Best Defender Bytes: Crime after Crime

June 30, 2017

Former Prison Transport Officer Indicted for Sexual Assault and Threatening the Victim with a Firearm

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

A federal grand jury in Phoenix, Arizona, returned a three-count indictment against Eric Scott Kindley, 49, a prison transport officer, for crimes related to his sexual assaults of a female in his custody, and using his firearm in furtherance of these assaults.

Counts One and Two of the indictment charge Kindley with committing civil rights offenses that include both the use of a dangerous weapon and aggravated sexual abuse. Count Three charges Kindley with knowingly possessing a firearm in furtherance of these crimes of violence.

This indictment stems from Kindley’s arrest in Stockton, California on June 1, 2017, in connection with a criminal complaint filed in the District of Arizona. According to arrest paperwork, Kindley operates Group 6, LLC doing business as Special Operations Group 6, a company that local jails throughout the country hire to transport individuals who have been arrested on out-of-state warrants. The probable cause affidavit associated with the criminal complaint alleged that from January through May of this year, Kindley engaged in sexual misconduct in his Dodge Caravan with three different female prisoners during three different transports. The transports were from California to Arizona, Alabama to Arizona, and Mississippi to New Mexico. In each instance, the victim was handcuffed and restrained, and taken to secluded locations where Kindley sexually assaulted her. All the while, Kindley threatened each victim with his firearm and warned her that he will get away with his conduct because no one will believe her.

Following Kindley’s arrest in the Eastern District of California, the court ordered that Kindley be detained and transported to Arizona for further proceedings. Kindley is currently in custody.


Federal Protective Service Officer Indicted for Civil Rights Violation

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

LOS ANGELES – An officer with the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Service was named today in an indictment that charges him with violating the civil rights of a person in handcuffs by kicking him in the head.

Jason Michael Rouswell, 46, of the El Sereno District of Los Angeles, was charged with one count of deprivation of rights under color of law in relation to the October 20, 2016 incident.

Rouswell, who holds the rank of inspector with the Federal Protective Service, is accused of kicking the victim in the head after the victim had already been handcuffed and while the victim was face down in a prone position. The incident took place outside the offices of the Social Security Administration in Pomona.

The indictment charges Rouswell with willfully depriving the victim of the right to be free from the use of unreasonable force by one acting under the color of law. The indictment further alleges that the victim suffered bodily injury.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.



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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A former Santa Ana High School (SAHS) science teacher was convicted yesterday of having sex with an underage female student inside of his classroom.

Defendant Charges Maximum Sentence Court Date
Alvar Albert Gonzalez, 66, Santa Ana Pleaded guilty yesterday to one felony count each of:

  • Unlawful sexual intercourse
  • Possession and control of child pornography
  • Three years and eight months in state prison
  • Mandatory lifetime sex offender registration

Aug. 25, 2017, 8:30 a.m.

Department C-57, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana

Circumstances of the Case


June 29, 2017

Los Angeles Hospital Agrees to Pay $42 Million to Settle Alleged False Claims Act Violations Arising from Improper Payments to Physicians

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

PAMC Ltd., and Pacific Alliance Medical Center Inc., which together own and operate Pacific Alliance Medical Center, an acute care hospital located in Los Angeles, California, have agreed to pay $42 million to settle allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by engaging in improper financial relationships with referring physicians, the Justice Department announced today. Of the total settlement amount, $31.9 million will be paid to the Federal Government, and $10 million will be paid to the State of California.

The settlement announced today resolves allegations brought in a whistleblower lawsuit that the defendants submitted false claims to the Medicare and MediCal Programs for services rendered to patients referred by physicians with whom the defendants had improper financial relationships. These relationships took the form of (1) arrangements under which the defendants allegedly paid above-market rates to rent office space in physicians’ offices, and (2) marketing arrangements that allegedly provided undue benefit to physicians’ practices. The lawsuit alleged that these relationships violated the Anti-Kickback Statute and the Stark Law, both of which restrict the financial relationships that hospitals may have with doctors who refer patients to them.

