Best Defender Bytes: Crime after Crime

November 30, 2017

Attorney General Xavier Becerra Sues For-Profit Ashford University For Defrauding and Deceiving Students

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:11 am

SAN FRANCISCO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced that he is suing Ashford University, an online for-profit school based in San Diego, and its parent company Bridgepoint Education for engaging in unlawful business practices. In the lawsuit, Attorney General Becerra alleges that Ashford made false promises and furnished faulty information to students to persuade them to enroll. It also used illegal debt collection practices when students struggled to pay their bills. Attorney General Becerra seeks restitution for students, a permanent injunction prohibiting similar activities in the future, and civil penalties from Ashford University.

“No school should ever steal the American Dream from its students, but that is exactly what Ashford University did,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Ashford University preyed on veterans and people of modest means. This for-profit college illegally misled students about their educational prospects and unfairly saddled them with debt. In today’s economy, college is too pivotal and precious to let a predatory for-profit company swindle our daughters and sons out of the higher education they’ll need to get ahead.”


In 2005, Bridgepoint Education bought a tiny non-profit Catholic university in Iowa named Franciscan University of the Prairies. Bridgepoint cut the school’s ties with the Catholic Church, rebranded it as Ashford University, and exploited the school’s access to federal education funds to build an online empire with over 80,000 students by 2012. Ashford University proceeded to close the original Franciscan University’s brick and mortar campus in Iowa in 2016.

Attorney General Becerra alleges that Ashford accomplished its massive growth with an army of “Admissions Counselors” who were really salespeople working in toxic boiler-room conditions. The complaint alleges that Ashford’s administration subjected these “Admissions Counselors” to extreme pressure to meet enrollment targets and that it verbally and psychologically abused them when they fell short.

The complaint further alleges that: (more…)

Man Sentenced For Sex Trafficking, Assault

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:08 am

A 39-year-old man has been sentenced to 25 years in state prison for forcing a young woman into prostitution and beating her, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Okang Palmer was found guilty last month of one count each of human trafficking, assault with a deadly weapon, criminal threats and pandering. He was sentenced yesterday by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Jessie Rodriguez who ordered lifetime sex registration for the defendant.

Deputy District Attorney L. Christmas Brookens of the Victim Impact Program prosecuted the case.

In 2014, the victim moved from Northern California to Los Angeles, believing she would be in a romantic relationship with Palmer. But after she arrived, Palmer forced her into prostitution, the prosecutor said.

The victim gave Palmer money that she earned. He also beat her with a belt buckle and burned her after she escaped in early 2015. (more…)

Man Sentenced for Strangulation Death, Arson

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

A Compton man was sentenced yesterday to 28 years to life in state prison for his role in the strangling of a man whose body was later set ablaze, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Brian Kang said José Ángel Martínez, 22, was found guilty on Oct. 6 of firstdegree murder and arson in case NA095527.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies responded to a call regarding a car fire at a basketball court in Rancho Palos Verdes on April 23, 2013. As the fire was extinguished, officials found the body of Christopher Waters, 42, in the back of his burned vehicle, according to evidence presented at the trial.

Waters was killed by strangulation before being placed in the car and set on fire, the prosecutor said.

The case was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Los Angeles District Attorney / case NA095527 / November 29, 2017

November 29, 2017


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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A Las Vegas man and woman are scheduled to be arraigned today for trafficking and pimping a 16-year-old Utah girl in Costa Mesa.

Defendant Charges Maximum Sentence Court Date
Brandon Antwan Hunter, 31, Las Vegas Charged today with the following felony counts:

  • Human trafficking of a minor
  • Pimping a minor
  • Pandering a minor over 16 by procuring
  • Unlawful sexual intercourse
12 years and eight months in state prison Arraignment

Nov. 28, 2017, time to be determined

Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana

Danielle Deniese Bates, 31, Las Vegas
  • Human trafficking of a minor
  • Pimping a minor
  • Pandering a minor over 16 by procuring
12 years in state prison Arraignment

Nov. 28, 2017, Dept. CJ-1

Hunter is accused of being a human trafficker/pimp and Bates is accused of working for him as a prostitute and recruiting other women to prostitute for Hunter. In the pimp/prostitution subculture, pimps exploit women and/or children for financial gain often assign ranks to the women they exploit. With the rise in popularity of social media and ease of meeting people on the Internet, many pimps and human traffickers utilize a variety of social media to locate potential victims. They 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 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 deprivation of food and/or physical or emotional abuse. (more…)

How evidence once thought destroyed helped free a man after 39 years behind bars for murder he didn’t commit

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

Decades into a life prison sentence without the possibility of parole, Craig Coley continued to insist he was innocent.

The former restaurant night manager had fought unsuccessfully for years to overturn a conviction for a grisly double murder that had shocked Simi Valley in 1978.

But when police recently reopened the case, they faced a daunting obstacle. After Coley lost his final appeal years ago, a judge had issued an order permitting the destruction of the crime scene evidence.

A cold-case detective began what some expected to be a fruitless search. He tried to contact the two laboratories that had performed rudimentary tests on the crime scene evidence in the 1970s and found that both had gone out of business. A Northern California lab had acquired their contents.

That’s when the detective discovered that the evidence boxes had not been destroyed but were sitting forgotten, intact and in storage. (more…)

‘Evil twin’ who plotted to kill her ‘good twin’ sister may leave prison after 19 years

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

From the beginning, the case of identical twins Jeen “Gina” Han and Sunny Han was destined for tabloid headlines, a story of greed, hatred and family strife.

Irvine police even referred to them as “the evil twin and good twin.”

The case received international headlines, with authorities saying Jeen Han plotted to kill her sister, Sunny Han, who had helped authorities mount a prosecution against her for her involvement in the theft of cash and credit cards from people in the San Diego area.

