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July 31, 2015

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Arrests and Seizure of Meth Valued at $2 Million in Drug Trafficking Case Linked to Sinaloa Cartel

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:09 am

LOS ANGELES —Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the arrest of five individuals suspected of being associated with the Sinaloa Cartel, for trafficking 55 pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of $2 million.

“California is the gateway for 70 percent of the methamphetamine trafficked into the United States from Mexico,” said Attorney General Harris. “This dangerous drug, and the actions of those who traffic and sell it, threatens the public health and safety of our communities. I thank our DOJ agents and local and federal partners for their commitment to dismantling transnational criminal organizations.”

Pedro Gallegos, 33, Teodoro Yau-Silva, 43, Bernardo Real-Rojo, 39, Anthony Perez, 29, and Jose Christian Rodriguez, 19, were arrested on charges of transportation of methamphetamine and possession for sales, as well as conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. They are suspected to be associated with the Sinaloa Cartel.

The arrests are a result of joint investigations between the Inland Crackdown Allied Task Force (INCA), which is led by the California Department of Justice (DOJ), the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Los Angeles Cartel Strike Force, and the Riverside Police Department.

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SAN CLEMENTE MASSAGE THERAPIST FACES TRIAL FOR SEXUAL BATTERY AGAINST SIX WOMEN

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:06 am

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – A San Clemente massage therapist is scheduled to face trial this morning for committing sexual battery against six women. Ping Li, 51, San Clemente, is charged with six misdemeanor counts of sexual battery against six victims. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of three years in jail and a $12,000 fine. Opening statements are expected to begin this morning at 10:30 a.m. in Department H-12, Harbor Justice Center, Newport Beach.

At the time of the crime, Li owned and operated Massage Clover in San Clemente. Li is accused of working as a licensed massage therapist.

Between June 4, 2014, and Oct. 4, 2014, Li is accused of committing sexual battery by inappropriately touching a massage parlor employee and five clients for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse on six separate occasions. The victims reported the crimes to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, who investigated this case.

Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Schaniel is prosecuting this case.

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 14HM08787 / July 30, 2015

PAROLEE SEX OFFENDER ON GPS MONITORING DEVICE CONVICTED OF PANDERING AND ATTEMPTED PIMPING OF 18-YEAR-OLD WOMAN

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:03 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A parolee sex offender on a GPS monitoring device was convicted yesterday of pandering and attempted pimping of an 18-year-old woman. Eddie Bridges III, 36, Compton, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of attempted pimping and one felony count of pandering by procuring. The defendant’s sentencing enhancements for prior prison convictions in 1996 and 1998 in King County, Washington, for possession with the intent to sell a controlled substance, a prior prison conviction for possession of marijuana in Maricopa County, Arizona, a prior prison conviction in Los Angeles County in 2007 for the pimping and pandering of a minor, and pimping and pandering of an adult, a prior prison conviction in Los Angeles County in 2011 for attempted pandering, and serving separate prison terms but not remaining free for five years were also found to be true. Bridges faces a maximum sentence of 11 years in state prison at his sentencing on Sept. 11, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-55, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Circumstances of the Case

Bridges is a pimp who exploits women and/or children for financial gain. Pimps often establish rigid rules that their victims are expected to follow such as addressing the pimp as “Sir” or “Daddy.”

At the time of the crime, Bridges was wearing a GPS monitoring device as a parole condition and considered a high-risk registered sex offender.

Between May 17, 2014, and May 21, 2014, Bridges drove 18-year-old Jane Doe to Santa Ana to an area known for prostitution with the intent of having the victim engage in commercial sex. The defendant pandered Jane Doe by persuading the victim to engage in commercial sex for his benefit. Bridges also attempted to derive support from the victim through the earnings and proceeds of prostitution.

