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December 21, 2012

ATTORNEY, ACCOUNTANT, AND TWO ADMINISTRATORS SENTENCED TO PRISON FOR REVENUE AND TAX CHARGES IN $154 MILLION MEDICAL INSURANCE FRAUD SCHEME

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , , — fayarfa @ 4:25 pm

* Additional felony fraud counts for the defendants will be tried at a later date

SANTA ANA - An attorney, accountant, and two administrators were sentenced today for violating revenue and tax codes for their roles in the largest medical fraud prosecution in the nation for recruiting over thousands of healthy patients to undergo unnecessary and dangerous surgeries to fraudulently bill medical insurance companies. This trial involved the failure to file tax returns and under-reporting income to state tax authorities. The court bifurcated the case due to its size and volume and additional fraud charges remain pending a pre-trial hearing for those counts is scheduled for Jan. 3, 2013, at 1:30 p.m. in Department C-41, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Roy Chester Dickson, 64, Yorba Linda, Unity’s attorney, was sentenced to two years and eight months in state prison and $41,629 restitution. He was found guilty by a jury Nov. 26, 2012, of two felony counts of filing a false personal tax return and faces a maximum sentence of three years and eight months in state prison for these counts. Dickson faces 101 additional felony counts which include two counts of conspiracy, eight counts of capping or paying for referrals, 30 counts of grand theft, 30 counts of insurance fraud, 30 counts of making false and fraudulent claims, one count of money laundering, and white collar sentencing enhancements for taking over $2.5 million on the fraud counts.

Andrew Robert Harnen, 58, Rosemead, Unity’s accountant, was sentenced to five years and four months in state prison and $904,780 restitution. He was found guilty by a jury Nov. 26, 2012, of three felony counts of filing a false tax return and six counts of failing to file tax returns. He faces a maximum sentence of eight years and four months in state prison for these counts. Harnen faces 101 additional felony counts which include two counts of conspiracy, eight counts of capping or paying for referrals, 30 counts of grand theft, 30 counts of insurance fraud, 30 counts of making false and fraudulent claims, one count of filing a false tax return, and white collar sentencing enhancements for taking over $2.5 million on the fraud counts.

Dee Francis, 63, a Unity administrator, was sentenced to six years in state prison and $905,507 restitution. She was found guilty by a jury Nov. 26, 2012, of one felony count of filing a false tax return and six counts of failing to file tax returns. He faces a maximum sentence of seven years in state prison for these counts. Francis faces 102 additional felony counts which include two counts of conspiracy, eight counts of capping or paying for referrals, 30 counts of grand theft, 30 counts of insurance fraud, 30 counts of making false and fraudulent claims, one count of filing a false tax return, two counts of failing to file tax returns, and white collar sentencing enhancements for taking over $2.5 million on the fraud counts.

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November 29, 2012

Two Men Convicted in Armenian Power Case Each Sentenced to Quarter Century in Federal Prison for Orchestrating Fraud Scheme

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 7:28 pm

SANTA ANA, California – Two men who orchestrated an elaborate identity theft scheme from behind the walls of a state prison were sentenced today by a federal judge who ordered both men to spend 25 years in federal prison.

The two men were the lead defendants in one of two federal indictments that targeted the Armenian Power gang two years ago. According to the fraud indictment issued by a grand jury in Orange County, members of Armenian Power worked with members of African-American street gangs and bribed bank insiders to gather information that allowed them to take over bank accounts in a scheme that caused losses of at least $8 million.

Today in federal court, United States District Judge David O. Carter sentenced the masterminds of the Orange County scheme and said this case involved one of the most sophisticated fraud schemes he had ever seen.

The two defendants sentenced today were:
Angus Brown, also known as “Homicide,” 36, who is described in court papers as a “career criminal and identity thief” with numerous prior conviction and was serving time for identity theft when he engaged in the identity theft scheme that led to this case; and Arman Sharopetrosian, also known as “Horse,” 33, of Burbank, a member of the Armenian Power criminal enterprise who was serving a 10-year sentenced for shooting at an occupied vehicle and carrying a concealed weapon when he committed the federal fraud offense.

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November 3, 2012

CAR BUSINESS OWNER TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR EMBEZZLING PROCEEDS OF CUSTOMER VEHICLES SOLD ON CONSIGNMENT

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , , — fayarfa @ 10:28 am

SANTA ANA - A car business owner and operator is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow for embezzling the sale proceeds of rare and vintage vehicles sold on consignment. John Calicchio, 63, Costa Mesa, is charged with 14 counts of embezzlement by fiduciary of trust, five counts of grand theft by false pretenses, two counts of diversion of funds, and four counts of money laundering with sentencing enhancement allegations for aggravated white collar crime over $100,000 and loss over $200,000. If convicted, Calicchio faces a maximum sentence of 17 years in state prison. The defendant is being held on $250,000 bail and must prove the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond. He is expected to be arraigned Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

Calicchio is accused of owning and operating EuroMasters Classic Cars in Fountain Valley. Between June 2010 and October 2011, the defendant is accused of entering into consignment agreements with customers to sell their vintage Porsche vehicles. He is accused of selling consignment vehicles in amounts ranging from $25,000 to $47,000 and diverting the proceeds of the sales to his personal and business accounts.

