Best Defender Bytes:

January 31, 2014


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:59 am

SANTA ANA – A doctor and an attorney, the final two defendants in a 19 co-defendant case, have been convicted for their role in the largest medical fraud prosecution in the nation for recruiting thousands of healthy patients to undergo unnecessary and dangerous surgeries to fraudulently bill medical insurance companies.

Attorney Roy Chester Dickson, 65, Yorba Linda, pleaded guilty today, Jan. 30, 2014, to one felony count of money laundering and one felony count of grand theft with white collar crime sentencing enhancements. In the same case, Dickson was found guilty by a jury Nov. 26, 2012, of two felony counts of filing a false personal tax return and was sentenced Dec. 20, 2012, to two years and eight months in state prison and $41,629 restitution on the tax conviction. He is scheduled to be sentenced for today’s convictions Aug. 8, 2014, in Department C-45, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana, and faces a maximum sentence of 14 years in state prison.

Doctor Mario Rosenberg, 66, pleaded nolo contendere Jan. 24, 2014, to two felony counts of insurance fraud and white collar crime sentencing enhancements. He faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison at his sentencing March 28, 2014, in Department C-45.

Case Overview

The defendants in the Unity case participated in a $154 million medical insurance fraud scheme that recruited 2,841 healthy people from all over the country to receive unnecessary surgeries in exchange for money or low cost cosmetic surgery. Insurance companies paid out more than $20 million over a 9-month period.                                                        (more…)


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:53 am

SANTA ANA – A man faces trial today for killing a pedestrian by crashing into the victim with his car and then fleeing the scene. Victor Manuel Arredondo Anaya, 28, Santa Ana, is charged with one felony count of hit and run causing death and one misdemeanor count each of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence and driving on a suspended license. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of four years in state prison. Opening statements are expected to begin this afternoon, Jan. 30, 2014, in Department C-38, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.


At approximately 6:30 a.m. on Jan. 10, 2013, Anaya is accused of driving southbound on Orange Avenue approaching Stanford Street in Santa Ana in a BMW. The defendant is accused of hitting 75-year-old Miguel Ceja, who was lawfully crossing in an unmarked crosswalk on Orange Avenue. Anaya is accused of striking the victim’s left side with his car, causing Ceja to crash onto the hood of the car and hit his head on the windshield. Ceja then struck the left side mirror before being thrown from the vehicle and tumbling into the driver’s door of a parked car. Anaya is accused of failing to stop to assist the victim and fleeing. Ceja was pronounced dead at the scene.


The Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) responded and investigated this case. Information regarding the crime and the make and model of the defendant’s car was provided to the media and public.


On Jan. 12, 2013, SAPD dispatch received a call from a civilian witness, who was driving at the intersection of Grand Avenue and First Street in Santa Ana and believed he was following the vehicle that may have been involved in the fatal crash.                                                        (more…)

January 30, 2014


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:46 am

SANTA ANA – An Anaheim high school teacher was convicted and sentenced today to 10 years in state prison and mandatory lifetime sex offender registration for encouraging sex acts and soliciting and possessing nude photos and videos of over 100 underage boys by posing as a teenage girl on Facebook. Zachary Joshua Reeder, 31, Orange, pleaded guilty today to four felony counts of distributing pornography to a minor, two felony counts of lewd acts upon a child under 14, two felony counts of contacting a child with the intent to commit a lewd act, one felony count each of using a minor for sex acts, lewd act upon a child, possession and control of child pornography, and distribution of child pornography. 

At the time of the crimes, Reeder was a history teacher at Servite High School, an all-boys college preparatory high school in Anaheim. Reeder previously worked as a history teacher and a walk-on assistant baseball coach for four seasons at Arnold O. Beckman High School in Irvine.

