Best Defender Bytes: Crime after Crime

June 29, 2018

As Part of National Healthcare Fraud Sweep, Los Angeles-Based Prosecutors Filed 16 Cases Alleging $660 Million in Fraudulent Bills

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:19 am

LOS ANGELES – In another massive law enforcement action targeting health care fraud, federal authorities here announced today criminal cases naming a total of 33 defendants – including doctors, pharmacists and an attorney – who have been charged in a wide-range of schemes that collectively attempted to bilk public and private insurance programs out of more than $660 million.

The defendants charged locally are among hundreds of people charged across the United States in cases that cumulatively allege approximately $2 billion in false billings. The nationwide sweep includes charges against 165 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals who allegedly participated in health care fraud schemes

In the Central District of California, most of the defendants were charged for their roles in schemes to defraud health insurance programs such as Medicare. The cases allege health care fraud and kickback schemes involving surgeries, compounded drugs, home health services, Medicare Part D prescription drugs and hospice care.

“Health care fraud schemes cost Americans billions of dollars every year through higher premiums and tax money stolen from public programs, such as Medicare,” said First Assistant United States Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison. “There is an incredible array of scams, some of which involve services that are simply never provided, and some of which use complicated and sophisticated ruses to conceal illegal acts, such as bribes. Today’s announcement of the far-reaching law enforcement actions targeting a wide range of schemes and a large number of defendants demonstrates the excellent work by our law enforcement partners. Together, we will continue the hard work necessary to identify and hold accountable corrupt health care professionals and fraudsters seeking to line their pockets with your hard-earned money.” (more…)

National Health Care Fraud Takedown Results in Charges Against 601 Individuals Responsible for Over $2 Billion in Fraud Losses

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:19 am

Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex M. Azar III, announced today the largest ever health care fraud enforcement action involving 601 charged defendants across 58 federal districts, including 165 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals, for their alleged participation in health care fraud schemes involving more than $2 billion in false billings.  Of those charged, 162 defendants, including 76 doctors, were charged for their roles in prescribing and distributing opioids and other dangerous narcotics.  Thirty state Medicaid Fraud Control Units also participated in today’s arrests.  In addition, HHS announced today that from July 2017 to the present, it has excluded 2,700 individuals from participation in Medicare, Medicaid, and all other Federal health care programs, which includes 587 providers excluded for conduct related to opioid diversion and abuse.

Attorney General Sessions and Secretary Azar were joined in the announcement by Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Deputy Director David L. Bowdich of the FBI, Assistant Administrator John Martin of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Deputy Inspector General Gary Cantrell of the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG), Deputy Chief Eric Hylton of IRS Criminal Investigation (CI), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Deputy Administrator and Director of the Center for Program Integrity Alec Alexander and Director Dermot F. O’Reilly of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS).

Today’s enforcement actions were led and coordinated by the Criminal Division, Fraud Section’s Health Care Fraud Unit in conjunction with its Medicare Fraud Strike Force (MFSF) partners, a partnership between the Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney’s Offices, the FBI and HHS-OIG.  In addition, the operation includes the participation of the DEA, DCIS, IRS-CI, Department of Labor, other various federal law enforcement agencies, and State Medicaid Fraud Control Units.

The charges announced today aggressively target schemes billing Medicare, Medicaid, TRICARE (a health insurance program for members and veterans of the armed forces and their families), and private insurance companies for medically unnecessary prescription drugs and compounded medications that often were never even purchased and/or distributed to beneficiaries.  The charges also involve individuals contributing to the opioid epidemic, with a particular focus on medical professionals involved in the unlawful distribution of opioids and other prescription narcotics, a particular focus for the Department.  According to the CDC, approximately 115 Americans die every day of an opioid-related overdose.    (more…)

Man Charged with Lewd Acts with Child at Valencia Wedding Reception

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:18 am

A 39-year-old man has been charged with sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl at a wedding reception in Valencia, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Ani Bailey said Jeff Boulter (dob 1/7/79) of Long Beach faces one felony count each of kidnapping to commit oral copulation, kidnapping for child molesting, kidnapping victim under age 14, lewd act upon a child, forcible lewd act upon a child and attempted forcible oral copulation of victim under 14 years.

Boulter pleaded not guilty to the charges today and is scheduled to return on July 31 in Department S of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, San Fernando Branch. Case PA091028 was filed on May 22.

Boulter allegedly dragged the victim to a dark corner on May 19, the prosecutor said. A server at the wedding noticed the alleged assault and confronted the defendant who then fled, the prosecutor added.

