The following is the text of a June 28, 2013, press release issued by the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer Affairs about Pejman Vincent Mehdizadeh, a founder and CEO of Medbox:
“Father and Son Team of Phony Immigration Consultants Convicted of Fraud, Must Pay Nearly One Half Million Dollars in Restitution to Victims
LOS ANGELES – A father and son team who pretended to be a law firm and defrauded dozens of victims seeking immigration help have pled guilty to multiple charges of grand theft.
Brian J. Stiger, Director of the County of Los Angeles Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA ), has announced today that Pejman Vincent Mehdizadeh and Parviz Paul Mehdizadeh were ordered to pay full restitution to victims who reported their losses to DCA.
The Mehdizadehs took money for immigration cases and either did not file or filed fraudulent documents with U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). They are responsible for defrauding victims out of hundreds of thousands of dollars while offering services in areas such as immigration, bankruptcy, divorce, and mortgage modifications, often without providing any services.
Many of the Mehdizadehs’ victims were forced to leave the country because of their failure to file appropriate documents. Pejman Vincent Mehdizadeh, 34, of Los Angeles, pled to two felony grand theft counts and Parviz Paul Mehdizadeh, 78, of Calabasas, pled to one misdemeanor count. [emphasis added]
Restitution will approach a half a million dollars, not including money distributed from the State Bar of California Restitution Fund, most of which has already been collected and distributed to the known victims.
“Immigration consultants often tell consumers that they have ‘ special connections ’ or know about secret programs to help immigrants become legal citizens,” Director Stiger said. “They will say anything to gain your trust and take your money. Consumers should remember that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
The Mehdizadehs also ran a lawyer referral service, under the name Active Lawyer Referral Service, and referred clients to themselves. The prosecutors were Dana Aratani and Kathleen Tuttle of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office
Update: See Mr. Mehdizadeh’ statement about his felony convictions in a press release entitled “Target of LA Criminal Investigation Has 13 Felony Counts Dismissed and Walks Away Vindicated.”