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November 17, 2016

Former AFLAC Employee Convicted in Scheme to Defraud Insurance Company out of $4 Million through Bogus Disability Claims

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

SANTA ANA, California – A former sales representative for AFLAC has been found guilty of federal fraud charges stemming from a scheme that bilked the insurance company out of $4 million with fake disability claims.

Patricia Diane Smith Sledge, 60, of Redlands, was convicted late Tuesday in the scheme involving fictitious employers and “employees” who falsely claimed to have suffered injuries that prevented them from working.

At the conclusion of a two-week trial, the jury convicted Sledge of six counts of mail fraud. The jury also found that Sledge committed two counts of witness tampering while on bond in this case.

United States District Judge James V. Selna, who presided over the trial, ordered Sledge to return to court for a sentencing hearing on March 20, 2017, at which time the defendant will face a statutory maximum sentence of 160 years in federal prison.

The evidence presented at trial showed that Sledge, who was residing in Irvine while working for the company formally known as American Family Life Assurance Company, sold disability insurance policies to bogus companies and people who supposedly worked for those companies. Sledge then orchestrated the filing of fraudulent disability claims and directed the purported employees to doctors that would sign off on the fake injury claims.

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Two Northern California Real Estate Investors Agree to Plead Guilty to Bid Rigging at Public Foreclosure Auctions

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

Two Northern California real estate investors have agreed to plead guilty today for their role in a conspiracy to rig bids at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Northern California, the Department of Justice announced.

California real estate investors John Michael Galloway and Nicholas Diaz each pleaded guilty to one count of bid rigging in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in Oakland today.  Both were charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the Northern District of California on December 3, 2014.

According to court documents, between June 2008 and January 2011, John Michael Galloway and Nicholas Diaz conspired with others not to bid against one another, instead designating a winning bidder to obtain selected properties at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Contra Costa County.  The selected properties were then awarded to the conspirators who submitted the highest bids in the second, private auctions.  The private auctions often took place at or near the courthouse steps where the public auctions were held.

The department said that the primary purpose of the conspiracies was to suppress and eliminate competition in order to obtain selected real estate offered at Contra Costa County public foreclosure auctions at noncompetitive prices.  When real estate properties are sold at these auctions, the proceeds are used to pay off the mortgage and other debt attached to the property, with remaining proceeds, if any, paid to the homeowner.

The guilty pleas entered today were the result of the department in its ongoing investigation into bid rigging at public real estate foreclosure auctions in San Francisco, San Mateo, Contra Costa and Alameda counties, California.  To date, 59 individuals have agreed to plead or have pleaded guilty.  In addition, indictments are pending against 16 real estate investors.  These investigations are being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office and the FBI’s San Francisco Office, in connection with the president’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.

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November 16, 2016

Compton Man Sentenced to Over 13 Years in Federal Prison in Sex Trafficking Case Involving Sexual Assault of a Minor Girl

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:48 am

LOS ANGELES – A Compton man who admitted to sex trafficking a 15-year-old girl, subjecting her to a month of sexual abuse, and advertising the victim as a prostitute was sentenced today to 160 months in federal prison.

Darrius Marques Sutton, also known as “Biz,” 26, was sentenced by United States District Judge Terry J. Hatter Jr., who said he would have imposed a longer sentence had Sutton not been sentenced previously to more than four years in state prison on related pimping charges.

“This defendant’s conduct was horrific and warranted the lengthy sentence imposed by the court today,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “He repeatedly sexually assaulted children, and he filmed the assaults – at times laughing during the attacks. His callous behavior and willingness to sell the bodies of his young victims for his own financial gain is abhorrent and demonstrates a complete lack of respect for all women and girls.”

In the federal case, Sutton pleaded guilty in June to one count of sex trafficking of a child.

Over the course of month-long spree in 2011, Sutton “repeatedly engaged in violent sexual assaults on young women, and [he] appears to have taken delight in subjecting his victims to inhumane and humiliating treatment while breaking them into his stable of prostitutes,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed with the court.

