January 2020
Volume 5, Issue 1
Dear Friends:
As we enter a new year, I would like to reflect on a few of my office’s most significant accomplishments over the past 12 months.

We launched the Mental Health Division and the Notario Fraud Unit at the start of 2019 to place greater focus on these important priorities for my office.
Spotlight:
Automobile Insurance Fraud Division
In a land of automobiles, where exotic and luxury vehicles are commonplace, prosecuting organized auto theft relies on a team approach.

Three deputy district attorneys are assigned full-time to the highly specialized multiagency task force established to shut down these sophisticated criminal enterprises. 

Earlier this year, the office’s Automobile Insurance Fraud Division prosecuted two men accused of stealing nearly $4 million in cash and luxury vehicles in a high-end automobile sublease scam.

The men used online ads to persuade investors to lease or purchase more than 40 luxury automobiles and then turn them over to the men to sublease at a profit.

Instead, the men sold the vehicles – made by Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, BMW and Lexus – to unsuspecting buyers and pocketed the cash.

Some of the victims provided multiple cars to the men, resulting in individual losses of up to $750,000.

The men each pleaded no contest to three felony counts of grand theft of an automobile and one felony count of grand theft.

Arman Hazarian of Tarzana was sentenced last month to nine years in state prison and Afshin Hashemi of Hollywood was sentenced to four years in county jail.

This is one of nearly 100 cases the division prosecutes each year involving organized auto theft.

The yearlong investigation was conducted by the Taskforce for Regional Auto Theft Prevention (TRAP), whose members include representatives of the District Attorney’s Office, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the Los Angeles Police Department, the California Highway Patrol and the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

For its work on the sublease scam, the task force, including Deputy District Attorney Alex Karkanen, received the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s 2019 Gary Gray Award for excellence in auto theft investigation and the 2019 President’s Award from the Western States Auto Theft Investigators Association.
Fraud Alert
  Significant Cases
When donating to a charity, make sure the money is going to the right cause and not into a crook’s pocket.

Click  here  to read the Fraud Alert and view the video.
  • An Arcadia man was charged with scamming eight elderly victims out of more than $100,000. Find out how prosecutors say the man was able to take the victims’ money.

  • An ax-wielding man was sentenced to state prison for attacking a convenience store clerk in West Hollywood. Learn how much time he may spend behind bars.

  • A carjacker was convicted of fatally shooting a driver in La Mirada during a 2017 crime spree that injured two others. Read more about his crimes and the 10 other victims he targeted.
Second Chair Program
When a complex case comes into the office, it may require additional resources: another attorney to go through thousands of pages of evidence or provide legal expertise, such as reviewing forensic or cyber evidence, or interviewing a child witness.

The office’s Second Chair Program brings together deputy district attorneys with different levels of trial experience and diverse specialized legal skills to provide the extra resources needed to prosecute some of the office’s biggest and most difficult cases.

“Through innovation, my office has been able to allocate the resources needed to try the toughest cases, while offering our attorneys excellent peer learning opportunities,” District Attorney Jackie Lacey said. “Together, they bring a range of exceptional legal skills into the courtroom that help us secure justice and keep our community safe from crime.”

Temporary partnerships are formed for a variety of criminal cases. Some may involve extensive discovery, as in a massive fraud case, multiple defendants or numerous crimes and crime scenes, as in the prosecution of a serial murderer.

They may bring together deputy district attorneys with specialized skills, such as performing computer diagnostics, explaining DNA evidence to a jury or writing affidavits for court-approved wiretaps.

These cases give less experienced prosecutors the opportunity to participate in major cases and the office’s legal experts the occasion to share their specialized knowledge with other deputy district attorneys in the office.

In both instances, deputy district attorneys benefit from working alongside each other and learning from their colleagues. Crime victims and the community also benefit from having an experienced and versatile prosecution team assigned to try some of the most brutal and sophisticated crimes.

Since 2018, more than 50 deputy district attorneys have teamed up to prosecute some of the office’s most difficult cases. Together, they have prosecuted 30-plus major cases.
35th Annual Holiday Giving Drive
The District Attorney’s 35th Annual Holiday Giving Drive benefitted 180 families who were victims of crime. Nearly 500 children received gifts last month. District Attorney employees, from left, Emyrene Coleman, Tambria DeCorse, Michele Watson and facility dog Nora were on hand as toys and gift baskets were packed and delivered.
DUI Awareness
District Attorney Jackie Lacey and Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer were joined by other top law enforcement officials in December to warn the public about the hazards of driving under the influence during the holiday season. District Attorney Lacey urged people to not get behind the wheel if they are intoxicated.
Did You Know...?
Ten years ago, the District Attorney’s Office implemented the nation’s first web-based system for sharing suspected child abuse and neglect reports, known as SCARS, among agencies that investigate those allegations. Since then, District Attorney Jackie Lacey has expanded the resources allocated to monitoring the countywide child protection system and created the office’s first ESCARS Unit.
Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office | (213) 974-3512 | info@da.lacounty.gov

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