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March 13, 2017

Felon Sentenced to Prison for Attacking Boy in Long Beach

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

A 48-year-old man was sentenced today to 22 years in state prison for assaulting a boy in a Long Beach restaurant last year, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

At today’s court appearance, Herbert Laurence Harris pleaded no contest to two felony counts in case NA103694: child abuse and kidnapping.

The defendant also admitted he was previously convicted of making criminal threats and battery by gassing in 2014.

Deputy District Attorney Kelly Kelley of the Victim Impact Program, who prosecuted the case, said on March 3, 2016, Harris followed a 13-year-old boy into a restaurant bathroom and attacked him.

The defendant put the boy into a chokehold and started to drag him into a bathroom stall when a customer walked into the bathroom and intervened to stop the assault, the prosecutor added.

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March 10, 2017

Rite Aid Corporation Pays $834,200 to Settle Allegations of Violating the Controlled Substances Act

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

LOS ANGELES – Rite Aid Corporation has paid $834,200 in civil penalties to the United States to settle claims stemming from alleged violations of the Controlled Substances Act.

Rite Aid paid the civil settlement yesterday as part of an agreement reached last week to resolve allegations that certain Rite Aid pharmacies in Los Angeles dispensed and/or recorded controlled substances using a medical practitioner’s incorrect or invalid DEA registration number. The government alleged that the incorrect or invalid registration numbers were used at least 1,298 times as a result of Rite Aid’s failure to adequately maintain its internal database.

The settlement also resolves allegations that Rite Aid pharmacies dispensed, on at least 63 occasions, prescriptions for controlled substances written by a practitioner whose DEA registration number had been revoked by the DEA for cause.

In 1970, the United States Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which created “a closed system” of distribution for controlled substances. The CSA established a regulatory framework to control every facet of the handling of the substances, from their manufacture to their consumption.

The CSA became law against the against the backdrop of increasing diversion and abuse of legitimate controlled substances, but the law was also designed to ensure an adequate supply of those substances needed to meet the medical and scientific needs of the United States.

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Customs Officer Sentenced to 37 Months in Prison for Stealing Checks and Money Orders from International Mail Facility in Torrance

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

LOS ANGELES – A longtime U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer was sentenced on Monday to over three years in federal prison for stealing checks and money orders from international mail and depositing those items into bank accounts.

Carlos Canjura, 54, of Van Nuys, was sentenced on Monday to 37 months in prison by United States District Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell. In addition to the prison term, Judge O’Connell ordered Canjura to pay $20,145 in restitution.

A federal jury in November found Canjura guilty of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, four counts of bank fraud and four counts of possession of stolen mail.

Canjura was a CBP Officer assigned to the International Mail Facility in Torrance, where his duties included inspecting mail and parcels arriving from other countries for narcotics, counterfeit goods, and possible fraudulent checks and negotiable instruments. The evidence presented during the three-day trial showed that Canjura used his position to steal personal checks, traveler’s checks and money orders from international mail.

Over the course of a year, Canjura stole more than 108 checks and money orders with a cumulative value of $249,212. He worked with co-conspirators to deposit those stolen checks and money orders, often fraudulently altering the checks before depositing them through ATMs or mobile phone applications.

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Former CEO of Hollywood Payroll Company Sentenced to Two Years in Federal Prison in Tax Case Related to Purloined Company Funds

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

RIVERSIDE, California – The former CEO of Axium International, Inc., a leading Hollywood payroll services company until it collapsed in 2008, has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for defrauding the Internal Revenue Service by failing to report as income millions of dollars he skimmed from company coffers.

John Visconti, 74, of Beverly Hills, was sentenced on Monday by United States District Judge Jesus G. Bernal, who also ordered the defendant to pay $1.75 million in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

Visconti was convicted by a federal jury in October of tax evasion, conspiracy to defraud the IRS, and filing a false tax return.

Axium was one of the largest payroll services companies serving the entertainment industry, and its client list included studios, Fortune 500 companies and broadcasters. At its height, Axium’s gross revenues were well over $1 billion per year. As the payroll services provider and employer of record for its client entities, Axium regularly submitted payroll tax returns to the IRS and to the taxing authorities of several states. In some cases, those tax returns generated substantial refunds, which were supposed to be held in trust by Axium.

