October 2018
Volume 3, Issue 10
Dear Friends:
One of my top priorities has been to reduce the number of seniors who fall prey to financial scams.

In addition to aggressive prosecution, we want to prevent the spread of these all-too-prevalent crimes.
Spotlight: Family Violence Division
Victims of domestic violence face one of the most emotionally fraught dilemmas of any crime victim: seeking justice for a violent crime against them by someone they love, trust or depend upon.

Helping these victims get through the prosecution of their abusers without causing more trauma is among the greatest challenges that face the 17 prosecutors assigned to the District Attorney’s Family Violence Division.

“The ongoing relationship between the abuser and victim in a domestic violence case is what makes the work of a Family Violence Division prosecutor different from other types of cases the office prosecutes,” said Joanne Baeza, head deputy district attorney of the division, pictured right, with Lesley Klein, her assistant head deputy district attorney.

In the past 12 months, the division reviewed more than 3,400 cases. Roughly 750 cases resulted in criminal charges being filed by the office, and hundreds of misdemeanor cases were sent to city prosecutors’ offices for review.

Baeza noted that maintaining the cooperation of victims who have been assaulted by their partner is an enormous task. In numerous cases, the victim forgives the abuser before the case goes to trial and doesn’t want to testify. Sometimes victims fear that they and their children will suffer financially or even become homeless if their abuser goes to prison.

In cases involving children, the victims may be so young that they cannot testify against the abusers.

Family Violence Division prosecutors receive special training to handle both legal and practical issues they face in their cases. Successful outcomes often require utilizing resources and witnesses that prosecutors may not need in a non-familial case, Baeza said.

When a victim is no longer cooperating, prosecutors may need to dig through volumes of documents to find corroborating evidence.
Fraud Alert
  Significant Cases
People who plan to donate money to their favorite politician this election season should be careful they’re giving cash to the candidate and not a crook.

Read the Fraud Alert and watch the video here .
  • We watch it happen live on television at least once a week. But what are the criminal consequences for those who engage in dangerous, high-speed pursuits on our freeways? Read how long this driver was sentenced to serve behind bars. 

  • A Los Angeles man burglarizes South Pasadena homes, breaking into at least one house while someone is inside. It is not the first time he has been caught. Learn about his prison sentence.

  • A 27-year-old woman faces a maximum sentence of 280 years to life in state prison for a deadly crime spree in Whittier and La Mirada. Click here to read about the jury’s verdict. 
Ask a Cybercrime Expert
As dependence on connected technology has grown in almost all aspects of daily life, so too has the frequency of cybercrime, said Maria Ramirez, head deputy district attorney of the Cyber Crime Division, pictured right. That’s why, during National Cyber Security Awareness Month in October, individuals, businesses, government agencies and organizations are encouraged to learn about the latest cyberthreats and reassess their security measures.

What are the most common types of cybercrime?
Cybercrime is growing as traditional crimes expand into the cyberworld, but identity theft remains one of the most common problems. Criminals use computer intrusion to access data and phishing emails that look like they are from legitimate businesses or government agencies to get people to divulge their personal and financial information.

Are businesses particularly susceptible?
Yes, because they have access to a lot of money and employee information. Companies usually are targeted by business email compromise scams, when a fake email that appears to be from a company’s chief executive officer or other manager is sent to employees telling them to send money to a supposed client. Scammers also will send fake business invoices that appear to be from legitimate customers.

How can people protect themselves?
In addition to keeping antivirus software up to date, people can avoid cybercrime by being vigilant about their computer use and protecting the personal information they share. Don’t click on suspicious email links. Don’t provide personal or financial information unless you’ve initiated a transaction with a legitimate company. Change your passwords regularly but don’t use names or other easy-to-guess words. Social media can be risky as well. Don’t share too much personal information that could lead to identity theft.

What should cybercrime victims do?
If you’re a victim of identity theft, it’s going to be difficult to pull back that information. You want to make sure that no one else is opening credit in your name, so contact credit reporting agencies to put a freeze on your credit. Contact your financial institutions to cancel credit and debit cards if those may have been compromised. Then file a report with local law enforcement and an internet crime report with the FBI at www.ic3.gov .
Pink Patch Project
Investigators in the District Attorney's Office are putting on their pink patches in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Each October, more than 300 public safety agencies across California participate in the Pink Patch Project. This is the third year for the District Attorney's Bureau of Investigation.

“Our message is public awareness,” said Lt. Robert Maus, who is leading the effort.

People ask about the pink patches and, as part of the conversation, we encourage early detection of breast cancer through annual mammograms and regular doctor visits, said Maus, pictured on the left with secretary Linda Martinez and Senior Investigator Norman Weisenstein.

The Pink Patch Project also is a great opportunity to raise money for breast cancer research through the sales of the patches.

The Bureau of Investigation has raised more than $13,000 in the past two years, which was donated to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
Los Angeles County Day at the Fair
The District Attorney's Bureau of Communications distributed Fraud Alerts and other materials aimed at educating the public about financial scams at the Los Angeles County Fair on Sept. 2. Armine Kesablyan, pictured left, Heidi Kim and Chris Kim talk to fair-goers about office resources.
Photo from the University of Southern California Library Archives
Did You Know...?
Fred N. Howser, who served as District Attorney from 1943 to 1946, led a drive to “clean up” Los Angeles County, hoping to curb vice and mobster activity. The drive included setting aflame a pile of pornographic movies and publications.
Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office | (213) 974-3512 | info@da.lacounty.gov

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