Best Defender Bytes: Crime after Crime

March 31, 2016

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Settlements Totaling $4.95 Million with LG, Hitachi, Panasonic, Toshiba and Samsung Over Price-Fixing Scheme

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

SAN FRANCISCO – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced a preliminary approval of settlements resolving allegations that LG, Hitachi, Panasonic, Toshiba, and Samsung, companies all based in Japan or Korea, fixed prices on critical components of televisions and computer monitors from 1995 to 2007.  Those critical components, known as Cathode Ray Tubes or CRTs, were used to display images on computer monitors and televisions screens before they were replaced by flat screens. The court has approved the settlement pending valid objections submitted within 60 days.

The companies’ price fixing scheme caused damage to California consumers and government entities that overpaid for their televisions and computers. The announced settlement has led to legally enforceable judgments against these foreign companies.

“LG, Hitachi, Panasonic, Toshiba, and Samsung deliberately targeted the U.S. market to raise prices for televisions and computers worldwide,” said Attorney General Harris. “These settlements bring justice and relief to California consumers and end the malicious practice of price-fixing by these companies.”

The settlements, which were filed in San Francisco Superior Court, require all five companies to pay a total of $4.95 million to settle claims of overcharges paid by California government entities, general damages suffered by the State’s economy, and civil penalties. The settlements require that the companies pay back the illegally obtained profits to those affected by their actions. In addition, the settlements include injunctive relief, which requires that each company engage in company-wide antitrust compliance training and reporting that involves products in addition to CRTs and extends to foreign companies and subsidiaries. Finally, the settlements include requirements, enforceable by the court via fines and imprisonment, to prevent future violations of antitrust law.


California Wholesale Executive Pleads Guilty for Role in $9 Million Bank Fraud Scheme

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

A California man who was a vice president of a wholesale equipment company pleaded to fraud charges today in connection with a bank fraud scheme that resulted in more than $9 million in losses to a California bank.

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, Acting Special Agent in Charge Anthony Orlando of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Los Angeles Field Office and Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) Christy Goldsmith Romero made the announcement.

Chung Yu Yeung, aka Louis Yeung, 39, of San Dimas, California, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder of the Central District of California to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and four counts of bank fraud.  Sentencing was set for June 20, 2016, before Judge Snyder.

According to admissions made in connection with his guilty plea, from 2007 to 2012, Yeung was the vice president of Eastern Tools and Equipment Inc. (Eastern Tools), a wholesale equipment company based in Ontario, California, that sold portable generators to retailers across the country.  Yeung admitted that beginning in 2007, he and his co-conspirators defrauded East West Bank, based in Pasadena, California, in connection with a line of credit for Eastern Tools by making and causing to be made material misrepresentations to the bank about Eastern Tools’ accounts receivable and its financial statements.  The conspirators created numerous shell corporations to act as purported suppliers and retailers doing business with Eastern Tools, when, in reality, these shell corporations were entirely under the control of Yeung and existed for the sole purpose of creating the illusion of such business, he admitted.  Yeung admitted that the fictitious companies allowed him and other conspirators to falsely inflate Eastern Tools’ accounts receivable and financial statements in representations to East West Bank.



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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was arraigned today for placing pipe bombs near public places in Anaheim and possessing materials to construct additional pipe bombs. Donald Paul Busteed, 45, Anaheim, is charged with three felony counts of possession of a destructive device in a public place, one felony count of explosion of a destructive device, and one felony count of intent to unlawfully make a destructive device. If convicted, Busteed faces a maximum sentence of 10 years and eight months in state prison. Busteed was charged and arraigned today and is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on April 8, 2016, at 8:30 a.m. in Department N-3,North Justice Center, Fullerton.

On Nov. 13, 2015, Busteed is accused of placing a pipe bomb in Lowe’s Home Improvement parking lot in Anaheim. A shopper in the parking lot saw the device and called 911. Deputies from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department bomb squad responded to the scene and dismantled the device.

On Dec. 11, 2015, Busteed is accused of attaching a pipe bomb to a pole in an alleyway in Anaheim. A witness contacted the Anaheim Police Department (APD) and the device was dismantled.

On March 27, 2016, Busteed is accused of detonating a pipe bomb in an alleyway near Anaheim Boulevard and Wilhelmina Street in Anaheim.

APD investigated this case and on March 28, 2016, searched the defendant’s residence. Busteed is accused of possessing additional pipe bomb devices and various materials necessary to construct pipe bombs in his garage. Busteed was subsequently arrested by APD.


March 30, 2016

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, District Attorneys Announce $8.5 Million Settlement With Wells Fargo Bank Over Privacy Violations

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

LOS ANGELES – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and five district attorneys today announced a $8,500,000 settlement with Wells Fargo Bank over privacy violations that included recording consumers’ phone calls without timely telling consumers they were being recorded, as required by California law. The investigation into Wells Fargo and the subsequent settlement were the result of the work of the Attorney General’s Office and the office of Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey, along with the Consumer Protection Divisions of Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley, Riverside County District Attorney Michael Hestrin, San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie M. Dumanis and Ventura County District Attorney Gregory D. Totten.

As part of the settlement, which is in the form of a stipulated judgment, Wells Fargo will pay civil penalties totaling $7,616,000 and will reimburse the prosecutors’ investigative costs of $384,000. In addition, Wells Fargo will contribute $500,000 to two statewide organizations dedicated to advancing consumer protection and privacy rights.

“Protecting the privacy of California consumers is increasingly crucial as technology rapidly develops and becomes a bigger part of our lives,” said Attorney General Harris. “This settlement holds Wells Fargo accountable for violating the privacy of its customers by recording calls without providing adequate notification, and ensures that the bank makes the changes necessary to protect the privacy of its customers.”

