California Criminal Attorney Blog

Craigslist Rape Fantasy Defendant Formally Exonerated by DA Rackauckas

What a turn of events!  Months ago we blogged about a woman Michelle H. who was accused of harassing, stalking and posting fake craigslist ads to rape the wife of her ex-fiance, Angela Diaz.  Michelle H. was arrested and held for two and a half months on $1 million bail on charges that carried a life sentence.  Today, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas announced that Michelle H. was factually innocent of these charges and the alleged victim, Angela Diaz was the one behind the Craigslist postings and harassing emails.

Prosecutors now say that Diaz used multiple computer servers to hide the fact that she was the one posting all the harassing material in an effort to frame her husband’s ex-fiance.  Further, Prosecutors have learned that Diaz has a history of criminal activity including faking cervical cancer, faking pregnancy, forging physician notes, pretending to be an attorney and impersonating two other ex-girlfriends of her husband over email.  Diaz is pending very serious charges here in Orange County including false imprisonment, kidnapping and perjury.  If convicted, Diaz faces 27 years in state prison.

 

By | January 9, 2017|

Newport Beach Burglary Suspect Leads Police on a High Speed Chase

Burglary suspects in Newport Beach who were caught in the act led police on a high speed chase that ended close to LAX.  The burglary was reported around 8:45 p.m. at 1000 Bayside Drive at a Pavilions.  Law enforcement officials stated there were four suspects who fled on foot into a Dodge Charger.  Only one suspect was apprehended on scene while the others drove off.  During the chase, one of the suspects threw out what appeared to be a handgun from the vehicle near Jamboree.  The officers lost sight of the vehicle at this location and the helicopter unit picked up the pursuit on the 405 freeway.  The helicopter lost sight of the vehicle on the 405 freeway near the airport and soon after, the vehicle was found abandoned.

Breaking or entering a building with the intent to commit a felony is a violation of Penal Code Section 459.  In this case, the suspects, if caught, will likely all be charged with PC 459, even if only one person entered into Pavilions.  Penal Code Section 182 makes it illegal to conspire, assist or coerce someone into committing a crime.  PC 182 carries with it the same punishment as that of Penal Code Section 459, which is 16 months, 2 years or 3 years in state prison.

If you are in need of a criminal defense lawyer in Orange County to defend against allegations of burglary, call 949-260-4920 for a free consultation.

 

 

 

By | January 9, 2017|

WOMAN SCORNED SOLICITS “RAPE FANTASIES” TO EX-BOYFRIENDS PREGNANT WIFE ON CRAIGSLIST

1/9/17-UPDATE

Due to the recent developments in this story, we are going to delete the last name of the person initially arrested, as they have been found to be factually innocent of these allegations.

Michelle H. a 29 year old woman from Ontario California is charged with stalking among other crimes after she pretended to be her ex-boyfriends pregnant wife on craigslist, and responded to ads soliciting rape fantasies. H had a romantic relationship with a U.S. Marshalls Service Agent from 2013-2015. After the relationship ended the U.S. Marshall Agent met, and married “Jane Doe”, who is pregnant. Apparently this did sit well with H. She started a one-woman campaign of terror against “Jane Doe”. In early June, H began sending “electronic threats” to her ex-boyfriends now pregnant wife. She sent insulting and increasingly threatening emails to “Jane Doe”. H not only threatened “Jane Doe’s” life but that of her unborn child.

On June 6, 2016, Suzanne H was served with a protective order prohibiting her from contacting “Jane Doe”. But the protective order didn’t stop H. She continued with her barrage of threatening emails. Investigators believe that H routed the emails through different computers and servers to avoid being identified by law enforcement. Hwent even further by posing as “Jane Doe” on the website Craigslist. She is accused of posted advertisement on website Craigslist seeking men looking to engage in “rape fantasy” sex. When men responded to the ad, H supplied them with pictures of “Jane Doe” and the couple’s home address in Orange County, California. H is accused of […]

By | July 30, 2016|

Mortgage Fraud In Southern California Arrests

The California Attorney General’s Office announced the indictment of six people involving the operation of a mortgage fraud scheme in Southern California. The individuals were charged with a total of 135 felony charges including conspiracy, grand theft, identity theft, forging documents and filing false documents.

