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September 24, 2012

Two Former Lynwood Council Members Sentenced to Prison

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 5:51 pm

COMPTON – Former Lynwood City Council members Louis Byrd and Fernando Pedroza were sentenced today to state prison for misappropriating nearly $500,000 in city money, including charging personal expenses on city credit cards, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Compton Superior Court Judge Eleanor Hunter sentenced Byrd, 80, to five years in state prison and Pedroza, 47, to four years following a lengthy hearing in which both men begged for leniency but refused to apologize for their actions, said Deputy District Attorneys Ed Miller and Sean Hassett, who prosecuted the case.

After Pedroza apologized to his family, Judge Hunter asked if he was also apologizing to the people of Lynwood.

“No,” he said.

Both men were convicted in July of one count each of misappropriation of public money along with an allegation that they took in excess of $65,000. Prosecutors argued that Byrd took about $330,000 for personal use and Pedroza took more than $160,000.

Under one scheme, they paid themselves up to $40,000 a year in addition to their council pay for participating on two city agencies, the Lynwood Public Finance Authority and Lynwood Information Inc. Prosecutors argued that the work council members performed in connection with these agencies was nothing beyond the normal responsibilities for a council member and they were not entitled to additional pay.

They also charged personal expenses on city credit cards. For example, during a May 2002 trip to Guadalajara, Mexico to attend a sister-city conference, Pedroza charged $1,500 on a city credit card to pay for an evening at a gentleman’s club that included a dancer and private room.

The D.A.’s Public Integrity Division discovered the crimes through a four-year investigation launched on April 15, 2003, following a tip by a former Lynwood city manager. Five current and former council members were charged in May 2007. Charges against two, Armando Rea and Ricardo Sanchez, were later dismissed. Another former councilman, Arturo Reyes, pleaded guilty to grand theft and is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 12.

September 21, 2012

Three Indicted, Arrested, on Federal Charges Involving Scheme to Defraud Insurance Lenders

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — Tags: — fayarfa @ 1:59 pm

Three people were arrested today on federal charges alleging they operated a scheme to defraud insurance finance companies, announced André Birotte Jr., the United States Attorney in Los Angeles; Timothy Delaney, the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office; and Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, on behalf of the CDI Investigations Division – Criminal Operations Point of Sale (COPS) Team - Los Angeles Regional Office.

Lee Anthony Corlette, 64, of Redondo Beach, was arrested at his residence this morning.  Sherman Franklin Hulsey, 60, of Santa Barbara, and Jane Graves, 61, of Astoria, Oregon, were also arrested this morning.  The defendants will have an initial appearance in U.S. District Court this afternoon.
A federal grand jury returned an indictment in United States District Court in Los Angeles on September 5, charging Corlette with seven counts of mail fraud, nine counts of wire fraud and sixteen counts of aiding and abetting in connection with a scheme to submit numerous fraudulent insurance premiums to insurance finance companies. Hulsey and Graves were charged with one count of mail fraud, three counts of wire fraud and four counts of aiding and abetting.  The indictment alleges that Corlette, while CEO of Insurance Works Inc, and doing business as Star Alliance Insurance Services in Long Beach, California, obtained over $4 million in fraudulent loans from victim finance companies who believed the money would be provided to the insurance carriers identified in the agreements submitted by Corlette.

Defendants Hulsey and Graves allegedly assisted Corlette in the fraud by providing information about their businesses in order for Corlette to submit the agreements to the victim finance companies and fraudulently obtain the loans.  Hulsey is the owner of Liberty Paradise LLC, located in Santa Barbara, and Global Consulting Services, Inc, doing business as Vanguard Benefits.  Graves was the Secretary/Treasurer of Global Consulting Services and the owner of Steward Holdings LLC, a company located in Astoria, Oregon.

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Investment Broker Charged in Rash of Smashed Windows

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: — fayarfa @ 1:58 pm

BEVERLY HILLS – A 58-year-old investment broker has been charged with smashing more than 75 windows in businesses and homes in Beverly Hills and along Ventura Boulevard over a six-month period, the District Attorney’s Office announced today.

Michael Steven Poret was notified to appear for arraignment on Sept. 28 in Beverly Hills Superior Court, Department 1, said Deputy District Attorney Annemarie Acosta, who filed the case Tuesday.

The Encino resident is charged with 12 total counts, including six felony counts of vandalism over $400 in damage between Jan. 27 and July 3, five counts of possession of an array of weapons and one felony count of possession of a controlled substance, methamphetamine.

Poret, who works for an investment bank in Beverly Hills, was first arrested July 3 by Beverly Hills police officers after he allegedly vandalized a home for the second time. He was arrested again on July 12 by LAPD officers, Acosta said.

He is suspected of using a sling shot to fire metal projectiles through dozens of windows in Beverly Hills and the San Fernando Valley, causing damage estimated between $65,000 to more than $125,000.

Prosecutors will ask that his bail be set at $360,000 when he is arraigned in case SA081895. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years, eight months to be served in county jail.

