Alert: AMBER Alert Activation

Dear Fillmore Gazette,

THIS MESSAGE WAS CREATED BY CHP ENTAC AND IS IN EFFECT FOR THE FOLLOWING COUNTIES:

MONTEREY, SANTA CRUZ, SAN BENITO, SAN LUIS OBISPO, AND SANTA CLARA.

ON APRIL 14, 2016, AT 0645 HOURS, JASON VARGAS WAS ABDUCTED FROM SOLEDAD, CA.

JACOB VARGAS IS A 2-YEAR-OLD, HISPANIC MALE JUVENILE WITH BROWN HAIR AND BROWN EYES, WEARING A BEIGE BEANIE, A BLUE SWEATER, A WHITE SHIRT WITH A YELLOW STRIPE AND GREY SLEEVES, AND BLUE JEANS.

THE SUSPECT IS UNKOWN.

THE SUSPECT WAS LAST SEEN DRIVING A 2015 BLACK HONDA ACCORD, WITH A CA LICENSE PLATE OF 7LIE244. THE VEHICLE HAS TINTED WINDOWS AND DAMAGE TO THE LEFT REAR BUMPER.

IF SEEN CONTACT THE SOLEDAD POLICE DEPARTMENT AT (831) 755-5111 OR CALL 9-1-1.

Instructions:

IF SEEN CONTACT THE SOLEDAD POLICE DEPARTMENT AT (831) 755-5111 OR CALL 9-1-1.

For full details, view this message on the web.

 


 
Projects Will Help Reduce Wildfire Threat

Sacramento – Monday, CAL FIRE announced it had awarded an additional $3 million in grants throughout the state for a variety of fire prevention projects aimed at reducing the elevated threat of wildfires due to the ongoing drought and significant tree mortality. The announcement comes just two months after CAL FIRE released nearly $2 million for fire prevention projects in the counties hit hardest by tree mortality and bark beetle.

“This grant funding will help communities prepare for what is likely to be another challenging fire season,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director and California’s state forester. “These grants will help complete vital fire prevention projects to help mitigate some of the impacts created by four years of drought and hazardous fuel build up.”

These grants are part of $5 million from the State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fund allowing local fire departments and fire districts to create projects that help to reduce the threat of wildfires around homes within the State Responsibility Area. With today’s announcement for funding of 44 additional projects, it brings the total number of projects funded to 63. These projects will reinforce and augment CAL FIRE’s ongoing projects and efforts to address the risk and potential impacts of large, damaging wildfires. Grant selection criteria weighted projects that address fire risk and potential impact of wildfire to habitable structures in the State Responsibility Area, as well as community support and project feasibility.

A full list of the grant projects can be viewed at: http://www.fire.ca.gov/grants/downloads/2016_FuelReducionGrants.pdf
While firefighters are busy working on fire prevention projects including brush clearance, fire breaks and fuel reduction, officials stress the need for residents to do their part. This is the time of year when residents should be working to ensure they have 100 feet of Defensible Space around their homes. This includes removing all dead or dying grass, brush and trees, limbing up branches six feet from the ground, and cleaning leaves, needles or debris off roofs and gutters. Learn more at www.ReadyForWildfire.org.

 


 

SAN FRANCISCO - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced a preliminary approval of settlements resolving allegations that LG, Hitachi, Panasonic, Toshiba, and Samsung, companies all based in Japan or Korea, fixed prices on critical components of televisions and computer monitors from 1995 to 2007. Those critical components, known as Cathode Ray Tubes or CRTs, were used to display images on computer monitors and televisions screens before they were replaced by flat screens. The court has approved the settlement pending valid objections submitted within 60 days.

The companies’ price fixing scheme caused damage to California consumers and government entities that overpaid for their televisions and computers. The announced settlement has led to legally enforceable judgments against these foreign companies.

“LG, Hitachi, Panasonic, Toshiba, and Samsung deliberately targeted the U.S. market to raise prices for televisions and computers worldwide,” said Attorney General Harris. “These settlements bring justice and relief to California consumers and end the malicious practice of price-fixing by these companies.”

The settlements, which were filed in San Francisco Superior Court, require all five companies to pay a total of $4.95 million to settle claims of overcharges paid by California government entities, general damages suffered by the State’s economy, and civil penalties. The settlements require that the companies pay back the illegally obtained profits to those affected by their actions. In addition, the settlements include injunctive relief, which requires that each company engage in company-wide antitrust compliance training and reporting that involves products in addition to CRTs and extends to foreign companies and subsidiaries. Finally, the settlements include requirements, enforceable by the court via fines and imprisonment, to prevent future violations of antitrust law.

In 2011, after the Office of Attorney General Harris conducted a confidential investigation into price-fixing involving CRTs, Attorney General Harris filed complaints against these companies for having entered into a price-fixing conspiracy of critical components of television and computer screens. That conspiracy involved top-level meetings of key executive decision-makers in Asia and Europe to set prices and outputs of CRTs. It also involved worldwide meetings among lower-level executives to exchange confidential information. Californian subsidiaries of these companies were involved in this conspiracy and took on the role of monitoring the prices of televisions and computers in California stores.

This case, filed by Attorney General Harris, requested the court award damages to California consumers. A parallel case filed by private counsel in federal court, known as the Indirect Purchaser Plaintiffs, also requested damages on behalf of Californians, and Attorney General Harris and the Indirect Purchaser Plaintiffs coordinated their discovery and settlement efforts.

