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May 17, 2017

U.S. Intervenes in Second ‘Whistleblower’ Lawsuit Alleging UnitedHealth Mischarged the Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Programs

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

LOS ANGELES – For the second time in two weeks, the United States this afternoon filed a complaint against UnitedHealth Group Inc. that alleges the company knowingly obtained inflated risk adjustment payments based on untruthful and inaccurate information about the health status of beneficiaries enrolled in UnitedHealth’s Medicare Advantage Plans throughout the United States.

Today’s action follows the government’s filing of a complaint earlier this month in United States ex rel. Swoben v. Secure Horizons, a related action that also alleges UnitedHealth submitted false claims for payment to the Medicare Program.

United Health is the nation’s largest Medicare Advantage Organization, with more than 50 Medicare Advantage and Drug Prescription plans providing healthcare services and prescription drug benefits to millions of Medicare beneficiaries throughout the United States. UnitedHealth receives a monthly “risk adjustment” payment from Medicare for each enrolled beneficiary. The risk adjustment payments are based, in significant part, on the health status of the beneficiary, which are reflected by diagnosis that UnitedHealth receives from treating physicians and subsequently submits to Medicare for each beneficiary.

The complaint filed today by the United States alleges that UnitedHealth knowingly disregarded information about beneficiaries’ medical conditions, which increased the risk adjustment payments the company received from Medicare. In particular, the lawsuit contends that, for many years, UnitedHealth conducted a national Chart Review Program designed to identify additional diagnoses not reported by treating physicians that would increase its risk adjustment payments. However, UnitedHealth allegedly ignored information from these chart reviews showing that hundreds of thousands of diagnoses provided by treating physicians and submitted by it to Medicare were invalid and did not support the Medicare payments it had previously requested and obtained. By ignoring this information, UnitedHealth avoided repaying Medicare monies to which it was not entitled.


May 16, 2017


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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A Colorado man will be arraigned today for the 1994 cold case murder of two strangers in Huntington Beach.

Defendant Charges Maximum Sentence Court Date
Lamberto Ricci Castillo, 64, Alamosa, Colo. Charged on April 27, 2017, with:

  • Two felony counts of murder

Sentencing Enhancements:

  • (2) Use of a firearm
  • Additional 187 charge
Life in state prison Arraignment

May 15, 2017, 10:00 a.m.

Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana

There will be further details regarding this case released at a press conference, which is scheduled for Monday, May 15, 2017, at 2:00 p.m. The press conference will be held at City Hall next to City Council Chambers, located at 2000 Main Street, Huntington Beach, California 92648.

Circumstances of the Case

  • On the evening of March 31, 1994, Kenny Paul Sommer, 23, and Chen ‘Cosmo’ Maui Blanchard, 23, were socializing in downtown Huntington Beach.
  • The defendant is accused of verbally confronting Sommer and Blanchard as they urinating in the street near the area of Main Street and Orange Avenue.
  • Castillo is accused of walking away after the argument and returning at approximately 10:15 p.m. with a handgun.
  • An off-duty police officer witnessed the confrontation but not the shooting,
  • Castillo is accused of shooting Sommer and Blanchard multiple times before fleeing the scene.
  • Huntington Beach Police Department (HBPD) officers responded to multiple calls concerning shots fired in the area of Main Street and Orange Avenue and discovered Sommer and Blanchard lying on the ground.
  • Both victims were pronounced dead at the scene.



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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was sentenced to nine years and eight months in state prison today for kidnapping and threatening a woman that he had a romantic relationship with after carving his name on her chest.

