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November 26, 2012

ATTORNEY, ACCOUNTANT, AND TWO ADMINISTRATORS CONVICTED OF REVENUE AND TAX CHARGES IN $154 MILLION MEDICAL INSURANCE FRAUD SCHEME

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 8:31 pm

* Additional felony fraud counts for the defendants will be tried at a later date

SANTA ANA - An attorney, accountant, and two administrators were convicted today of revenue and tax fraud for their roles in the largest medical fraud prosecution in the nation for recruiting over 255 healthy patients to undergo unnecessary and dangerous surgeries to fraudulently bill medical insurance companies. This trial involved the failure to file tax returns and under-reporting income to state tax authorities. The court bifurcated the case due to its size and volume and additional fraud charges remain pending and another trial date will be set for those counts. The defendants are scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 20, 2012, in Department C-41, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Roy Chester Dickson, 64, Yorba Linda, Unity’s attorney, was found guilty by a jury of two felony counts of filing a false personal tax return and faces a maximum sentence of three years and eight months in state prison for these counts. Dickson faces 101 additional felony counts which include two counts of conspiracy, eight counts of capping or paying for referrals, 30 counts of grand theft, 30 counts of insurance fraud, 30 counts of making false and fraudulent claims, one count of money laundering, and white collar sentencing enhancements for taking over $2.5 million on the fraud counts. These counts will be tried at a later date.

Andrew Robert Harnen, 58, Rosemead, Unity’s accountant, was found guilty by a jury of three felony counts of filing a false tax return and six counts of failing to file tax returns. He faces a maximum sentence of eight years and four months in state prison for these counts. Harnen faces 101 additional felony counts which include two counts of conspiracy, eight counts of capping or paying for referrals, 30 counts of grand theft, 30 counts of insurance fraud, 30 counts of making false and fraudulent claims, one count of filing a false tax return, and white collar sentencing enhancements for taking over $2.5 million on the fraud counts. These counts will be tried at a later date.

Dee Francis, 63, a Unity administrator, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of filing a false tax return and six counts of failing to file tax returns. She faces a maximum sentence of seven years in state prison for these counts. Francis faces 102 additional felony counts which include two counts of conspiracy, eight counts of capping or paying for referrals, 30 counts of grand theft, 30 counts of insurance fraud, 30 counts of making false and fraudulent claims, one count of filing a false tax return, two counts of failing to file tax returns, and white collar sentencing enhancements for taking over $2.5 million on the fraud counts. These counts will be tried at a later date.

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November 22, 2012

Attorney Who Consulted on Emergency Department Project at Pasadena Hospital Pleads Guilty in Kickback Scheme

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 9:22 pm

LOS ANGELES – An attorney and former construction manager for Huntington Memorial Hospital pleaded guilty this afternoon to federal mail fraud charges, admitting that he participated in an illegal kickback scheme.

John Haw, 52, of Aliso Viejo, pleaded guilty to two counts of mail fraud before United States District Judge Percy Anderson.

Haw performed legal and consulting services for Huntington Memorial Hospital while the institution was in the process of completing a large-scale construction project involving the renovation and expansion of its Emergency Department. Under contracts with the hospital, Haw was paid as much as $275 an hour, and from March 2008 through April 2009, Huntington paid Haw nearly $350,000. During this same period, Haw had an agreement with David Hamedany, Huntington’s director of construction, under which Haw paid kickbacks in exchange for promises that Haw would continue to receive work and that Hamedany would try to get more billable hours for Haw. As part of the agreement, Haw paid an entity controlled by Hamedany – Cyrus Engineering – more than $56,000 in kickbacks, according to Haw’s plea agreement.

