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October 19, 2017
George Parisotto Appointed Administrative Director of California Division of Workers’ Compensation

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October 10, 2017
They Claimed She Was Driving, But It Was Allegedly He Behind The Wheel. Now A Bakersfield Couple Is Being Prosecuted.



Who’s Paying For These High Powered Lawyers? Dr. Uwaydah Is, That’s Who. And The Court Needs To Stop Him.
By Lonce Lamonte - September 28, 2017

According to Rev. Sherry Schermbeck, for the wedding of Marisa Grzechowiak to her son, Henry John Schermbeck, Marisa wore a white sheath dress that was utterly stunning.  For her wedding day Marisa looked radiant.  

Marisa’s mother, Christine, was adamant she wasn’t going to spend any money.  She told Sherry in an intense and brisling tone, “Just because we have that truck out front, doesn’t mean we have any money.”

 Apparently, Christine and Bob (Marisa’s father) had recently purchased a new truck, but Christine wanted to make it absolutely clear they had no money and would spend nothing on their daughter’s wedding. So, Sherry and Henry (Rev. Sherry’s husband and Henry John’s father) put on the wedding at their house.  Sherry arranged the furniture to create an aisle with rows of audience chairs with a complete setting designed for a wedding.  Marisa wanted a unity candle so Sherry got her a unity candle.

That was just over 20 years ago.  Now Marisa Grzechowiack Schermbeck is Marisa Nelson.  She is presently the prosecution’s main witness in the Criminal Organization Munir Uwaydah case in downtown Los Angeles.   Dr. Munir Uwaydah, an orthopedic surgeon who has had his license revoked in California, is still to this moment creating deceptive medical businesses under the names of straw owners and defrauding workers’ compensation payers as before.  He is doing this from his oasis in Beirut, Lebanon, where he is caged in due to arrest warrants active throughout most of Europe and the United States. 


Marisa on her 40th birthday, November 20th 2016.  From Marisa's Facebook page.  

Thus today, the present wife of Dr. Munir Uwaydah’s former physician assistant, Peter Nelson (still incarcerated in Los Angeles), and who was a big time chief financial-type officer for Uwaydah dating back to the 1990s, is the prosecution’s hopeful informant. Peter Nelson has been in jail since September 14th 2015, since the indictments were unsealed.  Marisa stayed in jail from that date until July 6th 2016, when her defense team won her freedom on a successful 995 motion. 

Marisa is tied to the prosecution with a plea deal she made with the L.A. District Attorney in July of 2017, almost exactly a year after her release.  In exchange for her guilty plea on only two counts, which include conspiracy, and an opportunity to change her plea in three years if she remains faithful, Marisa has to testify under oath moving forward and tell all.  She could be testifying in Department 106, the court room of the honorable Larry Fidler, in downtown Los Angeles as early as October 2017.  

Marisa’s mother, Christine, was only put in charge of providing the wedding cake.  Marisa wanted a tiered layer cake with sun flowers on it.  There was a local family owned bakery there in the Perrysburg, Ohio area, south of Toledo, that could custom make the cake and personalize it for the bride and groom.  That’s where Marisa decided she wanted her cake made.

However, when Christine communicated with the bakery, she complained vociferously about the price. Her parsimoniousness was concerning to the bakers, therefore they made a layered cake but decided to wait and see if Christine showed up before inscribing the final writing and placing the sunflowers.  They suspected Christine was going to be a no-show after hearing her protestations about price. 


Marisa leaves the courthouse in downtown Los Angeles after proceedings on December 2nd 2016.  photo by Lonce Lamonte, all rights reserved

So, imagine Marisa going to work for Dr. Munir Uwaydah not long after her marriage to Henry John Schermbeck.  Probably not even 20 years old, she began her career which evolved into managing numerous bank accounts with multiple millions of dollars defrauded from workers’ compensation claims payers as well as manipulated from shady real estate deals and other innumerable scams.  Not hard to see the psychological dynamics at work.  All that money must have felt like the ultimate great escape from the most penurious of mothers. 

Marisa’s mother, Christine, actually showed up at the bakery for the wedding cake!  But when she got there, she was told it would only be a few minutes for the final touches to be put on the cake.  However, instead of agreeing to wait a short time, Christine became irate and began cussing at the bakers.  The patriarch of this small family business came out and said he wouldn’t accept her spewing profanity in front of his family, especially his wife and girls, and that she had to stop cussing and wait politely or she had to leave.  Christine decided to leave.