Jeen Han, now 43, has spent the last 19 years behind bars. But that might soon change.

Here’s the story of the sensational case from the pages of The Times:


A plot to kill her twin (more…)

November 28, 2017

Attorney Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges Stemming from $50 Million Scheme that Defrauded the EB-5 Visa Program and Chinese Investors

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:08 am

SANTA ANA, California – An attorney who lives in El Monte pleaded guilty today to federal fraud and money laundering charges for participating in a multi-faceted scheme that collected more than $50 million from foreign investors seeking “Green Cards” through the EB-5 visa program.

Victoria Chan [莹莹], who along with her father operated a San Gabriel-based business called California Investment Immigration Fund, LLC (CIIF), admitted that she exploited the EB-5 visa program, which provides lawful permanent residence – commonly known as a “Green Card” – to foreign nationals who invest at least $500,000 in a domestic business that creates 10 new American jobs.

Chan admitted that much of the money collected by CIIF from the primarily Chinese investors either was stolen by the conspirators or was refunded to the foreign nationals. This undermined one of the basic principles of the EB-5 program because the money was not actually invested in the United States, nor did it lead to the creation of 10 new American full-time jobs, as required under the program.

Chan admitted submitting about 130 fraudulent EB-5 visa applications to federal immigration authorities, and many of those applications falsely claimed that the foreign investments were being used to fund construction projects that were creating new jobs.

As part of the wire fraud conspiracy, Chan admitted that she fraudulently used hundreds of thousands of dollars in EB-5 investor funds to purchase homes in her name, including residential properties each worth nearly $1 million in Diamond Bar and Rancho Cucamonga. (more…)

Former Employees of Southern California Ambulance Company and Dialysis Center Plead Guilty to Medicare Fraud Charges

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

A former employee of a Southern California ambulance company and a former employee of a Los Angeles dialysis treatment center both pleaded guilty today to fraud charges for their roles in a fraud scheme that resulted in more than $6.6 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare.  Three other individuals charged in the case previously pleaded guilty.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Sandra R. Brown of the Central District of California, Special Agent in Charge Christian J. Schrank of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Los Angeles Region and Acting Assistant Director in Charge Danny Kennedy of the FBI’s Los Angeles Division made the announcement.

Aharon Aron Krkasharyan, 53, of Los Angeles, California, pleaded guilty in federal court in Los Angeles to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.  Maria Espinoza, 47, also of Los Angeles, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks for health care referrals.  U.S. District Judge George H. Wu of the Central District of California accepted the guilty pleas.  Krkasharyan is scheduled to be sentenced on March 29, 2018, and Espinoza is scheduled to be sentenced on April 2, 2018.

Krkasharyan was employed as the Quality Improvement Coordinator for Mauran Ambulance Inc., an ambulance transportation company operating in the greater Los Angeles area that provided non-emergency services to Medicare beneficiaries, many of whom were dialysis patients.  According to admissions made in connection with his plea, between June 2011 and April 2012, Krkasharyan conspired with other Mauran employees to submit claims to Medicare for ambulance transportation services for individuals who did not need such services.  Krkasharyan also admitted that he and his co-conspirators instructed Mauran emergency medical technicians to conceal the patients’ true medical conditions by altering paperwork and creating fraudulent reasons to justify the ambulance services. (more…)

November 27, 2017

DA’s Cyber Crime Investigation Leads to Arrest, Prosecution of Alleged Superior Court Email System Hacker

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

The alleged mastermind behind a five-day, email-phishing attack targeting Los Angeles County Superior Court email accounts was arrested in Houston last week following a criminal investigation by the District Attorney’s Cyber Investigation Response Team.

Deputy District Attorney Donn Hoffman of the Cyber Crimes Division said Oriyomi Sadiq Aloba (dob 2/9/86) is charged in a felony complaint for arrest warrant with 18 felony counts: 12 counts of false personation; five counts of altering public safety computer data, software or program; and one count of multiple identifying information theft. Case BA462569 also includes excessive-taking allegations of more than $100,000.

Aloba, who was arrested without incident on Nov. 15 at his home by the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation with assistance from the FBI Los Angeles and Houston Cyber Task Force, the Houston Police Department and the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, will be arraigned on Friday, Dec. 1, at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

In July, more than 500 Superior Court employees received email messages that attempted to trick users into revealing their account credentials by directing them to visit bogus websites that appeared to be those of legitimate companies. Fewer than a dozen Superior Court employees were affected by the breach and the court determined that no case information, court data or financial data was compromised.

Prosecutors have recommended that the defendant’s bail be set at $1.1 million. If convicted as charged, Aloba faces up to 14 years, four months in state prison.

Los Angeles District Attorney / Case BA462569 / November 21, 2017

Man Sentenced to Prison for Kidnapping, Assaulting Ex-Girlfriend in Duarte

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

A 38-year-old man was sentenced today to 16 years and four months in state prison for forcing his exgirlfriend into a car, assaulting her and threatening to kill her in May, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

On Aug. 31, a jury found Alberto Casillas guilty of three felony counts in case GA101048: kidnapping, injuring a girlfriend and making criminal threats.

Deputy District Attorney Yoobin Kang Hernandez, who prosecuted the case, said Casillas went to his ex-girlfriend’s Duarte home on May 3. While in front of the woman’s residence, the defendant forced the ex-girlfriend into his vehicle and threatened to hurt her if she got out, the prosecutor said.

Casillas then drove the pair to his East Los Angeles home, the prosecutor added. A witness to the abduction contacted law enforcement about the attack.

When officers arrived at the defendant’s home, they found the victim in the driveway with injuries to her body, according to the prosecutor. Casillas was subsequently arrested in connection with the incident. (more…)

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress