Articles Tagged with Miami Criminal Attorney

As Hurricane Irma barreled through the Caribbean laying waste to all centers of population in its path, opportunities arose for those with criminal intent.

After the storm basically leveled the tiny island of Barbuda leaving much of the Island’s 1600 residents homeless the category five storm continued further west wreaking havoc on Anguilla, St. Martin, St. Barts and the Virgin Islands. Up to ninety percent of the domestic and commercial structures on these islands were badly damaged or completely destroyed.

The storm then skimmed the northern coast of Puerto Rico producing a loss of power for more than one million of its residents but spared the island nation of its total force before setting its sights on the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the Turks and Caicos along with the southernmost Bahamian Islands. It then grazed the coast of Cuba alternating between Category four and five status with its center of destruction correctly forecasted to turn north threatening the Florida Keys and the east coast of the state.

Following up on an article posted here last September, the second of five defendants who was convicted of bribery charges that stemmed from a fraud that amounted to millions in duplicitous Medicaid and food stamps payments will be released from a Residential Reentry Management (RRM) field office, a halfway house operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Miami.

Alejandro Lomoso was the last to be sentenced earlier this year and was given the second lightest punishment of the five defendants involved in the fraud by a Federal Judge. He is scheduled to be released from the facility on Sept. 6. His release will be followed by six months of house arrest with electronic monitoring.

Lomoso a former Social Security Administration employee admitted at trial that he accepted roughly $10,000 in bribes from the masterminded of the racket; Irma Davidian.

Although she may not be the mastermind of the operation, twenty-two year old Jaime Nicole Lewis, of Boca Raton has been charged with conspiring to import, possess and distribute several kilos of Alpha-Pyrrolidinopentiophenon (Alpha-PVP), the main ingredient of an illegal synthetic drug manufactured in China. In street jargon, the drug is commonly known as flakka.

Early last week, Lewis pleaded guilty to conspiring to having the key flakka ingredient imported into the country although she maintains that her role was only acting as a type of accountant responsible for taking care of the “money aspect” for the illegal operation she was charged with being a part of.

She’s been held in federal custody since late April when U.S. Magistrate Judge Dave Brannon said that Lewis posed a danger to the community. She was previously arrested multiple times for possession of marijuana; the last arrest a more serious charge of possession with intent to distribute to a minor in a case which is still ongoing in Broward County.

The judge stated that “the major problem I have with the situation is the repeated encounters Ms. Lewis has had with the court system, which apparently don’t teach her anything.”

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A South Florida woman is the alleged leader in a healthcare fraud conspiracy that’s cost the state’s Medicaid program more than $2.7 million, according to federal prosecutors.

Irma Davidian, of Boca Raton, through her husband David’s company American Advisory Associates has been accused of being the key player in a scam that involved payments to employees of the Department of Children and Families as well as the Social Security Administration in exchange for submitting fraudulent applications on behalf of her client base which she attained by advertising in newspapers.

According to court documents, Davidian ran ads in local publications claiming she could acquire government benefits such as food stamp and Medicaid benefits no matter what an individual’s circumstances were. Her fee for this service varied from $2,000 to $5,000.

Her main contact at the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) was Gladys Roman, who worked as an as an interview clerk for the agency. Roman was paid by Davidian to submit falsified documentation that would give Davidian’s clients a much greater chance for their applications to be approved. She entered the data from her home computer, as well as from a local library. After the information was inputted she would inform another employee, George Lopez, which of the applications needed to be approved. Since cases were assigned at random, if Lopez found applications assigned to other case workers he easily overrode the assignment of the case and reassigned the applications to his oversight by accessing a department computer within the DCF system. Both suspects are residents of Pompano Beach.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office over a period of about two years, Davidian paid both Roman and Lopez approximately $1,000 a month for their role in the fraud.

Similarly, Davidian had two connections that worked as claims representatives for the Social Security Administration. In the same type of setup, Maria Sanchez of Pembroke Pines and Alejandro Lomoso of Southwest Ranches both employees’ of the SSA accepted payments from Davidian of $15,000 and $9,500 respectively for processing modified applications over approximately the same period of time.

All in all, Davidian is charged with conspiracy to commit bribery in programs receiving federal funds, commit health care fraud, and conspiracy to give a gratuity to a public official. Roman, Lopez, Sanchez and Lomoso are all charged with conspiracy to commit bribery in programs receiving federal funds and commit health care fraud.