Former LAUSD Teacher Sentenced to 25 Years State Prison for Molesting 13 Students

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 1:56 pm

SAN FERNANDO – A former Telfair Elementary School teacher was sentenced today to 25 years in state prison and ordered to register as a sex offender for life after he earlier pleaded no contest to molesting 13 former students, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Elena Abramson said none of Paul Chapel’s young victims appeared in court. However, Abramson read statements from three of the victims’ family members before Judge Lloyd Nash sentenced the 51-year-old former third grade teacher.

Chapel pleaded no contest Aug. 20 to 13 counts of lewd act on a child. The molestations occurred between September 2006 and April 2011. The children – six boys and seven girls — were between the ages of eight and nine when the molestations occurred.

Abramson said the Chatsworth resident was initially charged in October 2011 with molesting four children following an investigation by the Los Angeles Policy Department. In May, prosecutors added charges involving nine additional children.

September 20, 2012

MAN FACES TRIAL FOR EXECUTION-STYLE MURDER OF EX-WIFE AND HER FATHER OVER CUSTODY OF 7-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: — fayarfa @ 8:03 pm

SANTA ANA - A disgruntled man faces trial today for murdering his ex-wife and her father by waiting in his home with a firearm and shooting them when they arrived to take court-ordered custody of the former couple’s 7-year-old daughter. Robert Allan Lehmann, 37, Costa Mesa, is charged with two felony counts of special circumstances murder with sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a deadly weapon, multiple murders, and lying in wait. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of two terms of life in state prison without the possibility of parole. Opening statements are expected to begin today, Sept. 19, 2012, at 1:00 p.m. in Department C-30, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

On May 3, 2011, a family court judge ruled in favor of Lehmann’s ex-wife, 32-year-old Emily Ford, regarding custody of their 7-year-old daughter, who has special needs. Emily Ford was to pick up the little girl from Lehmann’s Costa Mesa home that evening. She arranged for her 62-year-old father Russell Ford to go with her.

Shortly before the victims’ arrival to pick up the 7-year-old girl, Lehmann is accused of sending the child out of the home with his current wife for ice cream and arming himself with a firearm to wait for the victims.

At approximately 5:30 p.m., Emily Ford and Russell Ford arrived at Lehmann’s home for the custody pick-up. Emily Ford left her new baby, who is not Lehmann’s child, in a car seat in her car and did not bring the baby to the door. When the defendant opened the door, he is accused of immediately shooting at the victims. Emily and Russell Ford attempted to turn and run away, and Lehmann is accused of pursuing them outside and continuing to shoot. Both victims were shot several times in the back and fell to the ground.

As Lehmann was shooting, he is accused of hitting two cars that were parked directly across the street in front of a childcare center. One bullet hit the passenger door of a vehicle and another penetrated the driver’s door of a second car. The vehicles’ drivers were picking up children from the center and were not injured. Shots were also fired past the vehicle where Emily Ford’s baby was still inside.

As Emily Ford and Russell Ford lay bleeding on the ground, Lehmann is accused of reloading his firearm and executing the victims by shooting them repeatedly in the back and back of the head.

Los Angeles Physician Assistant Sentenced to 72 Months in Prison for Role in $18.9 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 8:01 pm

WASHINGTON—A Los Angeles physician assistant who stole the identities of doctors to write medically unnecessary prescriptions for expensive durable medical equipment (DME) and diagnostic tests was sentenced today to serve 72 months in prison in connection with a $18.9 million Medicare fraud scheme, announced the Department of Justice, FBI and U.S. Department Health and Human Services (HHS).

David James Garrison, 50, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Consuelo B. Marshall in the Central District of California. In addition to his prison term, Garrison was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $24,935 in restitution, jointly and severally with convicted co-defendants.

In June 2012, after a two-week trial, a federal jury found Garrison guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud, six counts of health care fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft. The trial evidence showed that Garrison worked at fraudulent medical clinics that operated as prescriptions mills and trafficked in fraudulent prescriptions and orders for medically unnecessary DME and diagnostic tests that were used by fraudulent DME supply companies and medical testing facilities to defraud Medicare. Garrison wrote the prescriptions and ordered the tests on behalf of doctors whom he never met and who did not authorize him to write prescriptions and order tests on their behalf.

The trial evidence showed that between March 2007 and September 2008, Garrison’s co-conspirator Edward Aslanyan and others owned and operated several Los Angeles medical clinics established for the sole purpose of defrauding Medicare. Aslanyan and others hired street-level patient recruiters to find Medicare beneficiaries willing to provide the recruiters with their Medicare billing information in exchange for expensive, high-end power wheelchairs and other DME, which the patient recruiters told the beneficiaries they would receive for free. Often, the solicited Medicare beneficiaries did not have a legitimate medical need for the power wheelchairs and equipment. The patient recruiters then provided the beneficiaries’ Medicare billing information to Aslanyan and others or brought the beneficiaries to the fraudulent medical clinics. In exchange for recruiting the Medicare beneficiaries, Aslanyan and others paid the recruiters a cash kickback for every beneficiary they recruited.

