Best Defender Bytes: Crime after Crime

February 28, 2018


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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A former Fullerton police officer was sentenced to 30 days in jail yesterday for using excessive use of force and writing a false police report while on duty.




Miguel Siliceo, 52, Anaheim

Pleaded guilty yesterday to:

  • One misdemeanor count of excessive force on duty
  • 30 days in county jail

  • Three years of informal probation

  • Ordered to pay $4,200 in restitution

Circumstances of the Case

  • At the time of the crime, Siliceo was employed as a police officer with the Fullerton Police Department (FPD).
  • On July 9, 2015, Siliceo was on patrol with his partner in downtown Fullerton. Siliceo approached John Doe from behind and pushed him as he was legally crossing in a marked crosswalk. The defendant admitted to filing a false police report after arresting John Doe for resisting arrest. (more…)

Alleged Serial Rapist Charged with Attacks Across LA County

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

A 44-year-old man who posed as a rideshare driver has been charged with raping seven women in a span of 15 months, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Nicolas Morales (dob 1/16/74) of Santa Clarita has been charged with 27 felony counts in case GA102960: nine counts of forcible oral copulation, six counts of rape, five counts sodomy by use of force, four counts of sexual penetration by foreign object, and one count each of assault with intent to commit a felony, attempted sodomy by use of force and attempted kidnapping to commit another crime. The felony complaint also includes multiple victims and knife allegations.

The defendant is scheduled to be arraigned today in Department 5 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Alhambra Branch. Prosecutors are asking that bail be set at $10.3 million.

Deputy District Attorney Presciliano Duran of the Victim Impact Program is assigned to the case.

Prosecutors said from October 2016 to January 2018, Morales is accused of raping and sexually assaulting seven separate women while posing as a rideshare driver in areas throughout Los Angeles County, including Alhmbra, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and Los Angeles.

If convicted as charged, Morales faces a maximum possible sentence of 300 years to life in state prison and lifetime sex offender registration.


LAPD Officers Sentenced to 25 Years in Prison For On-Duty Sexual Assaults

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

Two Los Angeles Police Department officers were sentenced today to 25 years in prison after pleading no contest to sexually assaulting four women, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

James Nichols, 46, and Luis Valenzuela, 45, pleaded no contest to two counts each of forcible rape and forcible oral copulation. They were immediately sentenced by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Ronald Coen, who ordered lifetime sex registration for both defendants.

Deputy District Attorneys Ann Marie Wise and Dan Akemon of the Justice System Integrity Division prosecuted the case.

After becoming partners, the two officers sexually assaulted women at various locations between 2008 and 2011. All four women, who ranged in age from 19 to 34, were involved in narcotics-related investigations with the officers when they were assaulted.

Case BA444092 was investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Robbery-Homicide Division. (more…)

February 27, 2018

Attorney General Becerra Announces Undercover Drug Bust in the Central Valley, Seizure of 30 Pounds of Methamphetamine and Heroin

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:25 am

FRESNO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced the arraignment of three individuals who were arrested for possession of 29 pounds of methamphetamine, one and a quarter pounds of heroin, as well as one loaded handgun. The narcotics are believed to have been imported from Mexico.

Defendants Abel Castro, Tauri Valera and Julian Aispuro were arrested on February 22, 2018 and booked into the Fresno County Jail. The arrests came after a month-long investigation led by the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Investigation and the Fresno Methamphetamine Task Force (FMTF), a Central Valley High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area team. The task force is made up of personnel from the Fresno Police Department, Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, Kings County Sheriff’s Office, California Highway Patrol, California National Guard and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations.

“This operation demonstrates our continuing commitment to crack down on drugs that are being trafficked throughout our state,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Keeping Californians safe is our number-one priority at the California Department of Justice, and we will continue to work with our state, local and federal law enforcement partners to combat illegal narcotics, including opioids.”

Undercover agents from the FMTF task force negotiated with the three suspects to purchase 29 pounds of methamphetamine and two pounds of heroin. During the morning hours of February 22, the suspects confirmed the narcotics had crossed the Mexican border and would be delivered to a Fresno parking lot. The defendants were arrested once the FMTF undercover agents were able to view the evidence. (more…)


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:22 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A transient woman was charged yesterday with kidnapping a 12-year-old girl as she walked to school in Santa Ana.