Davidian faces a 10-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $500,000. Her subordinates all face a five-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $250,000 each.

Many of her clients from Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties have also been arrested and charged with Medicaid Fraud. Thirteen of her clients were arrested in July. Among them is former NHL hockey player Sergei Berezin and wife Lyudmila Ustakova who are currently residing in Boca Raton. According to authorities, the pair deceptively billed Medicaid more than $67,000 between 2010 and 2013, with falsified documents acquired through Davidian’s scheme and were arrested on two counts of fraud. Four other Russian immigrants were also arrested in the sting.

Berezin owns a house valued at close to $1 million. He told a confidential informant during the undercover investigation that his income was approximately $100,000 annually from rental properties and fees paid to him for training hockey players.

Berezin played for numerous International, American and Canadian hockey teams between 1990 and 2004. He also played in International championship games including the 1994 Olympics for Russia. His most notable moment on the ice was when he scored the 10,000th home ice goal for the Montreal Canadiens in 2002.

To read an article about the charges against Berezin and his wife, written on that was originally posted as a blurb on my Google+ page, click here and scroll down to the 7/29/15 entry.

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In a scheme that bilked an elderly man out of over a quarter million dollars, a Broward jury found Matthew Stevens not guilty of the crime after deliberating for only a little more than five hours. This was Stevens’ second trial for the crime, the first one resulting in a hung jury.

But here’s the rub. Gina Stevens, the defendant’s common law wife under their shared Gypsy culture tradition who had three children with the defendant did not fare as well as her husband, once he was acquitted of the crime. They were both charged with grand theft but Mrs. Steven’s had no deal in place for testifying against her husband.

Broward Circuit Judge Barbara McCarthy sentenced Gina Stevens to 56 months in prison with 627 days credit for time served. She also ordered her to pay restitution of the $270,000 that was fleeced from the elderly victim.

The jury concluded that the victim, Charles Haas, a 91 year old World War II veteran from Hollywood was conned into giving the money to Mrs. Stevens under false pretenses. However, they apparently didn’t believe that her husband was the mastermind of the plot.

According to the prosecution as well as Mrs. Stevens’ testimony, her husband was the architect of the scam.

Gina befriended Haas in 2012, telling him she was a single mother of three who was recently widowed when her husband was killed in a car accident in Michigan. She claimed her name was Tiffany Williams. She told him she owned property in Chicago which was under government liens. Haas agreed to give her the money to pay off the holds on the property and testified in court that he expected to have the money returned to him after she sold the real estate.

Haas also testified that he previously helped secure an apartment for “Tiffany” in 2013 because she led him to believe that her landlord was increasing her rent by one hundred percent. He also bought her clothing and jewelry. It was around that time that he was introduced to Matthew Stevens who she deceptively told him was her cousin, also convincing him that he was gay.

As it turned out, the property in Chicago never existed; as was emphasized by the prosecution in their closing arguments, also declaring that Mrs. Stevens separated Haas from his entire life savings in the amount of approximately $280,000. The entire time period that all these events transpired was under four months.

But Mr. Steven’s defense lawyer told the jury that the facts showed that the prosecution had failed to prove a crime was even committed. He pointed out that Haas was of sound mind and body when he “lent” the money to his client’s wife, pointing out that he had no history of diminished mental capacity or dementia, and furnished the money eagerly, believing his generosity was advancing a romance with a younger woman. It was summed up by the defense as “a loan that didn’t work out”. He also went on to say that even if the jury concluded a crime was committed there was no proof that Mr. Stevens was aware of his wife’s actions and that the proceeds were given to Mrs. Steven’s mother and sister and not Mr. Stevens, according to his defense attorney.

The prosecutor responded to the defense attorney’s assertion by proclaiming to the jury “If you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn… or a property in Chicago.”

In the end, the jury did believe a crime was perpetrated but could not connect the dots to convict Mr. Stevens of any wrongdoing for the second time. During the first trial he testified that he didn’t even know how much money his wife received from the victim.

But Mrs. Steven’s testimony/confession sealed her fate.

The money hasn’t been recovered and Haas doesn’t expect he’ll ever see the restitution ordered by the judge. When he took the stand he told the court that Gina Stevens ruined him financially and is bitter that Mr. Steven’s was not convicted the first time. His final beseeching words after the hearing were “I’m broke. I’m living in poverty… So how do I get welfare?” Haas’ daughter Mona was quoted as saying “People have to be vigilant… They can’t be so trusting.”

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