Due to these coordinated efforts, California consumers or sole proprietorships that purchased at least one television or computer between 1995 and 2007 can make a claim, with a guaranteed minimum check of $25.

All eligible California consumers and sole proprietorships can file claims for reimbursement at https://www.crtclaims.com/. The new deadline for filing those claims is June 30, 2016.

In December 2015, Attorney General Harris announced a settlement resolving allegations that Pratibha Syntex Ltd., a company based in India, gained an unfair competitive advantage over American-based companies by using pirated software in the production of clothing imported and sold in California. The settlement, which was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, required Pratibha Syntex to pay $100,000 in restitution, prohibited Pratibha Syntex from using unlicensed software or reproducing any part of a copyrighted software program without the permission of the legitimate copyright holder, and required the company to perform four complete audits of the software on their computers and fix any violations within 45 days. That case marked the first time a state has secured a legally enforceable judgment against an international company for these types of violations.

Copies of the complaint, memorandum in support of preliminary approval, and the order granting preliminary approval, are all attached to the online version of this release at www.oag.ca.gov/news. Further details can also be found at http://oag.ca.gov/consumers/crt_notice.

 


 
Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

On Monday, February 29th, 2016, Sheriff’s detectives arrested Vidal Morales, a youth coordinator at the Saint Francis of Assisi Church in the city of Fillmore, CA, for one felony count of Lewd and Lascivious Acts Upon a Child. Morales has worked at the Saint Francis of Assisi Church in the city of Fillmore for approximately 22 years and is currently employed as the church’s youth coordinator. Morales’ arrest stemmed from an investigation into the allegations made by a juvenile female, who interacted with Morales while he acted in his official capacity at the church.

The Sheriff’s Office first learned of this crime in October of 2015 when the victim reported Morales sexually assaulted her in 2013. During the course of the months long investigation, additional victims were identified. Morales was arrested in the city of Ventura on February 29th, 2016. Morales was booked into custody at the Ventura County Main Jail and his bail is set at $20,000. This investigation is still ongoing. Those with any information are encouraged to contact Detective Hector Macias at (805) 384-4740.

Sexual Assault Arrest - Fillmore
Nature of Incident: Sexual Assault Arrest
Report Number: 15-2059689
Location: City of Fillmore
Date & Time: February 29, 2016 3:30 PM
Unit(s) Responsible: Sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau
(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent City of Residence Age
Vidal Morales Ventura, CA 55
Prepared by: Detective Hector Macias Sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau/ Sexual Assault Unit
News Release Date: March 3rd, 2016
Media Follow-Up Contact: Detective Hector Macias 805-384-4740 hector.macias@ventura.org
Approved by: Captain Melissa Smith

 


 
Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

In January of 2015, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office began investigating a series of phone scams targeting Ventura County Residents. In each of the cases, a caller would identify himself as a Captain with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office and inform the resident he/she had failed to report for Jury Duty. The suspect would inform the resident there was a warrant issued for their arrest and demanded $5,000 to recall the warrant. Investigators were able to identify the suspect’s phone number and found he was calling hundreds of potential victims a day.

Based on phone records, the targeted victims lived in various areas throughout the United States. The suspect showed a degree of sophistication in his attempted crimes by changing his phone number on almost a daily basis. Investigators found all of the phone calls originated from a cell phone located inside the Jimmy Autry Correctional Institute in Pelham, Georgia. Investigators learned the FBI was actively investigating charges of corruption in the institution. At the time of the investigation, there were no known completed transfers of money by Ventura County residents. The Sheriff’s Office deferred its investigation and provided the FBI with details of its case. The FBI recently announced its federal indictments as a result of their corruption investigation.

To date, the suspect in the Ventura County phone scam attempts has not been identified. For more information on the FBI’s corruption investigation, please refer to the below link. http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga/pr/further-corruption-involving-georgia...

Nature of Incident: National Phone Scam Investigation
Report Number: Location: Ventura County
Date & Time: January 2015 Unit(s) Responsible: Ventura County Sheriff’s Office,
Prepared by: Sgt. Bill Schierman
News Release Date: 2-12-2016
Media Follow-Up Contact: Sgt. Bill Schierman 805-383-8729
Approved by: Curt Rothschiller.

 
Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

The non-medical use of prescription drugs ranks second only to marijuana as the most common form of drug abuse in America. Prescription and over-the counter medications can be just as dangerous as illegal drugs. Additionally, the majority of teenagers abusing prescription drugs get them from family, friends and the home medicine cabinet. You can’t predict the effect a drug may have on you as everyone’s brain and body chemistry are different. If you would like more information on drugs and teenage drug abuse please click on the following link: http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts/prescription-drugs

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office is very pleased to announce that we have collected 5,900 pounds of unused / expired medication for the year 2015. This is approximately a 400 pound increase from the previous year’s total.

A breakdown of the 2015 collection totals is as follows: Ojai PD – 262.5 pounds, Fillmore PD –103.3 pounds, Camarillo PD – 1,949.70 pounds, Moorpark PD – 418.2 pounds, Headquarters – 893.3 pounds and East Valley, 2,273.5 pounds. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the citizens of Ventura County for their outstanding effort to make our communities safer.

