February 2017
Volume 2, Issue 2
Dear Friends:

During the past few weeks, our halls have been bustling with applicants who are seeking jobs to become deputy district attorneys in our office.

To learn more, watch the video to your right and read my full message.
Spotlight: Fraud Alerts

One of District Attorney Jackie Lacey’s top priorities is safeguarding seniors from financial crimes. Con artists use a variety of scams, and it is not always easy to recognize the warning signs. 

The District Attorney’s mother was the victim of what is known as the emergency scam. She received a call from someone who said her grandchild had been arrested in a foreign country. The caller demanded money be wired for his release. District Attorney Lacey and her mom made a public service announcement warning others to beware of this all too common scam.

Anyone can fall victim, but seniors are especially vulnerable.

The District Attorney’s Office began publishing Fraud Alerts in 2015 to educate the public about common consumer fraud schemes. Fraud Alerts are released on the second and fourth Friday of the month. They are posted on the District Attorney’s website and on Twitter using #FraudFriday. 

Many of the Fraud Alerts focus on scams that target seniors, such as Medicare rip-offs, counterfeit drug scams and reverse mortgages

Videos featuring deputy district attorneys from the Bureau of Fraud and Corruption Prosecutions help illustrate scams like the ATM Fraud. Simple tips are provided to help consumers avoid becoming victims.

As part of the office's outreach campaign, Fraud Alerts are printed and distributed on a regular basis to senior centers and organizations throughout the county. They also are distributed to the public via email and may be picked up at most District Attorney’s Office locations.

In addition, the District Attorney’s Office worked with the Los Angeles County Public Library and other agencies to distribute more than 13,500 informational Safeguarding Your Future pamphlets in English and Spanish. The pamphlet provides seniors and their caregivers with an overview of the warning signs of fraud and how to prevent it.  

To request more information about the Fraud Alerts or pamphlets, please email FraudAlerts@da.lacounty.gov .  

Fraud Alert
    Significant Cases
Recent winter storms have brought the state much-needed rain but may also have caused damage to homes, leaving homeowners, especially seniors, more vulnerable to contractor scams.

  • A woman who operated a fortune teller and psychic business in Woodland Hills pleaded not guilty to stealing thousands of dollars from her clients. Learn what charges were filed against her.

  • Former security guards at Dodger Stadium have been charged with conspiring to steal and sell team merchandise and equipment. Read more about their alleged crimes. 

  • A 50-year-old man was sentenced to state prison for leading police on a pursuit and having a physical altercation with an officer. Find out how much time he could serve. 
A Day in the Life: Code Enforcement Investigator
Senior Investigator Hector Alvarado often starts his day preparing to see garbage piles and a host of other neighborhood nuisances.
Alvarado, a 15-year veteran of the District Attorney’s Office, is part of the office’s Code Enforcement Section and serves on the Nuisance Abatement Team for east Los Angeles County.

The team pairs investigators with civilian inspectors from county agencies that address violations of building, sanitation, zoning, animal-welfare and other codes. They strive to improve the quality of life in unincorporated areas of the county by citing violations and requesting compliance. There are Nuisance Abatement Teams for the county’s south and north regions, too.
On a typical morning, district attorney investigators are briefed by county inspectors before they go to reported nuisance properties. Investigators also research whether anyone on the property has an arrest warrant or a violent criminal history.
“It’s our job to keep the civilian inspectors safe,” Alvarado said. Before district attorney investigators accompanied inspectors in the field, they often were threatened by property owners; some were assaulted.

The investigators typically approach the property owner or tenant and get their consent to inspect the property. More often than not, they are allowed entry. If not, the team will leave and come back later with court authority to conduct the search.
When they get on the property, what they see is far from pretty.
“We see horrible living conditions,” Alvarado said, noting they often encounter hoarders. “Sometimes residences are infested with rats or cockroaches; they have junk and debris.” 

He also finds people paying rent to live in illegal and unsafe structures.
There have been times when Alvarado has conducted animal control inspections and had to wear a protective suit. He has left some scenes with fleas on his clothing.

“This work is important because we help make communities safe and more livable,” Alvarado said. “The teams are committed to improving our communities.”
Did You Know...?
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office began hiring investigators to assist in the prosecution of cases in 1913. By 1928, District Attorney Buron Fitts officially organized the group into the Bureau of Investigation. Investigators were split into two forces: criminal investigations and what was known as the “Booze Squad,” which investigated liquor law violations and vice cases. The office now employs nearly 300 sworn peace officers who investigate a host of high-tech and other crimes.
Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office | (213) 974-3512  | info@da.lacounty.gov

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