in the northbound lanes. Carroll is accused of driving approximately one-third of a mile into oncoming traffic before slamming head-on into a minivan being driven by 36-year-old Ana Martinez.

The victim was alone in the car and died as a result of the impact of the collision. The victim is survived by her husband and three children, ages 2, 7, and 15.

Carroll displayed objective signs of intoxication and had a blood alcohol content of .21 percent approximately one hour after the collision.                                                 (more…)


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

WESTMINSTER – A man was sentenced Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, to 16 years to life in state prison for the stabbing-murder of a party-goer following an argument. Khanh Van Le, 43, Westminster, was found guilty by a jury, Oct. 21, 2013, of one felony count of second degree murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a knife.

Co-defendant Thao Thi Nguyen, 44, Anaheim, pleaded guilty, Nov. 22, 2013, to one felony count of accessory after the fact for lying to police about Le’s actions. Thao Nguyen was sentenced to 45 days in jail and three years of formal probation after the Court reduced the felony charge to a misdemeanor over the objection of the People.

On Dec. 13, 2009, Le attended a party for new fishing crews at the Saigon Towing Yard in Garden Grove. Le’s girlfriend Thao Nguyen drove Le to the party. At the party, Le encountered Thao Nguyen’s ex-husband, John Doe, and his girlfriend, Jane Doe. Le got into a verbal dispute with John and Jane Doe over comments made about Thao Nguyen. The Garden Grove Police Department (GGPD), who investigated this case, arrived at the scene after receiving a call from a party attendee about the dispute, but Le left before they arrived.

A short time later, Le returned with Thao Nguyen and her two daughters to the party. Le began arguing with John Doe again. Anh Nguyen, 37, another perspective fisherman and guest at the party, intervened and told Le to leave. A physical altercation between Le and Anh Nguyen broke out. Le called GGPD and reported being attacked but refused to identify who attacked him.                               (more…)

February 3, 2014


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:00 pm

SANTA ANA – A man was sentenced today to 25 years to life in state prison for the robbery and murder of a Santa Ana man by gaining entry into his home with his co-defendant sister, who was pretending to sell fruit. Alejandro Romero, 34, Santa Ana, pleaded guilty Dec. 12, 2013, to one felony count of murder.

Co-defendant Gladys Romero, 36, Santa Ana, was found guilty by a jury May 2, 2013, of one felony count of special circumstances murder during the commission of robbery and burglary with an additional sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury and death. She was sentenced Jan. 24, 2014, to 25 years to life in state prison.

On June 5, 2000, Gladys Romero posed as a door-to-door fruit saleswoman and gained entry into Juan Gomez’s home by asking for a glass of water. Once inside, Gladys Romero opened the door to allow her brother, Alejandro Romero, to enter the victim’s home. Both defendants were armed with firearms.

The defendants tied up Gomez and his family in the living room of the home, but Gomez struggled and was able to break free from his ties. Alejandro Romero struggled with Gomez and shot the victim. Gladys Romero then shot Gomez when he was on his knees.                                                       (more…)


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:57 pm

SANTA ANA – A man was sentenced today to life in state prison without the possibility of parole for the special circumstances stabbing-murder of a 67-year-old man following a robbery on the 4th of July. Felipe Jesus Delgado, 23, Anaheim, was convicted by a jury Dec. 12, 2013, of one felony count of special circumstances murder for murder during the commission of a robbery and one felony count of robbery.

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…)

January 31, 2014


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:59 am

SANTA ANA – A doctor and an attorney, the final two defendants in a 19 co-defendant case, have been convicted for their role in the largest medical fraud prosecution in the nation for recruiting thousands of healthy patients to undergo unnecessary and dangerous surgeries to fraudulently bill medical insurance companies.

Attorney Roy Chester Dickson, 65, Yorba Linda, pleaded guilty today, Jan. 30, 2014, to one felony count of money laundering and one felony count of grand theft with white collar crime sentencing enhancements. In the same case, Dickson was found guilty by a jury Nov. 26, 2012, of two felony counts of filing a false personal tax return and was sentenced Dec. 20, 2012, to two years and eight months in state prison and $41,629 restitution on the tax conviction. He is scheduled to be sentenced for today’s convictions Aug. 8, 2014, in Department C-45, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana, and faces a maximum sentence of 14 years in state prison.

Doctor Mario Rosenberg, 66, pleaded nolo contendere Jan. 24, 2014, to two felony counts of insurance fraud and white collar crime sentencing enhancements. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison at his sentencing March 28, 2014, in Department C-45.

Case Overview

The defendants in the Unity case participated in a $154 million medical insurance fraud scheme that recruited 2,841 healthy people from all over the country to receive unnecessary surgeries in exchange for money or low cost cosmetic surgery. Insurance companies paid out more than $20 million over a 9-month period.                                                        (more…)

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