Best Defender Bytes: Crime after Crime

May 31, 2016

Actor Named in Federal Indictment Alleging Receipt and Possession of Child Pornography on his Computer and Flash Drive

Filed under: California Chid Pornography Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:40 am

LOS ANGELES – Actor Mark Wayne Salling was charged today in a federal indictment with receiving and possessing child pornography on his laptop computer and a flash memory drive.

Salling, 33, of Shadow Hills, who is best known for his role as Noah Puckerman on the television show “Glee,” was named in a two-count indictment returned this afternoon by a federal grand jury.

“Those who download and possess child pornography create a market that causes more children to be harmed,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Young victims are harmed every time an image is generated, every time it is distributed, and every time it is viewed.”

The indictment specifically alleges that Salling used the Internet to receive a still image and a video depicting child pornography on December 26, 2015. These images depict young girls.

The second count in the indictment charges Salling with possessing two videos depicting child pornography on December 29, 2015. The image and video also depict young girls.


Orange County Mexican Mafia Associate Sentenced to 64 Months in Federal Prison on Racketeering Charge

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:37 am

SANTA ANA, California – An associate of the Orange County Mexican Mafia criminal enterprise, who pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges related to his role in the Orange County Mexican Mafia, has been sentenced to serve over five years in federal prison.

Danny “Big Shotgun” Rodriguez, 41, of Orange, was sentenced on Monday to 64 months in prison by United States District Judge Andrew J. Guilford. Rodriguez pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.

According to a plea agreement filed in federal court, Rodriguez’s role in the RICO conspiracy included extortion – or collecting “taxes” – from criminal street gang members and others, which enabled the Orange County Mexican Mafia to continue trafficking narcotics and to exert influence over neighborhoods. Rodriguez also distributed messages on behalf of the gang, including messages that ordered “green lights” – assaults – on gang members. The plea agreement notes that Rodriguez wrote a message ordering an assault, which led associates of the Orange County Mexican Mafia to attack an individual in custody.

The Mexican Mafia is a powerful and violent prison gang that controls drug distribution and other illegal activities within the California penal system and on the streets of Southern California by organizing Latino street gang members for the purpose of establishing a larger network for the Mexican Mafia’s illegal activities. If a street gang does not comply with the demands of the Mexican Mafia, the prison gang will order the assault or murder of the offending gang’s members, whether they are in custody or on the streets.


Three Navy Officers Charged in Expanding Bribery and Fraud Scheme

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:33 am

Three current and former Navy officers were charged in documents unsealed today for their roles in a massive bribery and fraud scheme involving a Navy contractor.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy of the Southern District of California, Acting Director Dermot O’Reilly of the Department of Defense’s Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), Director Andrew Traver of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and Director Anita Bales of Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) made the announcement.

Retired Navy Captain Michael Brooks, 57, of Fairfax Station, Virginia; Commander Bobby Pitts, 47, of Chesapeake, Virginia; and Lieutenant Commander Gentry Debord, 47, who is based in Singapore, were charged on May 25, 2016, in the Southern District of California.  Brooks and Debord were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit bribery and Pitts was charged with one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and two counts of obstruction of justice.  All of the charges relate to the defendants’ interactions with Leonard Francis, the former CEO of Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), a defense contracting firm based in Singapore.  Brooks and Pitts made their initial appearances today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia; Debord appeared in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.  Brooks was allowed to post a $50,000 bond; Pitts was granted a $5,000 bond, ordered to be subject to electronic monitoring and to appear in the Southern District of California on June 10; and Debord was granted a $40,000 bond secured by real property.  Debord is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge David Bartick of the Southern District of California on June 9, 2016.

According to the indictment, from June 2006 to July 2008, Brooks served as the U.S. Naval Attaché at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines.  The indictment alleges that in exchange for travel and entertainment expenses, hotel rooms and the services of prostitutes, Brooks used his office to benefit GDMA and Francis, including securinge the quarterly diplomatic clearances for GDMA vessels, which allowed GDMA vessels to transit into and out of the Philippines under the diplomatic clearance of the U.S. Embassy; limited the amount of custom fees and taxes that GDMA was required to pay in the Philippines; and enabled GDMA to avoid inspection of any quantity or type of cargo that it transported.  The indictment also alleges that Brooks provided Francis with sensitive Navy information, including billing information belonging to a GDMA competitor and Navy ship schedules.