“This is another example of how the False Claims Act whistleblower provisions can help protect the public fisc,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “This recovery should help to deter other health care providers from entering into improper financial relationships with physicians that can taint the physicians’ medical judgment, to the detriment of patients and taxpayers.”

The lawsuit was filed by Paul Chan, who was employed as a manager by one of the defendants, under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. Under the Act, private citizens can bring suit on behalf of the United States and share in any recovery. The United States may intervene in the lawsuit, or, as in this case, the whistleblower may pursue the action. Mr. Chan will receive over $9.2 million as his share of the federal recovery.


Former Orange County Income Tax Return Preparer Sentenced to 21 Months in Federal Prison for Filing Fraudulent Returns

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

LOS ANGELES – An Orange County man who prepared tax returns for clients after falsely claiming to be a certified public accountant and a former IRS agent was sentenced this morning to serve 21 months in federal prison for preparing and filing fraudulent federal income tax returns.

Michael Raymond Martinez, 48, of Fullerton, was sentenced by United States District Judge Beverly Reid O’Connell. In addition to the prison term, Judge O’Connell ordered Martinez to pay $205,465 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

Martinez – who operated his tax preparation business under the names Your Home Tax Service, Great Tax Services and Great Tax Solutions – pleaded guilty in February to one count of aiding and abetting in the preparation of a false income tax return. In marketing materials provided to clients and potential clients, Martinez claimed he could get them “The Largest Refund…Guaranteed!!!”

Martinez, who often met with clients at their homes or at public locations, admitted that he prepared and filed with the IRS at least 245 false federal income tax returns that resulted in tax losses to the United States of approximately $1,155,006.

According to a plea agreement filed in this case, from the beginning of 2009 through April 2015, Martinez had brief meetings with clients to obtain their documents and to receive his payment. Martinez typically prepared and electronically filed the tax returns, but he would not review the returns with his clients.


Former Packaged Seafood Executive Pleads Guilty to Price Fixing

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

A former senior vice president of sales for a packaged seafood company pleaded guilty for his role in a conspiracy to fix the price of packaged seafood, such as canned tuna, sold in the United States, the Department of Justice announced today.

According to documents filed in this case, Stephen Hodge and his co-conspirators agreed to fix the prices of packaged seafood from as early as 2011 through 2013. He pleaded guilty to a one-count criminal information filed on May 30, 2017, in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco. Hodge has agreed to pay a criminal fine and cooperate with the Antitrust Division’s ongoing investigation. He will be sentenced by the court at a later date.

“With today’s plea, the Antitrust Division continues to send a strong signal that senior executives will be held accountable for their actions,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Andrew Finch of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “The division, along with our law enforcement colleagues, will continue to investigate price fixing among packaged seafood companies and the executives who worked at those companies.”

“The FBI will not tolerate the reprehensible behavior of company executives who abuse the trust of the American public for personal gain,” said FBI San Francisco Division Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett. “We, along with our Justice Department partners, are dedicated to our ongoing investigations into price fixing and will bring these companies to justice.”


June 28, 2017

Former Agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration Pleads Guilty to Stealing Fraud Proceeds

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

A former special agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) pleaded guilty today to stealing fraud proceeds that she had been assigned to recover on behalf of fraud victims, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Special Agent in Charge Michael P. Tompkins of the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG).

Artemis Papadakis, 57, of Richmond, California, pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jill L. Burkhardt of the Southern District of California to an information charging her with theft by a government official. Sentencing has been scheduled for September 11 before U.S. District Judge John A. Houston.

According to the plea agreement, Papadakis admitted that she was stationed by the DEA in Nicosia, Cyprus, between 2008 and 2014. While in Cyprus, Papadakis was assigned to help the U.S. Government recover the proceeds of an American fraud scheme that had been frozen in the banking system in northern Cyprus. When Papadakis was transferred from Cyprus to San Francisco in June 2014, the funds had not yet been recovered. Papadakis admitted that she was told not to pursue the matter regarding the funds following her transfer. But when she was in Cyprus in October 2015 on personal business, Papadakis took possession of $310,000 of the funds without notifying anyone at the DEA or in the U.S. Government that she had done so.