Jacob Orona, Aide Orona, John Contreras, Prakashumar “Kash” Bhakta, Marcus Robinson and David Boyd were arrested last week of participating in a scheme that preyed upon homeowners facing foreclosure. The investigation involved joint cooperation between multiple law enforcement agencies into the defendants promising homeowners who are upside down in their homes ways to save their homes. The defendants required an upfront payment of $3,500 and additional monthly payments of $1,000 to file fake legal pleadings including filing fake deeds. This scam resulted in losses of over $4 million and did not save one homeowner from their distress.

Homeowners in San Diego, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino were the primary targets of the defendants. If convicted, the defendants face from 18-90 years in prison. The fraud stretched through San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Los Angeles counties.

When the economy collapsed, experts felt the biggest impact was in the housing industry. People were getting mortgages easier than they should have and the financing or balloon mortgages often caused homeowners to miss payments and face foreclosure. As a result, companies started popping up proclaiming to save homeowners from the loss of their homes due to default. While some may have conducted their business with honesty and integrity, many did not. Hundreds of millions of hard dollars were given […]

By | July 20, 2016|

Penal Code Section 550

Recently, we wrote a blog about the biggest national health care fraud sweep, which resulted in 301 people charged and over $900 million dollars in fraudulent billings. The Medicare fraud strike force was responsible for uncovering this fraud and having over 300 individuals charged in almost every state in the nation. In California, 22 individuals were charged. The scheme involved billing and procedures that were not necessary and compounding crèmes.

One Physician charged, Dr. Donald Woo Lee is accused of performing unnecessary procedures for varicose veins when the patients had no sign of varicose veins.

The majority of losses in California stem from cases involving compounding pharmacies. Compounding medications are primarily used for pain relief and found in a topical crime. They are supposed to be made from various ingredients and tailored to the individual patient. The schemes involving compounding medications usually arise when there is a “marketer” or “capper” who may recruit patients, doctors and pharmacists. The fraud typically involves some type of incentive or “kickback” for using, prescribing or filling prescription for compounding medications. Often the patients are part of “pay to play” incentive. Insurance companies were reimbursing the doctors and pharmacists for the compounding medication, which were often not needed or requested from the patient. The reimbursements were outrageous, at times more than $15,000 for a single prescription.

The area of health care fraud specifically involving overbilling and use of “cappers” related to compounding medications is at the forefront of criminal prosecutions and undercover operations at this time in California. These cases may be prosecuted in state court […]

By | June 30, 2016|

Nationwide Health Care Fraud Sweep

United States Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch announced the nationwide sweep of a Medicare Fraud Strike Force that included individuals from 36 federal districts. In total, 301 people were criminally charged with participating in health care fraud schemes involving $900 million in false billings, including 61 physicians, nurses and various licensed medical professionals. In addition to Medicare, twenty-three states Medicaid Fraud Control Units also participated in the raid and HHS Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is suspending payments to providers who were named in various indictments and criminal complaints. The sweep was the largest in history in terms of amount of loss and criminal defendants.

All of the defendants were charged with various health care fraud charges, including money laundering, anti-kickback statutes and conspiracy to commit health care fraud. The charges stem from various medical treatment and services from home health care, psychotherapy, occupational therapy, DME and prescription drugs.

The U.S. Attorney’s office also announced the $350 million allocated from the Affordable Care Act toward the investigation and prosecution of health care related fraud. The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations are part of the Health Care Fraud Prevention & Enforcement Action Team (HEAT). They in 9 locations and have charged over 2,900 defendants who have falsely billed the Medicare program for over $8.9 billion.  Including the most recent arrests, 1,200 people have been charged in national takedown operations, involving more than $3.4 billion in fraudulent billings.

  • Southern District of Florida, 100 defendants were charged with crimes involving approximately $220 million in false billings for home health care, mental […]
By | June 26, 2016|

The difference between Rape and Sexual Assault

Recently in the news we have been hearing about Brock Turner, the Stanford University student swimmer who was convicted of sexual assault. The judge in Mr. Turner’s case sentenced him to 180 days in county jail despite the request of six years in state prison by prosecutors. This judicial decision has caused a huge outcry from public who feel this punishment does not fit the crime. Further, headlines are calling Mr. Turner a “rapist” and most people who are posting and blogging on the topic are using that term as well. However, under the laws of California, Mr. Turner is not in fact a rapist.

What is the definition of Rape?

California Penal Code Section 261 defines rape as an act of sexual intercourse accomplished with a person not the spouse of the perpetrator. Sexual intercourse means any penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or genitalia by the penis.  California Penal Code, § 263. So, because Mr. Turner did not penetrate the victim with his penis, he could not be liable or guilty of rape. Further, sexual crimes against same sex individuals cannot be classified as a rape because as previously stated, the genitalia of a man and woman must be involved.