May 27, 2016

Medical Doctor Arrested on Federal ‘Structuring’ Charges for Making Cash Deposits to Avoid Federal Reporting Requirements

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

LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles-area doctor was arrested this morning after being indicted on federal “structuring” charges that allege he made hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash deposits designed to circumvent federal reporting requirement.

Dr. Washington Bryan II, 47, was arrested this morning at his residence in Westwood. Bryan is expected to be arraigned this afternoon at the United States Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles.

The 29-count indictment charges Bryan with structuring more than $400,000 in cash deposits between October 2011 and January 2013. Bryan allegedly made deposits of less than $10,000 each into four separate accounts for the purpose of preventing banks from reporting the deposits to the federal government, which is required for every cash transaction of more than $10,000.

In conjunction with Bryan’s arrest, investigators executed federal search warrants at Bryan’s residence and his Brentwood medical office. The affidavit in support of the search warrants discusses a total of $3.8 million in structured cash deposits allegedly made by Bryan as far back as December 2007. The affidavit also discusses evidence that Bryan structured the cash for the purpose of concealing income he receive from thousands of fraudulent prescriptions that he issued for narcotic painkillers and HIV medications.

According to data maintained by the State of California, Bryan issued nearly 10,000 controlled drug prescriptions over a three-year period that ended in March. According to the affidavit, 86 percent of those prescriptions were for the same two narcotic drugs, namely, oxycodone (commonly known by the brand name OxyContin) and oxymorphone (also known by the brand name Opana). Since 2006, Medicare has paid more money to pharmacies to cover Bryan’s narcotic drug prescriptions – $7.8 million – than for any other prescribing doctor in California, and he outpaced the next-highest prescriber by more than $1.6 million.



Filed under: California Chid Pornography Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:06 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. –A Huntington Beach church worship leader was sentenced today to 10 years and eight months in state prison for sexually assaulting an autistic boy and producing child pornography. The Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division Three (DCA) vacated the conviction of Jeffrey Adam Tracy, 39, and dismissed the conviction of two felony counts of oral copulation of a child 10 years old or younger and two felony counts of lewd acts upon a child under 14. The DCA ruled that the Orange County Superior Court vacate the previous sentence of 36 years to life and ordered the trial court to resentence the defendant. The DCA held that there wasn’t sufficient corroboration to prove the conduct the defendant confessed to on multiple occasions. The victim’s autism made him unable to report the crime.

Tracy was originally found guilty by a jury Oct. 16, 2014, of two felony counts of oral copulation of a child 10 years old or younger, four felony counts of lewd acts upon a child under 14, and one felony count of using a minor for sex acts. Tracy was originally sentenced to 36 years to life in state prison on Dec. 5, 2014.

The Honorable Michael J. Cassidy sentenced the defendant to the maximum allowable sentence given the ruling of the DCA, and the defendant was sentenced to 10 years and eight months in state prison.

“This was a vulnerable victim who could not speak for himself because of his special needs. The defendant is a dangerous predator who told the police in his confession that he chose the victim because the victim’s autism made him unable to communicate the crime,” said Chief of Staff Susan Kang Schroeder. “The defendant’s conduct in this case would be no different from babies and toddlers who are often targeted for abuse because they cannot speak for themselves. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office will continue fighting sexual predators who target those who cannot speak for themselves.”

Circumstances of the Case (more…)

Azusa Man Charged With Stabbing Father

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

A 36-year-old man pleaded not guilty today to stabbing his father during an argument in their Azusa home, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Marlon Enrique Juares (dob 7/16/79) has been charged with two felony counts in case KA112646: attempted murder and making criminal threats.

The felony complaint includes a special allegation that the defendant personally used a deadly and dangerous weapon, a knife, during the commission of the crime. Additionally, the charging document alleges that Juares inflicted great bodily injury on the victim.

Prosecutors said on May 24 Juares and his father reportedly got into an argument in their home.

The confrontation escalated and the defendant allegedly grabbed a knife and stabbed his father in the head, prosecutors added.