If convicted as charged, Boulter faces a possible maximum sentence of life in state prison. Bail is set at $1 million. (more…)

June 28, 2018

Man Charged With Capital Murder of Firefighter, Setting Blaze at Long Beach Senior Home

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

A 77-year-old man was charged today with murdering a Long Beach fire captain and wounding two others after he allegedly set off an explosive device, causing a blaze at a senior housing complex where he lived, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Thomas Man Kim (dob 10/19/40) was charged in case NA109565 with one count of murder, one count of attempted murder of a firefighter, two counts of attempted murder and one count each of arson of an inhabited structure and explosion with intent to murder.

Kim also faces a special circumstance allegation that the murder was committed while a firefighter was on duty and the special allegation that he personally and intentionally discharged a handgun that caused great bodily injury and death.

Arraignment is expected at a later date in Department S01 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Long Beach Branch.

Deputy District Attorneys Geoff Lewin of the Crimes Against Peace Officers Section and Holly Harpham of the Arson and Explosives Section are prosecuting the case. (more…)

The Walt Disney Company Required to Divest Twenty-Two Regional Sports Networks in Order to Complete Acquisition of Certain Assets From Twenty-First Century Fox

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

The Department of Justice announced today that it will require The Walt Disney Company to divest 22 Regional Sports Networks (“RSNs”) as a condition of its $71.3 billion acquisition of certain assets from Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc.

The Justice Department’s Antitrust Division filed a civil antitrust lawsuit today in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to block the proposed acquisition.  At the same time, the Department filed a proposed settlement that, if approved by the court, would resolve the competitive harm alleged in the lawsuit.  The Department said that without the required divestitures, the proposed acquisition would likely result in higher prices for cable sports programming licensed to multichannel video programming distributors (“MVPDs”) in each of the local markets that the RSNs serve.  To streamline agency clearance, Disney agreed to divest the 22 RSNs rather than continue with the Antitrust Division’s ongoing merger investigation.

“American consumers have benefitted from head-to-head competition between Disney and Fox’s cable sports programming that ultimately has prevented cable television subscription prices from rising even higher,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.  “Today’s settlement will ensure that sports programming competition is preserved in the local markets where Disney and Fox compete for cable and satellite distribution.”

According to the Department’s complaint, Disney and Fox compete to sell cable sports programming to MVPDs in various local markets across the United States.  Because of this competition, the complaint alleges that the proposed acquisition would likely result in MVPDs paying higher prices for cable sports programming in those local markets.  The proposed settlement requires Disney to divest 22 RSNs, currently owned by Fox, to a buyer acceptable to the Department.  The Department has determined that the divestitures would resolve antitrust concerns arising from Disney’s acquisition of certain assets from Fox.

The Walt Disney Company is incorporated in Delaware with its principal place of business in Burbank, Calif.  It is a diversified worldwide entertainment company that, among other things, owns cable and broadcast television networks, television production and distribution operations, broadcast television stations and motion picture production and distribution operations.  Its revenues were approximately $55 billion for its 2017 fiscal year. (more…)

Second Executive Pleads Guilty to Participating in Capacitors Price-Fixing Conspiracy

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:02 am

Tokuo Tatai, an executive of Japan-based capacitor manufacturer Elna Co. Ltd., pleaded guilty for his role in a conspiracy to fix prices and rig bids for electrolytic capacitors sold to customers in the United States and elsewhere, the Department of Justice announced today.

A December 2016 indictment, filed in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California, charged Tatai with participating in a conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition of electrolytic capacitors by fixing prices and rigging bids.  The charge alleges that Tatai participated in the conspiracy from January 2009 to January 2012.  In addition to pleading guilty, Tatai has agreed to serve a prison term of a year and a day and to cooperate with the Antitrust Division’s ongoing investigation.

“The Antitrust Division will hold accountable foreign nationals who participate in conspiracies that harm American consumers,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.  “This capacitors conspiracy affected millions of American consumers who use electronic devices in their everyday lives.”

Electrolytic capacitors store and regulate electrical current in a variety of electronic products, including computers, televisions, car engine and airbag systems, home appliances and office equipment.

Today’s charges result from an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into price fixing, bid rigging and other anticompetitive conduct in the electrolytic capacitors industry.  Eight companies and 10 individuals have been charged in the division’s ongoing investigation. The investigation is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office and the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office.  (more…)

June 27, 2018

Disbarred Attorney Sentenced to 4 Years in Federal Prison in Million-Dollar Mortgage Modification Scam Targeting O.C. Homeowners

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:24 am

SANTA ANA, California – A disbarred California attorney who previously pleaded guilty in a mortgage modification scheme that defrauded about 75 distressed Orange County homeowners out of more than $1 million was sentenced today to four years in federal prison.

