Articles Posted in Theft Crimes

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Blogs and local media outlets dedicated to covering breaking news about Southern California white collar crime have been lighting up over a huge Medicare scam bust sprung the Friday before last. CBS and the AP report that, on Friday July 16th, Federal authorities took down 94 people in conjunction with over $250 million worth of Medicare fraud in five states. Medicare-Fraud.jpg

This constituted the largest bust of its kind in history.

Suspects were arrested in Baton Rouge, Houston, New York, Detroit, and Miami for doing things like billing Medicare for physical therapy, medications, and treatments that never took place; purchasing phantom equipment; and engaging in elaborate cover up activities. The largest scam took place at the Bay Medical Clinic in Brookline, where authorities contend that the operators of the fraud ring stole $72 million from Medicare by submitting false claims on behalf of senior Russian immigrants. Over 3,700 claims got filed under the name of one elderly woman alone, and many patients literally sold their Medicare numbers to make extra money. At Bay Medical, authorities alleged a room had been set up replete with Soviet Union style propaganda, including a Lenin era poster that warned in Russian “be on the lookout: in these days the walls talk.”

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Individuals contemplating committing Southern California medical insurance fraud should be on notice: the government is cracking down. Last June, the Feds initiated a multi-state bust-up of healthcare fraud operations that allegedly bilked the system out of $50 million, collectively. Two of the biggest alleged offenders – Bernice Brown and Daniel Smorynski – got convicted last week in US District Court of a fraud scheme that bilked Medicare out of more than $6.5 million.insurance_fraud.jpg

Below are the details about the case:

Between October 2002 and January 2007, Brown (who owned a Michigan-based business called Wayne County Therapeutic) and her Vice President, Smorynski, drafted bogus files to bill Medicare for occupational and physical therapies they never actually performed. All told, they submitted $23.2 million worth of claims to Medicare. The courts came down harshly on both of them. Brown got convicted of 10 counts of healthcare fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit fraud – each of these 11 charges has a maximum penalty of $250,000 in fines and 10 years in jail.

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On May 7th, an L.A. Superior Court Judge ordered local businessman Joseph Baiden to pay over $1.3 million in restitution for committing Southern California insurance fraud. According to a KPCC news story, Baiden had illegally underreported his workers comp pay roll in conjunction with a company called Nurse Connection Inc. He also failed to pay insurance premiums for workers comp. Initially, Baiden had been ordered to spend five years in prison, but Judge Horowitz agreed to allow the 57-year-old Diamond Bar resident to have five years supervised probation, including 90-days of electronic monitoring. In addition, Baiden will have to pay over $100,000 in investigative fees to the California Department of Insurance.Joseph-Baiden.jpg

Moving forward, as a result of pleading guilty to Southern California workers comp fraud, Baiden must submit his tax returns to both the DA’s office and the Department of Insurance and offer clear proof both that he has workers comp insurance and that he is in complete compliance with his payment obligations. Baiden will return to court on November 8th to submit a progress report.

Los Angeles insurance fraud charges can be complicated to understand and difficult to fight. Different laws cover different kinds of Southern California insurance fraud. For instance, Penal Code Section S550(a)(5) defines medical insurance fraud; whereas California Insurance code Section 1872.8 spells out the definition of Auto Insurance fraud.

If you or a loved one is being investigated for any kind of Southern California fraud – from life insurance to medical insurance to auto fraud – odds are that you need a reliable, trustworthy, and trial-proven attorney to see you through the difficult legal proceedings ahead.

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Websites like RadarOnline, PopEater, and Perez Hilton’s blog constantly report on the latest celebrity Los Angeles DUI news. Over the past decade alone, we have seen some of our most beloved TV and movie stars — including Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Nick Nolte, Stephanie Pratt and, perhaps most famously, Mel Gibson — get arrested for DUI in Los Angeles (and elsewhere). But one DUI-related story that’s often not covered by the “mainstream” celebrity blog-press is the rash of lawnmower DUI arrests — a crime that appears to be becoming increasingly common, however bizarre it may seem to most readers.lawnmower-dui.jpg

Consider the following stories that have broken just in the past month alone.

