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September 29, 2016

Lancaster Man Sentenced and Ordered to Pay More Than $1 Million for Illegally Uploading Screeners of ‘The Revenant’ and ‘The Peanuts Movie’

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

LOS ANGELES – A Lancaster man was sentenced yesterday in federal court for criminal copyright infringement for illegally posting screener versions of two movies – “The Revenant” and “The Peanuts Movie” – to a publicly accessible website. As a result of the illegal upload, “The Revenant” was available for download six days before its limited release in theaters and more than 1 million people were able to download the film within a six-week period, which caused Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation to suffer losses of well over $1 million.

William Kyle Morarity, 31, who used the screen name “clutchit,” pled guilty earlier this year to felony copyright infringement and was sentenced this week by United States District Court Judge Stephen V. Wilson to eight months’ home detention and 24 months’ probation. He was also ordered to pay $1.12 million in restitution to Twentieth Century Fox.

Morarity agreed to assist the FBI in the production of a public service announcement to assist the government in educating the public about the harms of copyright infringement and the illegal uploading of movies that are the legal property of the movie studio.

Morarity obtained the screeners without authorization while at work on a studio lot. He copied the screeners onto a portable drive and uploaded the movies from his home computer on December 17 and 19, 2015, to a BitTorrent website called “Pass the Popcorn,” which allowed downloading via a peer-to-peer network.

“The film industry creates thousands of jobs in Southern California,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “The defendant’s illegal conduct caused significant harm to the victim movie studio. The fact that the defendant stole these films while working on the lot of a movie studio makes his crime more egregious.”

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Defendant in Los Angeles-Area Synthetic Drug Ring Sentenced to 16 Months in Federal Prison for Manufacture and Distribution of ‘Spice’

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

LOS ANGELES – A Glendale man has been sentenced to 16 months in federal prison for his role in the large-scale manufacture and distribution of synthetic drugs that are commonly called “spice.”

Yesterday afternoon, Faisal Iqbal, 34, one of 16 defendants arrested in connection with a synthetic drug ring operating out of Los Angeles, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Manuel L. Real. Iqbal and his co-conspirators were charged with conspiring to manufacture and distribute synthetic cannabinoids, which are designed to mimic the effects of THC, the psychoactive agent in marijuana, and with structuring financial transactions. Iqbal pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute synthetic cannabinoids and to structuring a financial transaction to avoid a reporting requirement.

“Although these are called ‘synthetic’ drugs, the dangers they pose are very real,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Without controls on the ingredients and manufacture of these drugs, the defendant’s products could cause severe harm to users, including death.”

Over the past several years, the DEA has identified more than 400 new designer drugs in the United States – most of which are manufactured in rogue labs in China and sold on the Internet or in retail outlets such as smoke shops, gas station convenience stores and bodegas. These substances are generally sold in brightly colored packaging, marketed to young people, and billed as “safe” alternatives to marijuana or dangerous party drugs such as MDMA (ecstasy). The synthetic drugs are commonly marked with the disclaimer “not for human consumption” and/or “DEA compliant” which is an attempt to shield distributors from prosecution. Abuse of these psychoactive substances has resulted in increasing numbers of overdose incidents, emergency room visits and even deaths.

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September 28, 2016

Orange County Man Sentenced to 30 Years in Federal Prison for Conspiring to Join ISIL and Engaging in Fraud

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

SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA – An Orange County man who attempted to travel to the Middle East to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was sentenced this afternoon to 30 years in federal prison for conspiring and attempting to provide material support to the terrorist organization.

United States District Judge David O. Carter imposed the sentence on defendant Nader Elhuzayel, 25 of Anaheim, following a two-week federal trial that ended in June when a federal jury returned guilty verdicts against Elhuzayel and co-defendant Muhanad Badawi after deliberating for just over an hour. When imposing sentence, Judge Carter said of Elhuzayel, “There’s no remorse, no repudiation of ISIL, only death and destruction.” Judge Carter also commented that the fact that the defendant made repeated calls for martyrdom “makes [him] especially dangerous.” In addition to the 360-month sentence, Judge Carter ordered supervised release for life.

In addition to the terrorism counts, the jury also found Elhuzayel guilty of committing 26 counts of bank fraud and found Badawi guilty of one count of financial aid fraud.

“Today’s sentence reflects the gravity of the defendant’s plan to betray his country and join a terrorist organization dedicated to the murder of innocent individuals,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “As this case shows, the ability of individuals with the desire to support ISIL to use the Internet and social media to conspire with each other poses a grave threat to our national security. So-called ‘foreign fighters’ like this defendant pose a serious danger both overseas and here at home.  There can be no doubt that law enforcement’s disruption of their plans saved lives, both in the United States and abroad.”

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American Living in Australia Charged in Securities Fraud Case Involving Scheme to Fraudulently Inflate by Nearly $100 Million the Cost of Santa Monica Software Company Being Purchased by Computer Sciences Corp.

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

LOS ANGELES – A former executive at Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) was charged today in federal court with participating in a scheme to fraudulently generate revenue for a software company that was being purchased by Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), which was misled into paying a $98 million incentive bonus as a result of the scheme.

