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Founder of Irvine-based financial services company arrested for stealing $4 million from investors

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The CEO of an Irvine-based financial services and insurance company was arrested on federal charges of defrauding about a dozen victims who thought their money was being invested in a certificate of deposit at a major bank.

The CEO of an Irvine-based financial services and insurance company was arrested on federal charges of defrauding about a dozen victims who thought their money was being invested in a certificate of deposit at a major bank.

The scam allegedly runs out of Five Star Financial Services of America, LLC targeted the retirement accounts and savings of elderly investors and other vulnerable victims, according to a federal criminal complaint that notes one 70-year-old victim lost nearly all of his $1.6 million investment with Five Star.

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This morning, FBI and IRS special agents arrested Memet Fatih Biyikoglu, 50, of Palm Desert, who was Five Star’s chief executive officer and was known to some victims as “John B.” Biyikoglu is expected to make his initial court appearance in United States District Court in Santa Ana.



Anna Marie Holt, 58, of Fountain Valley, who was the president and chief operating officer of Five Star, is expected to self-surrender to authorities this afternoon. Holt also is expected to make her first court appearance this afternoon in federal court in Santa Ana.

A third defendant named in the criminal complaint – Ida Shaghoian, 38, of Palm Desert, a sales agent with Five Star and Biyikoglu’s ex-wife – is currently being sought by federal agents.

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According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, Biyikoglu, Shaghoian and Holt solicited investors to put retirement funds, savings, and other assets in a certificate of deposit held at JP Morgan Chase Bank with promises that the investments were safe and would generate large returns.

In reality, the Chase bank CD did not exist, and the defendants used the victims’ money for their own personal use, which included paying for real estate, jewelry, and a Ferrari, the complaint alleges. As part of the scheme, victims were given bogus Chase Bank statements to make it appear their money had been legitimately invested.



To date, the investigation has identified 11 victims who transferred at least $4,088,338 to Five Star in 2014 and 2015, according to the complaint. Several of the victims lost their entire retirement savings.

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A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

The charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud carries a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

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3 scammers gets prison for fraudulent medical devices

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Three defendants who marketed and sold light-emitting medical devices as a cure-all to consumers more than $16 million, primarily targeting the elderly, were sentenced to federal prison.

Three defendants who marketed and sold light-emitting medical devices as a cure-all to consumers more than $16 million, primarily targeting the elderly, were sentenced to federal prison.

Robert “Larry” Lytle, 83, of Rapid City, who was the leader and organizer of the scheme, was sentenced to twelve years in federal prison, followed by two years of supervised release.

Ronald D. Weir Jr., 39, of Sioux Falls, was sentenced to 24 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release.

Irina Kossovskaia, 63, a Canadian resident, was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison, followed by two years of supervised release.

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Lytle pleaded guilty on January 26, 2018, to 1 count of conspiracy to introduce misbranded devices into interstate commerce with the intent to deceive and mislead, and 1 count of criminal contempt. As part of his plea, Lytle admitted that beginning in 2005 he entered into an agreement with others to sell medical devices with false and misleading labeling to deceive customers and that he continued to do in violation of a court order.



Lytle also acknowledged that he obtained at least $16,669,015 over the course of the scheme. He made an initial restitution payment of $637,000 and had turned over several thousand dollars worths of gold and silver coins to be applied to restitution.

Three defendants who marketed and sold light-emitting medical devices as a cure-all to consumers more than $16 million, primarily targeting the elderly, were sentenced to federal prison.

Robert “Larry” Lytle

Irina Kossovskaia and Ronald D. Weir Jr. previously pleaded guilty for their roles in the fraud scheme. The U.S. government agreed to dismiss criminal contempt charges against a fourth conspirator, Fredretta Eason.

Lytle and his associates including Kossovskaia and Weir (who operated QLaser distribution) marketed and distributed QLaser devices to consumers across the U.S. by falsely claiming that the medical devices could safely and efficiently treat a panoply of medical conditions at home, including cancer, emphysema, diabetes, autism, HIV, and heart disease.



Lytle created false and misleading product labeling that was designed to create the false impression that these claims had been scientifically proven. In truth, no published clinical or scientific studies supported the use of QLaser devices to treat those and other serious conditions, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration never approved the medical devices for such purposes. To lend credibility and authority to his claims, the potential QLaser purchasers were told: “Dr. Lytle” was a retired dentist and medical laser expert while omitting the fact that his licenses to practice dentistry had been permanently revoked for engaging in fraud and material deception.

