As part of his guilty plea in the federal case, Rancho Santa Fe resident Todd Macaluso admitted that he forged his clients' signatures and used forged notary stamps and signatures to convince potential investors to advance him millions of dollars.
Macaluso, 52, is scheduled to be sentenced July 13. He will be ordered to pay restitution to all of his victims, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
"Individuals who have suffered a personal injury should not have to worry about being victimized by their own advocate," said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. "The defendant's conviction should be a stark reminder that attorneys and other fiduciaries will be prosecuted if they fraudulently misuse the privileges society has given them."
According to court records, Macaluso funded his personal injury law practice by entering into "funding agreements" with various investors. Under those agreements, investors advanced Macaluso money in exchange for the right to collect a portion of his clients' recoveries in the future.
Although clients had to consent to the collateralization of their lawsuits in order for the transfers to be valid, Macaluso concealed those arrangements from many of his clients and forged their signatures on the financing documents, according to prosecutors.
To conceal his scheme, Macaluso also forged the signatures and stamps of notary publics who purportedly witnessed the executions of legal documents, but who, like his clients, had no knowledge of the arrangements.
A Navy SEAL is being held in a military brig while authorities investigate the stabbing death of an Islamic State combatant while he was subdued in Iraq last year.
A California kindergartener can keep bringing a cannabis-based drug used for emergency treatment of a rare form of epilepsy to her public school, a judge ruled Friday.
A clear and warm weekend as temperatures begin to warm. Humidity levels in the desert will gradually lower through the weekend as a weak ridge briefly builds Saturday.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer signed two resolutions with Tijuana Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum supporting international trade and border infrastructure programs.
City Attorney Mara Elliott announced that her office, in coordination with other state and city agencies, reached a $1.6 million settlement with Whole Foods Market California Inc. and two related entities resolving allegations of unlawful handling and disposal of hazardous waste and materials.
Police arrested a 32-year-old Escondido man on suspicion of murder in connection with the shooting death of an unidentified male at a bar on West Grand Avenue.
A woman was killed when she stepped out of her boyfriend's car onto a Chula Vista street and was struck by a passing vehicle, authorities said Saturday.
Residents in La Mesa’s Eastridge area are trying to solve a mystery surrounding a dinosaur. The Tyrannosaurus Rex statue appeared on an empty plot of land sometimes over the past few days with no explanation.
Three major freeway closures across San Diego County will put the brakes on several routes from east to west this weekend. The first closure is the eastbound SR-94 connector to southbound SR-125 on Saturday, September 22.
National City police and sheriff's deputies will not face criminal charges in connection with the death of a drug-impaired mentally ill man following his combative arrest in the South Bay city last spring, District Attorney Summer Stephan announced Friday.