Best Defender Bytes: Crime after Crime

March 31, 2017

Law Enforcement Authorities Arrest 10 Members and Associates of 18th Street Gang on Federal Narcotics and Weapons Charges

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

LOS ANGELES – Federal and local authorities have arrested 10 members and associates of the 18th Street gang, primarily on federal narcotics charges.

In a sweep that began Tuesday evening and continued into Wednesday, special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation (HSI), as well as deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and officers with the Los Angeles Police Department, took the eight defendants into custody. One defendant was arrested in Honolulu, and another in Indianapolis.

Three other people who face federal charges were already in local custody, and law enforcement continues to search for five more defendants.

The arrests are the culmination of an HSI-led investigation that began in December 2014. The investigation focused on the distribution and sale of methamphetamine and unlicensed sales of firearms.

During the course of the investigation, authorities seized approximately four kilograms of methamphetamine and 14 firearms, including five assault rifles. The investigation led to six indictments that charge a total of 18 defendants.


Former Orange County Resident Who Fled United States to Avoid Prosecution in Healthcare Fraud Case Sentenced to Federal Prison

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

LOS ANGELES – A medical doctor who fled the United States nearly 15 years ago and faked his own death to avoid prosecution in a healthcare fraud case was sentenced late this afternoon to 29 months in federal prison for fleeing justice.

Tigran Svadjian, 58, a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Armenia who was residing in Newport Beach prior to fleeing the country in September 2002, was sentenced late this afternoon by United States District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald.

Svadjian pleaded guilty in November to one count of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.

In a case filed in 2002 in United States District Court in Sacramento, Svadjian, who operated medical clinics in Los Angeles and Fresno, had agreed to plead guilty in a $2.4 million scheme to defraud Medi-Cal by submitting bills for tests that had not been performed, in many cases because the “patients” were dead. After being ordered to appear in federal court in the Eastern District of California for an arraignment in that case, he fled to Russia, leaving behind his wife and son.

On October 24, 2002, the United States Embassy in Moscow received notification that Svadjian had died of pneumonia and that his body had been cremated. Relying on this false information, the Embassy then issued a report documenting the death, and Svadjian’s defense counsel submitted that report to federal prosecutors.


California Resident Convicted of Supplying Fake IDs to Cash Stolen and Fraudulently Obtained U.S. Treasury Checks

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

A federal jury sitting in Oakland, California convicted Janel McDonald today for her role in a conspiracy to cash stolen and fraudulently obtained U.S. Treasury checks, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch for the Northern District of California.

McDonald was charged, along with 10 codefendants in November 2015, with conspiracy to commit theft of public money, theft of public money and aggravated identity theft. According to the indictment and evidence presented at trial, from August 2013 through April 2015, McDonald’s co-conspirators stole deceased individuals’ personal identifying information from California death records and used it to file federal tax returns seeking refunds. They also obtained social security and refund checks that were stolen from the U.S. mail system. McDonald provided fake California IDs to her co-conspirators who used them to cash the stolen and fraudulently obtained U.S. Treasury checks.

Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 1. McDonald faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison for conspiracy to commit theft of public money, 10 years in prison for theft of public money and a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison for aggravated identity theft. She also faces a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg and U.S. Attorney Stretch thanked special agents of the Internal Revenue Service–Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Newman and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jose Olivera and Trial Attorney Gregory Bernstein of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case.

Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website. (more…)

March 30, 2017

Former O.C. Superior Court Clerk Pleads Guilty to RICO Charge in Bribery Scheme to ‘Fix’ Criminal Cases and Traffic Charges

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

SANTA ANA, California – A former clerk of the Orange County Superior Court pleaded guilty this afternoon to federal racketeering charges stemming from a scheme in which he accepted more than a quarter-million dollars in bribes to illegally resolve criminal cases and traffic offenses on terms favorable to hundreds of defendants without the knowledge of prosecutors or judges.

Jose Lopez Jr., 36, of Anaheim, pleaded guilty today to one count of conspiring to violate the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO).

In a plea agreement filed last week, Lopez admitted that he was at the center of a scheme in which co-conspirators paid him as much as $8,000 in bribes to “fix” cases. The co-conspirators were middlemen who recruited individuals with pending cases to pay money that was given to Lopez to resolve their cases without the authorization of the court.

