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September 30, 2011

Massachusetts Man Charged with Plotting Attack on Pentagon and U.S. Capitol

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 11:32 pm

MassachusettsMan Charged with Plotting Attack on Pentagon and U.S. Capitol and Attempting to Provide Material Support to a Foreign Terrorist Organization

Public Was Not in Danger from Explosive Devices, Which Were Controlled by Undercover FBI Employees

BOSTON—A 26-year-old Ashland man was arrested and charged today in connection with his plot to damage or destroy the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol, using large remote controlled aircraft filled with C-4 plastic explosives. Rezwan Ferdaus, a U.S. citizen, was also charged with attempting to provide material support and resources to a foreign terrorist organization, specifically to al Qaeda, in order to carry out attacks on U.S. soldiers stationed overseas.

“Our top priority is to protect our nation from terrorism and national security threats. The conduct alleged today shows that Mr. Ferdaus had long planned to commit violent acts against our country, including attacks on the Pentagon and our nation’s Capitol. Thanks to the diligence of the FBI and our many other law enforcement partners, that plan was thwarted,” said U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz. “I want the public to understand that Mr. Ferdaus’ conduct, as alleged in the complaint, is not reflective of a particular culture, community, or religion,” she added. “In addition to protecting our citizens from the threats and violence alleged today, we also have an obligation to protect members of every community, race, and religion against violence and other unlawful conduct.”

The public was never in danger from the explosive devices, which were controlled by undercover FBI employees (UCs). The defendant was closely monitored as his alleged plot developed and the UCs were in frequent contact with him.

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Former President of Registered Investment Adviser Firm Charged with Mail Fraud and Obstruction

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 11:29 pm

SAN FRANCISCO—Today the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California charged Kurt S. Hovan, of Belvedere, Calif., with mail fraud and obstruction, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced. The charges result from Hovan’s alleged fraudulent use of “soft dollars” and his subsequent obstruction of an investigation being conducted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

According to the information filed today, Hovan, 43, is alleged to have created a scheme to defraud brokerage firms into paying “soft dollars” to Hovan’s brother, who then funneled the money back to benefit Hovan’s company, Hovan Capital Management, LLC (HCM). “Soft dollars” are credits from a brokerage firm on commissions generated by client trades in brokerage firm accounts. Brokerage firm clients, such as a registered investment adviser firm like HCM, are allowed to use those credits to pay for research services to benefit the investment adviser’s clients. The investment adviser, however, must disclose its use of these “soft dollar” credits, and the investment adviser is prohibited from using these credits to pay for its own benefit instead of its clients’ benefit.

According to the information, Hovan allegedly caused the creation of Bolton Research, LLC, in Connecticut. Hovan then submitted invoices to brokerage firms to support requests that those firms pay Bolton using HCM’s accumulated soft dollars. Hovan falsely claimed to the brokerage firms that Bolton’s invoices reflected charges for independent research Bolton had conducted to benefit HCM’s clients. The brokerage firms paid the invoices to Bolton, which was, in fact, simply Hovan’s brother. Hovan’s brother then funneled a substantial amount of the payments back to HCM to pay HCM’s rent.

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Son Pleads to Fatally Stabbing his Mother

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 11:27 pm

VAN NUYS – A 29-year-old man pleaded no contest today to second-degree murder to the fatal 2007 stabbing of his mother, a Canoga Park High School math teacher, the District Attorney’s office announced.

Jesse Bernard Winnick was immediately sentenced by Van Nuys Superior Court Judge Elizabeth Lippitt to 15 years to life in prison for the Sept. 25, 2007, murder of Hadas Winnick, said Deputy District Attorney Edward Nison.

Winnick’s body was discovered at her Calabasas home in the 3800 block of Declaration Avenue by her daughter, who called 911.

September 29, 2011

Former Medical Marijuana Dispensary Owner Sentenced

Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 9:25 pm

LOS ANGELES – A former medical marijuana dispensary owner today was sentenced to one year in county jail and was ordered to perform 500 hours of community service as part of a five-year probation term.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gail Feuer suspended the execution of a four-year state prison term, but indicated that if Jeffrey Keith Joseph, 42, violates the terms of his probation he will face prison time.

Judge Feuer also imposed conditions that prohibit Joseph from selling, serving, storing, keeping, manufacturing, cultivating or giving away marijuana. In addition, the judge ordered the destruction of all marijuana and marijuana products relevant to the case.

