Recently in Fraud Charges Category

Feds Increasing Raids on "Pill Mill" Operations in Santa Ana, Statewide

In recent weeks, two major pill-mill busts have been announced by federal investigators who are also alleging the defendants defrauded Medicare in the process.

The most recent centered around a doctor in Glendale and a pharmacy in San Marion, The Associated Press reports.
A few weeks earlier, the Los Angeles Times reported, 14 people were indicted and charged with operating an OxyContin ring where identities and even Medicare beneficiary information was stolen.

Pill mills have been getting a lot of attention from law enforcement agencies as they have become much more profitable and easier to operate than large-scale marijuana, cocaine and heroin businesses of the past.

In pill-mill operations, doctors, pharmacists and drug delivery companies have all come under scrutiny for allegations of fraud in Santa Ana and elsewhere. Not only are investigators considering these drug cases, but also fraud cases and possibly racketeering operations.

This makes the charges even more difficult to beat, but it's not impossible. As Santa Ana criminal defense lawyers know, these complicated investigations often ensnare a dozen or more defendants, while the facts may not support convictions for all of them.

In order to show that a person is guilty of fraud in these drug cases, prosecutors must prove there is intent and knowledge of such a scheme. A low-end employee may have unknowingly operated a part of the scheme without realizing he or she was involved in illegal activity, for instance.

In the first alleged operation, a doctor, operators of pain clinics and others -- 14 total -- were indicted on charges of insurance fraud and operating a scheme to obtain and illegally distribute the painful painkiller OxyContin.

Officials accuse doctors of writing prescriptions to uninsured patients who didn't need the drug. Medicare and other insurance companies were also fraudulently billed by pharmacies, the indictments allege. In some cases, Medicare beneficiary information and identities were stolen. The penalties range from 10 to 40 years in prison.

In the most recent alleged scam, 16 people operated an $18 million scheme that defrauded Medicare after veterans, the homeless, elderly and poor were recruited. Court documents accuse a pain clinic doctor of writing prescriptions for anti-psychotic drugs, such as Seroquel, Abilify and Zyprexa.

The drugs were billed to Medi-Cal and Medicare, but didn't go to the people whose names were on the bill, the news report states. The drugs were instead sold illegally and funneled to San Gabriel Valley, where they were repackaged and resold for profit.

Some Medicare beneficiaries whose identities were stolen were later denied coverage after this happened, authorities allege. The government alleges that of the $18 million in billing, about $7.3 million was actually paid out. One pharmacy -- Huntington Pharmacy in San Marino -- had less than $45,000 in Medi-Cal claims in 2009, but that jumped to $1.5 million a year later.

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Seal Beach Man Faces $300,000 Foreclosure Scam Fraud Charges

A Seal Beach businessman now faces 34 counts of fraud and elder abuse in Orange County for allegedly scamming six people out of $300,000.

Real estate fraud in Anaheim is a hot topic these days as the country's housing market has utterly collapsed. Houses that were worth millions at one point have dropped by as much as 50 percent.
As the troubles continue, many investors have looked for someone to blame. They have lost their savings, their retirement or even their play money, but nonetheless, they have lost and now they want someone to blame. Many times, these investors file civil lawsuits and sometimes they complain to the state that their non-guaranteed investment opportunity went south and is somehow a scam.

For those who organize investment opportunities and ended up with something that didn't go as planned, they are often left with a target on their back and facing charges. But these people mustn't lay down, but rather fight the charges head-on by hiring an experienced Orange County Criminal Defense Lawyer.

Police say they arrested the man after an eight-month investigation. They say he enticed investors into an opportunity of buying foreclosed homes in Los Angeles; the deal sought quick returns on their investment after rehabbing and reselling them.

Investigators allege he e-mailed investors updates about the properties, sent them deeds of ownership and said he was investing the profits into new investments. But when the investors demanded their money, he stopped communicating.

Police say the man only purchased one house, for $292,000, and it later went into foreclosure itself. They say the properties he described in communication with investors were real but that he never owned them.

When real estate fraud arrests like this one are made, investigators almost always say that the alleged perpetrator "promised investors" high returns on their investments, as if that is so bad. Think about every sales call you've ever gotten or any opportunity to make money that has come around. Who would start an investment opportunity sales pitch with "We may or may not make money under my plan?"

It's just not realistic. Every investment opportunity is planned out to make money, but there are factors that can make the investment not pan out. It's just like the stock market -- it's far from guaranteed and it's a gamble.

What must be done in these complex cases is an attorney must be able to review financial records of the accused and have access to every relevant document to put together a strong defense to the charges. The moment a person learns they are being investigated or suspect something is up, they must consult with an experienced Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney.

