Pico Rivera man, Downey woman get five years for prison unemployment fraud

NORWALK – Two people were sentenced Tuesday to five years in prison for fraudulently getting more than $20,000 in unemployment benefits for a Pico Rivera gang member and convicted murder. Authorities said several gang members in county jail also got a share of the money.

Jury selection started Tuesday in the trial of Juan Leonard Garcia, 48, of Pico Rivera, and Sandra Muro Jaimez, 46, of Downey, at Norwalk Superior Court when the pair took a plea deal.

Deputy District Attorney Mike Enomoto said Juan Garcia pleaded guilty to two counts of making false unemployment insurance claims and two counts of second-degree burglary while Jaimez pleaded guilty to making a false unemployment insurance claim, possession for sale of methamphetamine and felony child abuse. She also admitted to the allegation that the fraud was committed to benefit a gang, Enomoto said.

The judge also ordered Juan Garcia and Jaimez to pay restitution of $22,087 plus interest to the California Employment Development Department.

A third defendant, 26-year-old Cynthia Limas of Menifee, had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit grand theft last year. Enomoto said Limas was sentenced to probation, 180 days in county jail and community labor


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Arcadia man accused of year-long credit card fraud spree

Prosecutors Wednesday filed eight felony charges, with more likely to come later, against an Arcadia man who used a complex credit card fraud and forgery scheme to support an opulent lifestyle at the expense of others for more than a year, investigators said.
South Pasadena police arrested Feng Xian, 21, Monday on charges including forgery, fraud, burglary and possession of equipment for forging fake credit cards, South Pasadena police Detective Bill Earley said.
At a room he was renting in Arcadia, police found 244 allegedly fraudulent credit cards, along with embossing machines and electronic equipment used to create the bogus cards, the detective said.
And it appeared Xian, who drove a Mercedes-Benz and wore designer clothing and jewelry despite having “no visible means of support,” had been involved in the scheme for many months.
“He’s been doing this for at least a year,” Earley said. “I have receipts more than a year old.”


PHOTOS of seized property, suspect Feng Xian courtesy of the South Pasadena Police Department

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FBI: San Gabriel man skips out on sentencing after admitting more than $11 million in fraud

The FBI is seeking a San Gabriel man who failed to show up for his sentencing Monday after pleading guilty to defrauding dozens of families of more than $11 million.
David Kaup, 29, pleaded guilty in federal court to two counts of wire fraud April 9, FBI officials said in a written statement.
He admitted taking part in three separate schemes using the business names Lunden Investments, American Loans and Funding and First Mortgage West, officials said.
“Kaup admitted in his plea agreement that over a period of approximately five years, he defrauded more than 50 families out of more than $11 million,” according to the FBI statement. “Many of these victims were working class families who sought Kaup’s assistance in refinancing their homes.”
Through Lunden Investments, authorities said, Kaup solicited more than $9 million from investors, telling them them he was using the money to fund commercial loans.
“Kaup admitted in his plea, however, that he instead lost approximately $9 million of the victims’ money trading on the foreign currency exchange market,” according to the FBI statement.
Through the other two companies, ALF and FMW, Kaup tricked homeowners into sending him money by promising to help them refinance their homes at below-market rates, officials said. He told the victims he needed an up-front payment to demonstrate that they were financially qualified, which would be returned to them upon approval or denial of their loans.
But instead, officials said, Kaup used the money to buy luxury items for himself and trade on the foreign currency exchange market.
While carrying out the schemes, Kaup used the aliases David Smith and David Martinez, according to the FBI.
He’s described as 5 feet 11 inches tall, 190 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He’s been known to work as disc jockey in the Los Angeles and Las Vegas areas using the moniker, “New Age Dave.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact the FBI’s Los Angeles office at 888-226-8443.

PHOTO of David Kaup courtesy of the FBI.

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Alhambra Police seeking victims of fraud

Detectives are looking for additional victims of an Alhambra man who allegedly scammed people using newspaper and Internet ads.
Kevin Hu was arrested Oct. 16 on suspicion of grand theft. Police said the charges were related to a Chinese newspaper fraud scheme.
“Mr. Hu uses a ruse to obtain a victim’s bank account information while discussing an employment opportunity,” Sgt. Jerry Johnson said in a statement.
Hu makes it appear to the victim that he deposited money into his or her account, according to Johnson.
He said the deposits are later found to be fraudulent.
The victim is later told to withdraw from the account and give the money to the suspect.
Hu was known to meet potential victims via newspaper and Internet ads and at coffee houses throughout the San Gabriel Valley, Johnson said.
Anyone who believes they have been a victim of the scam or who has any information on the case is asked to call Detective John Lee at the Alhambra Police Department 626-570-5158.

- Ruby Gonzales

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Downey-based oncology center targeted by fraud investigators

A Downey-based cancer center servicing Los Angeles and Orange counties is the target of an investigation by the FBI and federal fraud investigators, authorities said.
The Oncology Institute of Hope and Innovation, housed along with other business in an office building in the 11400 block of Brookshire Avenue in Downey, was paid a visit March 15 by FBI agents and investigators from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, FBI spokeswoman Ari Dekofsky said Friday.
“Agents from the FBI and OIS HHS executed a federal search warrant at that location pursuant to an ongoing investigation,” Dekofsky said.
No arrests resulted from the raid, she said, though she declined to comment on what investigators were looking for.
“The search warrant is sealed by the court, so we’re prohibited from commenting,” Dekofsky said.
Representatives of the Oncology Institute of Hope and Innovation could also not be reached for comment Friday.
Officials from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also could not be reached for comment Friday, however according to the agency’s website, it’s Office of Inspector General is responsible for combatting waste, fraud and abuse of Medicaid, Medicare and hundreds of other U.S. Department of Health and Human Services programs.
In addition to the Downey office, The Oncology Institute of Hope and Innovation has locations in Whittier, La Mirada, Montebello, Long Beach, Glendale, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Torrance and Tucson, Arizona.
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Wine dealer from Arcadia accused of millions of dollars worth of fraud