If you want to drop off unused / expired medications at any Sheriff’s Substation, we have Pharmaceutical drop-off bins in all of our lobbies. The lobbies are open Monday-Friday from 8:00AM - 5:00PM.

Nature of Incident: Pharmaceutical Collections for the year 2015
Report Number:
Location: All Sheriff’s Sub-Stations
Date & Time: 02/02/2016 – 1500 hours
Unit(s) Responsible: Ventura County Sheriff’s Office
(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent City of Residence Age
Prepared by: Sergeant John M. Franchi
News Release Date: 02/02/2016
Media Follow-Up Contact: Sergeant John M. Franchi / 805-388-5135
Approved by: Captain Cory Rubright

Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime. The caller may remain anonymous. The call is not recorded. Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

 

SAN FRANCISCO - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and Alameda County District Attorney Nancy E. O’Malley today announced a settlement with Comcast Cable Communications LLC (“Comcast”) to resolve allegations that Comcast both unlawfully disposed of hazardous waste and discarded records without first omitting or redacting private customer information. As part of the settlement, Comcast will pay a total of $25.95 million.

“Comcast’s careless and unlawful hazardous waste disposal practices jeopardized the health and environmental well-being of California communities and exposed their customers to the threat of identity theft,” said Attorney General Harris. “This agreement holds Comcast accountable for breaking the law and puts strict measures in place to prevent them from putting Californians and our environment at risk in the future.”

“Today’s settlement represents a victory in California’s ongoing efforts to ensure that hazardous waste is disposed of in a safe, legal and environmentally sustainable manner,” states Alameda County DA Nancy E. O’Malley. “Not only will my office pursue all necessary legal action against entities that pollute our environment, but we will also use all legal means to ensure California’s consumers’ private information is protected. My office will continue to work together with state and local agencies to investigate and prosecute violations against our environment.”

The civil enforcement action and proposed settlement against Comcast were filed today in Alameda County Superior Court by Attorney General Harris and District Attorney O’Malley. The settlement requires court approval before it becomes final.

Today’s announcement stems from a robust investigation by the offices of Attorney General Harris and District Attorney O’Malley, assisted by the Department of Toxic Substances Control and the California Highway Patrol. According to the investigation, since 2005, Comcast warehouse and dispatch facilities and customer service centers throughout the state unlawfully handled and disposed of various hazardous waste products, routinely and systematically sending these materials to local landfills that were not permitted to receive these items. The majority of the hazardous waste was electronic equipment such as remote controls, splitters, routers, modems, amplifiers, and power adapters. The investigation also uncovered that Comcast discarded documents containing sensitive customer information, including names, addresses and phone numbers, into the trash without shredding them or making them unreadable, potentially exposing the information to identity thieves.

If approved by the court, under the final judgment, Comcast must pay $19.85 million in civil penalties and costs. An additional $3 million will fund projects furthering environmental and consumer protection and enforcement in California. Comcast will also be providing CalRecycle with $2.25 million in airtime over a four-year period and $150,000 to develop and produce public service announcements that educate the public on the proper handling and disposal of hazardous waste they might generate, including electronics. Finally, Comcast will spend a minimum of $700,000 to enhance its environmental compliance and will be prohibited from violating these laws in the future, under the terms of a permanent injunction.

Upon notice of the investigation, Comcast agreed to cooperate and, at the request of the Attorney General and the Alameda County DA, took interim steps to improve its hazardous and universal waste management compliance programs. As part of the settlement, Comcast has committed to fund multiple measures over the next five years to enhance its environmental compliance. Comcast will also be required to hire an independent auditor to conduct three audits of its environmental and customer privacy compliance over the next five years. There are ten Comcast facilities in Alameda County and all ten facilities are subject to the terms of the settlement.

Last year, Attorney General Harris and District Attorney O’Malley reached a $23.8 million settlement with AT&T over similar hazardous waste disposal violations.

Copies of the civil enforcement action and proposed settlement are attached to the online version of this release at oag.ca.gov/news.

You may view the full account of this posting, including possible attachments, in the News & Alerts section of our website at: http://oag.ca.gov/news/press-releases/attorney-general-kamala-d-harris-a...

 
Over 29 Million Trees Dead Due to Drought and Bark Beetle

Sacramento – As California’s severe drought and bark beetle epidemic has left millions of trees dead, the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection last week voted to extend a drought mortality exemption to the state’s tree removal permitting process.

“With massive tree mortality across California, this exemption streamlines the process for landowners who are working to reduce their wildfire risk and safety hazards from falling trees by removing their dead trees,” said Helge Eng, CAL FIRE’s deputy director of resource management.

On June 17, 2015, the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection initially adopted emergency regulations allowing specified forest management activities, including the cutting or removal of trees that are dead or dying as a result of the drought conditions across California. The original action was set to expire on January 12, 2016; however, the extension provides an additional 90 days for property owners to utilize the exemption when removing dead trees due to the drought.

The latest aerial survey estimated that over 29 million trees have died as a result of the drought and the effects of bark beetle infestation, up from 3.3 million in 2014. These dead and dying trees create an environment more readily susceptible to dangerous and destructive wildfires.

