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November 28, 2017

Attorney Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges Stemming from $50 Million Scheme that Defrauded the EB-5 Visa Program and Chinese Investors

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

SANTA ANA, California – An attorney who lives in El Monte pleaded guilty today to federal fraud and money laundering charges for participating in a multi-faceted scheme that collected more than $50 million from foreign investors seeking “Green Cards” through the EB-5 visa program.

Victoria Chan [莹莹], who along with her father operated a San Gabriel-based business called California Investment Immigration Fund, LLC (CIIF), admitted that she exploited the EB-5 visa program, which provides lawful permanent residence – commonly known as a “Green Card” – to foreign nationals who invest at least $500,000 in a domestic business that creates 10 new American jobs.

Chan admitted that much of the money collected by CIIF from the primarily Chinese investors either was stolen by the conspirators or was refunded to the foreign nationals. This undermined one of the basic principles of the EB-5 program because the money was not actually invested in the United States, nor did it lead to the creation of 10 new American full-time jobs, as required under the program.

Chan admitted submitting about 130 fraudulent EB-5 visa applications to federal immigration authorities, and many of those applications falsely claimed that the foreign investments were being used to fund construction projects that were creating new jobs.

As part of the wire fraud conspiracy, Chan admitted that she fraudulently used hundreds of thousands of dollars in EB-5 investor funds to purchase homes in her name, including residential properties each worth nearly $1 million in Diamond Bar and Rancho Cucamonga. (more…)

Former Employees of Southern California Ambulance Company and Dialysis Center Plead Guilty to Medicare Fraud Charges

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

A former employee of a Southern California ambulance company and a former employee of a Los Angeles dialysis treatment center both pleaded guilty today to fraud charges for their roles in a fraud scheme that resulted in more than $6.6 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare.  Three other individuals charged in the case previously pleaded guilty.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Sandra R. Brown of the Central District of California, Special Agent in Charge Christian J. Schrank of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Los Angeles Region and Acting Assistant Director in Charge Danny Kennedy of the FBI’s Los Angeles Division made the announcement.

Aharon Aron Krkasharyan, 53, of Los Angeles, California, pleaded guilty in federal court in Los Angeles to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.  Maria Espinoza, 47, also of Los Angeles, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks for health care referrals.  U.S. District Judge George H. Wu of the Central District of California accepted the guilty pleas.  Krkasharyan is scheduled to be sentenced on March 29, 2018, and Espinoza is scheduled to be sentenced on April 2, 2018.

Krkasharyan was employed as the Quality Improvement Coordinator for Mauran Ambulance Inc., an ambulance transportation company operating in the greater Los Angeles area that provided non-emergency services to Medicare beneficiaries, many of whom were dialysis patients.  According to admissions made in connection with his plea, between June 2011 and April 2012, Krkasharyan conspired with other Mauran employees to submit claims to Medicare for ambulance transportation services for individuals who did not need such services.  Krkasharyan also admitted that he and his co-conspirators instructed Mauran emergency medical technicians to conceal the patients’ true medical conditions by altering paperwork and creating fraudulent reasons to justify the ambulance services. (more…)

November 27, 2017

DA’s Cyber Crime Investigation Leads to Arrest, Prosecution of Alleged Superior Court Email System Hacker

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

The alleged mastermind behind a five-day, email-phishing attack targeting Los Angeles County Superior Court email accounts was arrested in Houston last week following a criminal investigation by the District Attorney’s Cyber Investigation Response Team.

Deputy District Attorney Donn Hoffman of the Cyber Crimes Division said Oriyomi Sadiq Aloba (dob 2/9/86) is charged in a felony complaint for arrest warrant with 18 felony counts: 12 counts of false personation; five counts of altering public safety computer data, software or program; and one count of multiple identifying information theft. Case BA462569 also includes excessive-taking allegations of more than $100,000.

Aloba, who was arrested without incident on Nov. 15 at his home by the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the FBI Los Angeles and Houston Cyber Task Force, the Houston Police Department and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, will be arraigned on Friday, Dec. 1, at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

In July, more than 500 Superior Court employees received email messages that attempted to trick users into revealing their account credentials by directing them to visit bogus websites that appeared to be those of legitimate companies. Fewer than a dozen Superior Court employees were affected by the breach and the court determined that no case information, court data or financial data was compromised.

Prosecutors have recommended that the defendant’s bail be set at $1.1 million. If convicted as charged, Aloba faces up to 14 years, four months in state prison.

Los Angeles District Attorney / Case BA462569 / November 21, 2017

Man Sentenced to Prison for Kidnapping, Assaulting Ex-Girlfriend in Duarte

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

A 38-year-old man was sentenced today to 16 years and four months in state prison for forcing his exgirlfriend into a car, assaulting her and threatening to kill her in May, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

On Aug. 31, a jury found Alberto Casillas guilty of three felony counts in case GA101048: kidnapping, injuring a girlfriend and making criminal threats.