Between June 1, 2010, and Jan. 14, 2013, Reeder created and used a Facebook account to pose as a female high school student by using the image of a blonde-haired girl with the intent to befriend underage boys. Reeder established inappropriate online relationships with at least 106 underage boys between the ages of 13 and 17 from Servite, Beckman, Northwood, and Canyon High Schools. He targeted the victims whom he knew through teaching or coaching. Reeder engaged in lewd acts with the victims by using the online account of the fake female high school student he created to convince and direct the victims to send sexually explicit photos and videos of themselves to the defendant.

California Penal Code section 288 states that lewd and lascivious acts upon a child is charged when a defendant willfully, lewdly, and unlawfully interacts with a child with the intent of arousing, appealing to, and gratifying the lust, passions, and sexual desires of the defendant and the child.                                               (more…)

Murder, Other Charges Filed Against Former Marina del Rey Apartment Security Guard

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:42 am

A former security guard at a Marina del Rey apartment complex was charged today in an amended complaint with special circumstance murder and other counts in connection with the killing of his supervisor, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.


Deputy District Attorney Keri Modder said Byron Keith Street, 47 (dob 11/21/66), of Inglewood, is charged with one count of murder with a special circumstance allegation of murder during the course of a burglary.


Street is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. in Department 142 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Airport Branch.


Case SA086128 alleges that the defendant personally and intentionally discharged a firearm, a handgun, which caused great bodily injury and death to the victim. Today, prosecutors also filed one count of first-degree residential burglary and three counts of vandalism over $400 damage.                                                     (more…)

Two Charged in Community College Parking Lot Slaying

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:39 am

Prosecutors today filed criminal charges against two men accused of robbing and fatally shooting a 31-year-old man in a parking lot at Los Angeles Valley College, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.


Raheen Ahab Taylor, 31 (dob 2/14/82), of San Jacinto, and Derrick Phillip Wilson, 25 (dob 9/11/88), of San Diego, are scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in Department 100 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Van Nuys Branch.


Deputy District Attorney William Ryder said Taylor and Wilson are charged with one count each of murder with a special circumstance allegation of murder during the course of a robbery.


Additionally, the men are charged with three counts each of second-degree robbery in case LA076653. The charges include special allegations that the defendants personally and intentionally discharged a firearm, a  handgun.                                                        (more…)

January 29, 2014


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:50 am

SANTA ANA – A man faces a death penalty jury trial tomorrow for the double-murder of a Stanton sales associate and his longtime secretary. Hilbert Pineil Thomas, 42, Garden Grove, is charged with two felony counts of special circumstances murder for multiple murders, murder during the commission of robbery, and murder during the commission of burglary. He is also charged with one felony count each of second degree robbery, second degree commercial burglary, and the unlawful taking of a vehicle. Opening statements are expected to begin tomorrow, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, at 9:30 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

On the morning of Feb. 2, 2009, Thomas is accused of walking past Golden Sun Homes business office on Beach Boulevard in Stanton while taking his niece to school. He is accused of living approximately 500 feet from the business. The defendant is accused of deciding to murder the employees inside in order to steal a car belonging to a secretary for the business.

After dropping off his niece, Thomas is accused of entering Golden Sun Homes and shooting and murdering Matthew Francis Scott, a sales associate and son of the business co-owner, and long-time secretary Elizabeth Ann Palmer. Both victims were shot execution-style in the head. Thomas is accused of then stealing Palmer’s Lexus sedan and fleeing the scene.

The murders were investigated by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD), but a defendant was not immediately identified.                                              (more…)

State Senator Wright Convicted of Voter Fraud, Perjury

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:47 am

A jury today found State Sen. Rod Wright guilty of living outside his Inglewood district when he successfully ran for his state seat in 2008, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

The Los Angeles County Superior Court jury deliberated less than two days before finding Wright guilty of all eight counts, including two counts of perjury, one count of filing a false declaration of candidacy and five counts of fraudulent voting in elections in 2008 and 2009, all felonies.

Deputy District Attorneys Bjorn Dodd and Michele Gilmer with the Public Integrity Division prosecuted the case.

On Feb. 13, 2008, Wright declared his intent to become the Democratic candidate for the 25th Senate District, claiming that he lived in one of the units at 868 Glenway Drive, a five-unit complex that he owns in Inglewood.

