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More than 120 investigators and prosecutors looking into workers' compensation fraud in Southern California served search warrants Wednesday at 31 sites, including the homes and offices of a string of doctors and lawyers suspected of paying illicit kickbacks. The investigation is one of several major workers' compensation fraud probes launched by authorities in the region since the beginning of last year.
April 27, 2014 | By Adolfo Flores and Bettina Boxall
An audio recording said to be of Clippers team owner Donald Sterling making racist statements is authentic, and a woman named V. Stiviano did not release it to any news outlets, her attorney said in an e-mail Sunday to the Los Angeles Times. The 15-minute recording is part of a one-hour conversation between Sterling and his client, V. Stiviano, attorney Mac Nehoray said in the e-mail. Nehoray, of the Calabasas-based Nehoray Legal Group, is representing Stiviano in a civil lawsuit brought against her by Sterling's wife, Rochelle.
An Orange lawyer convicted of stealing from his clients to pay his gambling debts was sentenced Friday to eight years in state prison and ordered to repay more than $300,000 to his victims. After asking unsuccessfully to delay sentencing for two weeks so he could care for his ailing wife, who was also convicted in the thefts, attorney Leonard Basinger, 56, was taken into custody in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana.
April 27, 2014 | By Donie Vanitzian
Question: Our homeowner association board is impetuous and wastes association money. The board members think homeowners have bottomless wallets. In two years, they've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars just on attorney fees and undertaking preposterous projects. The recent spate of bad legal advice includes redoing our covenants, conditions and restrictions. It's been a two-year project that has so far netted the attorney well over $90,000. The attorney advised our association that Davis-Stirling Act statutes should be embedded in our documents.
August 8, 2003 | From Bloomberg News
All 50 state supreme court chief justices have endorsed a plan to let lawyers at publicly traded companies set aside client confidentiality to tell financial regulators about accounting fraud and other corporate wrongdoing. The Conference of Chief Justices said that disclosing information about a client is justified if it stops a crime that would hurt investors.
April 7, 2013 | By Matt Pearce, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
Rutgers University officials had known for months that their basketball coach had harassed players in practice so severely that he could have been fired, according to a university report. Concerned by practice footage of Coach Mike Rice roughhousing Rutgers athletes and using gay slurs, outside attorneys hired by the university in November 2012 discreetly compiled a report that said Rice had broken university harassment and intimidation policies. Rice's contract included a stipulation that he not do anything to embarrass the university, which his behavior had clearly violated, the attorneys said.
October 15, 2013 | By Eric Sondheimer
Lawyers representing Oaks Christian in the federal lawsuits filed by Oaks Christian, St. Bonaventure, Damien and St. Lucy's against the CIF Southern Section have filed a motion requesting private mediation as part of alternative dispute resolution in the case. It's a joint filing. They also say in another motion that if the three cases go to trial, the estimated length of the trial would be five days. The schools are challenging the Southern Section decision to move all four schools to the parochial area for sports releaguing beginning in 2014-15.
August 28, 2013 | By Patrick McGreevy
Attorneys for the plaintiffs in the prison overcrowding lawsuits said Wednesday they support a proposal by state Senate Democrats to increase spending on rehabilitation, drug and mental health treatment programs instead of expanding prison cells. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and 16 other Democratic senators proposed a plan that would spend $200 million more for each of the first two years on rehab and mental health programs to reduce the prison population by the 9,600 inmates ordered by federal judges.
April 25, 2013 | By Corina Knoll
With the Michael Jackson wrongful death civil trial around the corner, attorneys argued Thursday about a number of issues, including whether to unseal the music legend's medical records and preclude certain testimony from expert witnesses. The wrongful death suit filed by Jackson's mother and three children accuses AEG's concert promotions arm of hiring and controlling Dr. Conrad Murray, who administered the fatal dose of propofol to the pop singer. Jackson died in 2009, shortly before he was scheduled to appear in a series of comeback shows in London.
September 20, 2013 | By Paloma Esquivel, This post has been corrected. See note below.
The story was shocking when it erupted: A Saudi princess living in luxury in Irvine suspected of keeping a Kenyan woman as a modern day slave. When Meshael Alayban, 42, was accused in July of forcing an employee to work long hours for little pay, Orange County Dist. Atty. Tony Rackauckas cited the Emancipation Proclamation and said he was shocked to see such a case in California. On Friday, he conceded “the evidence does not support the charges.” He asked the judge to toss out the felony count of human trafficking against Alayban, who had been free on $5-million bail.
April 24, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO - Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday appointed as head of California's political ethics agency a judge who has overseen the discipline of attorneys. Jodi Remke, presiding judge of the State Bar Court of California, is Brown's choice for chairwoman of the state Fair Political Practices Commission. Her appointment fills a void created six months ago when Chairwoman Ann Ravel moved to the Federal Elections Commission. Good-government activists including Robert Stern, a former general counsel for the California agency and a coauthor of the state Political Reform Act, said they knew nothing about Remke.
