Articles Posted in Property Crimes

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Pasadena DUI events are inherently dramatic – even more so when they involve serious injury or death. Matthew-Cordle_pasadena-dui.JPG

Unfortunately, even raw, deeply disturbing cases don’t always get the kind of coverage they probably should. Perhaps we’re just numb to stories about DUI in Pasadena and elsewhere. Perhaps we’re just overwhelmed by our lives — we’re preoccupied.

Every once in a while, however, some event comes out and punches us on the gut and reminds us of the dangers of DUI and of the emotional toll these events can take.

22-year-old Matthew Cordle did just that, when he posted a video on YouTube taking responsibility for a hit and run DUI. The crash killed 61-year-old Vincent Canzani, who died in a wrong-way collision on Interstate 670 near Columbus, Ohio. Cordle posted his confession to the site “Because I Said I Would” and took full responsibility for the fatal wreck. He said “my name is Matthew Cordle, and on June 22, 2013, I hit and killed Vincent Canzani… I will take full responsibility for everything I have done to Vincent and his family… the reason [for my confession] is so that I can pass that message onto you. I’m begging you, please don’t drink and drive.”

Matthew’s mother, Kari Cordle, posted support of her son’s video on her Facebook page: “I’m posting this video to support my son in his goal to get out his sincere and powerful message to never drink and drive … I’m proud of his courage and strength to see this through. Thank you, son.” Prosecutors say that he had a BAC of 0.19% – nearly 2.5 times the legal limit for Pasadena DUI.

Cynics speculated about Cordle’s “angle” – was he trying to use the sympathy generated by the video to obtain a more lenient sentence? Was he making a play to “judge shop” to get a judge who might give him a more lenient sentence?

But most viewers had a very positive, sympathetic reaction to the post. In fact, even Cheryl Olcott, the ex-wife of the man killed in the DUI, was appreciative. “[Cordle] said ‘I made a huge mistake and I’m going take what’s coming to me’… you got to respect him for that … it’s gut-wrenching coming from a mother looking at the young boy, and he just doesn’t understand the damage that he did.”

Cordle even said on the video that he was “handing the prosecution everything they need to put me away for a very long time.”

If convicted of aggravated vehicular homicide and driving under the influence, the 22-year-old could face nearly nine years behind bars, according to local prosecutors.

If You Seriously Hurt Or Killed Someone While DUI in Pasadena

California law understandably punishes Pasadena DUI drivers more when they hurt or kill other people.

In fact, typical DUIs are prosecuted as misdemeanors under California Vehicle Code Section 23152. But so-called “injury DUIs” in Southern California are prosecuted according to a different vehicle code section – 23153. That’s only one number different. But the implications are profound.

That means if you caused even just a minor injury to someone else – such as whiplash or bruises – you could wind up behind bars for over a year. And, of course, the charges can get substantially elevated, if you seriously hurt someone or killed someone. You could be charged with vehicular homicide, manslaughter, or even DUI murder in an extreme case.

So what can you do to begin to build a defense?

An experienced and compassionate Los Angeles DUI criminal defense lawyer from the Kraut Law Group can help you unpack your charges and defend against them. Mr. Kraut is a former Senior Deputy District Attorney for the City of Los Angeles, and he serves as a legal expert for ABC, Us Weekly, and many other respected publications.

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Many Los Angeles petty theft cases are anything but petty, when you consider them from the victim’s point of view.

The loss of a family heirloom, favorite toy, or other meaningful token can often feel more devastating than can the loss of a car or flat screen TV.

Consider this principle of Los Angeles criminal defense as we turn our attention to a topic that may seem remote: the theft of oysters.

That may sound like a trivial topic — like the subject of an old Hardy Boys novel. But to oyster farmers and their customers, such thefts can be business destroying and soul crushing. Two shellfish facilities out in Cape Cod have been robbed multiple times this summer… to the tune of thousands of oysters. The Marston Mills River Facility recently lost 3,000 oysters to pilfering. Police believe that the thief accessed the facility via the water.

So far, an investigation hasn’t turned up anything, but a local resources manager, Douglas Kalweit, says “there’s a whole bunch of people with their eyes and ears out” for the oyster thief.

The theft followed a similar crime at Crowes Pasture, where more than 20,000 oysters disappeared this summer. One heist, which occurred mid-July, cost farmers $1600. The thief came back a few days later to grab another 10,000 oysters. Chris Southwood, a local constable, believes that one person likely committed all these crimes.

Southwood said “until they get caught, they’re probably just going to do it again.”

The local Department of Natural Resources installed surveillance cameras, and both facilities remain on guard. Oyster theft is not an unheard-of problem, but local authorities say that it reached a new level this summer.

In today’s media-saturated environment, it’s difficult to get people to care about even big problems. If you’ve been accused of petty theft in Los Angeles or anywhere else, you’d probably like some understanding and empathy: you want somebody to take your legal problems seriously. The team here at the Kraut Law Group is standing by to provide through, effective assistance. Connect with our team today for a free consultation about your Southern California defense.