Defendant Charges Sentence
Sergio Joaquin Mendoza, 27, Santa Ana Found guilty by a jury on March 9, 2017, of:

Felony counts:

  • Kidnapping
  • Criminal threats
  • False imprisonment by violence, menace, fraud, or deceit
  • (2) Domestic battery with corporal injury

Misdemeanor counts:

  • False imprisonment by violence, menace, fraud, or deceit

Sentencing Enhancement:

  • Causing great bodily injury
Nine years and eight months in state prison

Circumstances of the Case

  • Between March 17, 2015, and March 20, 2015, Mendoza engaged in multiple verbal arguments with Jane Doe and punched her on several occasions.
  • The defendant forced Jane Doe to sit in his car while he was at work and threatened her with violence in order to keep her from leaving the car.
  • On or about March 22, 2015, the defendant told the victim he would let her leave if she allowed him to carve his name onto her chest. Mendoza used a razor blade to carve his first name onto the victim’s chest and forced the victim to stay in the house.
  • Later that evening, the defendant forced the victim into his vehicle and drove her to several parking lots in Santa Ana.
  • Mendoza held the victim against her will in his vehicle by intimidating and threatening her with violence if she attempted to leave the vehicle.
  • On March 23, 2015, Mendoza punched Jane Doe in the face, attempted to strangle the victim by putting his hands around her neck, head-butted her in the face, and tried to hold her in the vehicle by grabbing her arm.
  • The victim was able to escape the defendant’s car and run to a local business where she reported the crime to an employee and called 911.



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

SANTA ANA, Calif – A man was sentenced to 52 years to life in state prison today for stabbing and murdering his mother’s boyfriend outside of a residence in Anaheim.

Defendant Charges Sentence
Ruben Martinez, 29, Anaheim Found guilty by a jury on March 3, 2017, of:

  • One felony count of first degree murder

Sentencing Enhancement:

  • Personal use of a deadly weapon

52 years to life in state prison

Circumstances of the Case:

  • At approximately 8:00 p.m. on Nov. 16, 2014, Martinez stabbed 52-year-old Maximino F. multiple times in the torso region while they were outside a home in a neighborhood in unincorporated Anaheim.
  • The crime was reported to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) who arrived at the scene and discovered the victim’s body on a street near the home.
  • The victim died as a result of his injuries. OCSD arrested the defendant at the scene.

Prosecutor: Senior Deputy District Attorney Keith Burke, Homicide Unit.

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 14NF4890 / May 12, 2017

May 15, 2017

Former L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca Sentence to 3 Years in Federal Prison for Leading Scheme to Obstruct Investigation into Jails

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

LOS ANGELES – Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, who was convicted of overseeing a scheme designed to obstruct a federal investigation into corruption and civil rights abuses at county jail facilities, was sentenced today to 36 months in federal prison.

Baca, 74, who also was found guilty of lying to federal investigators, was sentenced this morning by United States District Judge Percy Anderson.

Judge Anderson, who presided over a series of trials that led to the conviction of 10 former members of the Sheriff’s Department involved in the scheme to obstruct justice, said Baca “knew what he was doing was wrong, and he had no problem using his office to further his own agenda.”

Judge Anderson ordered Baca to begin serving his sentence by July 25. In addition to the prison term, the judge ordered Baca to pay a $7,500 fine.

“Blind obedience to a corrupt culture has serious consequences,” Judge Anderson said.


Former MLB Player Doug DeCinces and an Associate Found Guilty of Insider Trading Offenses for Using Non-Public Info to Trade Stocks

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

SANTA ANA, California – A federal jury today convicted former professional baseball player Douglas DeCinces of insider trading charges for using non-public information to purchase stock in an Orange County company in transactions that netted him $1.3 million in profits.

A second man who illegally took the insider information from DeCinces – David Parker – was also found guilty today of violating federal securities laws.

The guilty verdicts follow a trial that lasted nearly two months in United States District Court.

As a result of the guilty verdicts, DeCinces, 66, of Laguna Beach, and Parker, 65, of Provo, Utah, respectively face statutory maximum penalties of 220 years and 60 years in federal prison.

United States District Judge Andrew J. Guilford will schedule a status conference in the coming weeks to discuss future proceedings in the case, including sentencing hearings.



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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A graffiti-tagging crew member was sentenced to 16 years to life in state prison today for the stabbing-murder of a 12-year-old boy who was walking home from school.

