Best Defender Bytes: Crime after Crime

July 31, 2017

Attorney General Becerra Files Multiple Charges in Sex Trafficking Case

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:06 am

LOS ANGELES – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced 54 felony charges against Quinton Brown, Gerald Turner, and Mia McNeil, following a six-month investigation by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, and the California Department of Justice. The amended complaint, filed yesterday, alleges that Brown lured victims from the Central Valley and trafficked them throughout the state. The victims, including eight minors, were sold for commercial sex throughout the Central Valley, Bay Area and Los Angeles. The charges include sex trafficking, pimping, pandering, grand theft and identity theft.

It is important to note that a criminal complaint contains charges that are only allegations against a person. Every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

“Law enforcement agents throughout the state work tirelessly every day to ensure that Californians are safe from exploitation and do not become victims of human trafficking,” said Attorney General Becerra. “These charges stem from the hard work of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, and the California Department of Justice attorneys and Special Agents. I want to thank our law enforcement partners for their efforts over the course of this six-month investigation to bring these defendants to justice.”

At the time the offenses were committed, the juvenile victims ranged in age from 15 to 17 and the adult victims ranged in age from 18 to 21.


Man Sentenced in Immigration Fraud Case

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:03 am

A 53-year-old man received a 15-year sentence today for defrauding immigrant families to get their loved ones out of custody by posing as a law enforcement officer, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Gregory Chavez’s sentence will be served in county jail for 10 years, followed by five years of mandatory supervision. He also was ordered to pay nearly $550,000 in restitution.

Last month, Chavez pleaded no contest to 12 counts of grand theft, two counts of perjury and one count each of extortion, conspiracy and counterfeit seal.

Deputy District Attorney Leonard Torrealba of the Consumer Protection Division prosecuted the case.

Dating back to September 2010, Chavez falsely promised he could help immigration detainees with their cases. Chavez, an unlicensed private investigator, often represented himself as a “special agent” who carried a badge and boasted about working with a team of law enforcement officers, the prosecutor said.


Ex-Compton Mayor Convicted of Misappropriation of Public Funds

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:01 am

A former Compton mayor was convicted this afternoon of misappropriating city moneys between 1999 and 2001, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

The jury deliberated for less than a day before finding Omar Bradley, 61, guilty of two felony counts in case BA240392: misappropriation of public funds by a public officer and misuse of public funds by a public officer for personal gain.

Bradley is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 30 in Department 107 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

Deputy District Attorney Ana Maria Lopez of the Public Integrity Division prosecuted the case.

According to evidence presented at trial, Bradley used public funds for non-city related expenses, including recreational activities, clothing, hotels and other additional items.


July 28, 2017

Four Inland Empire Individuals Charged in Tax Fraud and Identity Theft Scheme Claiming Nearly $2 Million in Fraudulent Tax Refunds

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

LOS ANGELES – Federal authorities on Monday and Tuesday arrested three defendants charged with participating in a tax fraud scheme that used stolen identities to file at least 527 fraudulent federal income tax returns claiming more than $1.9 million in fraudulent tax refunds with the Internal Revenue Service.

The 41-count indictment was returned by a federal grand jury on July 12th and unsealed yesterday and charges the defendants with conspiracy to defraud the government with respect to claims, filing false claims against the government, theft of government property, wire fraud, possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices, possession of an identification document with intent to defraud the United States, aggravated identity theft, and criminal forfeiture. The Indictment also names a fourth defendant, Raymond Salazar, 53, of Los Angeles who remains at large.

The three defendants taken into custody on Monday and Tuesday are:

· Charlene Castrejon, 58, of Hemet, California;

· Rebecca Mona Sandoval, 33 of San Jacinto, California; and

· Robert Manuel Gamboa, Jr., known as Paul Timothy Garcia, 29, of Highland, California. (more…)


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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was charged with hate crimes for harassing and assaulting two Muslim women in Irvine.

Defendant Charges Maximum Sentence Court Date
Brandon Ricardo Pascual, 35, Irvine Charged on July 26, 2017, with the following felony counts:

  • (2) Assault – Hate Crime with ability to cause injury
Three years in state prison Arraignment

Date: TBD

Circumstances of the Case

  • On March 1, 2017, Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 were walking toward their car in an Irvine shopping center parking lot. Jane Doe 1 was wearing a religious head scarf.
  • Pascual is accused of driving up to the victims and yelling an anti-Muslim expletive before driving away. (more…)


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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was sentenced yesterday to seven years and eight months in state prison for trafficking, pimping, and pandering two 15-year-old Fresno girls in Orange County.