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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Seizure of $1.1 Million Worth of Methamphetamine in Sinaloa Cartel Drug Bust

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 7:59 pm

RIVERSIDE — Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the arraignment of four men who attempted to sell 25 pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of more than $1.1 million to an undercover task force agent. The narcotics are believed to have been imported from the Sinaloa cartel in Mexico.

“Transnational gangs are a real and present danger in California and a priority for Department of Justice agents,” said Attorney General Kamala D. Harris. “We must continue and extend our crackdown on these transnational gangs and their trafficking of guns, drugs and human beings throughout our state.”

Juan Martin Ramirez, 22, of Inglewood, Carlos Javier Martinez-Sequeira, 43, and Jose Manuel Chaidez, 25, of Hawthorne, and Jesus Manuel Landeros, 42, of Phoenix, Arizona were arraigned today in Riverside County Superior Court on two felony counts of possession of methamphetamine for sale and transportation of a controlled substance.  All four defendants pled not guilty, and bail was set for each at $1 million.

The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office will prosecute the case because the defendants were arrested in the City of Corona, where they allegedly sold methamphetamine to an undercover agent.  The investigation was conducted by the Attorney General’s Inland Crackdown Allied Task Force (INCA).

On September 12, 2012, an INCA undercover agent negotiated the purchase of 25 pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of $1,135,000 from a transnational gang.  The four men delivered the methamphetamine to the awaiting undercover officer in a hotel parking lot in Corona.  All four men were arrested without incident and booked into the Riverside County Jaill.

September 19, 2012

Principals of Mortgage Brokerage Arrested in Equity-Skimming and Foreclosure Avoidance Scheme Targeting Distressed Homeowners

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 6:12 pm

LOS ANGELES – The top two managers at a Westwood-based mortgage brokerage company have been arrested on federal charges relating to a foreclosure avoidance and equity-skimming scheme that targeted distressed homeowners. According to an indictment in this case, the scheme led several mortgage lenders to disburse more than $15 million in loan proceeds – with nearly half of that being lost to the fraud conspiracy.

Federal authorities on Tuesday arrested David Singui, 49, of Inglewood, and Aziz Meghji, 35, of Los Angeles, who were, respectively, the principal owner and the second-in-charge at Direct Money Source (DMS), a mortgage brokerage which allegedly operated as an equity-skimming operation that took possession of distressed homeowner’s equity under fraudulent pretenses and also defrauded mortgage lenders.

A third defendant in the case – Kiet Truong, 27, of Hawthorne, who worked at DMS, surrendered to authorities yesterday morning.

The fourth defendant named in the 42-count indictment – Starr Smith, 31, whose last known address was in Long Beach, is a fugitive currently being sought by authorities.

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Defendant in Large-Scale Drug Operation Sentenced to 30 Years in Jail

Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 6:01 pm

LOS ANGELES – A top lieutenant convicted in a multimillion-dollar drug distribution operation was sentenced today to more than 30 years in county jail, one of the longest sentences to date under
the state’s prison realignment program, the District Attorney’s
Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Oscar Plascencia with the Major Narcotics Division said Derwin Lashun Webster was sentenced to 30 years, eight months in county jail by Superior Court Judge Bob Bowers Jr.

Webster was found guilty of six felony counts, including conspiracy to transport cocaine, possession of marijuana for sale, transportation of marijuana, possession for sale of cocaine, transportation of cocaine, and possession of a false compartment “with the intent to store, conceal, smuggle and transport” a controlled substance. Under AB 109, the state’s realignment measure to move felons from prison to county jail, Webster’s conviction did not qualify as a prison term.

A jury in July found Webster, 38, was a top player in a sophisticated drug smuggling and distribution ring that moved narcotics from Mexico through Los Angeles to the Midwest and Atlantic Coast.

The Moreno Valley resident was the last of seven in-custody defendants convicted of being part of the ring that was busted in May 2006. Authorities seized $28 million worth of cocaine, along with 657 pounds of marijuana, more than $1 million in cash, six handguns, two tractor-trailer rigs and other vehicles.

The alleged head of the operation, Steven Montes, of West Covina, is serving 25 years in state prison after pleading and being sentenced in 2009. Three additional defendants, Agustin Alvarez, Omar Cruz and Rufino Acevedo, are serving 16 years in state prison after pleading and being sentenced in October 2009.

Two defendants — Samuel Vivoros Murrillo, 49, and Joel Huerta Nunez, 46 — are fugitives.

Valencia Man Charged with Possession of Illegal Weapon

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: — fayarfa @ 5:58 pm

SAN FERNANDO – A 21-year-old Valencia man suspected of sending suspicious emails to an ESPN website earlier this week was charged today with possession of an illegal weapon, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Eric Ting Yee, (dob 11-12-90), is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in case PA 074647 in San Fernando Superior Court, Department S. Prosecutors will ask that his bail remain at $1 million.

The complaint also charges Yee’s father, Roger Manfoo Yee, with the same charge, illegal possession of an H&K M-94 assault weapon. The 62-year-old Yee has not been arrested and will not be in court today.

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