“Even with recent rains it will likely take years to slow down the massive tree mortality and bark beetle infestation, said Eng. “Dead trees near homes, roads and public infrastructure create a fire hazard and public safety concern, so it’s critical that residents remove their dead trees and reduce their wildfire risk.”
The winter months typically provide a good time for landowners to remove dead trees as bark beetle activity generally stops when temperatures drop below 50Âş F and the beetles go dormant. During other times of the year, when the beetles are active, trees with fresh cuts will actually attract beetles allowing them to spread to other trees. Once a tree is infested with bark beetles, there is little that can be done to save the tree and it can be dead in three to four weeks.

The bark beetle epidemic has hit California’s wildland forests in the coastal ranges, mountains and foothill communities, posing particular threat where dead trees are near homes and private property. In these areas, CAL FIRE has launched a public outreach campaign to educate and motivate residents to take steps now to protect their home and property from wildfire. The campaign began in the summer with the message “Remove Your Dead Trees. Reduce Your Wildfire Risk.” Property owners are encouraged to remove dead trees on their property to help protect from wildfire.

For more information from CAL FIRE about how to protect trees and property and to learn more about the bark beetle threat, visit www.PrepareForBarkBeetle.org. Watch this short video on California’s Bark Beetle Epidemic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xts0efS_XB4

 

VENTURA, California – District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced today the filing of a felony complaint charging Santa Clara Waste Water Company, Green Compass Environmental Solutions LLC, William James Mitzel of LaVerne (DOB 03/15/1957) and Marlene Joan Faltemier of Ventura (DOB 01/13/1965) for crimes related to the operations of Santa Clara Waste Water Company (SCWWC) in Santa Paula, California. The complaint alleges three felony offenses including conspiracy, reckless disregard in handling of hazardous waste causing unreasonable risk, unlawful disposal of hazardous waste, and allegations these crimes were committed while the defendants were out on bail. The complaint also charges seven misdemeanor charges for failing to report hazardous materials to regulatory officials.

On November 5, 2015, district attorney investigators executed a search warrant at the SCWWC facility in Santa Paula. Investigators found in excess of 5,000 gallons of hazardous waste, some of which has been identified as Saxon 10-81/Psc3, a corrosive chemical industrial cleaning agent, that SCWWC had not previously reported to Ventura County Environmental Health, as required by law. These hazardous chemicals were stored in numerous totes and drums within a shipping container that are alleged to have been hidden on SCWWC’s site prior to the November 18, 2014 explosion, without making proper notification to regulatory authorities.

Mitzel and Faltemier were arrested today by the District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation. Ventura Superior Court Judge Mark Borrell set bail at $500,000 for each defendant.

Arraignment for Mitzel and Faltemier is expected to be set on or after December 14, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. in courtroom 12 of the Ventura Superior Court. SCWWC and Green Compass Environmental Solutions

LLC are scheduled for an arraignment on December 18, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. in courtroom 12 of the Ventura Superior Court.

Each individual defendant face a maximum sentence of four years, eight months in local custody, in addition to the previous charges alleged in the 71-count Indictment issued by the Ventura County Grand Jury on August 7, 2015.

The new charges, in addition to those subject to the previous indictment will be jointly prosecuted by the California Attorney General.

 

VENTURA, California - District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced today that a jury found Dean Kellum Louer (DOB 2/10/61), of Anaheim, guilty of felony driving under the influence of alcohol with a blood alcohol content above 0.08 percent, causing injury. The jury also found true a special allegation that Louer personally inflicted great bodily injury during the commission of the offense.

On August 18, 2015, Louer reversed a pickup truck on the shoulder of the US-101 freeway and drove into the victim who was standing behind the truck. The collision knocked the victim into a nearby culvert causing significant bodily injuries. Louer’s blood alcohol content was determined to be 0.18 percent. The jury also found that Louer was driving without a valid California driver’s license.

Sentencing for Louer is scheduled on January 5, 2016, at 8:30 a.m. in courtroom 40 of the Ventura Superior Court, County of Ventura. Louer faces a maximum sentence of six years in the California Department of Corrections.

 

VENTURA, California – District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced today that the Ventura County District Attorney’s Consumer and Environmental Protection Unit and the California Attorney General's Office have jointly filed a civil law enforcement action against Cars 4 Causes, a Ventura-based vehicle donation organization. Cars 4 Causes attracts prospective donors by promising to donate the majority of a donated vehicle’s sales proceeds to the donor’s specified charity.

The complaint alleges that Cars 4 Causes violated California’s false advertising and unfair competition laws by overstating the proportion of proceeds to be forwarded to donors’ specified charities, and that Cars 4 Causes often failed to forward any proceeds to charity at all, instead spending the proceeds on its own advertising campaigns, operating expenses and salaries. Cars 4 Causes’ last tax return reported that, despite raising over $5 million in donated vehicles, less than 10 percent of the proceeds were paid to any charity. In addition, Cars 4 Causes failed to pay $2 million of sale proceeds to thousands of charitable organizations around the country, including over $600,000 that should have been given to charities serving the sick and providing medical research; $250,000 to children’s and education charities; and $200,000 to charities serving the poor.

The Attorney General and the District Attorney are requesting that the court order Cars 4 Causes to cease making misrepresentations, and to pay all moneys owed to the donors’ specified charities.