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Navy Officer Pleads Guilty in Massive Fraud and Corruption Scandal

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:45 am

A retired Navy Captain pleaded guilty today for his role in a massive bribery and fraud scheme involving a foreign defense contractor for the U.S. Navy.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy of the Southern District of California, Acting Director Dermot O’Reilly of the Department of Defense’s Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), Director Andrew Traver of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and Director Anita Bales of Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) made the announcement.

Michael Brooks, 57, of Fairfax Station, Virginia, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen Crawford of the Southern District of California.  In May 2016, Brooks was charged in connection with his  interactions with Leonard Glenn Francis, the former CEO of Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), a defense contracting firm based in Singapore.  Brooks is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 17, 2017.

According to admissions made in connection with the plea agreement, from June 2006 to July 2008, Brooks served as the U.S. Naval Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines.  In exchange for travel and entertainment expenses, hotel rooms and the services of prostitutes, Brooks used his office to benefit GDMA and Francis, including by securing quarterly diplomatic clearances for GDMA vessels, which allowed GDMA vessels to transit into and out of the Philippines under the diplomatic clearance of the U.S. Embassy.  Brooks also allowed Francis to ghostwrite official U.S. Navy documents and correspondence, which Brooks submitted as his own.  In addition, Brooks provided Francis with sensitive, internal U.S. Navy information, including billing information belonging to a GDMA competitor and U.S. Navy ship schedules.

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FORMER CAREGIVER SENTENCED TO ONE YEAR IN JAIL FOR SEXUALLY ASSAULTING 66-YEAR-OLD DISABLED WOMAN

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:43 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A former caregiver was sentenced today to one year in jail for sexually assaulting a 66-year-old disabled woman. Robert Dumlao Ligayo, 65, Aliso Viejo, pleaded guilty on Aug. 15, 2016, to one felony count of sexual battery. He was sentenced to 360 days in county jail, three years of formal probation, and mandatory lifetime sex offender registration.

At the time of the crime, Ligayo worked as a caregiver for Salus Home Care and was hired to take care of Jane Doe and her husband in Aliso Viejo because their disabilities did not allow them to properly care for themselves.

Between January 2013 and June 2013, Ligayo sexually assaulted Jane Doe despite her numerous attempts to stop him. The victim reported the crime to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, who investigated this case, and Ligayo was arrested on June 17, 2013.

Deputy District Attorney Michael Carroll of the Sexual Assault Unit prosecuted this case.

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 13HF1991 / November 15, 2016

November 15, 2016

Four California Residents Sentenced in Scheme to Defraud Consumers Through Debt Relief Firms

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:30 am

Four defendants were sentenced today in connection with a fraudulent Orange County, California, debt relief firm, the Justice Department and U.S. Postal Inspection Service announced.  The defendants all worked at Nelson Gamble and Associates and Jackson Hunter Morris and Knight, companies that offered to settle credit card debts but instead took victims’ payments as undisclosed up-front fees.

“These scams take advantage of consumers already struggling with debt,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The Department of Justice will continue to work with its law enforcement partners to protect consumers from fraud, especially when they are targeted based on their financially vulnerable conditions.”

“We are gratified by today’s sentencing, on behalf of the many unsuspecting victims who sought financial relief, only to be further burdened by these criminals,” said Inspector in Charge Regina L. Faulkerson of Criminal Investigations, U.S. Postal Inspection Service. “We applaud the work of the Justice Department’s Consumer Protection Branch in bringing these fraudulent credit repair conspirators to justice.”

The sentences were imposed Monday by U.S. District Court Judge Dale Fischer of the Central District of California in Los Angeles.  The four defendants all previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the scheme.

Jeremy Nelson, 31, of Dana Point, California, was sentenced to serve 87 months in prison and ordered to pay $4,225,924 in restitution.  Nelson admitted to being the owner and CEO of the companies and overseeing the scheme

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Rehab Center Owner Charged With Sexual Assault, Healthcare Fraud

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:28 am

The founder of a Los Angeles drug and alcohol treatment facility has been charged with sexually assaulting nine patients as well as running a $175 million fraudulent healthcare billing scheme, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today

Christopher Bathum (dob 9/22/61) was charged in two separate cases that were filed over the past several days. He is charged in case BA451669 with three counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object, two counts of forcible oral copulation and one count each of forcible rape and rape of an intoxicated person. He also faces 27 counts of sexual exploitation and 12 counts of furnishing controlled substances.