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Lytle and his accomplices forged ahead with the fraud even after a federal court ordered them to stop selling and refund all QLaser purchasers in a series of injunctions issued in 2015. In violation of the injunctions, he made false statements to the federal court and FDA investigators.

He sent collection letters to QLaser purchasers rather than pay them court-ordered restitution, smuggled hundreds of medical devices out of South Dakota to New York to prevent their seizure, and received a steady stream of income from continued QLaser sales made by Weir and Kossovskaia.

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Ambulance employee gets prison for Medicare fraud over $1 million

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A former ambulance employee in California was sentenced to 36 months in federal prison for his role in a scheme that stole over $1.1 million from Medicare.

A former ambulance employee in California was sentenced to 36 months in federal prison for his role in a scheme that stole over $1.1 million from Medicare.

Aharon Aron Krkasharyan, 54, of Los Angeles, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge, who also ordered Krkasharyan to pay $484,556 in restitution to Medicare, jointly and severally with his co-conspirators, who await sentencing.

Krkasharyan pleaded guilty on November 27, 2017, to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

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Krkasharyan was employed as the Quality Improvement Coordinator for Mauran Ambulance Inc, of San Fernando, California, an ambulance transportation company operating in Los Angeles area that provided non-emergency services to Medicare beneficiaries, many of whom were dialysis patients.

As part of his plea agreement, Krkasharyan admitted that between June 2011 and April 2012, he conspired with other employees to submit fraudulent claims to Medicare for ambulance transportation company for persons who did not need such services. Krkasharyan also admitted that he and his accomplices instructed Mauran emergency medical technicians to conceal the patient’s true medical conditions by altering paperwork and creating fraudulent reasons to justify the ambulance services.



Ex-ambulance employee Krkasharyan was accused along with Toros Onik Yeranosian, 55, the former owner of Mauran Ambulance Inc, Oxana Loutseiko, 57, the former general manager, and Maria Espinoza, 47, a former employee of a Los Angeles dialysis treatment center. Yeranosian, Loutseiko, and Espinoza each pleaded guilty and are pending sentencing. The former dispatch supervisor at Mauran, Christian Hernandez, 37, who was previously accused in the case, has also pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing.

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According to court documents, during the conspiracy, Mauran Ambulance Inc submitted more than $28 million in claims to Medicare. Krkasharyan’s co-defendants admitted that at least $6.6 million of those claims were false and fraudulent claims for medically unnecessary transportation services. Medicare paid at least $3 million on those false and fraudulent claims.

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British man extradited to U.S. for Bitcoin scam more than $35 million

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British national extradited from Morocco to the United States for Bitcoin scam that defrauded investors of more than $36 million.

British national extradited from Morocco to the United States for Bitcoin scam that defrauded investors of more than $36 million.

Renwick Haddow, 49, was charged by criminal complaint in 2017 for engaging in Bitcoin scam schemes to defraud investors by making material misrepresentations and misappropriating investment funds in companies created called Bitcoin Store Inc, and Bar Works Inc. In July 2017, Haddow was arrested in Morocco by a provisional arrest warrant for participating in these schemes.

From November 2014 through June 2017, solicited investments in start-up companies Bitcoin Store he created and controlled, a purported online platform for purchasing, selling, and storing the digital currency like Bitcoin.

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And Bar Works which purports to be a company that adapts former restaurants, bar premises, and other locations into co-working spaces. When doing so, Haddow made material misrepresentations about, among other things, the management, operations, and historical performance of those companies.



For example, Haddow concealed his interest in Bitcoin Store and fabricated the purported “experienced team of leading investment professionals” working at the company. In connection with Bar Works, Haddow adopted the alias “Jonathan Black” to further hide his role in the schemes. Haddow claimed that “Jonathan Black” had an extensive background in finance and had a role in setting up “Car Share,” a car-sharing application.

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Haddow solicited investments through agent brokers and through his control of InCrowd Equity Inc, which represented itself as a type of crowdfunding website through which investors could buy shares of start-up supposedly vetted by InCrowd Equity. British scammer did so without disclosing to investors that he had an ownership interest in both InCrowd Equity, on the one hand, and Bitcoin Store and Bar Works, on the other. Haddow also misappropriated without permission funds purportedly invested in Bitcoin Store and Bar Works for his own use and the use of others.

Haddow has been charged with 2 counts of wire fraud, one relating to the Bitcoin scam scheme and the second connecting to the Bar Works scheme. Each charge carries a sentence of twenty years in federal prison.

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