1. On April 6th, a 47-year-old Lancaster, New York resident named Joseph Simme was arrested after driving under the influence on his lawnmower on Walden Avenue. He nearly hit several vehicles. Fortunately, police pulled him over and found that he had many prior DWI charges as well as a revoked license. Upon testing, it was revealed that he had a BAC of 0.14% (remember, the legal limit for Southern California DUI is 0.08%). He was charged with multiple felony counts.

2. Just six days later — on April 12th, a man named Martin McMurray of Blountville, Indiana was also busted for lawnmower DUI, after leading police on a low-speed chase for nearly half a mile (thus despite the fact that police loudspeakers were blaring and sirens were wailing). McMurray allegedly drove against traffic and nearly lost his balance after being pulled over.

3. Just two days after that, on April 14th, a 30-year-old man named Jimmy Graham Jr. was busted in Athens, Tennessee for DUI on a lawnmower. He allegedly stole some fishing poles from a local resident’s garage and then took off on his lawnmower. He is currently charged with theft and aggravated burglary as well as DUI.

Could a lawnmower DUI in Los Angeles be next?

Perhaps not. Remember, Los Angeles is an urban environment. All aforementioned arrests happened in the suburbs/rural areas. And fewer people ride lawnmowers here, so one might expect fewer lawnmower Los Angeles DUIs. Nevertheless, the prospect of a lawnmower Southern California DUI does loom large, particularly as spring blooms and we head into summer — when the bulk of lawn maintenance is done in Southern California.

Of course, as intriguing as lawnmower DUI might be to the casual reader, the charge of a Long Beach DUI is no laughing matter, neither for defendants, nor for the victims of any DUI accident.

If you or a loved one has been tagged for driving under the influence in Long Beach, you may need legal representation.

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The Department of Justice emerged victorious on Tuesday in a case against Alan M. Ralsky, the self-titled Godfather of Spam. The 64 year-old Ralsky was sentenced to jail time as well as substantial fines for computer fraud in southern California and elsewhere.alanralksy.jpg

The DOJ had argued that Ralsky — in conjunction with a ring of associates — violated the CAN SPAM Act and engaged in money laundering, mail fraud, wire fraud, and illegal use of emails and computer networks. Court documents said that his spammer ring worked for about a year and a half (from 2004 to mid 2005) to artificially jack up the prices of certain stocks by sending out bulk spam emails to people. After the stock prices went up, other individuals in the white collar crime syndicate traded on those stocks. Collectively, they thus managed to rake in millions of dollars in illegal gains.

The spammers used sophisticated software to avoid detection and conducted their operations not only here in the United States but also in China and Hong Kong.

Microsoft, in particular, seemed delighted by the news of the conviction of these white collar criminals. A company spokesman remarked: “Yesterday’s sentencing is a significant success and sends a clear message that the courts take this type of illegal conduct seriously.”

As a good white collar criminal defense attorney in Southern California might note, Penal Code sections 502(c) and 530.5(e) respectively cover computer access and fraud and mail fraud. Of course, with intricate computer fraud cases like this one, the issues of law can get quite complex. For instance, to prepare for the Ralsky matter, prosecutors no doubt had to consider not just applicable federal and state laws but also international laws.

Putting together a strategic battle plan for a fraud case can get incredibly technical. Both sides must assemble complicated cause-and-affect arguments. The prosecution, for its part, has to identify the mechanisms by which the alleged fraud acts were committed — no small task, particularly when you’re dealing with sophisticated spammers and computer gurus. The defense doesn’t have it easy either. In order to combat charges of computer fraud, the defense must aptly challenge the logic of the prosecution’s arguments and cite relevant laws and cases.

If you or a family member or friend has been charged with a white collar crime, like computer fraud in Los Angeles, you may want to speak with veteran criminal defense Attorney Michael Kraut of the Kraut Law Group. Attorney Kraut has impressive intellectual firepower — he is a graduate of Harvard Law School. He also has lots of experience “in the trenches” — he served for years as Deputy District Attorney for the City of Los Angeles prior to representing white collar defendants. He has a knack for anticipating and deftly deflating prosecutorial arguments — arguments that often leave even experienced defense attorneys confused and helpless.

