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March 3, 2017

Attorney General Becerra Joins Price-Fixing Lawsuit Against Six Drug Companies

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

LOS ANGELES – Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced that California has joined a federal antitrust lawsuit with 39 other states charging six generic drug-makers with an illegal conspiracy to divide customers and markets and increase prices for two generic drugs.

The complaint alleges that the six pharmaceutical companies – Heritage Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Aurobindo Pharma USA, Inc., Citron Pharma, LLC, Mayne Pharma (USA), Inc., Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.— had a well-coordinated and long-running conspiracy to fix prices and allocate markets for doxycycline hyclate delayed release, an antibiotic, and glyburide, an oral diabetes medication. The complaint alleges that the defendants routinely coordinated their scheme through meetings with competitors at industry trade shows, customer conferences and other events, as well as through direct email, phone and text message communications. The alleged anticompetitive conduct – including efforts to fix and increase prices, allocate markets and otherwise thwart competition – caused significant, harmful and continuing effects in the country’s healthcare system.

“All consumers deserve fair and reasonable drug prices,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Today’s lawsuit represents just one small step in what will be a robust and sustained challenge to anticompetitive practices in the pharmaceutical industry.  My office is committed to combating wrongful drug company conduct on behalf of all consumers in California.”

California joined the amended complaint filed in the federal court in Connecticut today along with 39 other states (Alabama, Arizona,  Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin). The lawsuit was filed under seal in the Connecticut federal court and portions of the complaint are redacted to avoid compromising the ongoing investigation.


Two Los Angeles-Area Men Sentenced to Federal Prison for Running Mortgage Scam that Purchased Homes with ‘Straw Buyers’

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

LOS ANGELES – Two defendants linked to a mortgage fraud scheme that cost at least $2.4 million when fraudulently purchased homes went into foreclosure have been sentenced to federal prison.

The case involves a scheme to fraudulently obtain mortgages for residential properties through the use of “straw buyers” – individuals who pretend to purchase the properties and have no intention of living in the homes. In this case, the straw buyers’ personal information was used to obtain mortgages without their knowledge. The scheme was run out of JTR Real Estate, Inc., a Norwalk-based real estate brokerage company which bought, renovated and sold residential properties.

The two defendants sentenced on Monday by United States District Judge Dale S. Fischer were:

· John Martynec, 41, of Long Beach, a licensed real estate broker and co-owner of JTR, who previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and was sentenced to two years in prison; and

· Elek Andrade 32, of Downey, who also previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison.


Bell Gardens Man Associated with Mexican Mafia Sentenced to over 13 Years in Federal Prison for Distributing Meth to Street Gangs

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

LOS ANGELES – A gang member with ties to the Mexican Mafia prison gang has been sentenced to more than 13 years in federal prison for distributing methamphetamine to street gangs in Bell Gardens.

Guillermo Ruiz, known on the street as “Weasel,” 42, of Bell Gardens, was sentenced Monday to 160 months in prison by United States District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald.

In October, Ruiz pleaded guilty to all six criminal charges contained in two indictments, each of which alleged narcotics distribution. Ruiz was charged pursuant to a large-scale investigation into Bell Gardens street gangs by special agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The investigation led to a total of 15 defendants being federally prosecuted narcotics and/or firearms offenses.

Ruiz “participated in the total distribution of nearly 550 grams of methamphetamine that was seized by the government, and he is suspected of distributing even more methamphetamine based on defendant’s intercepted calls and recorded statements,” according to a sentencing memorandum filed by prosecutors. “However, defendant’s criminal activities extend beyond the drug trafficking conduct that gives rise to the underlying charges and instant convictions.”


March 2, 2017

Fifty-Five Defendants Charged in Massive Crackdown on California Heroin, Methamphetamine and Firearms Traffickers

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

Ten federal indictments unsealed today charge 55 defendants with crimes ranging from money laundering to heroin, methamphetamine and firearms trafficking in what officials have described as one of the most significant crackdowns in recent memory.

The defendants, including prominent drug dealers and documented gang members, were responsible for supplying a substantial portion of the heroin and methamphetamine distributed in North County, California.

Early this morning, more than 150 members of the North County Regional Gang Task Force plus other law enforcement agencies made numerous arrests and during the course of the investigation searched more than 20 locations in Oceanside, Vista and elsewhere in North County in California as well as Kingman, Arizona.

