Weekend News Briefs from CVBT

September 29, 2017 9:01pm

•  A gold scheme gone wrong

•  Major traffic headaches predicted for the Delta

•  And more….

Sacramento man sentenced for role in gold scheme

Garik Voskanyan, 34, of Sacramento, has been sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for bank fraud, says U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert.

According to court documents, in May 2013, Mr. Voskanyan conspired with his co-defendant, Karapet Damaryan, and others to steal the identity of an innocent bank account holder in order to gain control over the victim’s bank account.

The conspirators then fraudulently wired $141,395 out of the victim’s account to a gold coin and bullion store, where Mr. Voskanyan and his co-defendant attempted to use the stolen funds to purchase nearly 100 one-ounce gold coins. The fraud was detected when the victim checked his bank account on the day the fraudulent wire was attempted.

The pair was arrested outside the gold store when they arrived to pick up the gold.

Mr. Damaryan pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft and bank fraud on January 20, and is to be sentenced on October 27.


Feds sue Fresno senior care facility owner

Prestige Care Inc., Prestige Senior Living LLC and their affiliates are being accused of violating federal law when they refused to provide accommodations for employees with disabilities, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says in a lawsuit.

The EEOC also claims that the companies denied light duty and leave as an accommodation to employees with disabilities.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, the Vancouver, Washington-based companies and their affiliated skilled nursing and/or assisted living facilities had a written policy that required employees be 100 percent healed while at work. The EEOC alleges that the companies’ long-term practices violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“Health care is an industry in which one might expect to see little disability discrimination – but, sadly, the EEOC sees too much of it there,” says Melissa Barrios, director of the EEOC’s Fresno office. “A rigid policy of denying leave or light duty to employees with disabilities without a mean­ingful interactive process frequently leads to violations of the law.”

According to the company’s website, Prestige Care provides independent living communities, assisted living, memory care, home health and rehabilitation and post-acute care to senior citizens. Prestige and its affiliates provide services throughout the western United States including Washington, Oregon and California.

The company says it "strenuously" disagrees with the allegations brought by the EEOC in its lawsuit. "We’ve been working in good faith with the EEOC for quite some time to address their concerns and to demonstrate our compliance with the law," it says. "We intend to vigorously defend ourselves in the litigation and expect to be exonerated."


Highway 12 Rio Vista bridge to see major repairs

A major project to repair the Rio Vista Bridge that carried Highway 12 across the Sacramento River in the California Delta is moving forward as planned, the state Department of Transportation says.

The heavily travelled highway is expected to experience serious traffic delays when nighttime construction work begins in January 2018, cautions Caltrans.

One-way traffic control will be used to regulate the eastbound and westbound directions for Highway 12 into the early morning hours.

The existing coating system on the Rio Vista Bridge is deteriorating at various locations. Although the bridge is still safe for travel, there are rust spots at different areas along the truss, tower, and floor system members, and rusting around many of the truss gusset plate nuts and bolts, the state says.

The purpose for the estimated $37 million project is to make the necessary repairs to the damaged areas of the bridge, sand blast the old coating and re-paint the bridge.

Job bids for this project were received in early September and the contractor should be decided possibly by early October. A work schedule will be established after the contractor is hired.

The project is estimated to take from three to five years to complete. Daytime work cannot be performed because the U. S. Coast Guard requires the bridge to remain open for maritime traffic and the traffic data indicates there would be serious delays for motorists traveling on Highway 12 and Highway 160 just east of the bridge.


Legal self-help advocates convene in Fresno

The California Association of Legal Document Assistants (formerly California Association of Independent Paralegals) will hold its 30th annual conference in Fresno on October 13 and 14 at the Picaddilly Inn.

Fresno is also the site of this organization’s first conference when members were called “independent paralegals.” A subsequent law redefined "paralegal" as those who work only for attorneys.

Although also requiring “paralegal training”, a registered and bonded “legal document assistant” may prepare legal documents for consumers, at the consumer’s direction.

The annual conference serves as an educational workshop, networking forum and annual meeting place for the non-profit organization.

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