Moses S. Hall, 63, a resident of Blackwood, New Jersey, who formerly had a law practice in Fullerton, was sentenced in the fraud scheme by United States District Judge Cormac J. Carney.

Hall pleaded guilty in July 2017 to one count of wire fraud and one count of obstructing the due administration of the IRS.

According to court documents, Hall operated his mortgage modification scheme from 2008 until 2012 through his law office, as well as businesses called “Salva Casas” and “Loan Modifications of America.” As part of his guilty pleas, Hall admitted that he told distressed homeowners to stop making their mortgage payments, and instead direct their monthly mortgage payments to him, purportedly so he could use that money to negotiate with the banks. Instead, Hall used the victims’ money for himself.

According to evidence in the case, Hall concealed from victims that he was using their money to pay for personal expenses and that he was a previously convicted felon who had served years in state prison in New Jersey prior to being admitted as an attorney in California. (more…)

Two Men Responsible for ‘Bladed Bandit’ Robbery Spree Plead Guilty to Multiple Armed Robberies across Southern California

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:21 am

SANTA ANA, California – Two men who participated in a series of armed bank robberies attributed to the “Bladed Bandit” because one of the robbers brandished a large knife each have pleaded guilty in federal court to multiple counts of armed robbery.

Chad Dupape, 29, of Fountain Valley, and Vincent Edward Wilson, 53, of Long Beach, pleaded guilty Monday to committing the robberies.

During a hearing in United States District Court, Dupape admitted to committing four armed bank robberies and attempted bank robberies:

· a January 2 robbery of a Chase Bank branch in Seal Beach in which he obtained more than $21,000;

· a January 16 attempted robbery of a Farmers & Merchants Bank branch in Long Beach;

· a January 16 attempted robbery of a Wells Fargo Bank branch in Fountain Valley; and

· a January 18 robbery of a U.S. Bank branch in Fountain Valley. (more…)

MAN CHARGED WITH PIMPING AND PANDERING TWO WOMEN IN IRVINE WHILE OUT ON BAIL

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:17 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was charged today with pimping and pandering two women in Irvine after he had been released from custody on bail for vandalism.

Defendant

Charges

Maximum Sentence

Court Date

Joseph Blake Ballard, 22, Long Beach

Charged today with the following felony counts:

  • Human trafficking
  • (2) Pimping
  • (2) Pandering

Sentence Enhancements

  • Crime – Bail – Crime (felony vandalism in Riverside)

21 years and four months

Arraignment

June 26, 2018, time to be determined

Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana

Ballard is accused of being a human trafficker/pimp who exploits women for financial gain. 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. 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 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 and/or emotional abuse.

Circumstances of the Case

  • Between April and June 2018, Ballard is accused of trafficking, pimping and pandering 24-year-old Jane Doe 1 by arranging for the victim to engage in commercial sex for his benefit.
  • Between June 2017 and June 2018, Ballard is also accused of pimping and pandering Jane Doe 2. (more…)

June 26, 2018

CARETAKER CONVICTED AND SENTENCED TO EIGHT YEARS IN PRISON FOR STEALING APPROXIMATELY $1 MILLION FROM 88-YEAR-OLD MAN WITH DEMENTIA

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:32 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A caretaker was convicted and sentenced to eight years and eight months in state prison today for stealing approximately $1 million from an 88-year-old man with dementia.

Defendant Charges Court-Offered Sentence
Ignacio Conlu Barandiaran, 36, Long Beach Pleaded guilty today to the following counts:

Felony

  • (16) Caretaker theft from elder 65 years of age and older
  • (3) First degree burglary
  • Elder neglect
  • (2) Receiving stolen property
  • Evading a peace officer/reckless driving
  • Felon in possession of body armor

Sentencing Enhancements

  • (18) Property loss/damage over $65,000
  • (18) Aggravated white collar crime over $100,000

Misdemeanor

  • Resisting public or peace officer
  • (3) Identity theft
  • (2) Driving on suspended license
  • (2) Hit and run with property damage
  • Possession of more than one ounce of marijuana
  • Eight years and eight months in state prison
  • Ordered to pay $370,849 in restitution to victims

Circumstances of the Case #17HF1466

  • At the time of the crimes, the defendant was in a position of trust as an in-home caretaker for Frank F., an 88-year-old man with dementia.
  • Between December 2015 and March 2017, the defendant stole nearly $1 million from the victim by depleting his bank accounts, burglarizing his home, and making purchases on his credit cards. He spent the victim’s money to make personal purchases including but not limited to vehicles, narcotics, gasoline and fast food. (more…)
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