 
Rosalba Moran (DOB 8/10/92)
Rosalba Moran (DOB 8/10/92)

VENTURA, CA - District Attorney Gregory D. Totten announced today that a jury found Rosalba Moran (DOB 8/10/92), of Oxnard, guilty of first-degree murder for leaving her newborn baby to die in a ditch at a Camarillo strawberry field in May 2012. Moran was a former employee of the farm where the baby was found and was identified as the mother through DNA testing.

Moran went into an empty field that was surrounded by a locked fence to give birth undetected. She left the baby concealed in the ditch which was two feet below street level, surrounded by heavy brush, and 150 feet from the locked entrance. Before leaving the scene at sundown, Moran recorded a video of the baby on her cell phone, which showed the baby alive and struggling. During the video, Moran separated the baby’s legs to get a close-up view of his genitals. She tried to send the video to the baby’s father in Mexico, whom she said was not willing to help raise the child. Moran used her cell phone to call a family member to pick her up and told no one that the baby was left alive in the field. She returned to her home in Oxnard and never attempted to seek any help for the baby. The baby died from exposure and his body was discovered by a worker three days later.

Sentencing for Moran is scheduled January 7, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in courtroom 27 of the Ventura Superior Court. Based upon the gravity of the offense, the District Attorney will seek a sentence of 25 years to life in prison.

 
Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

On September 22, 2015, at approximately 7:00 PM, the Camarillo Police Department was dispatched to a bomb threat made over social media against the campus of Monte Vista Middle School in Camarillo. Deputies responded to the scene and were assisted in the investigation by the Camarillo Police Department’s Community Resource Unit and Detective Bureau. After a thorough investigation and extensive search of the campus by deputies and personnel from the Pleasant Valley School District, it was determined the bomb threat was a hoax.

The Camarillo Police Department and the Pleasant Valley School District take bomb threats very seriously. These crimes are investigated using resources from federal, state, and local agencies. Information was obtained which led to the identity of the juvenile suspect. The juvenile ultimately admitted to the crime and confessed they were upset with school staff. The case was submitted to the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office for review.

On November 17, 2015, the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office filed a felony charge of false report of a bomb, a violation of 148.1(a) PC, against the juvenile suspect. The juvenile no longer attends school in the Ventura County area.

The Camarillo Police Department would like to encourage parents to monitor their children’s use of both the internet and cellular phones.

Nature of Incident: Bomb Threat Suspect Identified and Charged
Report Number: 15-2040264
Location: Monte Vista Middle School, 888 Lantana Street, Camarillo
Date & Time: 09/21/2015 6:00 PM
Unit(s) Responsible: Camarillo Police Department’s Community Resource Unit and Camarillo Detective Bureau
(S)uspects, (V)ictims, (P)arty, (D)ecedent City of Residence Age
(S) Juvenile
Prepared by: Senior Deputy Shawn Holzberger
News Release Date: November 18, 2015
Media Follow-Up Contact: Senior Deputy Shawn Holzberger
(805) 388-5131
shawn.holzberger@ventura.org
Approved by: Captain Cory Rubright

Ventura County Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 reward for information, which leads to the arrest and criminal complaint against the person(s) responsible for this crime. The caller may remain anonymous. The call is not recorded. Call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

 
Victor Marquez
Victor Marquez

On Nov. 12, 2015 at approximately 8:36pm a Santa Paula police officer attempted to stop a subject driving a vehicle known to him as Victor Marquez, age 19 of Santa Paula, in the area of Harvard Blvd. and Olive St. Marquez was known to not have a valid driver's license. Once Marquez was observed the officer made a u-turn to conduct a traffic stop. When the officer did this Marquez fled the area driving northbound on 4th Street and making a left onto westbound Ventura Street. Marquez failed to stop at the stop sign at a high rate of speed. As Marquez approached the intersection of Olive St. a truck was driving eastbound on Ventura St. Due to the narrow street the truck unintentionally blocked his path. Marquez was driving too fast to stop in time and collided with the truck. Marquez then placed his vehicle in revserse and at a high rate of speed struck the police officer who was attempting to make a traffic stop. Marquez then attempted to drive forward however he collided with 2 other parked vehicles and the same truck for a second time stopping his vehicle. Marquez then fled from his vehicle and ran to his residence in the 100 block of S. Olive Street where he was taken into custody by officers without incident. When Marquez was arrested at his residence he was found in possession of a methamphetamine pipe. It should be noted Marquez collided with a total of 4 vehicles in this incident.

Once Marquez was taken into custody the officer involved in the traffic collision was transported to SPER for lower back pain and difficulty breathing. The officer is now at home and is expected to return back to duty. The driver of the truck also complained on back pain however denied medical assistance.

Marquez was charged with the following crimes: 69 PC - felony resisting arrest, 245(a)(1) PC - assault with a deadly weapon, 20001(a) VC - felony hit and run with injuries, 2800.2 VC - felony evading a police officer, 11364 HS - possession of a smoking device, and 12500(a) VC - driving without a license. Marquez was transported to Ventura County Main Jail where his bail was set at $55,000.

