June 2017
Volume 2, Issue 6
Dear Friends:

I am proud that my office is the first in Los Angeles County to offer implicit bias training to employees.

Read the full remarks here.

Spotlight: Child Abduction Section

Many child abductions are committed by a parent, grandparent or other relative who does not have court-ordered custodial rights of the child.

Addressing these fraught and complex cases is the responsibility of the District Attorney’s Child Abduction Section.

The section, which consists of three prosecutors, eight investigators and two paralegals, often handles cases involving one parent illegally taking a child from his or her estranged partner and leaving to another country. Sometimes, section staff work on cases in which an abducted child from another state or country is now residing in Los Angeles County.

Members of the Child Abduction Section must cut through a thicket of international, federal and state laws. They also help victims and relatives through an emotional roller coaster.

Key to the success of the section is the work of the investigators who are frequently notified by civil court personnel that someone has violated a custody order. It is the investigator’s job to locate abducted children, serve court papers to adults ordering them to appear in court and make sure they come to court with the children. Just as important are the section’s paralegals
who assist the families and children and work with prosecutors to file court papers.

Prosecution is often the last step, said Manuel Garcia, the deputy-in-charge of the section. It typically occurs when a parent refuses to stop violating orders and continues to try to flee with the child even though they do not have custody rights.

Child Abduction Section prosecutors reviewed roughly 68 cases that resulted in 23 criminal complaints being filed last year. In addition to the criminal filings, the Child Abduction Section became involved with 24 civil actions involving international child abductions.

For more information on the Child Abduction Section, click here.

Fraud Alert
    Significant Cases
It has many forms and names – Fund Transfer Scam, Nigerian Prince Scam – but the result is always the same: people get cheated out of their hard-earned cash.

Read the Fraud Alert and c lick  here  to see a real bank executor scam letter received by a local resident .

  • A healthy 37-year-old woman was ordered to repay nearly $130,000 to sympathetic donors in a fraudulent scheme that took money purportedly to fund the woman’s breast cancer treatment. Discover more about her sentence.

  • The founder of a South Los Angeles charter school and her son were charged for their roles in an alleged $200,000 embezzlement scheme that transferred school funds to a shell company she owned. Read more about the allegations. 

  • Two women were charged in connection with an alleged road rage attack in a Beverly Hills supermarket parking lot that left a man with a severed leg. Learn more about the case. 
D.A. Alumni Association

Retired deputy district attorneys Walt Lewis, Lea Purwin D’Agostino and Bob Schirn attended the District Attorney Alumni Association dinner held May 24 at the Wilshire Country Club.  Judge Norm Shapiro, the guest speaker, shared stories about his years as a deputy district attorney. For more information about the group, email president Don Steier at info@LADA-Alumni.com.

From Project LEAD to Law School

Fourteen years ago in a classroom at Glendale’s John Muir Elementary School, student Nicole Vartanyan was introduced to the criminal justice system through the District Attorney’s Project LEAD program.

She remembers her former instructor, Deputy District Attorney Jane Creighton; how thick the California Penal Code books were; taking part in a mock criminal trial; meeting a drug-detection scent dog; and being inspired to pursue a career in the law.

This past year, Vartanyan became even more familiar with the California Penal Code. She worked as a student law clerk, getting a front-row seat in the criminal justice system while serving as an extern in the Hardcore Gang Division and the Elder Abuse Section.

In May, she graduated from Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law and is now preparing to take the California Bar Examination with the hopes of becoming a prosecutor.  She is the first Project LEAD graduate to work as a law clerk in the District Attorney’s Office.

“Project LEAD definitely gave my interest in the law a push,” the 24-year-old said. “It made it more real to actually meet people in the legal field and law enforcement.”

Vartanyan is one of more than 33,000 Los Angeles County students who graduated from Project LEAD since its started in 1993. Through the program, students learn about the criminal justice system, conflict resolution, peer pressure, respect for diversity and making the right decisions in life.

Deputy district attorneys, investigators, paralegals and others volunteer to spend roughly one hour a week with students throughout the school year. Employees are encouraged to volunteer so they may have a positive impact on children in their communities.

Creighton said it was amazing to hear that her former student is now pursuing the law as a career.

“Sometimes you don’t realize the impact the District Attorney’s Office has in the community,” the prosecutor said. “It touches your heart.”

For more information on Project LEAD, click here.
Did You Know...?

The District Attorney’s Office filed 89,136 misdemeanor cases in 2016. They were filed throughout Los Angeles County, except in the cities of Los Angeles, Long Beach, Pasadena, Torrance, Santa Monica, Burbank, Inglewood, Hawthorne, Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach. Those cities prosecute their own misdemeanor cases.
Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office | (213) 974-3512  | info@da.lacounty.gov

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