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DMV Worker Charged With Fraud in Fullerton Over Cash-For-License Scheme

A Fullerton DMV worker was arrested recently and charged with 19 counts of altering public documents and 19 counts of fraud for allegedly issuing driver's licenses after falsifying computer records, The Orange County Register reports.

Charges of fraud in Fullerton and throughout Orange County can range in meaning and possible penalty. Falsifying documents for profit, billing for medical services not provided and other examples of lying for profit.
For anyone charged with fraud, hiring an experienced Santa Ana Criminal Defense Attorney is necessary because the state is likely to utilize as many resources as necessary in order to secure a conviction. Especially at a time when our economy is in big trouble, allegations of money being stolen is a big deal. The loss of money can hurt private businesses as well as public entities, and therefore law enforcement and prosecutors are likely to seek big penalties if a person is convicted.

In this case, the 37-year-old woman is accused of taking $23,000 from 12 people to alter their driver's license records between June 10, 2009 and April 27, 2010. She allegedly changed records to show they each passed the written and driving tests to obtain commercial drivers licenses and issued them permits.

According to prosecutors, none of the dozen drivers passed the tests, some which were safety-related, including proper techniques for driving semi-trucks, using specialized brakes and puling double trailers. Officials have revoked the 12 licenses.

The state says the drivers were referred to the woman through other people, who have yet to be identified. It's unclear how the money was allegedly split between the woman and the people who made referrals. The state is using the drivers as potential witnesses against the woman.

Therein lies a big issue with the case. The prosecution has decided not to file charges against the drivers in this case, who allegedly paid money for licenses, which is against the law. This brings up a big issue with the credibility of these potential witnesses.

In any case where there are co-defendants or co-conspirators who make an agreement with the state to testify against another person, their credibility must be questioned by an aggressive Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney. They have something at stake if they don't say exactly what the state wants them to say.

If a co-defendant who was once charged makes a deal with the state to prove specific details, even varying slightly from the testimony they agree with the state to give can ruin their deal. Usually, a plea deal severely lessens the amount of time they can serve in prison, if they were otherwise convicted.

The stakes may be even higher for those who aren't charged. These people face no charges, but if they don't cooperate or tell a story contradictory to what others who are cooperating with the state say, they could all of a sudden be stuck with a jail mug shot and arrest rap sheet.

All of these details must be presented to a jury by an experienced Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney. The weaknesses of the state's witnesses must be revealed in order to make sure a defendant's rights are upheld.

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Santa Ana Couple Accused of Faking Death in Order to Defraud Social Security

The Orange County District Attorney's Office alleges that a Santa Ana couple faked the husband's death in order to steal more than $400,000 in Social Security and other pension benefits over seven years, The Orange County Register reports.

The 51-year-old husband and his 52-year-old wife are each charged with two counts of grand theft with sentencing enhancements for aggravated white collar crime over $100,000 and property loss over $200,000, the newspaper reports.
Fraud in Santa Ana and other white collar crimes designed to obtain money are some of the most complex in the legal system. They typically require intense analysis and scrutiny of financial records, bank statements and other information. This must be entrusted to an experienced Santa Ana Criminal Defense Attorney.

If convicted, the newspaper reports, each spouse faces up to seven years and eight months in prison. They are being held in lieu of $500,000 bail. According to authorities, the man lived for about two decades under a false name. In 2004, after plotting with his wife to fake a death under that name, he traveled to Mexico to obtained a death certificate for a fake heart attack after bribing authorities.

He then returned to the United States and began living under his real name with his wife. Later that year, the wife began receiving death benefits until the couple was arrested recently. Authorities received a tip, which led to the arrests, the newspaper says.

This case, and others like it, require a lot of digging by prosecutors and law enforcement officers, who must sift through many records in order to prove a case. And sometimes even doing that isn't enough. In this case, it appears prosecutors will require cooperation from Mexican authorities, which is no easy task.

Many times, fraud can be explained as simple mistakes in business deals or for individuals, incorrect paperwork that was filed on either end of a transaction. But along with possible prison time, these charges can require defendants to pay back money that is proven to be stolen.

This is called restitution and can be a heavy burden on a defendant. While the amount must be proven by the prosecution, a defendant may be required to pay back hundreds to hundreds of thousands of dollars in theft cases. And this must be done even after being sent to prison, making paying the money back even more difficult.

That's why Santa Ana Criminal Defense Attorneys take these charges so seriously. On top of the punishment of prison, there are other sanctions that must be taken into consideration and defended against. The first step if you are being investigated is to contact a firm for a free consultation to discuss the case and come up with possible defense options.

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New Port Beach Elder Fraud Case Calls into Question Legitimacy of Power-of-Attorney

A 41-year-old Newport Beach man is facing a Santa Ana burglary charge, caretaker theft from an elder, fraudulently using an access card and three counts of forgery. Police say he swindled a deaf and blind 98-year-old woman suffering from dementia.