She went to a supermarket and got a sheet cake.   When she showed up with this common sheet cake with just congratulations written on it, and not the stylized, personalized cake Marisa so very much wanted, Marisa began to cry.  “You couldn’t even pick up the cake!” she exclaimed through her tears. The parents stormed out of the Schermbecks’ house with Marisa chasing after them weeping and begging.   They drove off.  They never returned. 

So, this was how Marisa’s wedding began.  Sherry thought, “I can’t believe this.”  She was embarrassed for Marisa. 

Marisa had also lived on the poorer side of town of Perrysburg.  Her mother had said, “Marisa’s always been trouble.”  Christine had once complained that Marisa didn’t show up for Thanksgiving dinner, to which Marisa replied, “Because you locked me out of the house!”   Because of the lock-out, Marisa had wound up sleeping in a vehicle in front of the house in freezing weather, not even able to keep warm. 

The cheapness of her mother, along with the selfish attitude, had to have contributed to setting the stage for Marisa to get “caught” by Dr. Uwaydah.  Her mother insisting “We don’t have any money”, along with ranting about the high cost of a wedding cake must have been hard for Marisa to bear.   Then with Munir Uwaydah, M.D. stepping onto center stage with his millions of dollars there in the Toledo, Ohio area, where Marisa worked in a hospital as a very young woman, it must have been like a magnet.  Uwaydah preys on the vulnerable. As fate would have it, Marisa stepped into his quick sand.  

Dr. Uwaydah moved to California around 2004 with Marisa in tow.   California workers’ compensation fraud became Uwaydah’s new big game sport.  Ohio had been the place where he’d practiced and from where he’d defrauded General Electric Medical Systems, Europe, of a one million dollar scanner.  He’d placed a $100,000 down payment with General Electric, and then managed to trick the company into shipping the MRI machine by merely showing his letter of credit.   He never made the remaining payment of approximately $900,000. 


Peter and Marisa Nelson in a recent undated photograph at a sporting event (obviously before they were arrested on September 14th 2015).  from Marisa's Facebook page

For this reason, Uwaydah to this day works diligently, paying thousands of dollars to lawyers to guide him in keeping assets out of his name.  He does it in order to avoid paying General Electric on the judgment they won against him.  That fraudulent scanner theft happened in September of 2001.  Sixteen years is a long time to be spending time, energy, and millions of dollars avoiding payment.  It’s not hard to imagine the math and figure out it’s more expensive to avoid paying than it is to simply pay.  

Uwaydah has an “army of lawyers” that work for him, as a witness before the Grand Jury, Shelly Rosekelly, a former Uwaydah assistant, testified.   Theft is something for which Uwaydah embraces a passion at whatever the cost--financial, moral, or otherwise.

The head general of that army is lawyer Benjamin Gluck.  He is ostensibly with the “Bird firm” in Century City:  Bird Marella Boxer Wolpert Nessim Drooks Lincenberg & Rhow; but Gluck is pervasively the main counsel for Uwaydah including nearly all of Uwaydah’s shell company entities with straw owners.   He has a pattern and practice as a criminal defense attorney of defending perpetrators of insurance fraud, but he goes further than that.  He pursues their goals.  He furthers their interests.    

He’s brilliant, highly energetic, a gifted leader, a very skilled rhetorician, and he knows the law.  But he’s cunning and amoral.  He steps over the line. He not only defends his clients, he works for them.  Here’s just one example of how he works for Dr. Uwaydah.   There are many others to be told.

Shelly Rosekelly, a Uwaydah assistant who proffered to law enforcement after Uwaydah fled the country after the arrest of Kelly Soo Park in June of 2010, was called to testify before the Grand Jury in February of 2015.  Immediately after she received the subpoena, she got a call from Benjamin Gluck.  With grand jury proceedings being held in secret, Gluck should not have known about the proceedings.  But if he found out about the proceedings because he had a client who was testifying, he should have taken no action concerning Shelly Rosekelly. 


Karen Nishita, Catherine Chon, and Dayan Mathai (from left to right) are three of the four prosecutors in the downtown Los Angeles Criminal Organization Munir Uwaydah case shown in this July 1st 2016 photograph as they leave Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center. Mathai is the lead prosecutor who signed the August 2nd 2017 Petition to the court citing massive conflicts of interest with defense attorneys being paid for by codefendant Dr. Munir Uwaydah, and most egregiously with counsel Benjamin Gluck.  Gluck has represented Uwaydah, the majority of his shell companies with straw owners, and numerous codefendants and uncharged coconspirators since 2010.  photo by Lonce Lamonte, all rights reserved   

He left a message on her voice mail system explaining he understands some people from “the company” have been called to testify and that “the company”, whichever company that means, is required to provide her with an attorney if she should get such a call to testify.  He requests that she call him to let him know, one way or the other, if she would be interested in independent counsel should she be called to testify. 