Nature of Incident: Officer Injured / Felony Hit and Run, Assault with a Deadly Weapon
Report Number(s): SG1501889
Location(s): Intersection of Ventura St. and Olive St.
Dates & Times: Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015 at 8:36pm
Unit Responsible: Patrol
(S)uspects, (V)ictims City of Residence Age
(S) Victor Marquez, Santa Paula, 19
Officer Preparing Press Release: Sgt. Cody Madison #1018
Press Release Date: 11/12/2015
Follow-Up Contact:
Approved by: Commander Ismael Cordero #1038

 

LOS ANGELES – As we honor our military service members on Veterans Day, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today issued a consumer alert to Californians regarding scams targeting seniors who served in the military and their survivors. These scams have been reported to the California Department of Justice’s Public Inquiry Unit.
“California’s veterans have made extraordinary sacrifices to keep our nation safe and uphold our most sacred values and freedoms,” said Attorney General Harris. “Sadly, many of our senior veterans are being targeted by scam artists seeking to take advantage of them for a quick profit. My office will continue to protect our veterans and ensure that predators who seek to profit from their service are held accountable.”

These reported “pension poaching” scams prey on veterans and target the financial assistance offered through the Veterans Administration Aid and Attendance Program, which provides pension benefits to financially disadvantaged wartime veterans and their survivors over 65 years of age.

Specifically, pension poaching scams involve unscrupulous insurance agents and their representatives posing as unpaid volunteers or accredited VA representatives who offer to help seniors apply for VA pension benefits. These insurance agents and their representatives lure seniors into buying an annuity or setting up an irrevocable trust to create a false appearance of financial hardship by attempting to conceal the senior’s assets.

Insurance agents and their representatives charge high fees for these services, including undisclosed sales commissions that are paid to the purported volunteer. Targeted seniors may not be fully aware of the consequences of moving their assets into an annuity or irrevocable trust, such as strict withdrawal limitations leaving them without access to funds they may actually need for their care.

Although a VA pension benefits application based on false financial need may be successful, those who receive this benefit may face significant financial and legal consequences if the concealed funds are discovered, including repayment of benefit amounts received. Seniors who receive other VA or government-sponsored benefits that require disclosure of funds held in annuities and irrevocable trusts are especially vulnerable to reversal of their VA pension benefit.

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR
The Attorney General offers California consumers the following tips to protect themselves from VA pension benefits poaching scams:
• Anyone who asks you to pay money or move assets in connection with applying for a VA pension benefit is likely not a VA-accredited representative. He or she may be an insurance agent or representative who receives a sales commission for selling you an annuity or irrevocable trust.
• Moving assets into an annuity or irrevocable trust could restrict your access to these funds and may have significant unintended tax or legal consequences that outweigh any financial benefit gained from receiving VA pension benefits.
• If you receive VA pension benefits based on false financial need, you could be required to repay any benefits received back to the government.

WHAT TO DO IF SOMEONE OFFERS TO HELP YOU APPLY FOR VA PENSION BENEFITS
If you are approached by someone offering to help you apply for VA pension benefits and you would incur any costs or fees in connection with the service being offered, contact your local VA to determine whether this assistance is reputable. Be wary of sharing personal information over the phone. VA representatives will tell you what you need to know and the advice is free.

A directory of VA centers is available at www.va.gov/directory/guide/vetcenter.asp.

HELPFUL RESOURCES
If you believe that you are a victim of a pension poaching scam and do meet the age, military service, and financial need requirements for a VA pension benefit, VA-accredited representatives including Veterans Service Organizations, agents, and attorneys are available to help you file a claim, free of charge.

You can also file a complaint with the California Department of Justice by visiting http://oag.ca.gov/contact/consumer-complaint-against-business-or-company.

A searchable list of VA-accredited representatives is available at www.va.gov/ogc/apps/accreditation/index.asp or call 1-800-827-1000.

For more information about VA Aid and Attendance pension benefits, visit www.benefits.va.gov/pension.

You may view the full account of this posting, including possible attachments, in the News & Alerts section of our website at: http://oag.ca.gov/news/press-releases/attorney-general-kamala-d-harris-i...

 
Debt Collectors Misleading Consumers about Traffic Tickets and Infractions Amnesty Program

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today issued a consumer alert to warn Californians about debt collectors giving consumers inaccurate information about the amnesty program for unpaid traffic and non-traffic infraction tickets. The amnesty program offers eligible Californians who have unpaid infraction tickets the opportunity to have their debt reduced by half or more and to have their driver’s license reinstated. Each county has its own rules related to the amnesty program, so you must contact the county that issued your ticket to see if you qualify. The program, which started October 1, 2015, continues through March 31, 2017.

This consumer alert is being issued because of complaints made against debt collectors managing the amnesty program for some counties, claiming that they are not telling eligible consumers about the program or are providing misleading information. The Attorney General’s Office has received complaints about:
• Debt collectors incorrectly telling eligible consumers that they don’t qualify for amnesty;
• Debt collectors not telling eligible consumers about the program;
• Debt collectors pressuring consumers to make “good faith” payments but not telling them that such payments will make them ineligible for debt reduction; and
• Debt collectors failing to ensure that the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) receives notice that consumers have completed their payments under the amnesty program.

Here is what you should know about the amnesty program:

When will the amnesty program be available?
The program started October 1, 2015, and ends March 31, 2017.

