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September 23, 2016

Montebello Man Pleads to Killing Wife, Dumping Body in Car

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

A Montebello father charged with murdering his wife and taking off with his children in 2014 prompting a statewide Amber Alert pleaded guilty today to her murder and other charges, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Daniel Diego Perez, 45, pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of his 39-year-old wife, Erica. Her body was discovered Dec. 10, 2014, stuffed in the trunk of a car that was parked near the family’s Montebello home, said Deputy District Attorney Miji Vellakkatel with the Family Violence Division who prosecuted the case.

Perez also pleaded guilty to two counts of child abuse for endangering two of his sons during a standoff following a pursuit that ended near Santee. The boys were 6 and 8 at the time, Vellakkatel said.

Perez was sentenced by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Leslie Swain to 15 years to life in prison plus seven years, four months for the child abuse charges.

Los Angeles County District Attorney / September 22, 2016

September 22, 2016

Justice Department and Los Angeles County Superior Court Reach Agreement to Ensure Access to Justice for Limited English Proficient Individuals

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

LOS ANGELES – The Justice Department today announced an agreement with the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles (LASC) to ensure that limited English proficient (LEP) court users will have access to timely and accurate language assistance services.

The agreement resolves a Justice Department investigation of a complaint filed by the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles that alleged the LASC failed to provide LEP individuals with meaningful access to its court services, including civil proceedings and court operations. The complaint alleged a violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its implementing regulations, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of national origin.

“The Los Angeles County Superior Court has accepted the challenge of serving the needs of limited English proficient individuals in one of the most populous and linguistically diverse areas of the country,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Protecting the civil rights of all people within the Central District of California is one of my top priorities as United States Attorney, and today’s agreement serves that goal by giving greater access to the judicial system to individuals so that they may protect their own rights.”

During the investigation, the LASC steadily expanded its provision of interpreter services, which now includes all criminal and the vast majority of civil proceedings, as well as oral and written language assistance in court services. The LASC has agreed to expand free interpreter services to unlimited civil matters – the last remaining case type in which language services are currently not guaranteed – by December 1, 2017.  Among other commitments, the court will translate additional documents, provide broader notice about the availability of free interpreter services for court proceedings and make it easier to request an interpreter. The LASC will also continue to seek input from community partners serving LEP populations. Under the terms of the agreement, LASC will provide periodic updates to the Justice Department until the end of 2017.



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

SANTA ANA, Calif. - A man was convicted today of the shooting-murder of his parents and attempting to murder two of his siblings, causing the paralysis of his 8-year-old brother. Ashton Colby Sachs, 22,pleaded guilty today at his request and without a previously scheduled hearing to two felony counts of special circumstances murder for committing multiple murders, two felony counts of attempted murder with premeditation and deliberation, and sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a firearm causing death, personal use of a firearm causing bodily injury, and causing paralysis. The defendant faces a sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole and is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 14, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-35, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

At the time of the crime, Ashton Sachs was living in Seattle. Ashton Sachs returned to Orange County with the intention of murdering his family. In the early morning hours of Feb. 9, 2014, he entered his family’s San Juan Capistrano home armed with a firearm.

The defendant entered his parents’ bedroom and shot and murdered his 54-year-old mother Andra Sachs and 57-year-old father Bradford Sachs as they slept.

Ashton Sachs entered the bedroom of his 8-year-old brother then shot and attempted to murder the victim. The 8-year-old boy survived, but was paralyzed by the shooting.

Two of Ashton Sachs’ sisters were also in the home at the time of the crime. Ashton Sachs shot at and attempted to murder his 17-year-old sister, but this victim was not struck.



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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was convicted and sentenced yesterday for burglarizing the homes of female college students that he found by using Instagram. Arturo Galvan, 45, Menifee, pleaded guilty on Sept. 19, 2016, to five felony counts of first degree residential burglary, one felony count of attempted first degree residential burglary, and one misdemeanor count of resisting and obstructing an officer. He was sentenced to eight years in state prison and was ordered to pay restitution to the victims.