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Reporters have called it “one of the largest single crackdowns on organized crime in L.A. County history” — on August 6th, local authorizes from multiple agencies cracked down on the Los Angeles drug crime trade created by the Mexican Mafia prison gang. Mexican-Mafia.jpg

The raid collected almost $20 million in methamphetamines (600 pounds’ worth!) and led to the arrest of eight people – alleged members of the Mexican Mafia or “La Familia.” Police nabbed a cache of firearms and handguns. According to reports, the gang members had been coordinating a drug running operation known mysteriously as “The Project.” The idea was that members would supply meth all over Southern California in exchange for protection in jail and safety on the streets.

U.S. Attorney André Birotte, Jr. summarized what happened: “our joint efforts have helped disrupt a plot that could have flooded literally our neighborhoods with tons of methamphetamines and other narcotics… we have put an end to an alignment of criminal organizations that would have been unprecedented.”

In related news, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) indicted 31 gang members with charges such as aiding and abetting, drug offences, conspiracy, beyond – all 31 people face life behind bars without chance of parole.

A large scale bust on the Mexican mafia in Los Angeles County is not without precedent. Back in 2007, authorities arrested and charged 100 alleged gang members, five of whom got sentenced to life in jail without parole.

Putting Your Los Angeles Drug Crime Charges in Perspective
If you were arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to sell, conspiracy, or even a basket of drug charges, you know that the law takes these cases very seriously. Among the punishments you could face include: jail time, fines and fees, the loss of your license, probation terms, and beyond. You may also face multiple counts, which means that your punishments could stack up on each other.

Executing a Sound Los Angeles Criminal Defense Strategy

Crafting a good defense is non-intuitive work.

Ideally, you want to find an attorney who has real world, practical knowledge working on both sides of the law – as a prosecutor and as a defense attorney – with a demonstrated record of success in each capacity.

Attorney Michael Kraut with the Kraut Law Group has those unique qualifications. He served for 14 plus years as a high level prosecutor (rising to the level of Senior Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles), and has since built a thriving, successful criminal defense firm, the Kraut Law Group. Connect with Mr. Kraut and his team today to schedule a free, confidential consultation about your defense options.

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What makes a Los Angeles Medicare fraud story newsworthy? medicare-fraud-whistleblowing.jpg

• Is it the sheer amount of fraud involved?
• Is it the number of people allegedly harmed by deception?
• Is it the stress that the case puts both on the Medicare system and on the court system?
• Is it the elaborateness of the Rube Goldberg machinations that doctors, caregivers, and other collaborators use to bend or break the system’s rules?

These elements surely help determine what’s “intriguing” or not about Southern California Medicare fraud cases.

But there’s another key element: DRAMA.

After all, we live in the heart of the entertainment industry. Angelinos appreciate compelling, emotionally riveting stories.

In that context, consider a Medicare fraud case just settled up in White Plains, New York. It concerns a company called Park Avenue Medical Associates. At the heart of the case is a family feud between a father and son.

Michael Wolfson, a founder of Park Avenue and its Chief Medical Officer, must have been devastated when he learned that his son, Zachary Wolfson, blew the whistle on him and his associates. The crime, allegedly? Submitting an enormous number of bogus claims for reimbursement.

For instance, the company charged Medicare for psychiatric services for patients with advanced dementia – who could never have benefited from the services! According to Zachary’s accusations – which were supported by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney – the company often failed to adhere to Medicare rules and also billed for unnecessary services.

Since Zachary Wolfson blew the whistle under the False Claims Act, he will be entitled to a sum of the cash settlement that Park Avenue offered to end the legal drama.

News reports have speculated on the intriguing dynamic between Zachary and his father. What went wrong in the company and why? The internal family and company politics may be forever opaque to news sources – and perhaps it should be.

This bring up an important point: the psychological and financial motivations that compel people to commit healthcare fraud, insurance fraud, or other Southern California white collar crimes often are complex. The news likes to paint certain defendants as “bad guys” and talk about them in black and white terms.

Here’s the reality.

People who get involved in fraud schemes are not inherently evil. Rather, their motivations often come from needs not met, such as needs for fair compensation, autonomy, power, and so forth.

The point is that, if you or someone you love stands accused of a similar crime, you need a thorough defense. Trust attorney Michael Kraut of Los Angeles’s Kraut Law Group, to provide a free and thorough consultation about your options. Mr. Kraut is a Harvard Law School educated ex-prosecutor who wracked up a very impressive 99+% rate at jury trials as a prosecutor.

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Medicare fraud cases in Southern California (and elsewhere) can start to sound pretty similar to one another, especially if you report on these crimes month after month, year after year, as we’ve done on this blog. durrani-medicare-fraud.jpg

But every once in a while, a riveting, different kind of story bursts through and merits extended commentary.

Recently, prosecutors charged Dr. Atiq Durrani with unfairly billing Medicare to the tune of $11 million for surgeries he performed between February 2010 and January 2013. Prosecutors say that these surgeries were not medically necessary for patients. They also hit him with healthcare fraud charges and charges for making false statements.