A Santa Ana criminal defense lawyer will also have to defend against several sentencing enhancements, including allegations for a non-accomplice present during a residential burglary, causing over $100,000 in loss, aggravated white-collar crime over $100,000, and property loss over $200,000. If convicted, he faces up to 11 years in prison.

Theft crimes in Santa Ana are among the most common criminal charges. Statewide, there were 585,813 property crimes reported in 2009. In 202,639 cases, the value of the property was more than $4,000, according to the California Department of Justice.

Financial crimes, especially those dealing with fraudulent use of credit cards and bank accounts, can be complex cases that are difficult to prove. An experienced defense lawyer will conduct a thorough review of the case and may challenge the validity of some of the charges. If a negotiated deal is in a client's best interest, the attorney will likely be successful in significantly reducing the number and severity of charges the client faces.

Police accuse the defendant in this case of moving into the house without the victim's knowledge after his mother became the woman's live-in caretaker. He is accused of using the woman's credit card to charge items for his girlfriend, of taking out a loan against her house, and of having the woman sign over power of attorney.

Medical experts contend she was not competent to do so. Cases involved powers-of-attorney can be particularly complex. Such powers are often granted to care for an elderly person who is becoming incapable of remaining self-sufficient. Whether the woman is incompetent now -- and whether she was incompetent at the time such powers were granted -- is an issue for the court to decide, regardless of the opinion offered by law enforcement.

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Daughter facing receiving stolen property charges in Santa Ana elder-fraud case

The 22-year-old daughter of a couple facing elder fraud charges in Santa Ana now faces charges of accessory after the fact and receiving stolen property, MSNBC reported.

This is classic work by the district attorney's office. An experienced and aggressive Santa Ana criminal defense lawyer should always be called to handle charges of accessory or receiving stolen property. These charges are often beatable and are frequently used by prosecutors against defendants who have refused to cooperate with an investigation.
You have the right to remain silent. Exercise it.

It doesn't matter what prosecutors choose to charge you with -- what you are convicted of is the only thing that counts. As we reported on our Orange County Criminal Lawyers Blog, the 51-year-old Laguna Niguel woman is facing 59 fraud charges alleging theft from the elderly. She is accused of stealing $600,000 from an elderly victim over 28 months while working as a home-health aide.

Her 22-year-old daughter has now been charged with two felony counts of accessory after the fact and receiving stolen property, second-degree commercial burglary and fraudulently using an access card. She also faces sentencing enhancements for loss of more than $100,000, property loss of more than $200,000 and white-collar crime of more than $500,000.

She faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted on all counts. Her father also stands charged. Both parents are scheduled for a pretrial hearing March 15.

Her 56-year-old mother faces nearly 50 years in prison if convicted. Six other victims have reportedly come forward since her arrest on Feb. 2. Her daughter is accused of receiving stolen money and using it to pay for a divorce, medical insurance and other expenses.

She also allegedly used fraudulently obtained credit cards to buy tires and a camera.

The 93-year-old victim at the center of the case is suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

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Men facing White-Collar Criminal Charges alleging Investment Fraud in Santa Ana

An attorney facing charges of felony grand theft in Santa Ana is accused of stealing nearly $1 million by using his credentials to legitimize fraud schemes, the Orange County Register reported.

Veteran Santa Ana criminal defense attorneys have seen an increase in these types of cases since the beginning of the economic downturn. Federal and state white-collar criminal defense requires a law firm with the knowledge, experience and resources to mount an aggressive defense. Particularly when a professional license, such as a law license, medical license or financial professionals' license is involved, the consequences of a criminal conviction can lead to professional and financial ruin.
In this case, the 68-year-old Irvine defendant faces 16 felony counts of using untrue statements in the sale or purchase of securities and 11 felony counts of grand theft. He also faces a sentencing enhancement for aggravated white-collar crime of more than $500,000, theft exceeding $150,000 and property loss of more than $200,000.

A 66-year-old co-defendant from Laguna Woods will face the same charges in Orange County Superior Court. A third defendant, who lived in Lake Forest, has died.

The men allegedly accepted fees ranging from $25,000 to $177,000 as part of investment schemes. If convicted, each faces nearly 30 years in state prison. They are being held on $2 million bail.

According to the Orange County District Attorney's Office, the men approached victims who needed financing for various projects and charged them large fees under the pretence of securing funding. The first victim was allegedly promised $6 million in financing to build a luxury resort in Baja in exchange for a $25,000 fee. After 19 months without financing, he made a theft complaint with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Office. Ten other alleged victims have since been identified. Some took out home equity lines of credit and additional mortgages on their homes in order to pay fees to the defendants, according to authorities.