With so much on the line — not just for you but also for your family — it makes sense to work with one of Southern California’s most trusted fraud defense attorneys.

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Prosecutors and top rated defense attorneys faced off in court today over the allegations of sex, lies and screenplays in the David Letterman extortion case. Extortion is a serious crime. A person convicted of this offense will most likely be sent to state prison for many many years. Extortion is defined as the use of either threat of violence or some other criminal means to cause any harm, including financial, to another person or their reputation, to obtain property from someone else with their consent.

In this case, Halderman is accused of threatening to divulge personal information about Letterman that could cause harm to the entertainer’s reputation.

The case revolves around Halderman, a well known TV producer,whose wife had a long running affair with Mr. Letterman. Halderman is the accused extortionist who wrote a screenplay about Letterman’s sex life with female staffers. The case stems from Halderman, who was angry over his wife’s affair could not find any way to make his wife stop the relationship with the late night comic. Records indicate that he continually confronted his wife about ceasing the affair. She apparently apologized and committed to her relationship with Halderman. Things seemed to be mending between the couple until he found that she had not stopped the affair.

Halderman decided to take his revenge out on the keyboard. Penning a script about Letterman’s hostile work environment. Then on September 9, 2009, Halderman delivered a portion of the script, which contained changed names, to Letterman’s driver, with documents which corroborated Halderman’s facts in the script. He then gave Letterman an opportunity to buy the script rather then see it made into a movie. Halderman met two times with Letterman’s lawyers and in taped conversations in which he was recorded demanding money. Afterward, a check for $2 million was given to Halderman.

Halderman’s criminal defense attorney indicated that their client was merely selling a screenplay and by filing the charges, the prosecutors were infringing on his First Amendment right of free speech.

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Three days after a former model’s body was found stuffed in a small carry-on suitcase, the facts are beginning to appear more clear. Jasmine Fiore, 28, an aspiring real estate agent and former model was found dead as a result of murder……the person of interest, her former husband. The purported suspect, Ryan Jenkins, was a two time reality star who always wanted attention and the limelight. Now, he has suddenly disappeared and is in need of a Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer. All of the facts are not yet known. What is clear is that the Jenkins and Fiore had a brief, but stormy relationship.


Fiore and Jenkins were last seen at a poker game in San Diego. On Saturday, Jenkins reported missing to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Shortly thereafter he disappeared completely off the face of the earth. Based upon circumstantial evidence, Jenkins should seek the advice of a pre-filing Los Angeles criminal defense attorney.

They met in March of this year in Las Vegas, spent two days together and then got a Vegas “quickie” marriage. Things apparently did not last too long. After arguing constantly, Fiore filed for an annulment from the marriage. That stormy marriage resulted in a criminal filing of domestic violence against Jenkins. Jenkins was charged with misdemeanor battery. He was scheduled to go on trial this December for the violent crimes he committed against her.

Jenkins also had a criminal charge in his home country of Canada. In January 2007, he was given probation for an assault charge.

The victim’s mother indicated that Fiore and Jenkins had been fighting recently over her past boyfriends. Apparently, he was jealous of the fact that Fiore had always remained good friends with people that she had previously dated.

Jenkins was just beginning his new career of attempting to become a reality star. He had just appeared on three episodes of “Megan Wants a Millionaire.” He was identified as a wealthy investment banker bachelor on the series. However, now he has disappeared
Preliminary results show that Fiore was murdered by strangulation. The final autopsy report is pending and until it is released, the cause of death is officially undetermined.

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One of the first criminal prosecutions arising out of the settlement between the United States and the Swiss bank UBS, the second largest wealth manager, has just occurred in Los Angeles this week. The Federal government had sued the Swiss bank in order to gain access to the names of Americans who had participated in Los Angeles white-collar crimes by not disclosing assets as a well as tax evasion.


