Best Defender Bytes:

November 29, 2013

Former Insurance Agent Charged in Financial Elder Abuse Case

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:05 am

A former insurance agent pleaded not guilty today to allegations that he illegally withdrew more than $100,000 from an insurance annuity he sold to an elderly relative, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Daniel Kinney of the Elder Abuse Section said Myles Seishin Hanashiro, 47 (dob 8/11/66), of Orange is charged in case BA418519 with four felony counts of theft from an elder or dependent adult.

The complaint includes special allegations that the defendant took property exceeding $65,000 and that these are prison-eligible offenses. The case was filed for warrant on Nov. 19.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Shelly Torrealba scheduled the next hearing for Jan. 8, 2014, in Department 37 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

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November 28, 2013

Reseda man sentenced in girlfriend’s killing

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:51 am

A man convicted of killing his girlfriend at their Reseda apartment was sentenced today to state prison, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Sharon Ransom of the Van Nuys Branch Office said James Howard Jr., 23, was sentenced to 56 years to life.

Howard was convicted on Sept. 25 of the first-degree murder of Sharilit Matthews, 41. Jurors found true a special allegation that the defendant used a deadly and dangerous weapon, a knife, in the commission of the offense.

The jury also found true an allegation that Howard had a prior strike conviction for a robbery in 2009.

At today’s hearing, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James Brandolino denied a motion for a new trial.

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November 27, 2013

Former United Airlines Flight Attendant Sentenced to Federal Prison for Making Bogus Bomb Threats Aimed at his Former Employer

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:34 am

LOS ANGELES—A German national who used to work for United Airlines was sentenced today to 18 months in federal prison for making false bomb threats against flights operated by the international air carrier Patrick Cau, who is also known as Patrick Kaiser, 40, of Dallas, was sentenced by United States District Judge Otis D. Wright II.

Cau pleaded guilty in August to one count of false information and hoaxes. While Cau pleaded guilty to one felony count, in a plea agreement filed in federal court, he admitted making eight bomb threats against United from October 2012 through January 2013.

In the first phone call, on October 4, 2012, Cau used a pay phone near his home to call an internal United crew scheduling number and state that a United flight from London to Los Angeles would be bombed later that day. Cau made the subsequent calls to 911 from pay phones in Los Angeles, New York City, Las Vegas and Seattle, with all of the calls stating that a specific United flight would be bombed.

As a result of the hoaxes, multiple law enforcement agencies were forced to respond to the bomb threats made by Cau. These law enforcement responses included evacuating people from the targeted airplanes; towing the aircraft to a safe area; searching and re-screening passengers, baggage and cargo; and searching the aircraft by human, canine and other detection methods.

As a direct result of Cau’s threats, United experienced substantial disruption to its business operations and services, including cancellation of and delays to flights, transfer of aircraft, and significant inconveniences to United passengers. Judge Wright today ordered Cau to pay $304,495 in restitution to United and $8,838 to reimburse the Los Angeles Police Department for expenses incurred as a result its response to the bomb threats.

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November 26, 2013

TREASURER CONVICTED AND SENTENCEDFOR EMBEZZLING OVER $110,000 FROM CHURCH BANK ACCOUNTS

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:10 am

SANTA ANA – A treasurer was convicted and sentenced today for embezzling over $110,000 from church bank accounts. Fiatala Manu, 47, Lake Elsinore, pleaded guilty to one felony count each of embezzlement by fiduciary of trust, money laundering, falsifying records, and sentencing enhancements for property loss over $65,000. He was sentenced to one year in jail, two years of mandatory supervision, and was ordered to pay over $113,000 in restitution.

Between October 2011 and August 2012, Manu was a member of the First Samoan Christian Congregational Church in Santa Ana and served as an interim treasurer. The defendant was responsible for handling the church’s financial accounts, which included paying the bills.

Manu embezzled approximately $113,000 from the church by making unauthorized cash withdrawals, writing checks payable to himself, and transferring funds from the church bank accounts into his personal bank account. The defendant embezzled $96,000 solely from a deposit account set aside to build a new church. Manu also laundered the embezzled funds deposited into his personal bank account through cash withdrawal transactions and purchases made at an Indian gaming casino.

