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NEWS
By Joseph Serna | March 27, 2009
A Newport Beach-based business owner faces up to 47 years in federal prison after pleading guilty Friday to bilking investors out of more than $15 million in a Ponzi scheme, federal officials said. John Miller, 51, of San Clemente, pleaded guilty in a Los Angeles federal courtroom Friday to bribery, passport fraud, identity fraud and mail fraud related to his scheme. According to prosecutors, this is how his scheme worked: Between 2000 and November 2008 Miller ran JAM Jr. Enterprises and Forte Financial Partners.
BUSINESS
By Joseph Serna | September 30, 2009
Authorities seized a local firm’s records, and at least one employee faces arrest after Costa Mesa detectives and Orange County district attorney fraud investigators served an Anton Boulevard business with a search warrant Wednesday. Authorities searched Dinh & Associates PC, at 575 Anton Blvd., across the street from South Coast Plaza. Detectives and prosecuting investigators carried out boxes of files and electronics Wednesday morning as potential evidence in their criminal investigation.
LOCAL
April 6, 2010
A Newport Beach business owner has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for scamming corporations out of millions of dollars through fake workers’ compensation insurance policies. Mitchell Zogob, 51, of San Juan Capistrano, pleaded guilty Thursday to multiple counts of grand theft, fraud embezzlement and forgery as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors. Between 2002 and 2003, Zogob, who owned Professional Employers Assurance Group and Program Administrators Inc., both on Birch Street, sold more than $4.6 million in fake insurance policies.
LOCAL
November 18, 2005
A Newport Beach stockbroker was sentenced Monday in United States District Court to four years in prison for defrauding clients of nearly $3 million, according to the U.S. Attorney's office. Richard O'Leary, 56, will begin serving his prison term Feb. 6. He was also ordered to pay $2.9 million in restitution to more than two dozen victims, officials in the U.S. Attorney's office said. O'Leary pleaded guilty in February to three counts of wire fraud, admitting that he placed client funds into bogus investments and took the money.
NEWS
February 28, 2004
Deirdre Newman Two offices and a residence were raided today by a swarm of federal agents investigating a trio that includes a Newport Beach couple. The investigation of Lorenzo Espinoza, his wife Cynthia Espinoza and their associate Pedro Rodriguez involves a host of alleged crimes. They include conspiracy to engage in fraud, attempting to defraud the IRS and attempting to launder money. IRS, FBI and Department of Housing and Urban Development agents are all involved in the investigation.
NEWS
June 26, 2003
BRIEFLY IN THE NEWS Costa Mesa man charged with fraud Federal authorities in Los Angeles have charged five people, including a 34-year-old Costa Mesa man, with wire fraud for allegedly helping people obtain loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration, officials said Wednesday. The U.S. attorney's office has also charged 13 people of obtaining more than $10 million in fraudulent loans insured by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, officials said.
LOCAL
January 12, 2010
A San Clemente man who operated a Ponzi scheme out of his Newport Beach-based company was sentenced to 13 years and three months in federal prison, federal officials announced Tuesday. John Anthony Miller, 52, was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty last year to mail fraud, bribery, passport fraud and identity fraud charges related to the Ponzi scheme he operated through his companies, JAM Jr. Enterprises and Forte Financial Partners. From 2000 through 2008, Miller ripped off more than 130 people out of more than $21 million, officials said.
NEWS
August 30, 2007
U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein plans to introduce a resolution in September calling on the abolition of the Electoral College and, instead, electing the president through popular vote. Where do you stand on this issue and why?   Abolishing the Electoral College is a bad idea because our Founding Fathers put that system in place with good purpose. When elections are close, they didn’t want the tendency for fraud to overwhelm the system. If the Electoral College had been eliminated during the 2000 election, all of the illegitimate brouhaha in Florida would have been multiplied by 50 states.
LOCAL
June 7, 2007
AREA 1 Harbor Boulevard: Battery was reported in the 2100 block at 12:39 p.m. Tuesday. Placentia Avenue: Grand theft was reported in the 2300 block at 10:06 a.m. Tuesday. AREA 2 16th Place: Fraud was reported in the 400 block at 2:34 p.m. Tuesday. Adams Avenue: A vehicle was reported stolen in the 1200 block at 12:27 a.m. Tuesday. East 17th Street: A vehicle was reported stolen in the 300 block at 2:35 a.m. Tuesday.
ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
By Jill Cowan | March 5, 2014
An Orange County official once convicted of election fraud has been quietly stripped of his authority over the registrar of voters. Early last month, labor leaders had expressed outrage that Chief Operating Officer Mark Denny, who pleaded guilty in 1996 to an election fraud charge, was given authority over the department tasked with running elections. Denny will keep administrative and budget oversight of the department, but Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley will report directly to county Chief Executive Officer Mike Giancola.