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As your blood alcohol concentration goes up, your likelihood of DUI in Long Beach increases. highest-BAC-test-ever.jpg

But what are the record BAC levels?

If you’ve had any alcohol education, you’re probably familiar with the general classifications. If your BAC is over 0.08%, you’re considered DUI under Long Beach law, and you can be charged and convicted of a misdemeanor. As a result, you can lose your license for a year; lose your freedom temporarily; and pay significant court costs and fines.

As your BAC level goes up, your risk increases, and your ability to drive (or do any task) degrades. If you’re substantially over the limit – BAC of 0.25%, for instance – prosecutors can hit you with extra charges, even if it’s only your first time.

Above a BAC of 0.30%, you have to worry not just about punishments but also about your health. The human body can only take so much alcohol before the system starts to shut down and acute alcohol poisoning wreaks havoc. A BAC of 0.50% can often lead to death or brain damage.

But there have been people who have had BACs way above that number. Some have even lived to tell the tale.

For instance, according to list compiled by (not exactly Reuters, but this isn’t a scholarly journal article), a Bulgarian man went to the hospital after getting into a serious car accident. Physicians noticed a smell incredibly like alcohol. They gave him a breathalyzer, which recorded an astonishing 0.914% BAC.

Meanwhile, in France, another man got into a serious crash in Bourg-en-Bresse and tested to have a BAC of 0.976%. That’s over 10 times the Long Beach DUI limit! Amazingly, all he lost was his license and €150 – at a BAC level where most people would have lost their lives.

The all-time “prize” goes to a man from Wroclaw, Poland, who crashed his car after “beer bonging” pure grain alcohol. Actually, the car he drove wasn’t his – he stole it from his work. Investigators tested and found that his BAC was an astonishing 1.48%. More than 1/100th of the man’s blood was pure alcohol! He did survive the crash initially, but he ultimately succumbed to injuries that he sustained. Perhaps all that alcohol weakened his immune system.

Two other BAC levels above 1% have been recorded in Poland. A man was found half naked on the streets while temperatures were below 10 degrees Celsius. He had a BAC of 1.024%, but he somehow survived everything! Another man in Skierniewice, Poland survived a DUI accident, despite having a BAC of 1.02%.

For assistance with your Long Beach DUI case, connect with the team here at the Kraut Law Group today for serious, thoughtful and experienced insight with your case.

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The annals of Los Angeles healthcare fraud are filled with astonishing tales. As an expose in Los Angeles Weekly recently described in vivid detail, con artists, tricksters and “good doctors turned to bad” have engaged in diverse shenanigans to pilfer funds from the federal government’s coffers. Jacques-Roy-los-angeles-medicare-fraud.jpg

But few schemes hold a candle to an operation developed by Dr. Jacques Roy, a physician who operated a “boiler room” in Dallas, Texas that prosecutors say amounted to a $375 million scam.

According to Assistant Attorney General, Lanny Breuer, the 54-year-old Dr. Roy and his coconspirators, for years, ran a well oiled fraudulent enterprise in the Dallas area. They made their millions by recruiting thousands of patients for unnecessary services and then billing Medicare for those services.

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A federal jury just convicted 49-year-old Godwin Onyeabor and two confederates of scheming to defraud Medicare in Los Angeles to the tune of $1.5 million.medicare-fraud-task-force-los-angeles.jpg

Onyeabor, who had been working for a San Bernardino company, Fendih Medical Supply Inc., paid kickbacks to another doctor and healthcare professional to write fake prescriptions for power wheelchairs and other medical equipment.

Onyeabor’s scheme lasted from 2007 to 2012; he billed Medicare for fraudulent claims totaling $1.5 million. Medicare paid out almost $1 million of that money.

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Los Angeles County Sheriff’s detectives are looking for additional suspects in a chop shop bust that’s already netted two individuals accused of auto theft in Los Angeles. TRAP-los-angeles-auto-theft.jpg

According to a CBS LA report, the Sheriff’s Taskforce for Regional Auto Theft Prevention (TRAP) located a stolen car at Miramonte Boulevard’s 6700 Block in South L.A., which led them to eight different stolen vehicles.

Police nabbed two brothers, 20-year-old Danny Garcia and 19-year-old Juan Mercado, on an array of charges, including operating a chop shop, buying a vehicle to resell, and using fraudulent identification. Both young men are being held in jail on $50,000 bonds.

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Ever since Federal investigators got on your case (and potentially even charged you) for healthcare fraud in Los Angeles, news commentators and observers have been calling you things like “mastermind” and “criminal conspirator.” You certainly don’t think of yourself in those terms. In fact, you’re feeling pretty scared, bewildered, and out of control right now – anything but the master of your mind.why-los-angeles-health-care-fraud.jpg

This lack of clarity and sense of dis-ease can cause problems for your defense. To the degree that you are unclear about what you did, what charges you face, and what you can do to respond is the degree that you’ll feel out of control.

There are two main tools that you can use to regain a coherent perspective.

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