The defendant attended monthly church meetings and reported false financial reports, which included reporting false balances and funds in the church bank accounts.

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Pomona Resident Previously Convicted in Child Exploitation Case Indicted for Illegally Possessing Weapons Cache

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:05 am

LOS ANGELES—An Army veteran who was convicted of possessing child pornography after a court martial was indicted today on federal charges of being a felon in possession of firearms and ammunition.

Ky Cheng, 43, of Pomona, was named in a one-count indictment that charges him with illegally possessing a cache of weapons. If he is convicted of the charge, he would face a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in federal prison.

The case stems from a probation search of Cheng’s residence on August 14, 2013. Law enforcement officials from the Pomona Police Department, the United States Marshals Service, the Los Angeles County Probation Department, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation conducted the search and found weapons that prompted the Sheriff’s Department Bomb Squad to respond. As a result of the weapons discovered during the search, the FBI San Gabriel Valley Safe Streets Gang Task Force was brought in to investigate.

The indictment alleges that Cheng illegally possessed eight .45-caliber handguns, two 12-gauge shotguns, one .308-caliber rifle, 46 high-capacity ammunition magazines and approximately 1,200 rounds ammunition.

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POLICE OFFICER SENTENCED TO 12 YEARS IN PRISON FOR FORCIBLY SODOMIZING THREE WOMEN, WHOM HE HAD BRIEFLY DATED

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:01 am

SANTA ANA – A police officer was sentenced today to 12 years in state prison and lifetime sex offender registration for forcibly sodomizing three women, all of whom he knew in a dating capacity. Jesse Andrew Green, 36, Huntington Beach, was found guilty by a jury Sept. 6, 2013, of three felony counts of forcible sodomy. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on one felony count of rape.

At the time of the crime, Green had been a police officer with the Garden Grove Police Department since 2006. The defendant also worked for the Calexico Police Department from 2004 to 2006.

Between April 2006 and November 2009, while working as a police officer, Green dated Jane Doe #1, Jane Doe #2, and Jane Doe #3. On one occasion with each victim, the defendant became suddenly aggressive while having consensual encounters and physically restrained and forcibly sodomized the victim. He made derogatory and intimidating statements to frighten them, including calling them sluts and other derogatory names and telling them that he had herpes or AIDS and that he had transmitted the disease to them.

The Orange County District Attorney filed charges against Green for the sexual assault of Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2 in October 2010. Based on media coverage of the case, Jane Doe #3 came forward and additional charges were filed.

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November 25, 2013

MAN CONVICTED OF MURDERING EX-GIRLFRIEND’S FATHER AND SISTER BEFORE SETTING THEIR BODIES AND HOME ON FIRE AND ATTEMPTING TO KILL HER MOTHER

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:23 am

SANTA ANA - A man was convicted today of murdering his ex-girlfriend’s father and sister and attempting to kill her mother. The two murdered victims were set on fire and a third was left in a coma after suffering life-threatening injuries. Iftekhar Murtaza, 29, Van Nuys, was found guilty by a jury of two felony counts of murder, one felony count of attempted murder, one felony count of conspiracy to commit murder, the special circumstance sentencing enhancements for multiple murders and murder during the commission of kidnapping.

As the District Attorney is seeking the death penalty in this case, the trial will now move to the second phase, the penalty phase. In the penalty phase, the same jury who found the defendant guilty of the crime will consider the aggravating and mitigating circumstances of the evidence to determine the defendant’s penalty, death or life without the possibility of parole. Opening statements in the penalty phase are expected to begin, Dec. 2, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-41, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Charles Anthony Murphy, Jr., 28, Mission Hills, was found guilty by a jury Dec. 12, 2012, of two felony counts of special circumstances murder, one felony count of attempted murder, and one felony count of conspiracy to commit murder. The sentencing enhancements for multiple murders, murder during the commission of kidnapping, and murder for financial gain were found true. Murphy was convicted in his third re-trial, as a previous jury was unable to reach a verdict and the second re-trial was declared a mistrial. He faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole at his sentencing Dec. 20, 2013, at 9:00 a.m., in Department C-41, Central Justice Center.