On multiple occasions between May 22, 2014, and Dec. 3, 2015, Galvan entered the homes of female college students in Orange and Fullerton, which primarily served as sorority houses for Chapman University and California State University, Fullerton. The defendant located the victims’ residences through the GPS locations tied to photographs the victims posted on the social media website Instagram. Galvan entered the victims’ homes during the late afternoon or evening hours and stole various items including women’s underwear, clothing, personal photos, planners, jewelry, laptops, and tablet devices.

On Dec. 3, 2015, Galvan was looking through a window at a residence in Fullerton. Members of the Fullerton Police Department (FPD), who were surveilling the area, observed Galvan looking through the window. The defendant attempted to flee, but at approximately 11:00 p.m. that evening, FPD arrested the defendant as he was entering a car containing stolen items. FPD and the Orange Police Department investigated this case.

In court, five victim impact statements were read detailing the emotional and financial impact the burglaries had on these young college students.

Deputy District Attorney Denise Hernandez of the Special Prosecutions Unit prosecuted this case.


September 21, 2016

Final Defendants in Multi-Million Dollar Health Care Fraud and Money Laundering Case Sentenced to Federal Prison Terms

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

LOS ANGELES – With the final defendant receiving a prison term yesterday, six defendants who participated in a multi-million dollar health care fraud scheme or helped launder the illicit proceeds have now been sentenced to federal prison.

Edgar Pogosian, also known as “Edgar Hakobyan,” 32, of Glendale, was sentenced yesterday to 18 months in prison. Pogosian was found guilty earlier this year of conspiring to commit money laundering and one count of money laundering.

“Over the course of nearly seven years, this defendant engaged in a wide-ranging money laundering conspiracy in which he received 150 checks and personally laundered over $700,000 in health care fraud proceeds,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “All of the defendants in this case played a vital role in a scheme that bilked the taxpayers who finance Medicare and utilized sophisticated money laundering techniques to hide their crimes.”

Over the past month, United States District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez sentenced two other defendants involved in the scheme:

· Karen “Gary” Sarkissian, 44, also of Glendale was sentenced on September 12 to 57 months in federal prison after the same jury that convicted Pogosian found him guilty of conspiring to commit money laundering, six counts of money laundering and five counts of health care fraud; and


Former Employee of Sporting Goods Distributor Sentenced to over 3 Years for Embezzling nearly $370,000 from Orange County Company

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

SANTA ANA, California – A former office manager for an independent sporting goods distributor has been sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for embezzling nearly $370,000 from her Los Alamitos-based employer.

Julianna James England, 51, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was sentenced yesterday by United States District Judge James V. Selna. In addition to the prison term, Judge Selna ordered England to pay $368,152 in restitution.

Following a trial in February, England was found guilty of three wire fraud charges for using company checks and credit cards to embezzle money from her former employer, Callan Western Sales Company (CWS).

The evidence at trial showed that England used company credit cards and wrote company checks to herself to obtain the company’s funds. As part of her scheme, she altered company records and created false bank stubs to give to the company’s accountant.

“This defendant’s embezzlement required the owners to use personal funds in an attempt to keep the company afloat, but the business was forced to close,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “This crime had a devastating impact on the company, its owners and its employees.”


North American Health Care Inc. to Pay $28.5 Million to Settle Claims for Medically Unnecessary Rehabilitation Therapy Services

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

North American Health Care Inc. (NAHC), its chairman of the board, John Sorenson, and its senior vice president of Reimbursement Analysis, Margaret Gelvezon, have agreed to pay a total of $30 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by causing the submission of false claims to government health care programs for medically unnecessary rehabilitation therapy services provided to residents at NAHC’s skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), the Department of Justice announced today.  Under the settlement agreement, NAHC has agreed to pay $28.5 million. Mr. Sorensen has agreed to pay $1 million and Ms. Gelvezon has agreed to pay $500,000.

“Medicare patients and those insured by TRICARE are entitled to receive care necessary for their clinical needs and not the financial needs of their health providers,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “Health care providers will be held accountable if they bill for unnecessary services or treatment.”

NAHC is a private, for-profit company headquartered in Orange County, California, that has service agreements to operate 35 SNFs, most of them in California.  The SNFs provide inpatient rehabilitation services, including physical, occupational, and speech therapy, to patients.  The United States contends that NAHC caused false claims to be submitted to Medicare and TRICARE, seeking payment for medically unnecessary rehabilitation therapy services provided to residents at the NAHC facilities.