April 23, 2014 | By Patrick McGreevy
SACRAMENTO -- With ethics scandals rocking the Capitol, Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday appointed as the new head of California's ethics watchdog agency a judge who has overseen the discipline of attorneys. Joann M. “Jodi” Remke, who is presiding judge of the State Bar Court, is Brown's choice to serve as chairwoman of the state Fair Political Practices Commission. The appointment fills a void created six months ago when Chairwoman Ann Ravel was appointed to the Federal Election Commission.
April 22, 2014 | By Paloma Esquivel
Orange County prosecutors have ended their quest to use recorded conversations between the suspect in the Seal Beach mass killing and a jailhouse informant, which they had hoped could put the man on death row. Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Howard Gundy told the court Tuesday he would concede a defense motion arguing that tapes of Scott Dekraai and informant Fernando Perez were obtained in violation of Dekraai's 6th Amendment rights. The recordings spurred a wide-ranging defense investigation into the use of jailhouse informants in Orange County.
April 22, 2014 | By Charlie Beck and George Gascón
Do you own a smartphone? If so, you are a target for opportunistic thieves. Robberies and thefts involving smartphones are now the most common property crimes in America. The black market for these stolen devices has become so lucrative that even Colombian drug cartels now traffic in them. According to a survey by Consumer Reports, some 3.1 million Americans were victims of smartphone theft last year, nearly double the number in 2012. Los Angeles has experienced a more than a 30% increase in smartphone theft since 2011.
April 21, 2014 | By Howard Blume
The Los Angeles County district attorney's office has reviewed an internal L.A. school district report on its iPad contract and concluded that criminal charges are not warranted. The report, which has not been released publicly, raises issues about the handling of the bidding process, according to L.A. Unified School District officials who spoke anonymously because they are not authorized to discuss it. Apple's iPad was selected in June as the device to be provided to every student, teacher and campus administrator in the nation's second-largest school system.
April 20, 2014 | By Paloma Esquivel
A legal fight over the use of jailhouse informants has thrown the emotionally charged trial of the man accused of committing the deadliest shooting in Orange County history into jeopardy and will probably have repercussions in other high-profile cases. The battle has shifted the spotlight from the case against Seal Beach shooting suspect Scott Dekraai to prosecutors and informants, who have testified for weeks in hearings over allegations by the defense that jailhouse snitches were unconstitutionally deployed to gather information, and their work was then routinely concealed from defense attorneys.
March 12, 2014 | By Jeff Gottlieb
Sentencing for former longtime Bell city administrator Robert Rizzo was postponed Wednesday but not before attorneys for the city and his former assistant said they intend to subpoena him to find out the inner details of the public corruption in the small Los Angeles County city. Rizzo, who remains free on bond, was ordered to return to court April 16, when it is expected he will be sentenced to 10 to 12 years in prison. Less clear is whether he will be permitted to serve the time concurrently with a federal sentence for filing false tax returns.
April 18, 1987 | KIM MURPHY, Times Staff Writer
A Marina del Rey attorney was convicted Friday of attempting to import 1,100 pounds of cocaine from Bolivia in a scheme that went sour with a military crackdown on clandestine cocaine labs in the jungles of Bolivia. A federal court jury convicted John Robert Malpezzi, a lawyer who specializes in drug defense cases, and two others in a plan their attorneys claimed was orchestrated--and indirectly thwarted--by the U.S. government.
April 18, 2014 | By Kate Mather
Ex-NFL star Darren Sharper will remain in a Los Angeles jail pending another court hearing next month, the latest development in the ongoing sexual assault investigations against the former safety that stretch across five states. Friday marked the 38-year-old's third appearance in a Los Angeles courtroom this week. Superior Court Judge Renee Korn delayed the others pending an Arizona judge's decision on whether Sharper was eligible for bail on the charges he faces there. After a two-day hearing in Phoenix, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Warren Granville ruled Thursday that Sharper was not entitled to bail on one of the five counts.
April 16, 2014 | By Timothy M. Phelps
WASHINGTON - Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. has been crusading for more lenient treatment for nonviolent drug offenders, making it a top priority before he is expected to leave office this year. Recently, however, he has been forced to confront an epidemic of deaths from heroin and prescription drug abuse, one that his opponents have cited as a reason for not loosening drug sentences. In prepared remarks for a speech Wednesday, Holder cited the "stunning rise in heroin and prescription opiate overdose deaths" and vowed the Justice Department was committed to "rigorous enforcement" of the drug laws and "robust treatment" of drug addicts.
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