“In total, defendant [Lopez] improperly resolved approximately 1,034 cases, including 69 misdemeanor driving under the influence cases, 160 other misdemeanor cases and 805 traffic-related infraction cases,” Lopez admitted in the plea agreement.

Over the course of more than five years, Lopez “resolved” cases by entering information into the court’s computers to make it appear that a defendant had pleaded guilty, paid required fees or had performed community service. In some cases, Lopez fraudulently created records that made it appear drunk driving charges had been dismissed or defendants had served mandatory jail time.


Former Compton Treasury Official Arrested on Federal Charges Related to Embezzlement of $3.7 Million from City Coffers

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

LOS ANGELES – The former deputy city treasurer for the City of Compton was arrested today on federal charges related to the theft of more than $3.7 million of city funds.

Salvador Galvan, 47, of La Mirada, was arrested this morning by special agents with the FBI pursuant to a criminal complaint that charges him with theft concerning programs receiving federal funds.

Galvan faces federal charges stemming from allegations that he stole $3,721,924 from May 2010 through December 2016

Galvan, who worked in the Compton Treasurer’s Office for more than 20 years, was responsible for tallying the cash received by the city as payment for parking tickets, business licenses and other fees. After the cash was counted, Galvan prepared the money for deposit into a city bank account.

According to the criminal complaint filed late yesterday in United States District Court, Galvan skimmed cash from the daily receipts on numerous occasions. An audit of the city’s cash deposits “identified discrepancies which vary from approximately $200 to $8,000 per day,” according to the affidavit in support of the complaint.


Owner of Reseda Medical Clinic Sentenced to over Four Years in Federal Prison for Healthcare Scam and Tax Fraud

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

LOS ANGELES – The office manager and part-owner of a Reseda medical clinic has been sentenced to 51 months in federal prison for his role in a healthcare fraud scheme that generated millions of dollars – money that was not reported on his federal income tax returns.

Michael Huynh, 67, of Northridge, was sentenced yesterday by United States District Judge Otis D. Wright II. In addition to the prison term, Judge Wright ordered Huynh to pay just over $1.9 million in restitution to the victim insurance companies and back taxes – estimated to be nearly $950,000 – to the Internal Revenue Service.

Following a seven-day trial in September 2016, Huynh was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit healthcare fraud and 11 counts of filing false tax returns.

The evidence introduced at trial showed that between January 2004 and November 2009 Huynh and a pharmacist participated in a healthcare fraud scheme that billed private insurance plans for prescription medication that was never dispensed to insured patients.

Huyhn provided co-conspirator Farhad N. Dany Sharim with bogus prescriptions purportedly for patients of the medial clinic who were insured by healthcare benefit programs. Sharim, a co-owner of Century Discount Pharmacy in Reseda, then submitted false and fraudulent bills for prescription drugs that had not been dispensed to the patients. As a result, Sharim’s pharmacy received substantial payments from various health care benefit programs to which it was not entitled, and Sharim paid Huyhn more than $1.1 million.


March 29, 2017

Attorney General Xavier Becerra Announces Charges Filed Against David Robert Daleiden for Criminal Invasion of Privacy

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

SAN FRANCISCO – Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced the filing of an arrest warrant detailing 15 criminal charges against David Robert Daleiden. Daleiden, along with co-conspirator Sandra Merritt, used manufactured identities and a fictitious bioresearch company to meet women’s healthcare providers and covertly record the private discussions they initiated.

“The right to privacy is a cornerstone of California’s Constitution, and a right that is foundational in a free democratic society,” said Attorney General Becerra. “We will not tolerate the criminal recording of confidential conversations.”

Please note that a complaint contains only allegations against a person and, as with all defendants, David Robert Daleiden and Sandra Merritt must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

A copy of the complaint and arrest warrant are attached to the electronic version of this release here:

Attorney General Xavier Becerra / Tuesday, March 28, 2017



Complaint Affidavit_SF.PDF

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Riverside County Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Prison for Leading Bank Heist Crew that Cut through Roofs to Penetrate Vaults

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

LOS ANGELES – A Banning man who led a group of burglars that conducted a 10-year-long series of heists targeting Southland banks by cutting through rooftops has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for participating in two burglaries.