Keith Hunter, 62, of Surrey Hills, Australia, a United States citizen who was the executive general manager in charge of infrastructure and operations at CBA, was named in a two-count criminal information filed this morning. The information charges Hunter with two counts – conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud, and wire fraud.

The information alleges a scheme in which Hunter and several co-conspirators in Australia and the United States developed a plan to defraud CSC by inflating revenues for a Santa Monica-based company that CSC was purchasing – ServiceMesh, Inc., which provided cloud computer management software. In the scheme, members of the conspiracy in late 2013 and early 2014 caused CBA to purchase $10 million in goods and services from ServiceMesh. According to the court documents filed today, CBA employees, including Hunter, received undisclosed kickbacks from a senior executive of ServiceMesh in exchange for awarding the $10 million in contracts to ServiceMesh.

“Schemes like the one charged today compromise the integrity of our financial system, and this defendant’s fraud caused significant harm to CSC and its shareholders, all for his own personal profit,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Everyone who invests in American companies, especially American workers investing their hard-earned money directly or through a retirement plan, deserves protection from this kind of fraud.”

Solely as a result of the scheme described in the information, ServiceMesh reached a performance goal that triggered CSC to pay a $98 million “earnout payment” to ServiceMesh shareholders in March 2014. The information alleges that a portion of the “earnout payment” received by the senior executive of ServiceMesh who was involved in the scheme funded the kickbacks paid to CBA employees, including payments to Hunter of approximately $630,000.

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DMV EMPLOYEE CONVICTED OF ILLEGALLY TAKING PUBLIC FUNDS FOR PERSONAL USE THROUGH FRAUDULENT VEHICLE REGISTRATION TRANSACTIONS

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) employee was convicted and sentenced today for illegally taking money from vehicle registration fees for personal use through fraudulent transactions. Sunila Dang, 48, Diamond Bar, pleaded guilty today, Sept. 27, 2016, to five felony counts of misappropriation of public funds and five felony counts of altering public documents. Pursuant to the court’s offer, Dang was sentenced to six months in jail to be served in home confinement and restitution.

At the time of the crime, Dang worked as an employee at the DMV in Placentia. Between Jan. 31, 2014, and Feb. 28, 2014, Dang processed cars to be “junked.” If cash was previously paid toward the car’s registrataion fees, but the registration was never completed, then those credits became state money at the time a vehicle was registered as junked.

On five separate occasions, when a cash paying customer, who had no connection to the junked car with a credit, brought in a car or group of cars (bundled cars) for registration, Dang temporarily transferred ownership to include the junked car into the bundled cars. This allowed her to access the existing credit on the junked car.

She used the credit from the junked vehicle to pay the DMV fees of the bundled cars and kept the money for herself that the customer believed was being used to pay for the registration fees. After the transaction was cleared, Dang finalized the junked vehicle transaction after the credit had been removed. She stole over $2,200 through these transactions. The DMV Investigations Division investigated this case.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Brock Zimmon of the Special Prosecutions prosecuted this case.

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September 27, 2016

MAN ARRAIGNED FOR PIMPING, PANDERING, THREATENING TO KILL TWO WOMEN, AND ATTEMPTING TO MURDER ONE OF THEM

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was arraigned today for pimping, pandering, threatening to kill two women, and attempting to murder one of them at a motel in Anaheim. Deandre Henderson, 26, Tustin, is charged with one felony count of attempted murder, one felony count of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, one felony count of first degree residential burglary of an inhabited dwelling, two felony counts of criminal threats, one felony count of pimping, and two felony counts of pandering. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison. He is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on Oct. 26, 2016, at 8:30 a.m. in Department N-12, North Justice Center, Fullerton.

Circumstances of the Case

Henderson is accused of being a pimp who exploits women for financial gain. Pimps often establish rigid rules that their victims are expected to follow including requiring victims to speak only when spoken to, address the pimp as “Sir” or “Daddy,” and setting daily quotas that the victims are expected to fulfill. The 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 and/or physical and/or emotional abuse.

Between July 1, 2016, and July 17, 2016, Henderson is accused of pandering Jane Doe 1, who is originally from Washington, and pimping and pandering Jane Doe 2 in areas of Orange County known for human trafficking and commercial sex. The defendant is accused of keeping money Jane Doe 2 received from sex purchasers for his benefit. Both victims left the defendant in July.

Between Aug. 17, 2016, and Sept. 17, 2016, Henderson is accused of threatening to kill Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2.

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September 26, 2016

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Files Lawsuit Against Pharmaceutical Company for Inflating Prices for Opioid Addiction Treatment

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

LOS ANGELES – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced that California, along with 34 other states and the District of Columbia, has filed a lawsuit against Indivior, a British pharmaceutical company, and MonoSol, an Indiana film technology company, for antitrust violations.

The complaint, filed today in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, alleges that Indivior and MonoSol engaged in a multi-pronged “product-hopping” scheme to block competition to Suboxone, an opioid addiction treatment, ultimately generating almost one billion dollars in undeserved profits.  In this kind of scheme, pharmaceutical companies try to maintain profits generated via a monopoly by slightly reformulating their product in a way that blocks generic competitors without offering any significant medical or therapeutic advantages to patients.

