Los Angeles

Lancaster Day Care Owner Gets Prison for Public Assistance Fraud, Must Pay $1 Million in Restitution With Daughters

A Lancaster day care operator who conspired with her two daughters to fraudulently collected thousands in government assistance by falsely claiming she was providing child care services has been sentenced to four years in state prison, authorities said Wednesday. Cathy Denice Pullum, 52, and her daughters must also pay $1 million in restitution for the scheme they ran for years with the cooperation of mothers who provided the identities of their children, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. The women would allow Pullum and her two daughters — Ashley Ann Collins, 32, of Lancaster and Taylor Louise Lind, 29, of Palmdale — to falsely report their kids were receiving child care services through Pullum’s business, according to prosecutors. Pullum and her daughters would then collect money for those services from a government assistance program for low-income parents, despite the services never actually being provided. Mothers who conspired with Pullum’s scheme were also given “a small cash kickback” for their participation, the DA’s office said in a news release. The scam continued from September 2009 to January 2015. Pullum and her daughters were…

LA County Sheriff’s Deputy Shot In Parking Lot Of Lancaster Station

LANCASTER (CBSLA) – A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s station was targeted by gunfire Wednesday, leaving one deputy wounded, authorities said. The shooting was reported just before 3 p.m. in the parking lot of the Lancaster Sheriff’s station in the 500 block of Lancaster Blvd., according to sheriff’s officials. One deputy was shot in the shoulder, while other deputies were fired upon but escaped uninjured, Deputy Morgan Arteaga of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau said. The deputy was in the parking lot when he was shot. The gunfire was directed towards the station’s helipad area, the Los Angeles Times reported. The shots were believed to have been fired from an adjacent apartment building. A perimeter was set up in the area and the injured deputy was being transported to a hospital. His condition was unknown. The area of Lancaster and Sierra Highway were locked down during the investigation. LASD Special Weapons Team landed on scene to search for the gunman. CBSLA’s Tom Wait spotted multiple units responding to the scene. BREAKING: @LANLASD deputies ambushed in station parking lot. One deputy shot in shoulder. Other shots fired. Investigators…

Pilot Blames Bad Gas After Ditching Newly Bought Aircraft That Crashed Into Half Moon Bay

A pilot who said Wednesday he was forced to ditch his newly purchased aircraft in the ocean off California during a photo shoot believes bad gasoline caused the plane to malfunction. Pilot David Lesh said he had siphoned particulate matter out of the gas but doesn’t think he got all of it. “This definitely was more stuff than I was used to seeing,” he said. The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating. FAA spokesman Ian Gregor said investigators had not yet spoken to Lesh. The 34-year-old pilot said he had taken his single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza propeller plane out Tuesday for an aerial photo shoot over Half Moon Bay, south of San Francisco, when it lost power. “I just did everything I could to get the motor going again,” he said. “Nothing was working.” Lesh said the plane “skipped along the water” for a few hundred feet without much of an impact before he and his passenger, a friend, grabbed anything they could use to float. A man in another plane piloted by Owen Leipelt had been taking photos of his friend’s aircraft…

L.A. Man Sentenced to More Than 3 Years in Prison After Crashing Into Police Cars, Vehicle With Baby on Board During Chase

A Los Angeles man was sentenced to three years and eight months in prison after pleading no contest to crashing into multiple vehicles during a pursuit earlier this year, including one carrying a baby, officials announced Wednesday. Pharuehat Wilaisophakun, 27, pleaded to one count each of assault on a peace officer and fleeing an officer’s vehicle while driving recklessly, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Wilaisophakun led LAPD on a chase April 4 after an officer witnessed him crash into a vehicle while in a 2018 Prius near the intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue and he did not stop. He then drove away at a high rate of speed, ran red lights, weaved in and out of traffic and hit multiple vehicles, officials said. At one point, three police vehicles tried to block Wilaisophakun’s car and he rammed them. He also crashed into a parked vehicle with a baby inside, but the baby was not injured, officials said. The pursuit ended in East Hollywood when Wilaisophakun’s car crashed into a truck and police pinned him in, aerial video from Sky5…

Deputy Wounded in Shooting Near Lancaster Sheriff’s Station

A deputy was wounded after a gunman opened fire near the Lancaster sheriff’s station Wednesday, officials said. The gunfire struck the deputy in the shoulder, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Marvin Crowder. Crowder said the shooting was reported shortly after 2:45 p.m. Aerial video showed a large law enforcement response near the corner of Beech Avenue and Jackman Street. The area was considered an active scene and being blocked off as deputies searched for the suspect, officials said. The activity appeared to be centered at the large Arbor Fields apartment building at the intersection. The location is about a block north of the Lancaster sheriff’s station and next to the Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Check back for updates on this developing story.