What tickets are eligible for amnesty?
• Unpaid tickets and related “failure to appear” violations with an initial payment due date on or before January 1, 2013 are eligible.
• Some misdemeanors may qualify. Contact the Superior Court in the county that issued the ticket to see if your misdemeanor qualifies. You can find a list of superior courts with phone numbers and links to their amnesty program website here: https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/home/amnestyproginfo

What tickets are not eligible for amnesty?
• Parking tickets
• Citations for reckless driving
• Citations for driving under the influence (DUI)

Who cannot participate in the debt reduction portion of the amnesty program?
• People whose ticket had an initial due date of January 2, 2013 or later.
• People who owe victim restitution on any case in the county where the ticket was issued.
• People with certain outstanding misdemeanor or felony warrants in the county where the ticket was issued.
• People whose ticket had an initial due date of January 1, 2013 or earlier, but who made a payment on the ticket after September 30, 2015. You may, however, still be able to have your driver’s license reinstated under the amnesty program even if you do not qualify for debt reduction.
How much will I have to pay?

Under the amnesty program, eligible participants will not have to pay any civil assessments. Once the civil assessments are deducted, the remaining balance owed will be reduced by 50% or 80%, depending on income or whether you receive public assistance.
• The discount will be 80% for those who receive public assistance or certify that they make 125 percent or less than the federal poverty level. This number is currently $14,712 for individuals, $19,912 for a family of two, $25,112 for a family of three, and $30,312 for a family of four.
• The discount will be 50% for all other eligible participants.
How do I participate in the amnesty program?
Contact the Superior Court in the county where you received the ticket to see if you qualify for the amnesty program. If you have more than one ticket in more than one county, you will have to contact the Superior Court in multiple counties.

Will there be a fee to participate?
A $50 fee may be charged by the Superior Court, county, or third party collection agency.
The DMV will also charge a $55 fee for reinstatement of your driver’s license, as it does for any license reinstatement.

Will there be an installment payment option?
Yes, a payment plan option will be available through the Superior Court, county, or third party collection agency. Payments will be based on the ability to pay.

To File a Complaint and for More Information:
If you have information about a debt collector giving people misleading information about the program, you can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office online here (https://oag.ca.gov/contact/consumer-complaint-against-business-or-compan...), or by sending a letter to:
Public Inquiry Unit
P.O. Box 944255
Sacramento, CA 94244-2550
The Judicial Council has also posted information about the amnesty program, available at: http://www.courts.ca.gov/trafficamnesty.htm.

You may view the full account of this posting, including possible attachments, in the News & Alerts section of our website at: http://oag.ca.gov/news/press-releases/attorney-general-kamala-d-harris-i...

 

LOS ANGELES - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced a new collaboration between the Office of the Attorney General and AARP California to protect seniors from abuse and fraud. The collaboration will focus on educating seniors, their families and the general public about elder abuse and fraud laws designed specifically to protect those who are 50 and over.

“Seniors are one of the most vulnerable and targeted populations in our state. My office is committed to holding accountable those who defraud, abuse, or neglect our senior citizens,” said Attorney General Harris. “I am pleased to collaborate with AARP California to deepen our engagement with seniors and to ensure their protection from those who prey upon them.”

Specifically, the collaboration will include hosting tele-town halls and webinars, developing and disseminating consumer and educational resources to protect against scams and schemes, and continuing to vigorously prosecute those who mistreat the elderly population in violation of state law.

“AARP California, through its AARP Fraud Watch Network, is very pleased to join forces with the Office of the Attorney General so together we can further arm Californians with the tools they need to spot and avoid scams,” said Nancy McPherson, AARP CA State Director. “The Fraud Watch Network is a free resource for people of all ages that offers real-time alerts about the latest scams in our state, along with a scam tracking map where people can report on scams to alert their friends and neighbors. Additionally, the AARP Fraud Watch Network provides advice to outsmart con artists, and a helpline where Californians can talk to a trained volunteer for advice if they or someone they love has been scammed,” added McPherson.

Upon coming into office, Attorney General Harris reinstituted the Operation Guardian program under the Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse (BMFEA), which helps protect and improve the quality of care for California's elder and dependent adult residents living in skilled nursing facilities and which had been suspended as a result of budget cuts. BMFEA is charged with investigating and prosecuting Medicaid provided fraud, the abuse and neglect of patients in Medicaid-funded residential health care facilities, and investigating fraud in Medicaid program administration.

BMFEA is headquartered in Sacramento with five field offices (including Sacramento regional, Burbank, Laguna Woods, San Diego, and West Covina). The Bureau maintains a toll-free number (1-800-722-0432) for referrals or complaints and offers a simple-to-use complaint form online: http://ag.ca.gov/bmfea/reporting.php.

BMFEA also participates in community events, such as health fairs and neighborhood crime prevention meetings, and provides elder abuse and fraud training to law enforcement and regulatory agencies.

In addition to consumer resources to protect seniors, Attorney General Harris’ office and AARP California are exploring ways to engage AARP members in the Attorney General’s 3rd grade reading campaign to ensure children are reading at grade level by third grade and on track to graduate from high school. The initiative is a core priority for Attorney General Harris and is a central tenet of her “smart on crime” approach, as those who regularly attend school from a young age are less likely to drop out of school, fail to graduate, and come into contact with the criminal justice system. The AARP Foundation Experience Corp program engages adult aged 50-plus as tutors and mentors to increase literacy and engagement among children in grades K-3.

 
2nd Year of State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fund Grants
Cal Fire
Cal Fire

On Monday, CAL FIRE announced the release of the 2015-2016 State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fund (SRAFPF) Grant Program. The grants are aimed at reducing the threat of large wildfires in and around communities within the State Responsibility Area (SRA) of California.