Alceu Johnny Andreis, 48, of Banning, received the 240-month sentence yesterday afternoon from United States District Judge Dale S. Fischer.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Fischer ordered Andreis to pay $12,082,403 in restitution to two financial institutions, their insurance carriers and numerous safe deposit box customers.

Following a jury trial in December, Andreis was convicted of two counts of bank burglary in relation to thefts from an East West Bank branch in Rowland Heights in 2011 and a BBCN Bank branch in Diamond Bar in 2012. Andreis was sentenced to the statutory maximum sentence of 10 years for each of the burglaries.

The evidence presented at trial showed that Andreis led a crew of rooftop bank burglars for at least a decade. Andreis and his crew burglarized the victim banks after detailed and thorough planning, which included “casing” the banks, learning about the bank’s security systems, and conducting numerous “dry runs” of the heists. Prior to the actual burglaries, they cut holes in the roofs of the banks and resealed them so as not to arouse suspicion.


Man Sentenced to Prison for Walk-Up Shooting in Pico Rivera

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

A 32-year-old man was sentenced today to 80 years to life in state prison for fatally shooting a woman in front of her Pico Rivera home in 2013, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

On Feb. 23, a jury found Richard Pallan guilty of first-degree murder in case VA136537. Jurors also found true a special allegation that the defendant personally and intentionally discharged a handgun, which caused great bodily injury and death to the victim.

Pallan’s co-defendant, Cecilia Gallegos, 30, pleaded no contest to being an accessory after the fact on Feb. 1, 2016. She is scheduled to be sentenced on May 23.

Deputy District Attorney John Chang, who prosecuted the case, said on June 26, 2013, Gallegos drove Pallan to Jessica Gomez’s home located in the 9400 block of Underwood Street in Pico Rivera.

Pallan exited the car and shot the victim as she was standing in front of her residence, according to the prosecutor.

After the shooting, Pallan returned to the car and Gallegos drove them away, the prosecutor said.


March 28, 2017


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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man previously dubbed the Assistant Coach Bandit by the FBI for prior bank robberies was convicted yesterday of defrauding over $40,000 from six victims through a loan modification scam. James Allen Ramsdell, 51, Huntington Beach, pleaded guilty to a court offer on March 23, 2017, to six felony counts of grand theft, one felony count of grand theft from an elder, one felony count of foreclosure consultant unlawful advance fee, one misdemeanor count of loan modification unlawful advance, and a sentencing enhancement for a prior prison conviction of a serious and violent felony for bank robbery in 2009 in the San Diego federal court. The defendant faces an indicated sentence of six months in county jail at his sentencing on June 1, 2017, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-57, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Between March 1, 2014, and Nov. 1, 2015, Ramsdell offered to provide loan modification services to Jane Doe. The defendant illegally collected an upfront fee of approximately $920, after the victim received a bank notice of default on her mortgage. Ramsdell instructed the victim to write multiple checks to complete the loan modification but never performed any services. Ramsdell operated his fraudulent loan modification/foreclosure consultant firm under the fictitious name of Ramsdell Consulting. The defendant used the fictitious name of Melissa Hurley when communicating with Jane Doe. Ramsdell received multiple checks from the victim and cashed them, defrauding over $10,000 from Jane Doe.

No modifications were made on Jane Doe’s home loan, so the victim submitted a fraud report to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) Bureau of Investigation, who investigated this case and arrested the defendant on April 29, 2016. After further investigation by the OCDA Bureau of Investigation, it was discovered that Ramsdell ran a similar scam against five other victims, defrauding them out of over $30,000 between Sept. 25, 2014, and May 20, 2015.

To watch video of the arrest, please visit the following link:

Prior Prison Conviction for Bank Robbery

On July 6, 2009, Ramsdell pleaded guilty to robbing a Washington Mutual bank branch in San Diego County in 2008 and four other banks in Orange County in the Cities of Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, and Tustin. Ramsdell previously coached youth baseball and soccer in Orange County and the FBI dubbed him the Assistant Coach Bandit.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Pete Pierce of the Major Fraud Unit is prosecuting this case.

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 16CF1062 / March 24, 2017

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