Defendant Charges Maximum Sentence Court Date
Claudia Hernandez, 34, transient Charged on Feb. 22, 2018, with the following felony counts:

  • Kidnapping a child under 14
  • Child stealing
11 years in state prison Pre-trial hearing

March 2, 2018, 8:30 a.m.

Department C-55, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana

Circumstances of the Case

  • On Feb. 21, 2018, at approximately 7:45 a.m., 12-year-old Jane Doe was walking to her intermediate school near Main Street and Cubbon Street in the city of Santa Ana.
  • Hernandez is accused of approaching the girl, grabbing her around the torso, and retaining control of her as she led the victim several hundred feet down Main Street. (more…)


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:18 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man is scheduled to face trial on Monday for the 1974 cold case murder of a 30-year-old female stranger in her La Palma apartment.

Defendant Felony Charges Maximum Sentence Court Date
Larry Clark Stephens, 68, Santa Rosa Charged on June 2, 2015, with:

  • One felony count of murder

Life in state prison Jury trial opening statements

Feb. 26, 2018, 8:30 a.m.

Department C-30, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana

Circumstances of the Case

  • On Dec. 11, 1974, 30-year-old Patricia Ross was alone in her apartment in La Palma.
  • After completing errands for her business, she returned home to get ready for a double date she was planning on attending later that evening. She was supposed to meet her date and another couple at the couple’s home in Huntington Beach that evening.
  • The defendant and Ross did not know each other prior to the crime. (more…)

February 26, 2018

L.A. Man Convicted of ATM ‘Shoulder Surfing’ that Allowed Him to Withdraw Cash after Bank Customers Left ATMs

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

SANTA ANA, California – A federal judge has convicted a Los Angeles man of three counts of aggravated identity theft for using the secret codes of elderly Bank of America customers to make fraudulent withdrawals at ATMs in Los Angeles and Orange County.

In a written order issued yesterday, Daniel Jermaine Usher, 26, of South Los Angeles, was found guilty of three counts of aggravated identity theft. The verdict was issued by United States District Judge Cormac J. Carney, who presided over a two-day bench trial.

The trial came after Usher pleaded guilty last month to five counts of bank fraud and admitted that he illegally withdrew cash from Bank of America ATMs.

Judge Carney convicted Usher on the same day the Justice Department announced cases against more than 250 defendants who targeted the elderly in fraud cases.

The evidence presented at Usher’s trial showed that Usher engaged in “shoulder surfing” to obtain bank customer PIN numbers. Usher loitered near Bank of America ATMs and covertly watched as customers entered their PINs to conduct various transactions. When customers left the ATMs without concluding their sessions, Usher quickly re-entered PIN he had covertly obtained, which allowed him to fraudulently withdraw cash. (more…)

Two San Gabriel Valley Men Arrested in Scheme to Defraud U.S. by Avoiding Payment of Federal Excise Taxes on Cigarettes

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

LOS ANGELES – Two men have been arrested on charges of scheming to avoid the payment of federal excise taxes on duty-free cigarettes that should have been sent abroad, but instead were diverted to local retail outlets.

Yong “David” Lu, 54, of Arcadia, and Wenzhu Guo, also 54, of Monterey Park, were arrested Thursday morning by federal authorities.

Lu and Guo, both Chinese nationals, were named in a one-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury on Wednesday. The indictment charges both men with conspiring to defraud the United States, with Lu allegedly responsible for the diversion of duty-free cigarettes and Guo allegedly acting as his primary distributor of the untaxed cigarettes.

At their arraignments Thursday afternoon, Lu and Guo entered not guilty pleas, were ordered freed on bond, and were ordered to stand trial on April 10.