Joseph, who was charged last year in connection with a Drug Enforcement Administration investigation, pleaded no contest to two counts each of sales of marijuana and money laundering on March 29.

Joseph – the former owner of Organica, a medical marijuana dispensary in Culver City – was engaged in illegal over-the-counter marijuana sales. The Drug Enforcement Administration initiated its investigation after Organica fliers were distributed at a local high school.

The defendant was charged in February 2010 after a financial investigation revealed that the dispensary’s average monthly income was $400,000.

In August 2009, officers recovered 80 kilograms of marijuana, 450 plants, 12 kilograms of hash oil and 125 kilograms of edible marijuana products at Organica.

SAN FERNANDO VALLEY DOCTOR CONVICTED OF SELLING BOGUS CANCER CURE TO CHRISTIANS ACROSS THE NATION

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 9:22 pm

LOS ANGELES – The owner of a Mission Hills medical clinic has been found guilty of federal charges for selling a bogus cancer cure to dozens of patients across the country.

Christine Daniel, 57, of Los Angeles, who operated a clinic under names such as the Sonrise Wellness Center, was convicted yesterday afternoon in United States District Court. A federal jury deliberated for two days before finding Daniel guilty of 11 counts: four counts of mail and wire fraud, six counts of tax evasion with regard to her personal and corporate income tax filings, and one count of witness tampering.

Daniel, a medical doctor and a prominent evangelical Christian minister and medical doctor, fraudulently marketed and sold a medical treatment that she and her employees claimed could cure many diseases and conditions, including cancer, multiple sclerosis, stroke, Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, diabetes, and hepatitis. Daniel claimed that the bogus cancer cure had an effective success rate of between 60 percent and 100 percent for Stage IV metastatic or terminal cancers.

The evidence presented during the trial showed that Daniel used her status as a minister to create a bond of trust with members of the Evangelical Christian community, an affinity that provided her with a market to sell her bogus treatments. Daniel promoted the product under a variety of names – including “C-Extract,” “the natural treatment” and “the herbal treatment” – through a program televised on the Trinity Broadcasting Network.

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SCE AND SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY PAY $9.6 MILLION TO SETTLE FEDERAL CLAIMS RELATED TO 2007 GRASS VALLEY FIRE

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: — fayarfa @ 9:20 pm

LOS ANGELES –Southern California Edison (SCE) has paid the United States $9 million to settle a lawsuit filed on behalf of the U.S. Forest Service to recoup costs associated with fighting the Grass Valley Fire in 2007.

The County of San Bernardino has paid the United States an additional $600,000 to resolved its part of the lawsuit.

The Grass Valley Fire burned more than 850 Acres of the San Bernardino National Forest when a tree on a county right-of-way fell onto SCE power lines. As a result, SCE equipment on a downline power pole overheated and emitted molten aluminum, which fell to the forest floor and ignited the fire.

The lawsuit filed on behalf of the Forest Service alleged that the downed tree was dangerous because it leaned toward the power lines and grew on a slope in such a manner that its roots did not adequately support it. The Forest Service also alleged that both the county and SCE should have noticed that the tree was a danger during their inspections and removed the danger, as they had removed other hazardous trees.

Under the use agreements between SCE and the Forest Service, SCE is responsible for any damages from fires that are caused by its electrical equipment. Additionally, the Forest Service believes that SCE did not properly maintain its equipment and allowed the bolts to loosen on a “pothead” – which is a part of the system that secures the power line to the power pole. Pursuant to its agreement with the Forest Service, SCE is responsible for inspecting its equipment on a regular basis and discovering loose bolts that may allow equipment to malfunction and cause fires. The lawsuit alleged that the falling tree caused a power surge that passed through the pothead, heating it to the point of melting aluminum power lines, which discharged molten aluminum onto the Forest floor.

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September 28, 2011

Former Police Detective Pleads in Fraud Case

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 9:57 pm

LOS ANGELES – A former Los Angeles police detective charged in connection with a workers’ compensation fraud investigation today pleaded no contest and resigned from the police department.

Deputy District Attorney Mario Coto-Lopez said John Xavier Vach Jr., 38, pleaded to two misdemeanor counts of insurance fraud. Vach is due back for sentencing on Nov. 7.