Co-defendant Vitaliy Krasnoperov, 28, Hollywood, was found guilty by a jury Dec. 15, 2011, of two felony counts of special circumstances murder, one felony count of attempted murder, and one felony count of conspiracy to commit murder. The sentencing enhancements for multiple murders, murder during the commission of a burglary, and murder during the commission of kidnapping were found true. This was the second jury trial against Krasnoperov, as a previous jury was unable to reach a verdict on May 10, 2011. He was sentenced Nov. 9, 2012, to life in state prison without the possibility of parole.

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LAS VEGAS MAN CONVICTED OF 1995 COLD CASE MURDER OF FEMALE ROOMMATE

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:19 am

SANTA ANA - A Las Vegas man was convicted today of the 1995 cold case murder of his former roommate. Raymundo Gutierrez Pereda, 72, Las Vegas, NV, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of murder and faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison at his sentencing Jan. 31, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-34, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

In 1995, Pereda lived in 53-year-old Mary Ann O’Neil’s Placentia house as a roommate. A month before O’Neil was murdered, Pereda told her he had secured a job in Utah and moved out of her house. Pereda left to Utah but returned to Orange County shortly thereafter and stayed at his girlfriend’s Anaheim house.

On Nov. 15, 1995, O’Neil left work with her boyfriend and drove to a Brea restaurant for dinner. They left the restaurant and O’Neil drove her boyfriend home. She left his home at 3:00 a.m. the next day and returned to her house. She was never seen alive again.

Early on Nov. 16, 1995, Pereda entered O’Neil’s house and attacked and murdered her. He stuffed her body in the trunk of her car, drove to a nearby Placentia commercial shopping center on Kraemer Boulevard, and left the locked car in the parking lot. Pereda did not return to his girlfriend’s Anaheim house that night.

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November 22, 2013

Two Men Who Operated Credit Card Fraud Rings Based in San Gabriel Valley Sentenced to Federal Prison

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:47 am

LOS ANGELES – A San Gabriel Valley man involved in credit card fraud was sentenced this morning to 87 months in federal prison for heading a credit card fraud ring that used stolen credit card numbers from around the world to buy hundreds of thousands of dollars of luxury goods, cosmetics, electronics and other merchandise at retail stores.

With the 7¼-year sentence, Zhanghang Wu (吳章航) becomes the second man this month sentenced to prison in federal court in Los Angeles for operating a fraudulent credit card ring.

Wu, 38, who at the time of the offenses was residing in Alhambra, was sentenced by United States District Judge John A. Kronstadt. Wu, who was also known as “Leo Han,” pleaded guilty in December 2012 to conspiracy and credit card fraud.

The second credit card scammer, Xiaoliang Chen (陳曉亮), 27, of Monterey Park, was sentenced on November 4 to 51 months in federal prison for leading a similar operation that used stolen credit card numbers and counterfeit cards to bilk financial institutions from around the world.

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Man Who Arranged Sham Marriages between Nigerians and U.S. Citizens Found Guilty of Immigration Fraud

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:45 am

LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles man was found guilty today of six felony immigration-related offenses for illegally arranging sham marriages that allowed Nigerian nationals to fraudulently obtain legal permanent residency in the United States.

Alake “Terry” Ilegbameh, 46, a resident of the Baldwin Hills district of Los Angeles, was found guilty of six counts of conspiracy to violate immigration laws.

Ilegbameh was convicted by a federal jury following a six-day trial before United States District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald, who is scheduled to sentence the defendant on February 24. At sentencing, Ilegbameh faces a statutory maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison.

Prosecutors proved at trial that Ilegbameh arranged sham marriages for the purpose of obtaining permanent resident status for six Nigerian immigrants. Ilegbameh recruited American citizens who agreed to marry an African immigrant for money – typically offering the U.S. citizens $1,000 or more – and Ilegbameh actively participated in schemes to make the resulting marriages appear legitimate to immigration officials.

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