“When prescription drug companies unlawfully manipulate the marketplace to maximize profits, they put lives at risk and drive up the cost of healthcare for everyone.  Indivior and Monosol flagrantly violated the law, deceiving doctors and patients and shutting down generic competition in order to rake in profits,” said Attorney General Harris. “These companies must be held accountable for this unlawful scheme that cost the public nearly a billion dollars and hampered fair competition in the marketplace.”

Indivior, then known as Reckitt Benckiser, was granted FDA approval in 2002 for Suboxone tablets, along with exclusive rights to sell the drug for seven years based on representations that it was unlikely to recover its investment in the drug.  During this time, Indivior generated over a billion dollars in sales of the Suboxone tablets.

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MAN SENTENCED TO RECEIVE DEATH PENALTY FOR DOUBLE EXECUTION-MURDER OF NEIGHBOR AND NEIGHBOR’S FRIEND FOR FINANCIAL GAIN

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was formally sentenced today to receive the death penalty for using a firearm to murder his neighbor for financial gain and murdering the victim’s friend in an effort to derail the investigation by framing the first victim. Daniel Patrick Wozniak, 32, Costa Mesa, was found guilty by a jury on Dec. 16, 2015, of with two felony counts of special circumstances murder with sentencing enhancements for committing multiple murders and murder for financial gain. The sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death was also found true. The jury recommended the death penalty on Jan. 11, 2016.

This case was investigated by the Costa Mesa Police Department (CMPD) and was prosecuted by Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy of the Homicide Unit.

Circumstances of the Crime

Prior to May 21, 2010, Wozniak plotted the murder of his neighbor, 26-year-old Samuel Herr, who lived in the same apartment complex with the intention of stealing the victim’s substantial savings. On the afternoon of May 21, 2010, Wozniak lured Herr from their Costa Mesa apartment complex and driving him to the theater facility at the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base. Wozniak was familiar with the theater because he had previously acted in plays at that location.

Once inside the theater, Wozniak murdered Herr by shooting him twice in the head with the intention of stealing the victim’s savings. He then left Herr’s body in the theater and stole the victim’s ATM card, wallet, and cell phone.

Later that evening, Wozniak used Herr’s cell phone to text message Herr’s friend, 23-year-old Juri “Julie” Kibuishi. Wozniak was acquainted with Kibuishi and was her “friend” on Facebook. Wozniak pretended to be Herr in the text messages and arranged with Kibuishi to come to Herr’s Costa Mesa apartment.

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Last Defendant Sentenced in Pomona Residential Robbery, Attempted Murder Case

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

A 21-year-old woman was sentenced today to five years in state prison for robbing a man, which led to the victim being shot, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office announced.

On Jan. 28, a jury convicted Shatera Latrice Simpson of first-degree residential robbery in case KA107699. Jurors also found true a principle armed allegation.

On Sept. 20, Simpson’s co-defendant, Carlos Smith, 24, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted murder in the same case. On the day of his plea, Smith was sentenced to life in state prison.

Deputy District Attorney Lauren Guber, who prosecuted the case, said at the time of the crime Simpson was working as a prostitute and Smith was her pimp.

On Sept. 26, 2014, Smith followed Simpson as she visited a man in his Pomona home. While Simpson was in the home, Smith broke into the house, confronted the man and demanded money from him, the prosecutor said.

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September 23, 2016

Los Angeles Jury Convicts Medical Clinic Owner for Health Care Fraud and Tax Fraud

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

A federal jury in Los Angeles convicted the owner of a medical clinic for his role in a health care fraud scheme and for filing false income tax returns.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker of the Central District of California, Assistant Director in Charge Deirdre Fike of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, Acting Special Agent in Charge Anthony J. Orlando of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation’s (IRS-CI) Los Angeles Field Office and Special Agent in Charge Scott Rezendes of the Office of Personnel Management Office of Inspector General (OPM-OIG) Field Operations made the announcement.

Michael Huynh, 66, of Northridge, California, was convicted on Sept. 21, 2016, of one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud and 11 counts of filing false tax returns after a seven-day trial before U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II of the Central District of California.  Huynh will be sentenced on Jan. 30, 2017.

Evidence introduced at trial showed that Huynh, the office manager and part-owner of a medical clinic, provided false prescriptions to a pharmacist and co-conspirator, Farhad N. Dany Sharim, who submitted false claims to insurance companies for drugs that were never dispensed.  Once Sharim received payments from the insurance companies, he paid Huynh for the false prescriptions.  Trial evidence showed that between January 2004 and November 2009, Huynh received 82 checks from Sharim totaling over $1.1 million.   Evidence at trial also demonstrated that Huynh filed false federal tax returns for tax years 2007 through 2011 that underreported the medical clinic’s gross receipts and sales on the corporate tax returns and total income on the individual tax returns.  Trial evidence showed underreported income of over $1.6 million.

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