As of today at noon, 46 of the 55 defendants are either in federal or state custody. Fourteen were arrested this morning; the rest were arrested earlier in the week or were already in custody. Authorities are continuing to search for seven defendants; two are in Mexico. Many of the defendants are scheduled to be arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen S. Crawford at 2:00 p.m. today and tomorrow.

The yearlong investigation was led by the North County Regional Gang Task Force. It involved months of federal wiretaps, dozens of undercover drug and gun buys and extensive surveillance. Many of the defendants are documented members or associates of violent North County street gangs, including the Vista Home Boys, Varrio Fallbrook Locos, Varrio Carlsbad Locos, Encinitas Tortilla Flats, Varrio San Marcos and Escondido Viejo Diablos.



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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A Washington felon was convicted yesterday of trafficking a woman and pimping her by using a firearm to force her to solicit commercial sex. Timogen Anthony Simpson, 27, Kent, Washington, was found guilty by a jury of two felony counts each of pimping and pandering; one felony count each of human trafficking, criminal threats, assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, possession of a firearm by felon, convicted felon having a concealed firearm in a vehicle, and felon carrying a loaded firearm in public, one misdemeanor count of false imprisonment, and a sentencing enhancement for being armed with a firearm while committing criminal threats. The defendant faces a maximum sentence of over 40 years in state prison. The court will hear a bifurcated trial on Simpson’s prior felony strike convictions for second degree robbery in 2009 in King County, Washington, and a prior prison conviction for possession of a firearm by a felon in 2012 from the United States District Court, Western Division, in Washingtonat his sentencing on June 9, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-30, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Circumstances of the Case

Simpson is a pimp who exploits women for financial gain. Pimps often establish rigid rules that their victims are expected to follow including setting daily quotas that the victims are expected to fulfill. Victims are often required to turn over all payment they receive for sex acts from sex purchasers to their pimp. Failure to follow these rules can result in deprivation of food, sleep, and/or physical and/or emotional abuse.

Prior to this case, Simpson met Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 in Washington. The defendant tricked Jane Doe 1 into traveling with him and Jane Doe 2 to California. Once arriving to California, Simpson forced the victims to solicit commercial sex on the street in areas known for prostitution and human trafficking in Orange County. Simpson threatened Jane Doe 1 by telling her she would not be able to eat or sleep until she made enough money for the defendant. On one occasion, the defendant choked Jane Doe 1 when she mentioned contacting the police. On another occasion while driving, Simpson pulled out a firearm and aimed it at Jane Doe 1 and threatened to shoot the victim and her family if she left him.

On June 9, 2016, Jane Doe 1 escaped from the defendant and contacted law enforcement. Members of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF) located Simpson and arrested him.


Ex-Lynwood City Employee Pleads to Embezzling Employee Union Funds

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

A former Lynwood city employee pleaded guilty today to embezzling more than $27,000 from an employees’ union, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Eric Gonzalez, 35, entered his plea to one count of felony grand theft. He was immediately sentenced to two days in county jail, placed on formal probation for three years and ordered to complete 240 days of community service.

He also must pay $27,735 in restitution and can no longer be employed by the city of Lynwood. Gonzalez paid $20,000 today toward the restitution.

Deputy District Attorney Susan Ser of the Public Integrity Division prosecuted the case.

Between 2011 and 2012, Gonzalez served as president of the Lynwood Employees Association, a nonprofit union representing all city employees. During that period, the civil engineering technician made four unauthorized cash withdrawals totaling $27,735.


March 1, 2017


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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow for assault and insurance fraud after attacking a co-worker and falsely reporting being hit by a forklift. Randal Brown McKay, 65, Lake Forest, is charged with one felony count of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury with a sentencing enhancement for great bodily injury, three felony counts of insurance fraud, and one felony count of perjury under oath. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 11 years in state prison. McKay is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, March 1, 2017, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-55 Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

On June 6, 2014, McKay is accused of reporting to one of his managers that the victim, John Doe, tried to hit the defendant with a forklift. While management was investigating the claim, the defendant is accused of attacking Doe and striking the victim over the head with a closed fist in front of several witnesses. The victim was taken to a medical clinic where he received eight stitches and suffered from a mild concussion and blurred vision as a result of the assault. The defendant is accused of returning home to change clothes. Later the same day, McKay is accused of going to the Irvine Police Department (IPD) and reporting that he had been deliberately hit by John Doe with a forklift. IPD investigated the case and determined that the victim did not hit the defendant with a forklift.