Calicchio is also accused of defrauding victims who purchased and paid for their vehicles in full. The victims were unable to obtain legal titles for their vehicles because the owners holding titles were never paid for through the consignment sales. The defendant is accused of closing his business in October 2011 and filing for bankruptcy in an attempt to discharge the debts owed to the owners and purchasers of vehicles he sold on consignment.

October 8, 2012

BUSINESS OPERATOR TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR STEALING $2.7 MILLION WORTH OF WINE FROM CLIENTS’ STORAGE LOCKERS

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 7:55 pm

*Defendant is also being charged with tax and insurance fraud in a separate case (Case # 12ZF0129)

SANTA ANA - A business operator will be arraigned tomorrow for stealing $2.7 million worth of wine from his clients’ storage lockers. George Osumi, 64, Newport Beach, is charged with three felony counts of second degree commercial burglary, one felony count each of grand theft, embezzlement by employee, receiving stolen property, and one misdemeanor count for possession of burglary tools with sentencing enhancements for aggravated white collar crime over $500,000 property damage over $1.3 million, and crime-bail-crime. Osumi faces a maximum sentence of 16 years and four months in state prison if convicted. Osumi is being held on $4,000,000 bail and is scheduled for a continued arraignment hearing tomorrow, Oct. 5, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-30, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Between Jan. 1, 2008, and June 21, 2012, Osumi is accused of operating the commercial building Legend Cellars, Inc. in Irvine. The business allowed people to store their wine in storage lockers at a controlled temperature. On three occasions, Osumi is accused of breaking into the private storage lockers of three different owners and stealing their wine that had an estimated value of $2.7 million. Osumi is accused of replacing the bottles of wine he stole with a much cheaper brand.

In 2008, Osumi is accused of hiring a friend, who did not know the wine was stolen, to auction off some of the stolen wine in exchange for a portion of the proceeds. Osumi is accused of having approximately $280,000 deposited into his business account and using the money to pay for personal expenses and legal fees.

Between July 20, 2011, and June 7, 2012, Osumi is accused of directly auctioning some of the stolen wine for $310,965 and having the money deposited into his business account.

September 24, 2012

Two Former Lynwood Council Members Sentenced to Prison

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 5:51 pm

COMPTON – Former Lynwood City Council members Louis Byrd and Fernando Pedroza were sentenced today to state prison for misappropriating nearly $500,000 in city money, including charging personal expenses on city credit cards, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Compton Superior Court Judge Eleanor Hunter sentenced Byrd, 80, to five years in state prison and Pedroza, 47, to four years following a lengthy hearing in which both men begged for leniency but refused to apologize for their actions, said Deputy District Attorneys Ed Miller and Sean Hassett, who prosecuted the case.

After Pedroza apologized to his family, Judge Hunter asked if he was also apologizing to the people of Lynwood.

“No,” he said.

Both men were convicted in July of one count each of misappropriation of public money along with an allegation that they took in excess of $65,000. Prosecutors argued that Byrd took about $330,000 for personal use and Pedroza took more than $160,000.

Under one scheme, they paid themselves up to $40,000 a year in addition to their council pay for participating on two city agencies, the Lynwood Public Finance Authority and Lynwood Information Inc. Prosecutors argued that the work council members performed in connection with these agencies was nothing beyond the normal responsibilities for a council member and they were not entitled to additional pay.

They also charged personal expenses on city credit cards. For example, during a May 2002 trip to Guadalajara, Mexico to attend a sister-city conference, Pedroza charged $1,500 on a city credit card to pay for an evening at a gentleman’s club that included a dancer and private room.

The D.A.’s Public Integrity Division discovered the crimes through a four-year investigation launched on April 15, 2003, following a tip by a former Lynwood city manager. Five current and former council members were charged in May 2007. Charges against two, Armando Rea and Ricardo Sanchez, were later dismissed. Another former councilman, Arturo Reyes, pleaded guilty to grand theft and is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 12.

August 29, 2012

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Charges in Online World War II Nickel Scam

Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — Tags: — fayarfa @ 5:30 pm

LOS ANGELES — Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced that Abraham Lew Berlin has been charged with nine counts of grand theft for selling counterfeit rare coins on an Internet auction site.

In September and October 2011, Berlin, 63, of Culver City, used his eBay account to list 13 sealed bags supposedly containing Silver War Nickels dated between 1942 and 1945. Berlin then began receiving payments from several customers believing they were purchasing the Silver War Nickels.