Deputy District Attorney Yoobin Kang Hernandez, who prosecuted the case, said Casillas went to his ex-girlfriend’s Duarte home on May 3. While in front of the woman’s residence, the defendant forced the ex-girlfriend into his vehicle and threatened to hurt her if she got out, the prosecutor said.

Casillas then drove the pair to his East Los Angeles home, the prosecutor added. A witness to the abduction contacted law enforcement about the attack.

When officers arrived at the defendant’s home, they found the victim in the driveway with injuries to her body, according to the prosecutor. Casillas was subsequently arrested in connection with the incident. (more…)

November 24, 2017

Attorney General Becerra: DIRECTV Agrees To $9.5 Million Settlement for Violations of California’s Hazardous Waste and Unfair Competition Laws

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

SACRAMENTO – Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley today announced a settlement with DIRECTV to resolve allegations that its California facilities unlawfully disposed of large volumes of hazardous waste – including hazardous batteries, electronic devices, and aerosols – and committed additional violations stemming from the mismanagement of such items. These acts constitute violations of California’s Hazardous Waste Control Law, and of California’s Unfair Competition Law, as such conduct gives DIRECTV a competitive advantage over other regulated entities that are complying with the law. On November 21, 2017, by stipulation of the parties, the Alameda County Superior Court entered a final judgment incorporating the terms of the settlement.

“Unlawfully disposing of hazardous waste can lead to serious health and environmental risks. That is why DA O’Malley and I are holding DIRECTV accountable today,” Attorney General Becerra said. “The California Department of Justice will continue working to protect the health and well-being of our communities. We will prosecute those who violate our environmental laws.”

“My Office is dedicated to enforcing laws that protect the environment and ensure fair business practices. Any company doing business in Alameda County and in California must abide by these laws. The illegal disposal of hazardous waste pollutes our soil and our water and can be harmful to the health of humans as well as the environment,” said District Attorney O’Malley. “I thank the Attorney General for his leadership on these important issues and I am confident that we will continue to make strides in holding businesses accountable and keeping our environment free from toxic pollution.”

As part of the settlement, DIRECTV will be required to pay more than $8.9 million for civil penalties, costs, and projects furthering environmental protection; will be bound by a permanent injunction prohibiting similar future violations of law; and will have to spend more than $580 thousand over the next five years to enhance environmental compliance at its California facilities. Additionally, DIRECTV will be required to hire an independent auditor to perform three audits of DIRECTV’s compliance with the injunctive terms of the judgment. (more…)

Attorney General Becerra Announces $2 Million Settlement Involving Santa Barbara-based Cottage Health System Over Failure to Protect Patient Medical Records

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

SANTA BARBARA — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced a $2 million settlement with Cottage Health System and its affiliated hospitals in California resolving allegations that they failed to implement basic, reasonable safeguards to protect patient medical information in violation of state and federal privacy laws. The settlement requires Cottage to maintain security practices and procedures to protect patients’ medical information from unauthorized access or disclosure. This settlement follows two separate data breach incidents by Cottage Health where more than 50,000 patients’ medical information was made publicly available online.

“When patients go to a hospital to seek medical care, the last thing they should have to worry about is having their personal medical information exposed. The law requires health care providers to protect patients’ privacy. On both of these counts, Cottage Health failed,” said Attorney General Becerra.

In this action, the Attorney General’s Office alleged that Cottage Health System, a not-for-profit based in Santa Barbara, California, failed to adequately protect patient records. Cottage was notified in December 2013 that patients’ confidential medical information was viewable online. One of the company’s servers with medical records for more than 50,000 patients was connected to the internet without encryption, password protection, firewalls, or permissions that would have prevented unauthorized access. In 2015, during the Attorney General’s investigation of the first breach, Cottage Health experienced a second data breach in which the records for 4,596 patients became accessible online for nearly two weeks. The Attorney General’s Office alleged that Cottage’s security failures violated California’s Confidentiality of Medical Information Act and Unfair Competition Law, as well as the federal Health Insurance Portability and Affordability Act.

Under the settlement announced today, Cottage Health is required to pay a $2 million penalty and upgrade its data security practices. Cottage Health is required to protect patients’ medical information from unauthorized access and disclosure and to maintain an information security program that meets reasonable security practices and procedures for the healthcare industry. It must designate an employee to serve in the capacity of a Chief Privacy Officer and to complete periodic risk assessments. (more…)

MAN CONVICTED AND SENTENCED TO THREE YEARS IN PRISON FOR ABUSING 73-YEAR-OLD ELDERLY WOMAN, COMMITTING MULTIPLE FORGERIES, AND STEALING OVER $75,000 FROM THE VICTIM

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

SANTA ANA, Calif.  – A man was convicted and sentenced to three years in state prison today for abusing a 73-year-old elderly woman, committing multiple forgeries, and stealing over $75,000 from the victim.