He claimed the same address when he registered to vote in 2007.                                             (more…)

January 28, 2014

Two Mexican Mafia Members Guilty of Federal Racketeering Charges in Crackdown Targeting Ontario Street Gang

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 2:36 pm

RICO Case Has Led to Conviction of 59 Linked to Black Angels Gang, including the gang’s enforcers, female associates and drug dealers who were paying ‘rent’

LOS ANGELES – Two members of the Mexican Mafia prison gang were found guilty this afternoon of federal racketeering charges for overseeing the conduct of the main street gang in Ontario, a criminal enterprise that was responsible for numerous violent crimes and widespread drug trafficking.

The convictions of the two leaders of the Black Angels gang stem from an indictment that charged violations of the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. In addition to the RICO charges, the indictment alleges violent crimes in aid of racketeering, conspiracies to distribute heroin and methamphetamine, and firearms violations.

Following a nine-day trial, a federal jury convicted the lead defendant in the racketeering case – Armando “Mando” Barajas, a 50-year-old Mexican Mafia member who resides in Pomona. Barajas controlled the gang’s activities, including the narcotics distribution activities in the gang’s territory.                                                     (more…)

January 27, 2014


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:20 am

 SANTA ANA – A man faces trial Monday for murdering his grandmother and setting her house on fire while his 8-year-old brother and 3-year-old niece were inside the home. Joseph Elija Ettima, 30, is charged with one felony count of murder, one felony count of arson of an inhabited dwelling, two felony counts of child abuse, one felony count of criminal threats, and a sentencing enhancement for arson with an accelerant. If convicted on all counts, Ettima faces a sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole. Opening statements are expected to begin Monday, Jan. 27, 2013, at 10:00 a.m. in Department C-41, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.


On Jan. 19, 2009, Ettima is accused of visiting the Los Alamitos home of his 69-year-old grandmother, Emma Louise Hardwick–Street, to see if he could move in with her. Hardwick-Street was already raising two young children in her home including the defendant’s 8-year-old brother and 3-year-old niece. When the victim refused to let Ettima move in, the defendant is accused of arguing with his grandmother and stabbing her to death. The two children were present in the home at the time that Ettima is accused of murdering Hardwick-Street.

Ettima is accused of dousing clothes and other flammable items in the house with rubbing alcohol and setting the home on fire. He is accused of fleeing the scene, leaving the two children. The 8-year-old boy was able to escape from the fire to the front of the house and rescued the 3-year-old girl by taking her with him.

Los Alamitos Police Department investigated this case with assistance from the United States Marshals Service. A warrant was issued for the defendant on Jan. 21, 2009. He was arrested by the United States Marshals Service in a town south of Mexico City and deported from Mexico to the United States on April 14, 2009.                                     (more…)


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:15 am

SANTA ANA - A man was sentenced today to 50 years to life in state prison for shooting and murdering a teenager who was changing a tire in a Fullerton alley. Charles Thomas Ramirez Jr., 36, Fullerton, was found guilty by a jury Dec. 5, 2013, of one felony count of first degree murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death and a prior prison conviction for theft from 2008.

Co-defendant Marc Tomas Luna, 30, Fullerton, pleaded guilty Dec. 6, 2013, to one felony count of accessory after the fact and was sentenced to three years in state prison. Luna testified in the trial against Ramirez.

At approximately 9:30 p.m. on March 17, 2011, Ramirez approached 19-year-old Larry Ruiz, who was helping his friend change a tire in an alley behind Ruiz’s parent’s home in Fullerton. Ramirez confronted the victim and claimed that he had been involved in a physical fight earlier in the day with the defendant’s friend, which Ruiz denied. Ramirez then punched the victim in the face.

As Ruiz began to back away in an attempt to escape, Ramirez pulled out a firearm and shot the victim one time in the head. Ramirez fled and Ruiz died at the scene. The victim’s friend was uninjured.                         (more…)

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