“After what has already been an extremely busy fire season, we are eager to continue this program and bolster the momentum of fire prevention work on the ground,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE Director.

The 2015-2016 State Responsibility Area Fire Prevention Fund grants have a one-time allocation from the California Legislature of five million dollars that is intended to address the risk and potential impact of wildfire on habitable structures in the SRA. The grants are aimed at local governments, fire districts and fire safe councils to augment the fire prevention projects performed by CAL FIRE. This year, the maximum grant amount limit will be $100,000 per project. This will allow for broad distribution of grant funds to organizations throughout the SRA where fire prevention fees are paid. The 2015-2016 SRAFPF Grant Applications are due January 7, 2016, by 3 p.m.

CAL FIRE is encouraging a wide range of applicants throughout the state to apply for this funding. Interested parties can get more information at CAL FIRE’s grants webpage at: http://www.fire.ca.gov/grants/grants.php.

 
Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

Please join our deputies on patrol by following the Headquarters Patrol Station Twitter account for a virtual six-hour patrol shift Tuesday, October 27, 2015.

• Have you ever wanted to go on a ride-along in a police car, with a deputy patrolling the unincorporated areas near Ventura?

• Are you interested in what type of crime or police activity may be occurring in your neighborhood?

• Have you been interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement and would like a sneak peek into the duties of a deputy sheriff on patrol?

These and many other interesting topics will be covered during the Virtual Ride-Along.

On October 27, 2015, followers of the Headquarters Station’s Twitter account @vcsoventura will be able to participate in a “Virtual Ride-Along” with the men and women who proudly serve and protect the citizens of our unincorporated areas of Saticoy, Nyeland Acres, El Rio, the Rincon, La Conchita, Silverstrand Beach, and Hollywood Beach.

From 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., the Headquarters Station will be “tweeting” on its Twitter account calls for service, police activity, and photographs in what is known as a Virtual Ride-Along. This will be a unique inside view as to the activities of the patrol station and the types of calls deputies respond to. In addition to providing information on the type of calls, twitter followers will be provided with information, tips, and facts about how they can prevent becoming victims of crime and assist deputies and dispatchers by reporting crimes and suspicious activity.

An interactive feature will allow citizens to ask questions or comment during the Virtual Ride-Along by using a hashtag phrase. Twitter followers can use hashtag phrase #hqridealong to see Virtual Ride-Along posts, photos, videos, questions, comments, and more. Any citizens who follow on Twitter who ask questions or post comments during the Virtual Ride-Along are encouraged to add #hqridealong to their posts.

The goal is to provide awareness and education to community members and increase followers on our social media sites. The Headquarters Station Twitter currently has over 1,400 followers and is growing. Please follow us for the Virtual Ride-Along and more at https://twitter.com/vcsoventura

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office has a Facebook and Instagram account that will also be providing information during the Headquarters Station Twitter account during the Virtual Ride Along with other important information and events throughout the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office. Follow on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/VenturaCountySheriff and Instagram at https://instagram.com/vcsheriff/.

Nature of Incident: Virtual Ride-Along Presented by Headquarters Patrol Station
Location: Unincorporated Areas – Ventura Area
Date & Time: October 27, 2015 3:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Unit(s) Responsible: Headquarters Station – Unincorporated Areas Near Ventura
Prepared by: Captain Don Aguilar
News Release Date: October 23, 2015
Media Follow-Up Contact: Captain Don Aguilar
don.aguilar@ventura.org
(805) 797-7349
Approved by: Captain Patti Salas

 
Ventura County Sheriff's Department
Ventura County Sheriff's Department

Ventura County Sheriff’s deputies will take their oath to “serve” and protect to a new level. They’ll trade in their handcuffs and badges for menus and serving trays to assist servers at Red Robin Restaurant in Thousand Oaks on Thursday, October 22, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Sheriff’s professional staff and volunteers will also be on hand to assist deputies in support of the event. The public is invited to enjoy a great meal and then “tip-a-cop.” Donations in the form of tips will benefit Ventura County Special Olympics. All tips are tax-deductible.

Ventura County Special Olympics offers training and competition opportunities in 10 different year-round sports to people with intellectual disabilities at over 20 different training sites throughout Ventura County. This program not only provides physical fitness from participating in athletic competitions, but also encourages social interaction and community involvement. Special Olympics athletes will be working with deputies as they serve customers at Tip-A-Cop.

Tip-A-Cop events are one of the main fundraisers for the Law Enforcement Torch Run. The Torch Run is part of a year-round, grassroots fundraising campaign by law enforcement agencies to benefit their local Special Olympics programs. The Torch Run makes its debut annually in the month of June when members of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office and Special Olympic Athletes carry the torch as it makes its way through Ventura County and continues to Long Beach for the start of the summer games.

Nature of Incident: Sheriff’s Deputies Participating in Tip-A-Cop Event For Special Olympics
Location: Red Robin Restaurant – 170 W. Hillcrest Drive, Thousand Oaks
Date & Time: Thursday, October 22, 2015 – 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Unit Responsible: Thousand Oaks Police Department
Prepared by: Senior Deputy Timothy Lohman
Media Release Date: October 19, 2015
Follow-Up Contact: Senior Deputy Timothy Lohman – (805) 947-8255
Approved by: Captain John Reilly