Defendant Charges Sentence
Bryan Ocampo, 24, Anaheim Found guilty by a jury on Dec. 19, 2016, of:

  • One felony count of second-degree murder

Sentencing Enhancement:

  • Personal use of a knife
  • 16 years to life in state prison
  • Ordered to pay restitution

Circumstances of the Case

  • At the time of the crime, Ocampo was an 18-year-old member of a graffiti-tagging crew.
  • On the afternoon of June 13, 2011, the victim, 12-year-old Juan Martinez, was walking home from Sycamore Junior High School on La Palma Avenue in Anaheim, where he was a student.
  • Ocampo walked up to the victim and engaged in a physical altercation with him.
  • The defendant pulled out a knife that was concealed on his personand stabbed Martinez in the abdomen two times and once in the chest.
  • The victim ran away from Ocampo and collapsed due to his injuries.
  • Anaheim Police Department (APD) officers arrived at the scene and found the victim in the parking lot of an apartment complex.
  • Martinez was transported to University of California, Irvine Medical Center in Orange, where he died as a result of the stab wounds.
  • Witnesses at the scene identified Ocampo, who was arrested later that night by APD.


May 12, 2017

Attorney General Becerra Announces Approval of $66M for California in Settlement with Volkswagen

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

SACRAMENTO – This morning, Judge Charles Breyer of the United States District Court for Northern District of California approved a $250 million settlement with Volkswagen over its “defeat device” software to bypass emissions controls in its 3.0 liter diesel vehicles. The settlement was negotiated by attorneys and technical experts from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Justice, California Air Resources Board (CARB), and California Attorney General’s Office.

California will receive $66 million from this settlement among the United States, California, and Volkswagen. Of this amount, $41 million will go to air quality mitigation projects selected by CARB and $25 million will fund CARB programs that help replace polluting cars with zero emission vehicles. Volkswagen is also required to buy back or modify 85 percent of its polluting vehicles in California and provide fair compensation to owners.

“There is no excuse for what those at Volkswagen did,” said Attorney General Xavier Becerra. “They lied to consumers and environmental regulators. They cheated on emissions tests. They did harm to our environment.

They put profits before people, and that’s inexcusable. Today’s action should serve as further warning to wrongdoers who believe they can run and hide – we will hold you accountable.”

“I want to thank Senior Assistant Attorney General Nicklas Akers, Supervising Deputy Attorney General Judith Fiorentini, Deputy Attorneys General Jon Worm and Laurel Carnes, and their colleagues in our Consumer Law, Environment, and Natural Resources Law Sections, for their efforts to protect California’s consumers and environment in this case,” added Attorney General Becerra.


Two Drivers Charged in Fatal Torrance Crash

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

Two drivers who were reportedly involved in a hit-and-run crash have been charged with killing another motorist after both allegedly ran a red light in Torrance, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Ryan Gould said Darryl Leander Hicks Jr. (dob 5/25/88) of Los Angeles and Tung Ming (dob 8/10/95) of Rancho Palos Verdes both are charged with one felony count each of vehicular manslaughter and reckless driving on a highway causing injuries and death.

Hicks also is charged with one felony count each of hit-and-run driving resulting in death or serious to another person and hit-and-run driving resulting in injury to another person and one misdemeanor count each of hit-and-run driving resulting in property damage and driving when privilege suspended or revoked.

Case YA095989 includes allegations that Hicks fled the scene and Ming personally inflicted great bodily injury in the vehicular manslaughter count.

Arraignment is scheduled today in Department 4 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Torrance Branch.


Palmdale Babysitter Found Guilty of Killing Baby

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

A babysitter was found guilty today of assaulting a 4-month-old boy who later succumbed to his injuries, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Brittany Ann Ingrassi, 31, of Palmdale was found guilty of one count each of second-degree murder, assault on a child becoming comatose, child abuse and assault on a child causing death.

The jury also found true allegations that Ingrassi personally inflicted great bodily injury on the victim and he was under the age of five.

Sentencing is scheduled on June 2 in Department A17 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Antelope Valley Branch. The defendant faces 25 years to life in state prison.


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