As the result of gross mismanagement, Axium collapsed in 2008 after revelations that its tax delinquencies exceeded $100 million. These tax delinquencies resulted in the IRS assessing a $15 million recovery penalty against Visconti.

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March 9, 2017

Alleged Drug Courier from Detroit Arrested on Federal Charge of Attempting to Smuggle Cocaine Through LAX

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

LOS ANGELES – A 28-year-old woman arrested early this morning at Los Angeles International Airport has been charged with trying to smuggle at least a kilogram of cocaine to her hometown of Detroit.

Kennsha Mason, 28, was arrested by special agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration after boarding a Spirit Airlines flight. Mason is scheduled to make her first court appearance this afternoon United States District Court.

A criminal complaint filed this morning alleges the narcotics were discovered in Mason’s luggage after she checked in for a flight bound for Baltimore, which was a layover on a trip to Detroit. After seeing something suspicious in one of the bags during an image scan, the Transportation Security Administration inspected the bag, and discovered three individually wrapped items that were vacuum sealed and wrapped with a layer of carbon paper.

Los Angeles Airport Police responded to the scene, located Mason on her Spirit Airlines flight, and escorted her off the airplane. During a subsequent interview, Mason admitted to DEA special agents that she had previously transported drugs from Los Angeles to Detroit on four or five occasions, and that she was paid $3,500 each time she transported narcotics to Detroit. During the interview recounted in the affidavit, Mason stated that she was working for an individual in Detroit who purchased Mason’s airline tickets and directed Mason to a residence in Pasadena, where she obtained the drugs to be delivered to Detroit.

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Inland Empire Man Sentenced to 14 Years in Federal Prison for Possessing Child Pornography while on Probation in a Similar Case

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

LOS ANGELES – A Murietta man has been sentenced to 14 years in federal prison for possession of child pornography, an offense he committed while on probation after being convicted of similar conduct in a state case.

Anthony Michael Scotti, 21, of Murrieta, yesterday received the 168-month sentence from United States District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez.

Scotti pleaded guilty in the federal case last April, admitting he had more than 1,000 images and videos of child pornography on an iPod and that he used the KIK messaging app to distribute images of children engaged in sex acts with adults.

In the plea agreement filed in this case, Scotti also admitted that he used text messages to convince a 15-year-old girl in another state to take sexually explicit pictures and send them to him.

Scotti committed the federal offense while on probation after being convicted in Riverside Superior Court about six months earlier of distribution/exhibition of lewd material to a minor.

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FELON CHARGED WITH PIMPING AND PANDERING WOMAN WHILE OUT ON BAIL

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A felon was charged yesterday with pimping and pandering a woman while out on bail for another pimping-related crime. Rico Christopher Clayton, 29, Carson, is charged with one felony count each of pimping and pandering by procuring with sentencing enhancements for crime-bail-crime and prior strike convictions for first degree burglary in 2007 in Orange County. If convicted, Clayton faces a maximum of 15 years in state prison.

Circumstances of the Case

Clayton is accused of being a pimp who exploits women for financial gain. The victims are required to turn over all payment they receive for sex acts from sex purchasers to their pimp.

At the time of the crime, Clayton was out of custody on bail for another pimping-related case in Los Angeles County from March 2016.

Prior to Feb. 8, 2017, the defendant is accused of recruiting the victim, Jane Doe, to engage in commercial sex for his benefit in areas known for prostitution in Orange County. Clayton is accused of posting sexually explicit advertisements of the victim on websites known for soliciting commercial sex. The defendant is accused of keeping the money Jane Doe received from sex purchasers for himself.

On Feb. 8, 2017, members of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF) contacted Jane Doe through an advertisement that was posted on a website known for prostitution and arranged to meet with the victim. Clayton is accused of dropping off the victim at a motel in Fullerton in order to meet with the undercover officer. During their investigation, the defendant is accused of calling and texting the victim. Clayton is accused of sending text messages to the victim containing language consistent with pimping the victim.

