March 2020

The DA’s Office Warns the Public to Beware of Scammers During this Time of Crisis Mar 20, 2020

Here are some tips:

  • Think before you click: stay away from unknown sources that could download a virus onto your computer or device.
  • Be skeptical of callers from unknown numbers or prerecorded messages that ask you for information like your address, credit card information, social security number or other personal information.
  • Ignore offers for vaccinations or other treatments from individuals or unknown companies.
  • Do your homework when it comes to donations to charities claiming to help the crisis.
  • Be alert to “investment opportunities.” The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is warning people about online promotions, including on social media, claiming that the products or services of publicly-traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure coronavirus and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase.
  • Phishing emails or text messages may appear to be from companies you know and trust, such as banks, credit card companies, and online stores. Scammers may use legitimate company logos and slight variations of email addresses to fool unsuspecting victims.
  • Never click on a link in an email or text message that you were not expecting.
  • Never provide personal information such as passwords, account numbers, or social securities numbers over the Internet in response to an email or text message you were not expecting.
  • Ensure that your computer’s security software is up to date.

In order to report an apparent scam or fraudulent claim please email the DA’s Consumer Protection Division at askcepd-da@acgov.org

People v. David Shivers Mar 16, 2020

On March 16, 2020, a jury convicted David Shivers of second degree murder for the killing of Rodney Lee, based on the events of December 12, 2017 when the defendant shot Mr. Lee, killing him.

That afternoon, Mr. Lee went to meet a friend and double-parked at Apgar Street and West Street in Oakland. Mr. Lee was outside of his car and speaking with his friend when the defendant asked him to move his car. Mr. Lee refused and after approximately 3 minutes, the defendant approached Mr. Lee again. When Mr. Lee refused to move his car, the defendant punched Mr. Lee and then shot Mr. Lee once in the chest. The defendant fled the scene. The jury rejected the defendant’s claim of self-defense at trial. The defendant was additionally convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm regarding the same incident.

The case was prosecuted by DDA Malisha Jones with the assistance of Inspector Carl Bonner and Victim Witness Advocates Marina Hammergren and Liliana Bueno.

The defendant will be sentenced on June 12, 2020.

Apartment and Home Rental Scam Alert Mar 10, 2020

In this tight housing market, scammers are out there looking to take advantage of unwitting renters. DA Nancy O’Malley wants anyone in the rental market to be cautious when looking to rent an apartment or house. Be vigilant and aware of warning signs and red flags.

1. THE PRICE IS TOO LOW – Scammers will try to entice potential victims with below market pricing on an apartment. Often, a below market price will be explained away with emergency circumstances, such as international relocation or foreign job opportunities.

2. THE PROPERTY IS NOT BEING SHOWN – Beware of situations where you are not given the opportunity to see the property. This is a red flag that either the property doesn’t exist or that the person does not have legal access to the property. Also be suspicious of a person who will meet you outside of a property but won’t show you the inside. This is also an indication that the person does not have the legal right to rent the property.

3. A DEPOSIT IS REQUIRED BEFORE YOU CAN SEE THE APARTMENT – Anytime someone wants you to electronically transfer money, whether by app, wire, money order, or prepaid debit card, you should automatically be skeptical. Once the money is transferred, it is almost impossible to get the money back. You should not be charged a fee to see a property, and never send a deposit for a property that is “sight unseen.”

People in the housing market can safeguard themselves by taking a few easy steps.

1. Avoid listings that priced significantly below market and seem like a “deal.”

2. Make sure you can tour the outside and inside of any property before you rent it.

3. Never send money electronically if you have not seen a property, even if you have signed a lease for it.

4. Get the name, address, and phone number of the person you’re dealing with and do a basic internet search of the person and property to see if things match up.

If you encounter a suspicious listing or have been the victim of a rental scam, please contact the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office at 510-383-8600 or make a complaint online at https://www.alcoda.org/cewpd/complaint_forms

People v. Roosevelt Vines Jr. Mar 6, 2020

On March 6, 2020, a jury found defendant Roosevelt Vines Jr. guilty of first degree murder with gun allegations, guilty of being a felon in possession of a firearm at the time of the murder, and guilty of dissuading /intimidating a witness.

On August 27, 2018, at 3:43 p.m. defendant Vines shot and killed victim Mario Thomas one time in the left temple. The defendant committed this act in broad daylight in the parking lot of the 7100 block of International Boulevard in Oakland. Vitim Thomas was a homeless man who regularly frequented the area. Defendant Vines set out that day to “gather information” regarding the murder of Esau Davis the night before. Defendant Vines sought out victim Mario Thomas knowing he would likely have information related to the murder the night before. Defendant had a brief discussion with victim Mario Thomas and then pulled out the loaded 9mm gun, pointed it at Mario’s head, and pulled the trigger ending Mario’s life.

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Alameda County DA O’Malley Warns Against Price Gouging During State of Emergency Mar 4, 2020

DA Nancy O’Malley has issued a stark warning to all Alameda County merchants that her office will be vigilant in investigating and prosecuting cases of price gouging while Alameda County is under a State of Emergency due to the novel Coronavirus. She also encouraged Alameda County residents to report any instances price gouging when shopping for consumer goods or medical supplies. Price gouging refers to sellers trying to take unfair advantage of consumers during an emergency or disaster by greatly increasing prices for essential consumer goods and services.

“The law prevents businesses from profiteering when we are in a state of emergency. All residents of Alameda County must continue to have access to necessary supplies, especially when the community’s health is at stake. My office will ensure that businesses adhere to the law and do not exploit consumers that are trying to protect themselves and their families,” says District Attorney O’Malley.

California’s anti-price gouging statute, Penal Code Section 396, prohibits raising the price of many consumer goods and services by more than 10% after an emergency has been declared. Both Governor Gavin Newsom and the Alameda County Public Health Department have declared a state of emergency because of the spread of COVID-19.

The price gouging law applies to any person or business selling goods or services including consumer goods, food and drink items, emergency supplies, medical supplies, storage, emergency cleanup materials. The Governor’s Proclamation of a State of Emergency explicitly states that price gouging protections will remain in effect through September 4, 2020.

Violations of the price gouging statute are subject to criminal prosecution that can result in one-year imprisonment in county jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Violators are also subject to civil enforcement actions including civil penalties of up to $5,000 per violation, injunctive relief, and mandatory restitution.

The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office is committed to protecting consumers during this emergency. The office will investigate and can prosecute individuals or businesses who have engaged in illegal price gouging. Anyone who has been the victim of price gouging, or who has information regarding potential price gouging, is encouraged to immediately file a complaint with the District Attorney’s Office by emailing pricegouging@acgov.org or by calling (510) 383-8600. For more information on price gouging, please see the Attorney General’s website (https://www.oag.ca.gov/consumers/pricegougingduringdisasters)