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NEWS
By Jill Cowan | February 4, 2014
Leaders of Orange County's largest labor union are calling for the reassignment of the county's chief operating officer, who they say can't objectively oversee a department recently moved under his purview. Chief Operating Officer Mark Denny, who pleaded guilty to an election fraud charge in 1996, was recently given authority over Orange County's Registrar of Voters - the department tasked with administering elections. That, Orange County Employees Assn. General Manager Nick Berardino wrote in an email to supervisors this week, "demonstrates a clear disregard of the sanctity of the precious American privilege of the vote.
NEWS
By Bradley Zint | December 24, 2013
An Orange County Superior Court judge has dismissed charges against a radiologist from Newport Beach and co-defendants accused of widespread worker's compensation fraud. Prosecutors say they plan to refile the case. On Dec. 13, Judge William Froeberg dismissed the 884 counts against Dr. Sim Carlisle Hoffman, 61, who was indicted by a grand jury in May 2011. Froeberg said he based his ruling on the fact that evidence was withheld from the grand jury. Prosecutors had alleged that Hoffman, Dr. Thomas Michael Heric of Malibu, Louis Umberto Santillan of Chino Hills and Beverly Jane Mitchell of Westlake Village were part of a $17-million fraud scheme that billed insurance companies for expensive and unnecessary procedures, some of which were never performed.
NEWS
By Jeremiah Dobruck | November 20, 2013
A former stock broker from Newport Beach was sentenced Tuesday to 15 months in prison for his part in an investment scheme designed to defraud an investor of $1 billion, the U.S. Department of Justice announced. In 2006, William J. Ferry, 71, and his co-conspirators promoted a fake plan they claimed was regulated by the Federal Reserve Bank with the purpose of raising money for humanitarian purposes like relief funding after Hurricane Katrina. Profits from the invested money would supposedly be split into three equal parts: funding for disaster relief or another humanitarian purpose, financing for the project and returns for the investor.
NEWS
November 19, 2013
A plastic surgeon in Newport Beach allegedly performed added, unnecessary procedures during a scheduled nose job in order to overbill the patient's insurance company, according to the Orange County district attorney's office. Prosecutors also assert in a news release that Dr. Jay Calvert, 45, lied under oath during proceedings related to the victim's August 2010 civil lawsuit against him over the rhinoplasty. Calvert, who also has a practice in Beverly Hills, faces one felony count each of medical insurance fraud, manufacturing documents to support the fraudulent bill and perjury under oath, the release said.
NEWS
By Jeremiah Dobruck | October 26, 2013
Costa Mesa police helped take down an international fraud ring that allegedly stole millions of dollars by selling nonexistent cars and other high-priced items, the department announced Friday. An organized crime syndicate run by a Romanian national orchestrated the elaborate online schemes, according to an indictment filed in a New York federal court and unsealed Thursday. Syndicate members flooded websites like Cars.com, eBay and AutoTrader.com with ads that lured victims into paying for things that didn't actually exist, usually making $10,000 to $45,0000 per sale according to the charges.
NEWS
July 30, 2012
An Orange County judge sentenced two sisters to eight and 10 years in prison, respectively, for their part in a conspiracy with two other members of their family to commit $16 million worth of real estate fraud, prosecutors said Monday. Suniti Shah, 51, and Supriti Soni, 52, falsified documents to secure loans for "straw buyers" — or people who allow their credit to be used with no intention of controlling a property, according to the Orange County district attorney's office. The last known addresses were in Newport Coast for Shah and Corona del Mar for Soni, according to D.A. spokeswoman Farrah Emami.
NEWS
By Lauren Williams | July 3, 2012
A Los Angeles man arrested at South Coast Plaza in August has been convicted of stealing credit cards from the elderly. Doren Harold Ward, 37, was convicted last week of six felonies, including charges of aggravated identity theft, bank fraud and credit card fraud, according to the federal Department of Justice and Costa Mesa police. He faces a maximum sentence of 104 years in federal prison. The aggravated identity theft charge carries a two-year, mandatory sentence, federal authorities said.
NEWS
From the Los Angeles Times | May 22, 2012
An Irvine securities lawyer who authorities said teamed with an insurance agent to bilk scores of investors out of more than $20 million has been sentenced to seven years in federal prison. Jeanne Rowzee, 53, and 65-year-old James Halstead, who already is in prison, solicited tens of millions of dollars from individual investors who ran the gamut from wealthy developers to retirees on fixed incomes. The pair promised to put the money into securities known as private investment in public equity, or PIPEs, which they said would return as much as much as 35% in as little as three months, prosecutors said.
NEWS
By Don Jergler | February 8, 2012
Editor's Note: This is the first in a series on the Real Estate Fraud Advisory Board and the Orange County District Attorney's fraud unit. * If you're in real estate and you're in Elizabeth Henderson's sites, you are probably on the wrong side of the law and you should know there's a whole community of real estate experts helping her try to catch and punish you. Henderson, an assistant district attorney and head of the major fraud unit in the Orange County District Attorney's office, has behind her the Real Estate Fraud Advisory Board.
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