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March 8, 2017

Orange County Man Who Owned Rehab Clinic in Walnut Sentenced to 63 Months in Federal Prison for Role in Occupational Therapy Fraud Scheme

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

LOS ANGELES – The operator of rehabilitation clinic in Walnut was sentenced today to 63 months in prison for his role in a $3.4 million Medicare fraud scheme that involved billing for occupational therapy services that were not medically necessary and not provided.

Simon Hong, 55, of Brea, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge George H. Wu, who also ordered the defendant to pay $2,407,857 in restitution. Hong pleaded guilty on December 15 to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker and Special Agent in Charge Christian J. Schrank of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Los Angeles Regional Office made the announcement.

“This defendant has now been convicted and sentenced to federal prison in two separate schemes that cost taxpayers millions of dollars,” said United States Attorney Decker. “This type of fraudulent conduct is a burden on the entire health care system, drives up costs for patients and compromises the delivery of services to people who legitimately need care.”

In addition to today’s sentence, Hong was sentenced in January to over 10 years in prison in a separate case. The 63-month sentence imposed today by Judge Wu will run concurrently to the sentence imposed by Judge Carter.

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Federal Case Charges San Bernardino County Father and Son in Conspiracy to Steal Cash from the U.S. Postal Service

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

RIVERSIDE, California – A father and son have been arrested and charged in federal court in connection with a robbery late last week at a United States Postal Service facility in Victorville.

According to court documents filed on Friday, the father and son – Corey Parker Sr., 46, and Corey Parker Jr., 23, both of Adelanto – also are suspects in a series of Postal truck robberies across Southern California that has caused more than $400,000 in losses.

The Parkers were charged Friday in a criminal complaint filed in United States District Court. The complaint charges both men with conspiracy to rob the Victorville Post Office on Thursday night.

According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaints, the pair also are believed to have committed a string of postal truck robberies over the last 18 months – thefts that occurred while the trucks were moving or otherwise in transit. During those robberies, the thieves jumped on the back of a postal truck and opened the rear door to steal the truck’s contents, specifically registered mail that included cash, checks and money orders.

The Parkers made their initial court appearances on Friday afternoon, and United States Magistrate Judge Sheri Pym ordered them detained – held without bond – pending trial. A preliminary hearing in this case was scheduled for March 17, and the two men are scheduled to be arraigned on March 22.

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GANG MEMBER LINKED TO ROBBERY THROUGH DNA ON CAR WINDOW CONVICTED OF ATTEMPTED MURDER AND ROBBERY

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A Santa Ana criminal street gang member was convicted today of robbing a couple at gunpoint outside of their home to steal their car after being linked to the crime through DNA using the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) local DNA database. Francisco Alberto Rodriguez, 27, Santa Ana, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count each of attempted murder, second degree robbery, second degree vehicle burglary, possession of a firearm by a felon, and street terrorism. Sentencing enhancements for criminal street gang activity, personal use of a firearm, and gang member vicarious use of a firearm were also found to be true. The defendant faces a maximum sentence of 29 years to life in state prison at his sentencing on April 28, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-29, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Co-defendant Jesus Humberto Mejia, 37, Santa Ana, a member of the same gang as Rodriguez, was found guilty by a jury on Aug. 18, 2015, of two felony counts each of attempted murder, first degree residential burglary, attempted first degree robbery, and possession of a firearm by a felon, and one felony count each of second degree vehicular burglary, second degree robbery, and street terrorism. Sentencing enhancements for criminal street gang activity, personal use of a firearm, and gang member vicarious use of a firearm were also found to be true. Mejia has two prior strike convictions for first degree residential burglary and active participation in a criminal street gang in 2007. The defendant was sentenced on Dec. 18, 2015, to an indeterminate term of 44 years to life and 62 determinate years in state prison.

Circumstances of the Case

On the night of Dec. 6, 2009, Rodriguez and Mejia entered a carport garage in Santa Ana belonging to a 43-year-old man and his 39-year-old wife. The defendants attempted to steal the victims’ car or its contents by breaking the car window.

The victims came outside upon hearing the noise in their carport. Rodriguez, who was seated in the car, stepped out of the vehicle and pointed a shotgun at the couple. Rodriguez pulled the trigger, but the firearm did not fire. Mejia stood near the car and pointed a handgun at the victims.

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