Defendant Charges Sentence
Kenneth Afrane Glenn Maxwell, 20, Fresno Pleaded guilty on July 26, 2017, to the following felony counts:

  • (2) Human trafficking of a minor
  • (2) Pimping a minor under 16
  • (2) Pandering a minor under 16
Seven years and eight months in state prison (court offer)

Circumstances of the Case

Maxwell is a human trafficker/pimp who exploits women and/or children for financial gain. Pimps often establish rigid rules that their victims are expected to follow including requiring victims to speak only when spoken to, address the pimp as “Sir” or “Daddy,” assigning seats in the car based on “rank,” and setting daily quotas that the victims are expected to fulfill. The victims are often required to turn over all payment they receive for sex acts from sex purchasers to their pimp. Failure to follow these rules can result in physical and/or emotional abuse. (more…)

July 27, 2017

Northern California Real Estate Investor Sentenced to Prison for Rigging Bids at Public Foreclosure Auctions

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

After being convicted at trial, a Northern California real estate investor was sentenced today for his role in a conspiracy to rig bids at public real estate foreclosure auctions, the Department of Justice announced.

Alvin Florida Jr. was charged on Nov. 19, 2014, in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the Northern District of California. He was convicted on Dec. 15, 2016, of conspiring to rig bids at foreclosure auctions in Alameda County. Today, Florida was sentenced to serve 21 months in prison and to serve three years of supervised release. In addition to his term of imprisonment, Florida was ordered to pay a criminal fine of $325,803.

Between May 2008 and December 2010, Florida conspired with others not to bid against one another, but instead designated a winning bidder to obtain selected properties. The members of the conspiracy then held second, private auctions to award the properties to members of the conspiracy and determine payoffs for other conspirators who had agreed not to bid against each other at the public auctions. The private auctions often took place at or near the courthouse steps where the public auctions were held.

The primary purpose of the conspiracies was to suppress and eliminate competition in order to obtain selected real estate offered at Alameda County public foreclosure auctions at noncompetitive prices. When real estate properties are sold at public auctions, the proceeds are used to pay off the mortgage and other debt attached to the property, with the remaining proceeds, if any, paid to the homeowner. (more…)


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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A former security guard pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 24 years in state prison yesterday for posing as a police officer and forcibly raping a human trafficking victim.

Defendant Charges Sentence
Raul Antonio Ramos, 28, Westminster Pleaded guilty on July 25, 2017, to one felony count each of:

  • Forcible rape
  • Rape by threat to arrest
  • Forcible oral copulation
  • Impersonating a peace officer
24 years and eight months in state prison

Circumstances of the Case

  • At the time of the crime, Ramos was employed as a security guard in Santa Ana.
  • On the night of Dec. 11, 2015, Ramos contacted 19-year-old Jane Doe, whom he did not know, and solicited the human trafficking victim for commercial sex. (more…)

Redondo Beach Woman Pleads in Multimillion Insurance Fraud Scheme

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

A Redondo Beach woman accused of participating in a $150 million workers’ compensation insurance fraud scheme pleaded guilty today, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Kennes Ma said Marissa Nelson (dob 11/29/76) pleaded to one felony count of conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and admitted a special allegation of taking property of a value exceeding $3.2 million in case BA455469.

The sentencing hearing for Nelson is scheduled for July 27, 2018.

The defendant is one of a dozen people accused of fraudulently billing tens of millions of dollars to insurance companies for fraudulent surgeries, prescription medications, fake MRIs, falsifying medical reports and office visits.

Nelson was a personal assistant to orthopedic surgeon Dr. Munir Uwaydah. She is also the wife of codefendant Peter Nelson, a physician’s assistant who never attended medical school and allegedly performed invasive and sometimes unnecessary surgeries.

July 26, 2017

Celgene Agrees to Pay $280 Million to Resolve Fraud Allegations Related to Promotion of Cancer Drugs Not Approved by FDA

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

LOS ANGELES – Celgene Corp., a manufacturer of pharmaceuticals headquartered in Summit, New Jersey, has agreed to pay $280 million to settle fraud allegations related to the promotion of two cancer treatment drugs for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the Justice Department announced today.

Celgene agreed to pay the settlement to resolve a “whistleblower” lawsuit that alleged it had violated the federal False Claims Act by submitting false claims to Medicare. The lawsuit also alleged that Celgene violated the laws of 28 states and the District of Columbia by submitting fraudulent claims to state health care programs, including California’s Medi-Cal program.

Pursuant to the settlement, which was finalized last week, Celgene will pay $259.3 million to the United States and $20.7 million to the 28 states and the District of Columbia. California will receive $4.7 million, more than any other state. Celgene is expected to pay the settlement tomorrow.

The settlement resolves allegations brought in a “whistleblower” lawsuit that Celgene promoted two cancer drugs – Thalomid and Revlimid – for uses that were not approved by the FDA and not covered by federal health care programs. The allegations included the use of false and misleading statements about the drugs, and paying kickbacks to physicians to induce them to prescribe the drugs.

“Patients deserve to know their doctors are prescribing drugs that are likely to provide effective treatment, rather than drugs marketed aggressively by pharmaceutical companies,” said Acting United States Attorney Sandra R. Brown. (more…)

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