October 2016
Volume 1, Issue 7
Dear Friends:

This month, I would like to share a public service announcement that I recorded to encourage citizens to register to vote in the Nov. 8 general election.

Watch the video to your right and read my message.

Spotlight: Environmental Crimes Section
Workers gravely injured on the job. Fires at facilities that store hazardous materials. A natural gas leak that crippled a community.

These are just some of the calls that the office's Environmental Crimes Section receives when there is a threat to the health and safety of Los Angeles County residents.

In April 2014, District Attorney Jackie Lacey established the Environmental Crimes OSHA Rollout Program, which dispatches LADA prosecutors and investigators to workplace fatalities and environmental threats throughout the county.

The goal is to enhance the preservation of evidence during the early stages of an investigation and ensure that witness accounts are documented. LADA assists investigations led by the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (CalOSHA), local fire departments and other governmental agencies.

Deputy district attorneys assigned to the unit prosecuted environmental crimes that resulted in an employee being crushed to death in a piece of machinery and an oil spill that threatened to contaminate waterways and wildlife.

In February, LADA prosecutors criminally charged Southern California Gas Co. with failing to immediately report the leak at the company’s Aliso Canyon facility. The utility agreed last month to a $4 million settlement that included the maximum criminal penalty and the installation of safety measures beyond those required by state and federal law. Click here to read more about the settlement.

“This office is committed to protecting the environment, public health and workplace safety for all Los Angeles County residents,” said Yael Massry, the section’s deputy-in-charge. “We will continue to work collaboratively with other agencies to thoroughly investigate and aggressively prosecute OSHA and environmental crimes.”

Fraud Alert
    Significant Cases
If you plan to donate to your favorite candidate this election season, make sure your contribution is really going to the person seeking your vote and not a crook going after your cash. 

  • A $10 million lawsuit was filed against a debt collection agency for allegedly making unlawful and harassing calls to consumers. Find out more about the case.

  • A Rancho Palos Verdes physician was convicted of unlawfully prescribing drugs without a legitimate need. Read about the evidence against him.

  • A Long Beach accountant and a former executive at a foster home pleaded guilty to embezzling from county foster homes. Learn about the penalties they face.

Pink Patch Project

LADA’s Bureau of Investigation is joining forces with more than 50 other law enforcement agencies across California in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Throughout the month of October, officers from participating agencies will wear bright pink versions of their uniform patch in an effort to raise public awareness of the ongoing fight against breast cancer. For more information about the #PinkPatchProject, visit: http://www.pinkpatchproject.com.   

Operation Broken Heart

To combat child sexual exploitation, LADA and other law enforcement agencies have devoted additional resources to more aggressively pursue child predators.

Earlier this year, LADA took part in “Operation Broken Heart III,” a series of law enforcement sweeps that targeted those engaged in human trafficking and possessing or distributing child pornography.

More than 230 people were arrested in the operation conducted by the Los Angeles Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which is comprised of dozens of local, state and federal authorities, including LADA.

The task force is one of dozens across the nation funded by the U.S. Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Deputy District Attorneys Samer Hathout and Angela Brunson help lead the charge against crimes targeting children and bring those who prey upon them to justice. Both work in LADA’s Cyber Crime Division, which filed 31 cases in conjunction with “Operation Broken Heart.”

Besides catching predators, the regional task force has trained nearly 600 officers to keep up with the rapidly changing technology and has made dozens of presentations to more than 5,000 people about protecting children when they are online.

“We can't arrest our way out of this. It requires prevention which requires education,” Hathout said. “Adults and children need to know the reality of what happens online and talk openly about it and how to handle it. Adults need to get more savvy so they understand what their kids are doing online.”

Did You Know...?
In the first election for District Attorney in 1850, a total of 377 votes were cast. At that time, the jurisdiction was much larger, stretching all the way to the Mexican border. In the last general election in 2012, a total of 2,730,745 votes were cast for District Attorney candidates – more than 7,000 times the number of votes cast in 1850.

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

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