Serial Killer Who Claimed to Murdering 90 Women, Including L.A. Victims, to Plead Guilty in Ohio Slayings: Prosecutors

Authorities say a serial killer who claims to have murdered 90 women will plead guilty and be sentenced this week to resolve two decades-old Ohio cases. Samuel Little was indicted earlier this year for the 1981 murder of 32-year-old Anna Stewart, last seen alive in Cincinnati. Her body was dumped in Grove City, near Columbus. The 80-year-old Little also is charged with a second murder in Cincinnati. Her identity remains unknown. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters (DEE’turz) says Little will plead guilty and be sentenced on Friday. He was previously convicted of killing three Los Angeles-area women among the dozens of slayings he’s claimed to have committed nationwide. Little will appear via Skype from a California prison where he is serving multiple life sentences for other killings. A message seeking comment was left with Little’s attorney Wednesday.

Gunfire Erupts Outside LA County Sheriff’s Station; Deputy Shot In Shoulder

LANCASTER (CBSLA) – A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s station was targeted by gunfire Wednesday, leaving one deputy wounded, authorities said. The shooting was reported just before 3 p.m. in the parking lot of the Lancaster Sheriff’s station in the 500 block of Jackman Street, according to sheriff’s officials. One deputy was shot in the shoulder, while other deputies were fired on but escaped uninjured, Deputy Morgan Arteaga of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau said. A perimeter was set up in the area and the injured deputy was being transported to a hospital. This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

Jet Catches Fire After Aborted Takeoff in Oroville; 10 Aboard Unhurt

All 10 people aboard a small jet escaped injury Wednesday after the aircraft aborted its takeoff at a small Northern California airport, went off the runway and burst into flames, officials said. The pilot of the twin-engine Cessna Citation jet aborted its takeoff at Oroville Municipal Airport for unknown reasons shortly before noon, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said. The plane was carrying two pilots and eight passengers, and “all were accounted for, no injuries,” said Joe Deal, Oroville’s fire and police chief. The aircraft slid off the end of the runway into dry grass and caught fire. Officials briefly closed nearby Highway 162 before controlling the grass fire at less than two acres. The plane was flying from Oroville to Portland International Airport in Oregon, Gregor said. Deal said it was a personally chartered jet and its corporate passengers had stayed overnight in Oroville. “It was attempting to take off, but early reports show that it never made it off the ground,” Deal said. The jet slid off the northern end of the runway onto a grassy area, but it never left the…

Disabled Veterans to Have Student Loans Automatically Canceled With New Executive Action

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he will sign an executive action making student loan cancellation for disabled veterans automatic — about three months after 51 attorneys general urged the Department of Education to make the change. “It is America who owes our heroes an extreme debt of gratitude,” Trump said, speaking at an American Veterans conference in Louisville, Kentucky. He thanked Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who was present, for helping to implement a policy he joked that “nobody can complain about.” Current law says that the government will discharge the student debt for any borrower who is “permanently and totally” disabled, but they had to submit an application. In a letter sent to DeVos in May, the attorneys general called this approach “inadequate.” They found that just 9,000 of 42,000 eligible veterans had applied for the loan discharge as of April 2018. More than 25,000 of those service members were in default on their loan payments, the letter said. The Department of Education said it would begin by notifying 25,000 eligible veterans. Veterans may have to pay taxes on the canceled debt, and will have 60 days to opt…

Disgruntled Employee With Firearms Arrested After Threatening Mass Shooting at Long Beach Hotel: Police

Police in Long Beach said they thwarted a possible mass shooting this week when they arrested a disgruntled hotel cook who allegedly threatened to carry out violence at his workplace. Rodolfo Montoya, 37, who worked at the Long Beach Marriott, was taken into custody Tuesday at his home in Huntington Beach. Officers seized multiple high-powered firearms, including an assault rifle; 38 high-capacity magazines; and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, according to investigators. Police said Montoya on Monday told a coworker that he planned to come into work and shoot everybody he saw at the hotel. Montoya was angry about a human resources issue, according to investigators. The coworker notified police, and officers located Montoya and took him into custody the following day. Read the full story on LATimes.com. 

Trump Flip-Flops on Tax Cuts, Says U.S. Already Has ‘Strong Economy’

A day after considering cutting taxes to promote economic growth, President Donald Trump on Wednesday changed course and said he would abandon the idea because the nation already had “a strong economy.” Trump’s flip-flop came after recent market volatility and economic uncertainty, and amid a debate about whether the United States was heading for a slowdown that would imperil his reelection chances. Trump earlier this week acknowledged, for the first time, that his China trade policies may mean economic pain for Americans, though he insisted the tariffs are needed for more important long-term benefits. But his consideration of cutting payroll taxes appeared short-lived. “I’m not looking at a tax cut now,” he told reporters at the White House. “We don’t need it. We have a strong economy.” Trump also knocked down the idea of indexing to the capital gains tax, which applies when investors sell assets, to inflation. He said he feared “it will be perceived, if I do it, as somewhat elitist.” Analysts have warned that a slowdown, if not full-blown recession, could hit before next year’s election. Trump, however, has largely praised the economy’s performance and his handling of…

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