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Bookkeeper facing a Century in Prison on Forgery and Theft Charges in Santa Ana

A 37-year-old bookkeeper is facing white-collar theft charges in Santa Ana for allegedly using her position at a local church to write 154 checks to herself, totaling nearly $130,000, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

A Santa Ana Criminal Defense Lawyer will likely succeed in reducing the number of charges and the potential penalty faced by this defendant. As it stands, she is facing 154 counts of forgery and more than a century in prison. This is classic and often typical when such cases are filed by the Orange County District Attorney's Office. Often, investigators threatened novice defendants with such mind-boggling time behind bars. In reality, she will never face conviction of that many charges. And even if she did, a judge would never order maximum consecutive sentencing -- if he did it would become an appeal issue.
Unfortunately, those who are least familiar with the criminal justice system are often the most vulnerable. In many cases, they will attempt to explain themselves to authorities with the hopes of helping themselves. This is rarely the result. It is an investigator's job to gather evidence of your guilt. Speaking with an experienced criminal defense lawyer is usually the best course of action when it comes to protecting your rights once such an investigation is under way.

Authorities allege she used her position at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, where she worked as bookkeeper from 2007 to 2009, to write checks to herself from church accounts without the knowledge of church officials. At the time she was hired at the church, she had already been convicted of grand theft, the Times reported.

A prior conviction will certainly make negotiating a plea more difficult and could open a defendant up to tougher sentencing. Hiring an aggressive and experienced criminal defense lawyer in Santa Ana will be all the more critical.

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Organized Crime Indictment Accuses Defendants of Bank Fraud in Santa Ana

Numerous Santa Ana defendants face criminal charges as part of a massive raid charging more than 100 individuals with operating an organized criminal enterprise, according to The Cypress Times.

An experienced Santa Ana criminal defense lawyers should always be called to represent clients facing criminal charges as part of such large raids. Frequently, authorities make a big splash while the media's cameras are present. But it is not unusual for the cases against many of the defendants to be weak. An experienced attorney should be called as early as possible to protect your rights and ensure maximum leverage and bargaining power. Indictments against 102 individuals were unsealed in Los Angeles, Santa Ana, Miami and Denver; federal, state and local authorities arrested 80 and additional arrests are expected.
"Today's indictments allege literally hundreds of criminal acts in three states - from extortion and kidnapping to firearms trafficking and health care fraud," said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division. "The common denominator among these defendants and their criminal enterprises is the use of violence and intimidation to commit crimes for profit. But we are determined to fight back. In less than one month, the Justice Department has announced the largest one-day takedown against La Cosa Nostra, coordinated a nationwide gang takedown and, today, arrested more than 80 Armenian Power members, associates and others with ties to organized crime. These groups bring fear into our communities, defraud innocent victims, and put the safety and security of our neighborhoods at risk. We are taking an aggressive stand against these organized criminal groups and will continue our efforts to put them out of business."

The federal indictment in Santa Ana charged 20 defendants. Allegations include a bank-fraud scheme that targeted the elderly and other vulnerable victims. Conspirators allegedly paid insiders for confidential bank account information, including Social Security numbers and passwords. They are accused of stealing at least $10 million from hundreds of accounts.

"We have seen organized crime spread from shakedowns on street corners to complex cyber schemes, human trafficking and other crimes perpetrated across international borders," said Executive Assistant Director Shawn Henry of the FBI. "Transnational enterprises are siphoning hundreds of millions of dollars from our economy to perpetuate their cycle of greed."

The two-year investigation, known as Operation Power Outage, included the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Secret Service and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as state and local authorities.

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Laguna Niguel Woman Facing 59 Fraud Charges for Alleged Theft from the Elderly

A 51-year-old Laguna Niguel woman is facing fraud charges in Santa Ana in connection with the alleged theft of more than $600,000 from an elderly woman, the Orange County Register reported.

An experienced Santa Ana criminal defense lawyer should always be called to defend clients facing charges of fraud or embezzlement. In this case, prosecutors have charged the defendant with nearly 60 felonies. Such crimes can be extremely complex and defending yourself from wrongdoing requires a law firm with the resources and ability to handle financial crimes defense.
In this case authorities contend that the defendant was hired through LivHOME caregivers to provide around-the-clock care for an 85-year-old Laguna Woods woman. Instead, she is accused of stealing more than $600,000 over a period of 28 months. She allegedly also rang up debt on the elderly woman's credit cards and spent money to pay her rent, for orthodontic work and for a "dog whisperer."

She was fired after LivHOME reportedly learned she was not caring for the woman during her assigned shift. A subsequent review of the alleged victim's bank accounts found her savings had fallen from $700,000 in June 2008 to less than $5,000 by April 2009.

The defendant is facing 59 felony counts of fraud, as well as sentencing enhancements for excessive theft of more than $100,000, property loss of more than $200,000 and white-collar crime of more than $500,000.

She faces nearly 50 years in prison if convicted of all charges and remains in jail on more than $600,000 bail.

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