According to the plea agreement, Papadakis mailed approximately $230,000 of those funds from Cyprus to her home address in California and later took possession of an additional $20,000 of those funds from a third party when he visited her in the U.S. Papadakis admitted that she hid the $250,000 in her flower pots at her home in California, and did not disclose to anyone at the DEA or in the U.S. Government that she had taken possession of the fraud proceeds. Papadakis further admitted that on or about Feb. 22, 2016, she surrendered the $250,000 to the U.S. government under the false cover story that she had just received it via an unexpected package from Cyprus.


California Resident Pleads Guilty to Stealing Homeless Individuals’ IDs and Using Them to Seek Fraudulent Tax Refunds

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

A California resident pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiring to file false claims for tax refunds, submitting false claims for tax refunds, mail fraud and aggravated identity theft, 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.

According to documents and information provided to the court, Diep Vo aka Nancy Vo, 74, conspired with codefendant Trong Nguyen aka John Nguyen, to use the IDs of homeless and unemployed individuals in the San Jose, California area to file fraudulent claims for refunds with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Vo went to homeless shelters and halfway houses and falsely represented to individuals that she could get them money from a government program designed to assist people who had not worked in previous years. Vo convinced people to write down their names and social security numbers and to sign blank income tax returns. Vo and Nguyen then falsified the signed returns including bogus income and income tax withheld amounts and sought fraudulent refunds from the IRS. Vo and Nguyen directed the refund checks to private mailboxes they controlled. Nguyen previously pleaded guilty to submitting and conspiring to submit false claims for refund.

Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 14. Vo faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in prison on each count of conspiring to file false claims and submitting false claims for refund, 20 years in prison for each count of mail fraud and a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in prison for aggravated identity theft. Vo also faces a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties. Nguyen is scheduled to be sentenced on July 25.


Uber Driver Charged With Sexually Assaulting Passenger

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

An Uber driver was charged today with raping a female passenger in a motel while she was unconscious, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Alaric Spence (dob 9/17/70) was charged in case BA458608 with three felony counts: kidnapping to commit rape, rape of an unconscious person and rape by use of drugs.

The defendant is scheduled to be arraigned today in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center. Prosecutors are asking that bail be set at $1.1 million.

District Attorney Reinhold Mueller of the Sex Crimes Division is prosecuting the case.

On June 23, Spence is accused of picking up a 24-year-old woman in downtown Los Angeles. The defendant then allegedly drove the victim to a motel in North Hollywood where he raped her, the prosecutor said.

The victim was intoxicated and unconscious at the time of the sexual assault, the prosecutor added.


June 27, 2017

Attorney General Becerra and District Attorney Lacey: Car Donation Charity Agrees to Injunction to Stop Charity Fraud

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

SACRAMENTO — A Los Angeles-based car donation charity accused of soliciting vehicle donations using false and misleading advertising entered a stipulated final judgment ordering its dissolution and other provisions, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced.

In December 2015, the California Attorney General and Los Angeles District Attorney filed a lawsuit against the People’s Choice Charities. At the time of the filing, the lawsuit alleged the organization promised 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of cars would be given to charities selected by donors. However, an estimated 97 percent of funds were purportedly used toward administrative costs, including advertising, towing and car repairs.

“Any time charities lie to consumers, they breach the public’s trust,” said Attorney General Becerra. “I won’t stand for that. As the chief law enforcement officer of California, I will vigorously investigate and prosecute any charity that deceives and exploits the good will of generous Americans.”

“This settlement should serve as a warning to any other organization that takes advantage of the kindness of consumers,” said District Attorney Lacey. “Donations generated through deceptive advertising take valuable resources away from legitimate charities.”

The stipulated final judgment places a permanent injunction on Gary Stone, the nonprofit’s president, barring him from serving as a director, officer, trustee or employee of any California charitable organization. Moreover, Stone is permanently enjoined from doing contract work with charities, holding any management or supervisory position, or engaging in fundraising activities. People’s Choice Charities will also be dissolved.


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