On June 11, 2014, McKay is accused of filing a claim with CompWest Insurance Company alleging work related injuries for being struck by a forklift. On July 14, 2015, McKay is accused of committing perjury by testifying under oath during the Worker’s Compensation Appeals Board trial that he was struck by a forklift and was injured. An Administrative Law Judge determined that the defendant was not struck by a forklift and did not sustain any injuries. CompWest Insurance Company reported the fraud to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit, who investigated this case.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Pamela Leitao of the Insurance Fraud Unit is prosecuting this case.

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 16CF2752 / February 28, 2017


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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – The Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division Three (DCA), granted the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) three writ petitions filed with the DCA to disqualify Judge Thomas Goethals and ordered the cases be assigned to a different judge. This is in response to the orders issued in December 2015, by the Honorable Richard M. King, “Order Denying Motion to Disqualify Judge.” The respondent, Orange County Superior Court, filed its response to those writ petitions by the Jan. 15, 2016, deadline. The OCDA’s writ litigation was handled by by Senior Deputy District Attorneys Stephan Sauer and Brian Fitzpatrick of the Appellate & Training Unit.

Procedural Facts

On Dec. 17, 2015, the OCDA filed five writ petitions with the DCA, challenging the five rulings by Judge King denying prosecutors from utilizing their right to file a peremptory challenge. The five cases include: People v. Jesus Montes and Ismael Zacaula (Case # 12CF2292), People v. Rito Tejeda (case # 14ZF0338), People v. Ismael Avalos and George Galvan (case # 12NF1681), People v. Thomas Wilhelm (case # 12ZF0154), and People v. Aleksandar Apostolovic (case # 15ZF0002).

On Jan. 22, 2016, the OCDA filed its reply with the DCA on the five writ petitions.

On July 25, 2016, DCA ordered Orange County Superior Court to vacate its order denying OCDA’s 170.6 motion and to assign People v. Rito Tejeda to a new judge.

People v. Thomas Wilhelm went to trial in front of Judge Goethals, who did not assign the case to a different judge despite the Tejeda ruling. On Nov. 9, 2016, Wilhelm was found guilty by a jury of first degree murder. On Feb. 3, 2017, Wilhelm was sentenced to 50 years to life in state prison.


Hacienda Heights Man Sentenced to Prison for Killing Mother

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

A 47-year-old man was sentenced yesterday to 15 years to life in state prison for killing his mother and placing her body in the trunk of her car, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

At Monday’s court appearance, Clifton Huang of Hacienda Heights pleaded no contest to second degree murder in case KA103010. The defendant was immediately sentenced after his plea.

Deputy District Attorney Babette Huley of the Victim Impact Program, who prosecuted the case, said Huang was the son of victim, Vilma Chau, 63

In August 2013, Chau’s family members went to her home after she failed to show up at a gathering, the prosecutor said. The family members encountered Huang, who said he had not seen his mother for a few days. As a result, the family members left the home, according to the prosecutor.

The next day, the family members returned to the home and discovered the victim’s body in the trunk of her Mercedes-Benz. Chau was bound and tied, the prosecutor added.


February 28, 2017

Orange County Man Sentenced to 190 Years in Federal Prison for Traveling to Philippines to Molest Young Girls and Filming the Abuse

Filed under: California Chid Pornography Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:29 am

SANTA ANA, California – A onetime school teacher who traveled to the Philippines to engage in sex with two girls and produced videos of the abuse was ordered today to serve 190 years in federal prison.

Robert Ruben Ornelas, 66, of Santa Ana, who has a long history of abusing children, received the 2,280-month sentence from United States District Judge Cormac J. Carney.

During today’s hearing, Judge Carney said Ornelas molested children in a “cruel manner” and the defendant demonstrated a complete disregard for his victims’ humanity.

Ornelas was found guilty in November by a federal jury of seven counts – two counts of engaging in sexual conduct in a foreign place, three counts of producing child pornography, and two counts of possessing child pornography.

The evidence presented during a six-day trial showed that Ornelas traveled to the Philippines on multiple occasions. He was convicted in relation to three specific trips – in 2006, 2008 and 2012 – where he sexually assaulted two girls who were as young as approximately eight. During all three trips, Ornelas took videos of the molestation and brought the images with him when he returned the U.S.


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