What is the definition of Sexual Assault?

Sexual Assault is not defined under California law as a single act but rather a group of acts can be classified as sexual assaults. Think of sexual assault as an umbrella under which other crimes fall. Essentially any unwanted physical contact of a sexual organ or breasts of a person can […]

By | June 14, 2016|

Stanford Swimmer Guilty of Sexual Assault

Brock Turner, a Stanford University freshman and star athlete was convicted in March 2016 of 3 felony counts of sexual assault. Just over a week ago, Judge Aaron Persky of Santa Clara County sentenced Brock Turner to six months in county jail,. Judge Persky’s sentencing sparked outrage across the nation, and started an online petition to remove him from the bench.

In January 2015, Brock Turner was a freshman at Stanford University when he was arrested in the early morning hours for raping a woman, Two men riding bikes on campus saw Turner sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster near an on –campus fraternity. The two men chased Turner down and held him down until police arrived. The police arrested Brock Turner for attempted rape. During his police interview, Turner admitted to penetrating the woman’s vagina with his fingers. The woman did not regain consciousness for several hours later and had no memory of the sex crime.

Following a jury trial, Turner was convicted of the following charges: assault with intent to commit rape of intoxicated person PC 220(a)(1)/261 which carries a potential sentence of 2, 4 or 6 years in state prison. This offense is a strike offense, and carries mandatory sex offender registration for life; Sexual penetration of unconscious person PC 289(d), which carries a potential sentence of 3,6 or 8 years in state prison. This charge requires sex offender registration for life; Sexual penetration of intoxicated person PC 289(3), which carries a potential sentence of 3, 6 or 8 years in state prison. This charge […]

By | June 8, 2016|

Actor Charged with Possession of Child Pornography

Mark Salling, 33, an actor who appeared on “Glee” was arraigned in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on federal charges of possessing child pornography. Salling played Noah “Puck” Puckerman on the Fox show. He was arrested in December at his home in Los Angeles, where detectives seized a computer, hard and flash drives.

Salling is charged with one count of accessing the internet to obtain child pornographic images and another count of possessing child pornographic videos. If convicted, Salling faces up to 20 years in prison per count in addition to other terms and conditions.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Rozella A. Oliver ordered Salling to be released once he posts bail in the amount of $150,000 of which $100,000 must be his own money. Salling, plead not guilty and remains out of custody. The judge also restricted Salling’s computer time and travel.

Salling was indicted by a federal grand jury of two counts of possession of child pornography. According to U.S. Attorney’s spokesman Thom Mrozek, Salling possessed a very organized and extensive collection of child pornography on several electronic devices.

The crime of possessing child pornography can be charged in either state or federal court. The major difference between filing a case in state versus federal court is the punishment. In California, possessing child pornography can be found in Penal Code §311.11. Penal Code §311.11 carries a maximum punishment of three years in state prison. However, if a person has previously been convicted of possessing child pornography or has more than 600 images of child pornographic content, the punishment can be as […]

By | June 4, 2016|

Do I Need An Attorney if I Get Arrested for a DUI?

There is little doubt that most of us know someone who has been arrested for a DUI.  Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is one of the more common misdemeanor cases that appear in criminal court.  While great strides have been made to reduce the number of alcohol related arrests, there seems to be an increase in the number of drug related DUI’s.  That being said, do individuals who get arrested for alcohol and drug related DUI’s need an attorney?

While it my not be a popular answer to our peers, the best and most honest answer is “no.”  Driving Under the Influence is statutorily driven, meaning the punishment is usually the same for everybody.  For first time offenders, unless there are extenuating circumstances, (lack of probable cause for the stop, an accident, high BAC level, or lack of cooperation with law enforcement) there is typically no jail time.  In addition there are standard fines and fees for conviction, informal probation, DUI classes on sometimes a MADD class participation.  So, if you want to save yourself thousands of dollars on an attorney, you can appear in court and ask the judge for an offer.  If you agree to the judge’s offer, you can accept it on the spot and take a plea.  If, you don’t like the offer made by the judge, you can always ask the judge for a continuance and seek the advice of an attorney.

Now, when is it a smart idea to hire a criminal defense attorney for a DUI case?  If you are charged as a multiple […]

By | June 1, 2016|