Shelly Rosekelly chose not to return Benjamin Gluck’s call.   When she got to the grand jury hearing, she played the message from Gluck to DA investigator Tim McCrillis.  But just three days after receiving the subpoena, and Shelly not replying to Gluck, Gluck decided to call DDA Cynthia Nakao and tell her by message that he has exculpatory evidence in Uwaydah’s favor, and incriminating information against Shelly (relative to a past settlement agreement and Memorandum of Understanding from Shelly with Dr. Uwaydah which provides an admission that she stole money from Dr. Uwaydah).  So, within 72 hours, Gluck tries to pull Shelly into Uwaydah’s world by controlling her with a Uwaydah-chosen attorney, and when she doesn’t respond, he tries to discredit and impeach her.  It’s a full pendulum swing within three days.

Gluck here is violating the secrecy of a grand jury, attempting to control a witness and further Uwaydah’s interests by pulling the witness within Uwaydah’s sphere of control.   And this is what’s going on presently in the entire court room—evidence and testimony is being manipulated by Uwaydah all the way from Beirut with Gluck as his catalyst favoring his interests. 


Benjamin Gluck leaves Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles on August 19th 2016.  photo by Lonce Lamonte, all rights reserved 

Gluck pushes in Dr. Uwaydah’s favor.  That’s his central job.  Now he’s in a position of being counsel of record for Paul Turley, Uwaydah’s former lackey, and he’s forced by his loyalty to Uwaydah to dedicate himself to Uwaydah’s interests at the expense of Turley’s interests.  He won’t be able to favor evidence to Turley’s favor in a trial or a plea deal if it isn’t fully positive to Uwaydah.  Turley would be way better off with a public defender if he can’t pay a defense lawyer with his own resources.   Gluck is always going to favor Uwaydah’s interests first and foremost in this case to every other defendant’s second favor. That undermines Turley’s and the other defendants’ constitutional and due process rights.   Gluck has represented several of the other defendants in the past, and still is obligated to attorney-client confidentiality with those defendants.  He would not be able to cross-examine them in a trial with such restriction of confidentiality in place.  His hands would be tied up with too many different ropes. 

This case has Gluck assigning lawyers controlled by Dr. Uwaydah to represent other defendants.  The court needs to break up this mob boss cronyism. No defendant’s counsel should be paid for by Uwaydah. 

For the good of society as a whole, not just in Los Angeles or the United States, but in the world, it’s better for the public to pay for the defenses of these defendants with our tax dollars than to have the defense paid for by mobster Munir Uwaydah.  If allowed to pay for attorneys, he will get results in his favor.  Uwaydah has a long reach from Lebanon.   He’s a codefendant in this case and the crime boss, and all evidence and testimony needs to flow freely without conflict for the truth to emerge.  If Uwaydah pays for the defense, he will determine the outcome of these court proceedings as he has been doing for years with all of his hundreds of legal gyrations.  He will pull the court’s strings like it’s a marionette doll. 


Lou Shapiro, left, is present legal counsel for Peter Nelson.  Mark Kassabian, center, is counsel for codefendant Kelly Soo Park.  The prosecution believes via the evidence that Shapiro is being paid by Dr. Uwaydah.  Most likely Kassabian is being paid by Uwaydah, as Uwaydah paid Kassabian for Park's defense when she was charged with murder.  Kelly Soo Park was found not guilty by a Los Angeles jury for the murder of former Uwaydah girlfriend, Juliana Redding, on June 4th 2013.  photo dated April 11th 2016 by Lonce Lamonte, all rights reserved  

No waivers should be allowed.   No waiver can hold back the egregious conflicts of interest already in play.  This court should rule that no lawyer shall be paid via Uwaydah money.  This court hopefully will gain insight into all Uwaydah’s shell companies and stop them from paying for lawyers.  Justice is better served via public defenders paid for by public money if any defendants can’t pay for their own defense.

To Marisa, at one time it most likely didn’t matter that the money was fraudulently acquired.  Marisa had lived on the poorer side of town with a mother who complained about the cost of a wedding cake.  Possibly Marisa didn’t even know, at first, that Uwaydah’s money was fraudulently acquired.   She was simply relieved and glad to have someone willing to give her money.   And Uwaydah paid her handsomely.  

Being in charge of millions of dollars must have been the thrill of her life.  But now she must take to the stand and tell her story.   Curtain call is coming. 

Let us pray.  

 

lonce@adjustercom.com, journalist Lonce Lamonte; copyright Lonce Lamonte and adjustercom; all rights reserved

 
 

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