The civil complaint, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleged that Wells Fargo violated sections 632 and 632.7 of the California Penal Code by failing to timely and adequately disclose its automatic recording of phone calls with members of the public. California has some of strongest privacy laws in the country.  In California, each party to a confidential conversation must be advised at the outset if a call is being recorded, so that the individual can object or terminate the call if he or she does not wish to be recorded.



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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A transient man has been charged for the stabbing murder of an acquaintance on a bike path in Irvine. Dennis Thomas Monson Jr., 37, is charged with one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement allegation for the personal use of a knife. If convicted, Monson faces a maximum sentence of 26 years to life in state prison. Monson was charged today and is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday, April 1, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

At the time of the crime, Monson was a transient and was acquainted with 51-year-old Sidney Siemensma.

During the early morning hours on Jan. 19, 2016, Monson is accused of getting into a verbal argument with Siemensma on the San Diego Creek bike trail in Irvine. During the course of the argument, Monson is accused of stabbing the victim multiple times with a knife. Siemensma died at the scene as a result of his injuries.

A jogger on the trail contacted the Irvine Police Department (IPD) to report an injured man bleeding on the trail.

At approximately 7:20 p.m. on Jan.19, 2016, an IPD officer patrolling near the trial located, contacted, and searched the defendant. Monson is accused of possessing images depicting minors in a sexually explicit manner on his cell phone. Monson was subsequently arrested by IPD.


Capital Murder Charge Filed in Robbery, Stabbing of Couple at Valley Village Convenience Store

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

A felon was charged today with killing a convenience store employee and stabbing the employee’s girlfriend and coworker while robbing the store, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Hasaan Blunt (dob 5/18/73) of Van Nuys faces one felony count each of murder and attempted willful, deliberate and premeditated murder.

Arraignment was continued to April 28 in Department 100 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Van Nuys Branch.

The felony complaint includes the special circumstance allegation of murder during the commission of a robbery and a special allegation of causing great bodily injury.

Phillip Stirling, assistant head deputy of the Van Nuys Branch, said Blunt also faces two felony counts of second degree robbery and three misdemeanor counts of vandalism of vehicle tires under $400 damage in case LA083099.


March 29, 2016

Man Convicted of Murdering Child in South L.A.

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

A 24-year-old man was convicted today of severely beating a 13-month-old boy, which led to the child’s death, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

The jury deliberated for less than a day before finding Rodrigo Hernandez guilty of two felony counts: second-degree murder and assault on a child causing death in case TA137386.

Hernandez is scheduled to be sentenced May 11 in Department 4 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Compton Branch. He faces a maximum possible sentence of 25 years to life in state prison.

Deputy District Attorney Abigail Baron of the Victim Impact Program, who prosecuted the case, said on June 7, 2015, Hernandez was watching his girlfriend’s toddler son while the mother was in another room in her South L.A. apartment.

Soon after, family members alerted the mother that the child was acting strangely. When the mother went to the child, the boy began to have seizures. Additionally, bruising started to develop on his body, the prosecutor said.


Woman Sentenced to Prison for Killing Elderly Man at Metro Blue Line Station

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

A 25-year-old woman was sentenced today to 17 years in state prison for fatally beating an elderly man following a dispute in South L.A., the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

On Sept. 8, 2015, a jury found Tracy Joy Gomez guilty of voluntary manslaughter in case TA134727.

Deputy District Attorney Shannon Cooley, who prosecuted the case, said on the afternoon of June 13, 2014, Gomez got into an argument with John Whitmore, 65, on the Metro Blue Line platform in Willowbrook.

During the fight, Gomez beat Whitmore, the prosecutor said, and then fled the scene.

Authorities were called and the victim was taken to a hospital for treatment. Seven days later, Whitmore died from his injuries.


Man Charged With Killing Partner on Skid Row

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

A man was charged today with murdering his partner on Skid Row earlier this week, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Daniel Molayem (dob 8/14/76) was charged in case BA445216 with one count each of murder and assault with a firearm as well as a personal use of a handgun allegation. Arraignment was scheduled for April 8.

Deputy District Attorney Lisa Kassabian of the Family Violence Division is prosecuting the case.

On March 23, Molayem is accused of approaching the victim, Courtney Y., in the 500 block of San Pedro Street and opening fire. The victim died at the scene.

The defendant and the victim were in a dating relationship for an unknown time, prosecutors said.


March 28, 2016

SoCal Doctor Agrees to Plead Guilty to Distributing Addictive Painkiller and Laundering Proceeds of His Drug Trafficking

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:26 am

LOS ANGELES – In a plea agreement filed this morning, a San Gabriel Valley doctor has agreed to plead guilty to a federal drug trafficking charge for illegally distributing the powerful painkiller best known by the brand name OxyContin.

Dr. Daniel Cham, 48, of Covina, has agreed to plead guilty to one count of distribution of oxycodone and one count of money laundering.

In the plea agreement, Cham admits to unlawfully prescribing oxycodone to an undercover agent posing as a patient in March 2014 in exchange for $300 in money orders, which Cham then deposited into a bank account held in the name of another business. Cham made the deposit “knowing that the transaction was designed to conceal and disguise the nature and source of the money orders,” according to the plea agreement.

“Painkillers like oxycodone can be life-threatening to those who abuse them,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Many of the prescription drugs that find their way to the street come from doctors who prescribe them without medical justification. This defendant put lives at risk for money, making him no different than street-level drug dealer.”


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