Haw is the fourth person to be convicted in connection with kickbacks and related schemes that victimized Huntington Memorial Hospital. Judge Anderson sentenced David Hamedany in January to three years in federal prison and ordered him to pay $4.8 million in restitution. Last month, Alexander Svidler, a San Francisco-based construction executive who pleaded guilty to mail fraud was sentenced to 18 months in prison (see: http://www.justice.gov/usao/cac/Pressroom/2012/152.html). Tony Hamedany, the brother of David Hamedany, is scheduled to be sentenced on January 14, 2013, in connection with a kickback scheme involving Columbus Manufacturing, Inc., a San Francisco-based company where Tony Hamedany served as director of engineering.

Haw is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Anderson on February 4, 2013.  As a result of today’s guilty pleas, Haw faces a maximum statutory sentence of 40 years in federal prison, although the plea agreement contemplates a sentence of

November 20, 2012

Australian Jockey Sentenced to Four Years in Prison for Laundering Proceeds of Multi-Million Dollar Real Estate and Loan Fraud

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 9:55 pm

RIVERSIDE, California – An Australian man who once worked as a jockey has been sentenced to four years in federal prison for concealing the proceeds of a loan fraud scheme that caused victims to lose more than $5 million in less than eight months.

Christopher J. Woods, 53, of Sydney, was sentenced yesterday by United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips. In addition to the prison term, Judge Phillips ordered Woods to pay $3,510,000 in restitution to victims of the scheme and to pay a $10,000 fine.

Woods pleaded guilty in November 2011 to conspiracy to commit money laundering and two counts of money laundering, admitting that he conspired with others to transfer stolen money in ways that would prevent victims of a fraud from finding it, including funneling the money through multiple bank accounts in Hong Kong before it was returned to Woods’ personal bank account in Los Angeles.

The underlying loan fraud scheme was perpetrated by brothers Henrik and Hamlet Sardariani, who worked with an escrow officer named Wanda Tenney. The Sardariani brothers defrauded private money lenders by falsely assuring them that the loans they were making were safe, when in fact the brothers had no intention of paying the loans back. Tenney permitted the Sardarianis to use her escrow company to lull the victims into believing their loans were secured.
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Four Men Charged for Conspiracy to Provide Material Support to Terrorism

Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 9:49 pm

RIVERSIDE COUNTY—Four men have been charged for their roles in a plot to provide material support to terrorists by making arrangements to join al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan in order to kill, among others, American targets, announced André Birotte, Jr., the United States Attorney in Los Angeles, and Bill Lewis, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.

According to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in the Central District of California, the defendants conspired to provide material support to terrorists in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2339A, knowing or intending that such support was to be used in preparation for or in carrying out:

*conspiracy to kill, kidnap, maim, or injure persons and damage property in a foreign country, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 956;

*killing and attempting to kill officers and employees of the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1114;

*killing nationals of the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2332(b);

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November 19, 2012

Palm Springs Man Arrested For Food Stamp Fraud

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: — fayarfa @ 8:44 pm

A Palm Springs man was arrested yesterday afternoon on charges that he illegally trafficked in food stamps benefits.
Haki Dervishi, 57, was arrested on November 15, 2012, by federal agents from the FBI and United States Department of Agriculture at the One Stop Shoppe, a gas station and convenience store owned by Dervishi and located in Indio, California.  Dervishi was arrested on a federal indictment charging that, from 2010 through 2012, he illegally purchased food stamp benefits from One Stop Shoppe customers for cash at a discount, and then redeemed the food stamp benefits at their full face value for his own benefit.

The United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) is the federal agency responsible for the administration and implementation of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”), formerly known as the Food Stamp Program (“FSP”), throughout the United States.  The primary purpose of SNAP is to provide low-income individuals with funds to purchase eligible food items.  Federal SNAP benefits are distributed by the states in the form of an electronic benefits card similar to an ATM card.  Recipients of the benefits can then go to authorized merchants and purchase eligible food products with their cards.

One Stop Shoppe is authorized to sell food products for SNAP benefits.  Federal agents with the USDA Office of Inspector General, received complaints in late 2011 that employees at One Stop Shoppe were exchanging SNAP benefits for cash.  Agents discovered that the amount of SNAP redemptions at One Stop Shoppe had increased dramatically since 2008, from a monthly average of $2125.92 in 2008 to a monthly average of over $300,000 dollars through September of 2012.