The arrests in this case are part of a wider investigation into cigarette diversion schemes designed to avoid the payment of excise taxes. In addition to the arrests, federal authorities on Thursday executed 10 search warrants on homes, storage lockers and vehicles in San Gabriel, Arcadia, Rosemead and Monterey Park. As a result of the searches, special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); IRS Criminal Investigation; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF); and the Alcohol & Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau (TTB) seized more than 2 million contraband cigarettes and more than $45,000 in cash. (more…)

United States Files False Claims Act Complaint Against Compounding Pharmacy, Private Equity Firm, and Two Pharmacy Executives Alleging Payment of Kickbacks

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

The United States has filed a complaint in intervention against Diabetic Care Rx LLC d/b/a Patient Care America (PCA), a compounding pharmacy located in Pompano Beach, Florida, alleging that the pharmacy paid illegal kickbacks to induce prescriptions for compounded drugs reimbursed by TRICARE, the Department of Justice announced today.  The government has also brought claims against Patrick Smith and Matthew Smith, two pharmacy executives, and Riordan, Lewis & Haden Inc. (RLH), a private equity firm based in Los Angeles, California, which manages both the pharmacy and the private equity fund that owns the pharmacy, for their involvement in the alleged kickback scheme.

TRICARE is a federally-funded health care program for military personnel and their families.  The government alleges that the Defendants paid kickbacks to marketing companies to target TRICARE beneficiaries for prescriptions for compounded pain creams, scar creams, and vitamins, without regard to the patients’ medical needs.  According to the complaint, the compound formulas were manipulated by the Defendants and the marketers to ensure the highest possible reimbursement from TRICARE.  The Defendants and marketers allegedly paid telemedicine doctors to prescribe the creams and vitamins without seeing the patients, and sometimes paid the patients themselves to accept the prescriptions.  The scheme generated tens of millions of dollars in reimbursements from TRICARE in a matter of months, according to the complaint, which alleges that the Defendants and marketers split the profits from the scheme.

“The Department of Justice is determined to hold accountable health care providers that improperly use taxpayer funded health care programs to enrich themselves,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division Chad A. Readler.  “Kickback schemes corrupt the health care system and damage the public trust.

“The Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS) is committed to protecting the integrity of TRICARE, the military health care program that provides critical medical care and services to Department of Defense beneficiaries,” said Special Agent in Charge John F. Khin, of the Southeast Field Office.  “In partnership with DOJ and other law enforcement agencies, DCIS continues to aggressively investigate fraud and corruption to preserve and recover precious taxpayer dollars to best serve the needs of our warfighters, their family members, and military retirees.”“Providers and marketers that engage in kickback schemes drive up the cost of health care because they focus on their own bottom line instead of what is in the best interest of patients,” said Executive Assistant Randy Hummel of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.  “We will hold pharmacies, and those companies that manage them, responsible for using kickbacks to line their pockets at the expense of taxpayers and federal health care beneficiaries.” (more…)

February 23, 2018

Attorney General Becerra Announces Embezzlement Charges Against Former Panoche Water District Employees

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 9:00 am

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the arrest and filing of felony charges against five individuals for the misuse of public funds amidst widespread corruption at the Panoche Water District (PWD) in the Central Valley. The scheme resulted in an estimated loss of over $100,000 in public money.

Dennis Falaschi, Julie Cascia, Atomic Falaschi, Jack Hurley, and Dubby West were arrested or surrendered for booking on February 21, 2018, and charged in a felony complaint with a total of ten counts, eight counts relating to the theft of public funds and two counts relating to crimes involving hazardous waste disposal. The defendants allegedly spent public money for personal expenses, such as illegal slot machines, kitchen remodeling, and residential landscaping. Defendants Dennis Falaschi, Julie Cascia, and Atomic Falaschi were booked in the Fresno County booking center; and defendants Jack Hurley and Dubby West surrendered themselves to be booked on the charges. The arrests were the product of a joint year-long investigation by the Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC).

“In California, those in public posts who abuse the public’s trust for personal gain will be held accountable,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The California Department of Justice will investigate and prosecute those who embezzle and misuse public funds. We will work with our law enforcement partners to get the job done.”

The criminal complaint alleges that Dennis Falaschi, the ex-General Manager of PWD, ran the District as his own personal operation and bank account, spending excessive amounts of District money using credit cards issued by PWD. Under the direction of Dennis Falaschi, Julie Cascia used PWD credit cards and money orders for personal expenses, while mischaracterizing the charges as business expenses. Dennis’ son, Atomic Falaschi, took items from PWD, including trees, equipment, and other goods, and used them on his own personal property. The remaining defendants, Jack Hurley and Dubby West, illegally buried barrels of hazardous waste without permits or authorization from DTSC, acting under the direction of Dennis Falaschi. (more…)

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