August 2018
Volume 3, Issue 8
Dear Friends:
My office dedicates significant resources to tracking, analyzing and submitting positions on bills involving the criminal justice system.

We provide guidance to lawmakers in an effort to ensure that new laws not only protect our community but also treat all parties fairly.
Not So Fast: Santa Clarita Prosecutors
Warn of Street-Racing Danger
Southern California long has been the epicenter for street racing. Romanticized in movies like “Grease” and “The Fast and the Furious” franchise, the reality is not so glamorous.

Roughly 170 people have died in Los Angeles County since 2000 in car collisions where street racing was suspected.

Alisanne Scolnik, deputy-in-charge of the District Attorney’s Santa Clarita Area Office, said traffic safety issues such as reckless driving, speeding and driving under the influence are among the main community concerns addressed by her office’s six prosecutors.

While law enforcement personnel have worked to stop street racers, Scolnik took a novel step recently to show spectators the dangers these races pose.

As part of an undercover operation by the California Highway Patrol, more than 100 people were arrested at a racing event at a Castaic industrial park last year. Seven were booked on felonies linked to racing and performing stunts.

Approximately 80 adults, mostly ages 18 to 21, were cited on the misdemeanor charge of being a spectator at the street-racing event.

Scolnik reviewed each case and decided driver safety education may be the best way to resolve these matters.

She met with CHP officials and they developed an educational program to address street racing, impaired driving and distracted driving. Those cited, and who met specific criteria, went to the Santa Clarita courthouse in December for one of two 90-minute sessions.

Participants avoided criminal charges under the office’s Pre-Filing Diversion Program, which is intended to keep low-level, nonviolent offenders out of the criminal justice system.

“I felt this was a great way for the District Attorney’s Office to address street racing and provide for the safety of the community,” Scolnik said. “We charged the offenders in court who were actively involved in this illegal activity, and we educated those who were passively involved.”

Fraud Alert
  Significant Cases
Free trials for credit monitoring services or gym memberships can be easy to forget – until a hefty renewal charge shows up on a bank or credit card statement.

Read the Fraud Alert and watch the video here .
  • A Bell business owner was sentenced to 12 years in prison in connection with submitting false identity theft claims to credit reporting agencies. Find out who was the target of this scam.

  • A babysitter is facing up to six years in state prison for allegedly leaving a young boy in a hot locked car in Alhambra for more than an hour. Read what the woman was doing and who found the boy.

  • An East Los Angeles man was charged with felony animal cruelty. Learn about the gruesome discovery at his home.
LADA Protects Used-Car Buyers
Seven used car dealerships in the San Fernando Valley recently got their own taste of sticker shock.

The District Attorney’s Office in May determined the dealerships weren’t displaying an updated Buyers Guide on their vehicles as required by the Federal Trade Commission and sent letters advising them they could face hefty fines as a result. The operation was part of a seven-state, multi-agency used car dealership compliance sweep coordinated by the FTC.

“Buying a car is one of the most important purchases people make in their lives, and we’re here to make sure that their dealings are fair and transparent,” said Deputy District Attorney Leonard Torrealba of the Consumer Protection Division. “This is a good example of how federal, state and local agencies coordinate our efforts to protect consumers.”

Torrealba and Sgt. Paula Fong of the Bureau of Investigation's Consumer Protection Unit led the office’s effort. District Attorney investigators joined FTC and California Department of Motor Vehicles staff to inspect about two dozen dealerships.

“We actually had to document every vehicle on the lot using their VIN numbers,” Fong said. “It was time-consuming, but we want to make sure that the vehicles were identified correctly.”

The FTC’s amended Used Car Rule, which took effect in January, requires dealerships to display the revised Buyers Guide window sticker on every vehicle offered for sale. The Buyers Guide includes warranty information and resources for consumers.

The District Attorney’s Office and the FTC sent joint warning letters in July to the local dealerships that were violating the rule and provided material to help them come into full compliance. Businesses that are still found to be noncompliant could face civil penalties from the FTC of up to $41,484 per violation.
Love with Lemons
District Attorney Jackie Lacey and Sheriff Jim McDonnell cooled off for a cause on July 17 by buying lemonade during 6-year-old Theresa Ann Babcock’s “Love with Lemons” fundraiser outside the Hall of Justice. Theresa Ann’s sales benefit the families of fallen officers.
Did You Know...?
Two pages were added to the District Attorney’s website. One focuses on the office’s efforts to combat human trafficking , while the other highlights the office’s Conviction Review Unit and provides a questionnaire in English and Spanish that must be completed to begin the review request.

Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office | (213) 974-3512 | info@da.lacounty.gov

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