May 26, 2016

United States Intervenes in False Claims Act Lawsuit Against Prime Healthcare Services Inc. and its CEO Alleging Unnecessary Inpatient Admissions from Emergency Rooms

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:30 am

The United States has intervened in a lawsuit against Prime Healthcare Services Inc. (Prime); the company’s founder and chief executive officer, Dr. Prem Reddy; and 14 Prime hospitals in California that alleges Emergency Departments at Prime facilities improperly admitted patients to the hospitals and submitted false claims to Medicare, the Justice Department announced today.

The lawsuit alleges that Dr. Reddy directed the corporate practice of pressuring Prime’s Emergency Department physicians and hospital administrators to raise inpatient admission rates, regardless of whether it was medically necessary to admit the patients.  The lawsuit alleges that Prime’s corporate officers, at Reddy’s direction, exerted immense pressure on doctors in the Emergency Departments to admit patients who could have been placed in observation, treated as outpatients or discharged.  As a result of these medically unnecessary admissions from the Emergency Departments, Prime hospitals allegedly submitted false claims to federal health care programs, such as Medicare.

“The Department of Justice is committed to ensuring that health care providers do not inappropriately seek to profit at the expense of federal health care programs,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “Schemes such as this one can contribute significantly to the rising cost of health care delivery and create needless patient risk.”

“Fraudulent billing practices, such as those alleged in this civil lawsuit, harm taxpayers who fund health care programs, such as Medicare,” said U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker for the Central District of California.  “The Justice Department works collaboratively with law enforcement agencies, regulators and, in some cases, private citizens to ensure the integrity of a system that provides healthcare to millions of Americans.”


Woodland Hills Man Sentenced for Rapes that Included Disabled Elderly Victim

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:27 am

A Woodland Hills man was sentenced to 45 years to life in state prison for the rape of two women, including a 61-year-old disabled woman, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Ammen Ra Shinti (dob 7/19/54) was convicted by a jury on March 21 of one count each of forcible oral copulation, assault to commit a sex crime during the commission of a first-degree burglary and two counts of forcible rape.

The jury in case LA079866 also found true allegations of multiple victims and causing great bodily injury.

The eight-day long trial was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorneys Robert Dufour and Sharon Ransom.

On April 27, 2007, Shinti lured a woman who had previously lent him money into his motel room in Sylmar, saying he was going to pay the money he owed her, according to evidence presented at the trial.


Man Charged With Girlfriend’s 2011 Murder

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:25 am

A 39-year-old man pleaded not guilty yesterday to killing his girlfriend and dumping her body in Hacienda Heights, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Francisco Nila Rojas (dob 11/7/76) has been charged with one count of murder in case KA094021.

The felony complaint includes a special allegation that the defendant personally and intentionally used a deadly and dangerous weapon, a gun, during the commission of the crime, which caused great bodily injury and death.

Deputy District Attorney Babette Huley of the Victim Impact Program, who is assigned to the case, said on Feb. 11, 2011, Rojas allegedly shot his girlfriend in the head and left her body near Turnbull Canyon Road and Skyline Drive in Hacienda Heights.

Less than a month after the victim was killed, her body was discovered by a passerby, the prosecutor added.


May 25, 2016

Australian Man Arrested after Allegedly Traveling to the Southland Seeking to Have Sex with 6-Year-Old Child

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:30 am

LOS ANGELES – An Australian man was arrested over the weekend when he arrived at a Los Angeles-area hotel allegedly to buy a 6-year-old boy for sex.

Michael Quinn, 33, of Melbourne, was charged in a criminal complaint filed in federal court on Monday with traveling to the United States for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a minor. The complaint also charges Quinn with attempted sex trafficking of a minor.

Quinn was arrested Saturday by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). After the complaint was filed on Monday afternoon, Quinn made his initial appearance in United States District, where he was ordered held in jail pending a detention hearing on Friday.

“Predators who travel overseas to sexually exploit children do not just victimize children in faraway lands,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “As this case shows, children everywhere are vulnerable to such predators, including children right here in Los Angeles. The Internet has helped to enable the child sex tourism industry by making the world a smaller place, but this case, and others like it by my office, show that such international predators can and will be brought to justice.”


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