The United States further contends that Gelvezon, in her capacity as an officer of NAHC, contributed to this conduct by creating the improper billing scheme.  The government also contends that Sorensen, in his capacity as chairman of the board of NAHC, reinforced this scheme at the NAHC facilities.  The United States contends that this conduct occurred during the period from Jan. 21, 2005, to Oct. 31, 2009, for all of the NAHC SNFs and continued during the period of Nov. 1, 2009, to Dec. 3, 2011, for three of the SNFs in the Northern District of California area.


September 20, 2016

Defendant Involved in Multi-Million Dollar ‘High-Yield Prime Bank’ Scheme Found Guilty of Federal Fraud Charges

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

SANTA ANA, California – A Marina Del Rey man has been found guilty of federal fraud charges for participating in a “high-yield prime bank” scam by bringing in approximately $5 million from victims who were promised huge returns on investments, purportedly with little or no risk.

Mark Gelazela, who was also known as Mark Zella, 43, of Marina Del Rey, who operated IDLYC Holdings Trust, was found guilty yesterday afternoon by a federal jury of two counts of wire fraud related to the scheme.

Gelazela lured victims to invest in a scheme that claimed to be using money to lease and monetize bank guarantees.  According to Gelazela, once the bank instruments were leased, a credit line would be drawn from the instruments that would then be used for trading, leading to extraordinary profits.

Once money came in from investors, Gelazela and his co-conspirators almost immediately used the money to pay themselves. In some cases, money from new victims was used to pay off older investors to keep the scheme running.  When victims began inquiring about the status of payouts under the program and then began seeking the return of their capital, Gelazela lulled them with falsehoods and took steps to conceal the fraud.

The evidence presented at trial showed that Gelazela brought 18 victims into the scheme with false promises of astronomical returns on their investments.


Inland Empire Woman Arrested on Federal Charges of Helping Her Husband Flee United States While He Was Pending Sentencing

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

RIVERSIDE, California – A Moreno Valley woman was arrested this morning on federal charges after she allegedly helped her husband flee the United States after he had pleaded guilty in a federal criminal case.

Elba Soto, 36, was arrested without incident this morning by the U.S. Marshals Service. Soto made her initial appearance this afternoon in United States District Court in Riverside, where she was ordered detained (held without bond). An arraignment in the case was scheduled for October 19.

Soto was arrested pursuant to a criminal complaint that charges her with being an accessory after the fact for allegedly driving her husband to Mexico so he could avoid being sentenced after pleading guilty to illegal reentry after deportation.

Soto’s husband, Jose Guadalupe Vega-Zuniga, pleaded guilty on August 3 and remains scheduled to be sentenced on October 17. Vega-Zuniga admitted that he was in the United States without authorization after being deported to his native Mexico on four occasions between 2000 and 2008. When he pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald in Los Angeles, Vega-Zuniga admitted that he previously had been convicted of drug trafficking and assault with a deadly weapon in state court, as well as being found guilty in 2000 of a felony offense of illegally being in the United States. At the time of his guilty plea, Vega-Zuniga was free on a $100,000 unsecured bond and was subject to electronic location monitoring.

According to the criminal complaint filed against Soto, Vega-Zuniga removed his location monitoring bracelet about four days after pleading guilty. On August 8, a person resembling Soto went to the court’s Pretrial Services Office and returned the electronic monitoring bracelet, explaining that Vega-Zuniga had removed the device and she did not know his whereabouts.


Two Doctors Arraigned after Being Indicted on Federal Charges of Illegally Distributing Prescription Narcotics

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


After being named in separate indictments returned by a federal grand jury on September 6, two doctors who had medical offices in Lynwood were arraigned this afternoon and entered not guilty pleas.

Edward Ridgill, 64, of Ventura, is charged in a 26-count indictment that alleges the illegal distribution of hydrocodone, alprazolam and carisoprodol. If convicted of all charges, he faces a maximum possible sentence of 239 years in prison.

Oparah is charged in a 14-count indictment that alleges illegal distribution of codeine, alprazolam and promethazine with codeine. If convicted, he faces a statutory maximum sentence of 51 years.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Both defendants were ordered to stand trial on November 1.


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