The indictment alleges that Dervishi, who owns and operates One Stop Shoppe, bought food stamp benefits from customers at a discount for cash payments.  According to the indictment, Dervishi and others would, for example, purchase $75.00 in SNAP benefits which were supposed to be used only for eligible food items, for $50.00 in cash and then redeem the benefits for their full $75 value.  The indictment alleges that from January 2010 through September 2012, Dervishi and others caused to be redeemed approximately $3,900,000 in USDA SNAP benefits using the POS terminal registered to One Stop Shoppe, a substantial portion of which had been illegally purchased for cash.

If convicted on all counts, Dervishi faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in federal prison.

November 17, 2012

Inland Empire Physician’s Assistant Pleads Guilty To Conspiracy To Dispense Narcotics Without Examining ‘Patients’

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 11:39 am

RIVERSIDE - A physician’s assistant who maintained a mobile medical service that operated in San Bernardino County pleaded guilty this morning to a federal narcotics charge for conspiring to distribute powerful and addictive painkillers to “patients” he did not examine and who simply paid cash for prescriptions.

Christopher Henry Lister, Sr., 50, of Apple Valley, pleaded guilty to a federal felony charge of conspiring to distribute controlled substances without a legitimate medical purpose.

Lister pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips, who scheduled a sentencing hearing for February 25, 2013.  As a result of today’s guilty plea, Lister faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, a lifetime period of supervised release, and a fine of up to $1 million.

In a plea agreement filed in United States District Court and at his guilty plea hearing, Lister admitted that on numerous occasions in 2009, he wrote and sold prescriptions for oxycodone, which is sold under a number of brand names, including Oxycontin.  He admitted that when he wrote these prescriptions, he acted outside of the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose. Lister sold these prescriptions to individuals for cash, and the individuals later used some of these prescriptions to obtain oxycodone, and also resold some of these prescriptions to other users.

One of Lister’s sales of a prescription for cash was recorded.  In the recording, Lister discussed the fact that he would be stopping his practice soon and that there would be a shortage of prescriptions, so prices would increase. Lister advised the customer to “stockpile” oxycodone and raise prices. Lister also asked the customer to bring Lister more business before the end of the week, and promised that if the customer came up with a list of names, Lister would put refills on them for a six-month supply.

MAN CONVICTED OF TOUCHING SLEEPING FEMALES IN FIVE HOME BURGLARIES, INCLUDING SEXUALLY ASSAULTING AN 11 AND 13 YEAR OLD GIRL

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 11:36 am

SANTA ANA - A man was convicted today of breaking into five Orange County homes and touching female victims who were sleeping inside, including sexually assaulting an 11 and 13 year old girl. Roberto Jacobo Reyes, 49, Santa Ana, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of forcible lewd act on a child under 14, two felony counts of lewd act upon child under 14, and three felony counts of first degree residential burglary with sentencing enhancement allegations for committing lewd acts in the commission of residential burglaries, committing lewd acts on multiple victims, and for having a non-accomplice present during a residential burglary, and a sentencing enhancement for a 2003 prior strike for residential burglary. Reyes faces a maximum sentence of 194 years to life in state prison at his sentencing January 25, 2013, in Department C-30, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

At approximately 11:00 p.m. on Feb. 19, 2010, Reyes entered the bedroom of 11-year-old Jane Doe #1 through a bedroom window while she slept. Jane Doe #1 awoke and Reyes held down the victim and covered her mouth so she was unable to scream. He fondled the victim’s vagina and breasts over her clothes. Jane Doe #1 was able to escape by kicking and pushing the defendant, who fled the home back out through the open window. Jane Doe #1 immediately told a relative, who called 911. The Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) collected DNA evidence at the scene.