The prosecution of Malibu resident, John McCarthy, occurred after UBS disclosed 250 names of U.S. residents who had illegally transferred money out of the country and hid the money at the Swiss bank. The Feds filed the lawsuit in order to compel UBS to turn over the names of 52,000 Americans who were suspected of hiding in excess of $13 billion of money and other assets. Because of the number of names that are sought for possible prosecution, and the extent of possible criminal charges, it is important to hire a pre-filing Los Angeles criminal defense attorney. A top-notch criminal defense attorney will be able to counsel his client on the best way to either comply with the law, or get amnesty for previous improper acts.

The settlement reached with Swiss banking authorities resulted in UBS paying $780 million in fines and turned over 250 U.S. names and information concerning those, and other individuals that used the banks services. Based upon this information, McCarthy was charged with tax evasion and secreting assets into the Swiss bank without disclosing those assets. Prosecution of these white-collar crimes in Los Angeles and Southern California are increasing as the Feds come close to the end of an amnesty period that ends on September 23, 2009
White-collar prosecutors will aggressively seek cases against those who do not come clean before that fateful date. McCarthy faces up to 5 years in prison and $250,000 in fines, and full restitution. He will appear in a Los Angeles court on September 14, 2009.

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Lindsay Lohan is being investigated for grand theft of the $400,000 worth of jewels from Dior she was wearing at her Elle Magazine photo shoot. Scotland Yard has been brought in to review the facts surrounding the lost jewels. The items, a diamond necklace and diamond earrings, were reported stolen right after she wore them on June 6, 2009.
According to sources close to the investigation, Lohan admired the jewels and asked if she could keep them. The jewels were not reported stolen for two days. At that time, Central London Police were notified.

Los Angeles grand theft crimes need to be defended by a Los Angeles grand theft defense attorney. People who are charged and convicted of a grand theft could be sent to prison for 3 years if the case is a felony. After release from prison, the person will be on parole and will have to be monitored. That is why if you or someone you know is being investigated for a South California grand theft crime, they should immediately hire a theft crime defense attorney who will handle the pre-filing investigation and assist that person early on even before the case is filed.

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Three people, who were previously arrested for Welfare Fraud in the Southern California area around Los Angeles called Antelope Valley, have not been convicted and sentenced to serious time in custody. They were represented by a Los Angeles welfare fraud defense attorney who worked very hard to prevent the individuals from spending decades in prison for stealing from the welfare fraud system. Due to the exhaustive work of the attorneys, these people will serve little to no additional time in custody.

Authorities have stated that the individuals took enough money and benefits that they were not entitled to and used some of the money to purchase a very expensive house. They were convicted of welfare fraud and Los Angeles grand theft. In most cases those that commit a Southern California welfare fraud will be charged under the California Welfare and Institutions Code Section `0980(c)(2). In addition, most cases the fraud are committed by filing false documents under oath, a perjury charge will also be filed pursuant to Penal Code Section 118
Kim Johnson, James Earl Brown and Jacqueline Hervey, were all arrested in a one of the Counties largest fraud busts in recent history. These three individuals were convicted of stealing money from the Los Angeles Housing Authority, the Social Security Administration and the Home Social Services program. In total, over $400,000 was stolen.

It has become much more prevalent for those involved in welfare fraud to also file false claims for Section 8 funds. In this case, the three were able to accumulate over $100,000 in Section 8 funds in violation of the law. The heavy in the case, Johnson, was sentenced to 4 years in prison
In most cases, welfare fraud is committed by the filing of false documents with social service agencies which are responsible for dispersing large sums of money and other benefits to welfare recipients. The recipient commonly makes false statements as to assets in his or her possession, incorrectly declares the number of children in a household, makes false statements concerning whether they have other income being earned, and in some cases, the recipient claims they are the care givers for incapacitated persons and will be paid for those services, when in fact they are no doing so, or the person does not even exist.

The statute of limitations is 5 years from either the date the crime occurred, or when the fraud was discovered. The punishment for each count can be 5 years of state prison, parole or probation, full restitution for all of the monies illegally taken, the cost of investigating the crime by the State and law enforcement, a complete bar from every being able to collect social services again, and finally, being labeled for life as a criminal.

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