When customers did not receive their items despite numerous attempts to contact Berlin, they each filed claims with eBay. The online auction site reimbursed every customer which resulted in significant losses. Berlin made more than $80,000 in the scam.

According to the U.S. Mint, during World War II the five-cent coin was made of an alloy of copper, manganese, and silver. Nickel was kept aside for use in the war effort.

Berlin, who has an extensive criminal history that includes convictions for theft, mail fraud, check fraud, and fraud schemes, pled not guilty to all nine charges of grand theft.  His next scheduled court date is November 7.

June 24, 2012

Four are arraigned for grand theft of bathing suits in Orange County

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 6:20 pm

VENTURA-MORAN,GUILLERMINA SANCHEZ, NORMA/ CHAMORO, JONATHAN/ MONTECINOS, JOSE/

In the early morning hours of May 27, 2012, Morales, Lopez, Bermejo-Cruz, Chamorro, Carpintero, and Montecinos are accused of cutting through a fence and entering Raj Manufacturing near the 2600 block of Dow Avenue in Tustin.

Once inside, the defendants are accused of stealing over $200,000 worth of high-end bathing suits from the building and loading it into a white van. Ventura-Moran and Sanchez are accused of patrolling the area in a separate vehicle as lookouts.

At approximately 5:30 a.m., the Tustin Police Department (TPD) observed the suspicious white van during a patrol in the area due to an increase in industrial business thefts.

The defendants are accused of fleeing in their van on the Interstate 405. When TPD attempted to stop the van, the defendants are accused of jumping out as it was moving and attempting to flee from officers.

TPD with assistance from Costa Mesa Police Department officers were able to arrest the six defendants. Ventura-Moran and Sanchez are accused of driving northbound on the Interstate 5.

TPD officers were able to locate their car and stop them. Both defendants were arrested.

May 18, 2012

Disbarred Lawyer Charged in Theft Case Pleads

Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — Tags: — fayarfa @ 4:44 pm

LOS ANGELES – A disbarred attorney accused of unlawfully receiving client fees even though he was ineligible to practice law pleaded guilty today to grand theft, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Alfred Coletta of the Justice Integrity Division said Los Angeles Superior Court David Horwitz immediately sentenced Gerard Lionel Garcia-Barron, 46, to 180 days in county jail and three years of formal probation. Under the terms of the negotiated settlement, Garcia-Barron paid $7,200 upfront in restitution to five victims.

The alleged crimes occurred between July 2008 and January 2012. Garcia-Barron – deemed ineligible to practice law by the State Bar of California in May 2010 and disbarred in January 2011 – solicited clients and accepted more than $7,000 from victims in retainer fees.

The defendant purportedly met clients at coffee houses in and around the Alhambra area, according to the Alhambra Police Department. He was arrested April 11 by Alhambra police working in conjunction with investigators of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation.

May 2, 2012

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Arrest by eCrime Unit in Phony Bar Code Scheme

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , , — fayarfa @ 1:55 am

SAN DIEGO — Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis today announced the arrest of an individual who ran a sophisticated scheme at San Diego area Lowe’s and Home Depot stores in which he replaced the bar codes on expensive merchandise with bar codes that scanned at lower prices.

Steve Allen Koski, 42, of San Diego, was arraigned yesterday in San Diego Superior Court on 11 felony counts, including grand theft and 10 counts of burglary. His bail has been set at $250,000. He is being held in San Diego County Jail.

Koski stole or attempted to steal more than $30,000 in copper wire and other merchandise from Lowe’s and Home Depot stores. He then re-sold that merchandise to California recycling centers for over $180,000.

“For all the efficiency and conveniences that modern technologies provide, we are continuing to see criminals use these same technologies to defraud California businesses and consumers,” Attorney General Harris said. “The eCrime Unit is devoted to aggressively pursuing criminals who misappropriate modern technologies for their own benefit.”

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April 18, 2012

Former Financial Services Employee Charged in Million-Dollar Theft Case

Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — Tags: — fayarfa @ 12:46 am

LOS ANGELES – A former account manager at a Los Angeles financial services firm accused of stealing more than $4.6 million from 16 victims over an almost six-year span is expected to be arraigned today, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Daniel Baker, assistant head deputy of the Major Fraud Division, said Diane Schumacher, 58 (dob 9/14/53), of Beverly Hills, is due to be arraigned in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

Schumacher, who is charged with 17 counts of grand theft of personal property in case No. BA395850, surrendered to authorities this morning on a criminal complaint filed for arrest warrant on April 5. The complaint includes excessive-taking allegations because the theft exceeds $4 million.

The alleged offenses took place between November 2003 and August 2009 while Schumacher was employed by Keepers Financial Corporation, a company that provides bookkeeping and bill payment services. The alleged theft was discovered through an audit of accounts managed by the defendant, according to the charging document.

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