At approximately 1:00 a.m. on Jan. 24, 2010, Reyes broke into 13-year-old Jane Doe #2’s Santa Ana residence. Reyes rubbed Jane Doe #2 down the side of her body while she was sleeping. He woke Jane Doe #2, who immediately screamed. Reyes fled the scene through the back door. The victim’s mother called 911.

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November 16, 2012

Sheriff’s Deputy Charged with Off-Duty Murder

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 3:48 pm

LOS ANGELES – A 41-year-old Sheriff’s deputy was charged by the District Attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division (JSID) today with murdering a neighbor who fought with the defendant’s 20-year-old son outside the family home in Sylmar last summer.

Francisco Gamez II (dob 4-23-1971) was arrested by Los Angeles police yesterday. He was charged today in case No. BA404719. Bail was recommended at $4 million. The defendant is expected to appear for arraignment in Los Angeles Superior Court Department 30 after 8:30 a.m. today.

Gamez was charged with the murder of Armando Casillas, the attempted murder of a second victim and discharging a weapon from an occupied vehicle. Each count carries an allegation that the defendant personally used a firearm to commit the crimes.

The case will be prosecuted by JSID Deputy District Attorneys Paul Nunez and Natalie Adomian.

The June 17 altercation that allegedly led to the shooting occurred shortly after 10 p.m. in Sylmar. Defendant Gamez was contacted after the fight by his eldest son. The defendant allegedly drove to the area, confronted the 38-year-old Casillas and another man, and fired two shots. Casillas was killed; the other man was not hit.

If convicted as charged, Gamez faces a maximum state prison term of 75 years to life.

Former Law Firm Partner Convicted of Obstructing SEC Investigation

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 3:45 pm

LOS ANGELES – A federal district judge today convicted a former partner of Nixon Peabody LLP for obstructing a Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) investigation into whether one of the law firm’s former clients was running a Ponzi scheme.

Following a two-week bench trial, attorney David Tamman, 45, of Santa Monica, was convicted on all ten counts on which he was tried: one count of conspiring to obstruct justice, five counts of altering documents, one count of being an accessory after the fact to co-defendant John Farahi’s mail and securities fraud crimes, and three counts of aiding and abetting Farahi’s false testimony before the SEC.

“A case like this reveals the lengths to which those committing frauds will go to conceal their criminal deeds,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr., whose office prosecuted the case.  “It also demonstrates that we will go to equal lengths to overcome these efforts at concealment and cast a bright light on fraudulent schemes that threaten investors and others in today’s difficult financial environment.”

The evidence at trial showed that immediately after the SEC made a surprise inspection of Farahi’s business, Tamman met with Farahi and began altering and backdating documents to make it appear that Farahi had been disclosing to investors that Farahi was himself taking the majority of investors’ funds. Those altered documents were later produced to the SEC and falsely represented by Farahi to be the actual documents that had earlier been given to investors.  The evidence at trial also showed that Tamman created and backdated promissory notes and supplemental disclosure documents and lied to his partners and co-counsel about the creation and alteration of documents that the SEC was seeking.

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Man Charged with Sexually Assaulting Female Bus Rider

Filed under: Los Angeles sexual assault attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 3:40 pm

LOS ANGELES — A 20-year-old man suspected of sexually assaulting a mentally disabled 18-year-old woman aboard a moving

Metro bus was charged today with rape and other charges, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Kerry Trotter, (dob 8-23-92), is scheduled to be arraigned sometime this afternoon at Airport Superior Court, Department

144. He was charged in case SA082464 with one count each of forcible rape and rape of an incompetent person, and two counts

of sexual penetration by a foreign object. Prosecutors will ask bail be set at $285,000.

Trotter, who was arrested Friday by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies, allegedly raped the female victim after they both

boarded the Metro bus at La Cienega and Jefferson boulevards. He currently is on probation for grand theft.

If convicted, he’s facing more 20 years in state prison.

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