The charges stem from an investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Workers’ Compensation Fraud Unit in cooperation with the District Attorney’s Healthcare Fraud Division.

Vach, a 15-year veteran of the LAPD, operated two private businesses while out on a disability claim for job-related stress. The defendant purportedly also sought a lifetime disability pension. The alleged offenses occurred between February and November 2008.

Under the terms of the negotiated settlement, the defendant was made to resign today from the police department. Additionally, Vach must pay $105,000 in restitution and will be placed on summary probation for three years.

Canyon Country Man Charged with Neighbor’s Murder

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 9:55 pm

SAN FERNANDO – A 51-year-old Canyon Country man was charged today with murder for the shotgun death of his next door neighbor.

Lennie Paul Tracey (dob 8/22/60) is charged with one count each of murder and assault with a firearm. Tracey is expected to be arraigned this afternoon in Department S of San Fernando Superior Court. The case number is PA071529.

The complaint alleges that on Sept. 24 the defendant personally and intentionally discharged the firearm that killed Anthony Jay Davis, 51, and personally used a firearm against the victim’s wife.

An ongoing feud between Tracey and Davis escalated when the defendant installed infrared lights on his property and pointed them in the direction of the victim’s residence causing a technical disruption to Davis’ video surveillance system, according to authorities.

Tracey purportedly shot Davis twice after the victim unplugged the lights. After the shooting, Tracey allegedly pointed the shotgun at the victim’s wife.

The defendant’s bail is recommended at $1.105 million. If convicted as charged, Tracey faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.

FEDERAL COURT IN LOS ANGELES SHUTS DOWN TAX PREPARER

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 9:52 pm

Preparer Operating in Montebello, Calif., Allegedly Filed False Tax Returns for Customers

WASHINGTON – A federal court in Los Angeles has permanently barred Mario Placencia from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today.  The civil injunction order, to which Placencia consented, was signed by Judge Dale S. Fischer of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.  The court also required Placencia to contact customers who have paid him to prepare returns since Jan.1, 2003, and inform them of his consenting to the injunction.

According to the government complaint, Placencia, of Alhambra, Calif., conducted business in Montebello, Calif., under the name MP Accounting Services.  The government alleged that Placencia prepared federal income tax returns that contained false or inflated expenses on various schedules and fabricated false reports of his customers’ home-mortgage-interest payments.

According to the complaint, in April 2011 Placencia was indicted on 61 counts of aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of false income tax returns, as well as one count of corruptly obstructing and impeding the due administration of the internal revenue laws.  The complaint states that Placencia entered a guilty plea as to three of the counts in July 2011 and admitted in the plea agreement that, for tax years 2003 through 2009, he caused the government to incur a tax loss of nearly $8 million by intentionally inflating amounts of home mortgage interest on his customers’ returns.

Return preparer fraud is identified by the IRS as one of the “Dirty Dozen” tax scams taxpayers are urged to avoid.  In the past decade, the Justice Department’s Tax Division has obtained hundreds of injunctions to stop the promotion of tax fraud schemes and the preparation of fraudulent returns.

September 27, 2011

Defendant Pleads in Celebrity Burglary Case

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 9:50 pm

LOS ANGELES – One of five alleged members of the so-called Bling Ring charged with burglarizing celebrity homes pleaded no contest today to burglarizing Audrina Patridge’s home two years ago.

Rachel Lee, 21, pleaded no contest to one count of first-degree residential burglary before Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler, said Deputy District Attorneys Chris Baker and Jessica Hitt, who are prosecuting the case.

She is expected to be sentenced to four years in state prison when she returns to court Oct. 21 for sentencing. In exchange for today’s plea, prosecutors will ask that one felony count of conspiracy to commit burglary and two counts of receiving stolen property will be dismissed.

The remaining four defendants — Nicholas Prugo, 20; Diana Tamayo, 21; Courtney Leigh Ames, 20; and Roy Lopez, Jr., 29 – return to court on Nov. 18 for motions and pretrial.

All have pleaded not guilty to charges contained in an indictment alleging that between September 2008 and August 2009, the group netted more than $3 million in jewelry, designer clothes and accessories from the homes of Orlando Bloom, Paris Hilton, Brian Austin-Green and Megan Fox, Lindsay Lohan and Patridge.

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