LOS ANGELES — Federal officials arrested an Arcadia wine dealer Thursday on suspicion of trying to sell $1.3 million worth of counterfeit wine and fraudulently obtaining millions of dollars in loans.
Rudy Kurniawan, 35, was arrested early Thursday in Los Angeles on suspicion of three counts of wire fraud and two counts of mail fraud U.S. Attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
The alleged crimes took place between 2007 and 2012, officials said. 
According to a complaint filed Thursday in federal court, Kurniawan attempted to have 162 bottles of counterfeit rare wine sold at auction in 2008 and 2012. The second transaction involved a third party as a “straw seller” because auction officials had become suspicious of Kurniawan’s wares, officials said.
Additionally, officials allege that Kurniawan obtained millions of dollars in loans to fund an extravagant lifestyle by understating his personal debts and offering collateral that had already been pledged to other lenders.
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Complex Frauds Unit.
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Temple City resident accused of defrauding elderly woman

LONG BEACH — A Temple City woman accused of stealing millions of dollars from a 74-year-old Long Beach woman who had a stroke and hired her as a caretaker remained at large Saturday, as Long Beach police asked the public for help in catching her.
Li Ching Liu, 54, of Temple City, who also goes by the name Susan Liu, allegedly “withdrew large amounts of cash” from the victim’s bank accounts and even arranged the sale of a Westminster strip mall the victim once owned and relied upon for monthly income, according to the Long Beach Police Department.
The victim had amassed a personal fortune from investments in commercial real estate, until she had a stroke in February January 2002, police said.
She hired Liu to help her with daily activities, but the caretaker isolated the woman from her family, friends and business contacts and then allegedly started draining her bank accounts.
Authorities said she laundered some $4 million dollars and purchased jewelry, a Porsche SUV and a home in Temple City.
Liu’s husband and son were convicted of financial elder abuse last year, but authorities have never been able to find Liu, police said.
Investigators believe Liu may be hiding in the Los Angeles area, where she may be enrolled in a nursing school or providing care to other seniors.
Liu is Chinese, 5 feet 4 inches and about 150 pounds. Police believe she has a gambling habit and frequents several casinos including Pechanga, Harrah’s, the Bicycle Club and Pala.<NO1><NO>

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Judge sentences Diamond Bar man for insurance fraud

LOS ANGELES — A Diamond Bar man must repay $1.38 million and spend five years on probation for failing to pay workers’ compensation insurance for employees at his nurse staffing agency.
Joseph Baiden, 57, will also have to pay the California Department of Insurance $110,000 to cover the cost of the investigation, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said in a written statement.
Prosecutors say Baiden underreported the number of employees who worked for his company, Los Angeles-based Nurse Connections, Inc., leading to reduced workers’ compensation payments.
He pleaded guilty to insurance fraud after the scheme was uncovered.
Judge David Horowitz sentenced Baiden on Friday. The judge ordered Baiden to be electronically monitored for the first three months of his probation. He also suspended a five-year prison sentence.
The fraud occurred between 2001 and 2007.
The investigation into Baiden began in September, 2008 after authorities received a tip.
Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner said Baiden appeared to be living a “lavish lifestyle” with proceeds from the fraud.
Government officials seized three homes that belonged to him in Diamond Bar. They are in the 2700 block of Wagon Train Lane, the 2200 block of Rusty Pump Road and the 800 block of Sunset Place.
Officials also seized a vacant residential lot on Derringer Lane in Diamond Bar and a home on Pala Mesa Drive in Pomona.
The total value of the properties is estimated at $4 million.

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Pasadena man agrees to plea deal in Orange County health insurance fraud case

A Pasadena man who runs an Orange County medical clinic has agreed to plead guilty to five counts of health insurance fraud, authorities said.
Dr. Glen Justice, 65, filed the plea agreement Wednesday in federal court in Los Angeles, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeannie Joseph said.
He stands accused of billing Medicare, as well as other private and publicly funded health insurance companies, for $400,000 to $1 million worth of injectable cancer drugs he never administered, Joseph said. He is also charged with overbilling for drugs he did actually give to patients.
As a doctor, the prosecutor said, Justice had a duty to both his patients and the health insurance companies he did business with.
“For both of those reasons, he was in a position of trust,” he said.
The alleged wrongdoing took place between 2004 and October of 2009 at the Pacific Coast Hematology/Oncology Medical Group in Fountain Valley, which Justice owns and operates, U.S. Department of Justice officials said in a written statement.
Justice was arrested in late 2009 and appeared to be continuing the scheme, officials said, even though staff members at his clinic had raised concerns about his billing practices and authorities had carried out a search warrant at his office in November of 2006.
Justice is due back in federal court for arraignment May 3, Joseph said. After that, a sentencing hearing will be scheduled.
Once convicted, she added, it will be up to the California Medical Board to determine if the conviction will affect Justice’s license to practice medicine.
He faces a maximum sentence of 50 years in federal prison, fines of up to $1.25 million and may be ordered to pay up to $1 million in restitution, according to court documents.
“No pun intended,” Joseph said, “we look forward to justice being served.”

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