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|Downtown LA Court Hearing Tristar/LA County Embezzlers' Case Today On Early Disposition Program. Will Anyone Cop A Plea?|
By Lonce LaMon - October 8, 2010
Los Angeles District Attorney, Samer Hathout, is in court at this moment prosecuting the case of the six family members who were arrested on October 1st for collectively embezzling 1.5 million dollars out of Tristar Risk Management on the Los Angeles County account at the Downtown Los Angeles Court House today Friday, October 8th, in an early disposition program.
Today any of the six defendants will have the opportunity to cop a plea. Will any one of them take a plea deal now and plead guilty in order to avoid a preliminary hearing or even a trial? After today's court proceedings, we will find out.
In the arraignment which was held on this past Monday, October 4th, the bails of the women defendants were lowered. Maria Ochoa had her bail lowered to $321,000. Sandra Orozco's bail was lowered to $969,000, and Dominique Boudreaux's was lowered to $187,000. The three men, Javier Ramirez, Christian Ramirez, and Hugo Ramirez still have their bails set at 1.5 million dollars each.
Here's the scenario of this case in a nutshell. Javier Ramirez, who is a man in his early fifties, was employed as a data entry type employee at Tristar Risk Management in the claims department in Santa Ana. His two sons, Christian Ramirez and Hugo Ramirez, were also employed in that same claims department but as adjusters. Christian and Hugo were not highly experienced workers' compensation claims adjusters; they started out at Tristar not too long ago, possibly in the mail room. This writer is not aware at this time of exactly how long Christian and Hugo were employed by Tristar, but according to Detective Yvette Cordero, of the Department of Insurance, they were not long term employees and were not experienced adjusters.
Yvette Cordero, a detective and investigator from the Department of Insurance, explained today by phone that the embezzlement was discovered after an audit in June of 2009 showed unusally high payments to three transportation companies and one private investigator. "Based on the audit, they (Los Angeles County) came to the realization that some transportation vendors and a P.I. company had received a large amount of payments. What triggered it (the investigation) was the high amount of money paid to each vendor," Detective Cordero expressed.
This whole ring was put together by a six member family. "Imagine the husband and the wife, then their two sons, and then the sons' wives," Detective Cordero said. The wives of Christian Ramirez and Hugo Ramirez are Sandra Orozco and Dominique Boudreaux, respectively. Sandra ran the phoney P.I. company, and the lion's share of the money was paid to her. That's why her bail is the highest of the three women at $969,000. Then, Dominique Boudreaux represented one of the shell company transportation companies--the one called TransCo. Much less money was paid to that company than to the P.I. company, so Dominique's bail has been set to $187,000.
Maria Ochoa, the mother of the two adjusters and the wife of Javier Ramirez, has her bail now set to $321,000. She represented one of the other remaining transportation companies. At one time, Detective Cordero informed, Dominique Boudreaux had worked for a different Tristar office. She ended her employment with Tristar in 2008.
Christian Ramirez left Tristar in January of 2009, six months before the audit of June 2009 that inspired the investigation. Hugo Ramirez and Javier Ramirez left in July of 2009, a month after the investigation began. "Tristar began to interview their employees, and they (Hugo Ramirez and Javier Ramirez) did not want to speak," Detective Cordero said. She went on to say that she believed they voluntarily quit after refusing to answer questions.
All of the defendents are now in Los Angeles County jails. They were first deposited in Orange County jail but then according to the process of their LA County arrest warrants, were transferred to LA County.
Javier, Hugo and Christian Ramirez got employed by Tristar through the use of stolen identities. This is now an earmarked case of bonafide identity theft. Javier Ramirez used the name and social security number of Hector Camacho; Hugo Ramirez used the name and social security number of Victor Ramirez; and Christian Ramirez used the name and social security number of Jose Orteaga. Henceforth, none of the social security numbers used for the employment and earnings of these three suspects really belonged to the real suspects.
Readers may write to writer Lonce LaMon at firstname.lastname@example.org.