Bathum and his chief financial officer, Kirsten Wallace (dob 4/3/73) are each charged in case BA451664 with 31 counts of money laundering, eight counts of grand theft, six counts of identity theft and five counts of insurance fraud.

Bathum and Wallace are scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

Between 2013 and 2016, Bathum is accused of sexually assaulting female patients, and in some cases, providing them with drugs as they struggled to overcome their addiction. Several of the assaults happened at the facilities that he ran, prosecutors allege.

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Long Beach Man Sentenced For Killing Stepfather, Two Assaults

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:25 am

A 23-year-old man was sentenced today to 30 years in state prison for the 2013 fatal shooting of his stepfather and two assaults on fellow inmates while in custody, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Joel Torres was sentenced by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James Otto. Torres pleaded guilty in August to one count of voluntary manslaughter, two counts of assault and one count of mayhem.

Deputy District Attorney Amy Wilton prosecuted the case.

On March 24, 2013, Torres had gotten into an argument with his stepfather, 37-year-old Rogelio Aguirre-Lopez outside the defendant’s home. Torres shot and killed the victim who died at the scene.

While awaiting trial, Torres attacked inmates on two separate occasions in April 2014 and April 2016.

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November 14, 2016

Nurse Who Operated Spa in Laguna Niguel Agrees to Plead Guilty to Illegally Dispensing Botox Not Approved for Use in United States

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

SANTA ANA, California – A registered nurse who owned and operated a day spa in Laguna Niguel has agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge related to the illegal distribution of Botox that was not approved for use in the United States.

Bridget “Gigi” Goddard, 50, of Dana Point, who owned Pure Indulgence Skin Rejuvenation in Laguna Niguel, has agreed to plead guilty to one count of receipt and delivery of a misbranded drug, a crime that carries a statutory maximum penalty of three years in federal prison.

Federal prosecutors today filed a criminal information against Goddard, as well as a plea agreement in which she agrees to plead guilty to the felony offense.

“Drugs and medical devices are regulated to protect the American public,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Those who circumvent those regulations pose a very real risk to patients who could be subject to unsafe products that can do serious harm.”

All Botox products approved for distribution in the United States by the United States Food and Drug Administration are manufactured by Allergan and must be administered under the supervision of a licensed physician. Goddard admitted in her plea agreement that, over the course of several years, she ordered Botox over the internet from Canadian companies that sold unapproved drugs to customers in the United States. (One of those companies, SB Medical Inc., pleaded guilty in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, and was ordered to pay a $45 million fine and to forfeit $30 million for smuggle misbranded pharmaceuticals into the United States.) The Botox that Goddard purchased had been manufactured for distribution in foreign nations such as Turkey and was not approved by the FDA for distribution in the United States.

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Man who Oversaw Drug Trafficking Operations of Crips Street Gang Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Racketeering Case

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

LOS ANGELES – A leading figure in the Five Deuce Broadway Gangster Crips (BGC) street gang has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to racketeering and drug trafficking charges stemming from his role as the primary narcotics supplier to the gang.

Roosevelt Sumpter, also known as “TuTu,” 43, of Los Angeles, was sentenced on Monday to 240 months in prison by United States District Judge S. James Otero. After completing his prison term, Sumpter will be on supervised release for 10 years, and during that time he will be barred from residing in the gang’s claimed South Los Angeles territory.

Sumpter pleaded guilty in July to participating in a racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to distribute crack cocaine, illegally possessing a firearm, and selling crack cocaine near schools.

Sumpter acted as a “central drug supplier” to BGC, managed the operation of the gang’s “stash houses,” and supplied these locations with crack cocaine that was given to other BGC members for street-level sales, according to a sentencing memorandum filed by prosecutors. When he pleaded guilty, Sumpter admitted unlawfully possessing firearms, including a sawed-off shotgun, in connection with his drug trafficking on three separate occasions.

“In addition to being a prolific supplier of narcotics himself, this defendant employed other BGC gang members to run stash houses and directed them to transport drugs to other sellers,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Given his longtime involvement with the gang, his strong presence in the gang’s drug activities and because he was often armed, justice has been served with the imposition of the two-decade prison sentence.”

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