Defendant Charges Sentence
William Marion “James” Carter, 67, Riverside Pleaded guilty yesterday to the following felony counts:

  • Elder abuse
  • Attempted grand theft
  • Possession of forged driver’s license
  • Money laundering derived from criminal activity
  • (2) Forgery of public or corporate seals
  • (2) Attempt to file false/forged instrument
  • (4) Burglary second degree
  • (7) Grand theft
  • (23) Acts constituting forgery
Three years in state prison

Circumstances of the Case

  • From March 10, 2016, to March 18, 2016, the defendant was in a position of trust as caretaker for his wife’s distant cousin, 73-year-old Carol Folz.
  • While Folz was in his custody and care, Carter allowed the victim to be injured or endangered under circumstances likely to produce great bodily injury or death. (more…)

November 22, 2017

MAN CHARGED WITH BATTERY AND ATTEMPTED VANDALISM FOR EJACULATING MULTIPLE TIMES INTO FEMALE COWORKER’S WATER BOTTLES, PUTTING SEMEN IN HONEY JAR AND ON COMPUTER MOUSE

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was charged with battery and attempted vandalism for ejaculating multiple times into his female coworker’s water bottles, putting semen into her honey jar, and smearing semen on her computer mouse and keyboard.

Defendant Charges Maximum Sentence Court Date
Stevens Millancastro (AKA Stevens Millan), 27, Palmdale Charged on Nov. 17, 2017, with the following misdemeanor counts:

  • (2) Battery
  • (3) Attempted vandalism

Sentencing Enhancements

  • Committing the crimes for the purpose of sexual gratification

  • Two years and six months in county jail
  • Lifetime sex offender registration
TBD

Circumstances of the Case

  • At the time of the crimes, Millan worked with the victim, Jane Doe, since 2014.
  • Two times between November and December 2016, the defendant is accused of masturbating at their office in La Palma and putting his semen in the victim’s honey jar. (more…)

Norwalk Man Sentenced to Five Years in Federal Prison for Using Internet to Entice Minor to Have Sex

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

LOS ANGELES – A Norwalk man has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for using the internet as part of his efforts to solicit a 15-year-old girl to have sex.

Mauricio Edgardo Estrada, 29, who at the time of the offense was a police officer with the Los Angeles Unified School District, was sentenced yesterday by United States District Judge Dale S. Fischer.

Estrada pleaded guilty in June to one count of using the internet to transmit information about a minor in connection with criminal sexual activities.

The case against Estrada was the result of an undercover operation by the Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, which includes representatives of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation (HSI), the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service. The Task Force was conducting an anti-sex trafficking operation in Artesia and posted an advertisement on the Craigslist website that was designed to attract individuals interested in engaging in commercial sex acts with minors.

On April 20, 2016, Estrada responded to the advertisement via e-mail and subsequently engaged in a series of text messages with an undercover agent he thought was a 15-year-old girl, according to court documents. Estrada agreed to pay $150 to engage in sex with the “girl.” When he arrived at a gas station in Artesia for the encounter with the “girl,” Estrada had condoms and approximately $150 in his possession. (more…)

MAN CONVICTED AND FOUND LEGALLY SANE IN SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES MURDER AND ATTEMPTED MURDER OF FATHER, MOTHER, AND BROTHERS OF EX-GIRLFRIEND IN IRVINE

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was convicted and found legally sane today in the special circumstances murder and attempted murder of members of his ex-girlfriend’s family.

Defendant Charges Maximum Sentence Court Date
Alwyn Gibson, 32, Costa Mesa Found guilty by a jury on Nov. 13, 2017, of the following felony counts:

  • Murder
  • Attempted murder
  • Aggravated assault

Sentencing Enhancements

  • Special circumstances - murder during the commission of a robbery
  • Personal discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury
Life in state prison without the possibility of parole Sentencing

Dec. 15, 2017, 9:00 a.m.

Department C-35, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana

Circumstances of the Case

  • On the evening of Feb. 20, 2009, Gibson went to the Irvine home of his former girlfriend, who no longer lived in the home and was not present at the time.
  • The ex-girlfriend’s family was home having dinner, including her father, 60-year-old De Ngoc Le, mother, 47-year-old Ly Le, and two brothers, 22-year-old Michael Le and 24-year-old David Le. (more…)

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