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July 30, 2015

THREE DEFENDANTS CHARGED WITH CONSPIRING TO UNDERPAY EMPLOYEES ON PUBLIC WORKS PROJECTS

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:17 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Three defendants have been charged for underpaying employees on public works projects. No Sung Pak, 74, Hollywood, and Michael John Ferrin, 40, San Pedro, and Scott Sung Yang, 44, Los Angeles, are each charged with five felony counts of taking and receiving a portion of a worker’s wage on public works and one felony count of recording a false forged instrument. Pak is additionally charged with 29 felony counts of willful failure to pay tax, two felony counts of misrepresenting facts to State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF), two felony counts of misrepresenting facts to workers’ compensation insurance company. If convicted, Pak faces a maximum sentence of 27 years and four months in state prison, and Ferrin and Yang each face a maximum sentence of five years and four months in state prison. The defendants are out of custody on $50,000 bail and were arraigned today. They are scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Sept. 1, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-55, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

In 2005, Yang owned and operated Mackone Development. Yang is accused of working with Ferrin as his project superintendent to oversee his projects. Pak, who owns the business Pak’s Cabinets, is accused of working for Mackone Development as a subcontractor on several public works projects.

In 2012, Yang was awarded a public works project at Harvey Street Elementary School in Santa Ana as the prime contractor. Yang is accused of hiring Ferrin as his project superintendent to oversee the project and Pak as his subcontractor for the project. Pak is accused of using the employees from his business to help complete the public works project.

Between Jan. 1, 2005, and July 29, 2012, the defendants are accused of conspiring together to underpay workers on numerous public works project. The defendants in this case are accused of conspiring together to pay workers anywhere from $10 to $14 per hour after contractually agreeing to pay a wage of about $44 per hour.

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TWO MEN CONVICTED OF ROBBERY IN CONCERT FOR BREAKING INTO TWO HOMES IN ORANGE FOR BENEFIT OF GANG

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:13 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Two men were convicted today of robbery in concert after breaking into two homes in Orange for the benefit of a criminal street gang. Andre Ricardo Pierson, 25, Inglewood, and Dwight Ladale Stephen, 26, Los Angeles, were found guilty by a jury of seven felony counts of first degree robbery of a dwelling in concert, one felony count of possession of a firearm by a felon with sentencing enhancements for criminal street gang activity and vicarious use of a firearm by a gang member. Pierson’s prior prison conviction for possession of a firearm by a felon in 2010, and Stephen’s prior conviction for unlawfully carrying a concealed firearm in 2008 were also found to be true. The defendants each face a maximum sentence of 106 years and eight months to life in state prison at their sentencing on Aug. 21, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Co-defendant Curtis Ray Robinson, 27, Los Angeles, pleaded guilty on April 28, 2015, to seven felony counts of first degree robbery of a dwelling in concert as criminal street gang activity, two felony counts of assault with a firearm, one felony count of first degree residential burglary, and one count of street terrorism, with a sentencing enhancement for vicarious use of a firearm by a gang member. Robinson faces a maximum sentence of 27 years in state prison at his sentencing on Aug. 8, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center.

Pierson, Stephen, and Robinson are members of the same criminal street gang.

On Aug. 12, 2013, Pierson, Stephen, and Robinson drove to Orange and broke into three separate homes in the same neighborhood. Robinson broke into the first home while the owners were away. Robinson ransacked the house but did not take any items.

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Three More Charged in 2002 Kidnap-Murder Of Montebello Girl

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:05 am

Three men have been charged with the 2002 murder of a 15-year-old Montebello girl who was kidnapped on her way to school, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today.

Eddie Chavira (dob 2/4/85), Daniel Cervantes (dob 3/12/80) and George Barraza (dob 3/28/80) are charged along with co-defendant Rosemary Chavira (dob 7/3/87) in case BA434138, said Deputy District Attorneys Victor Avila and Eileen Kim, who are prosecuting the case.

The complaint alleges that on or between Oct. 7, 2002, and Oct. 18, 2002, Eddie Chavira was in custody for a shooting witnessed by victim Brenda Sierra’s relative. Chavira told a fellow Lott gang member that he was going to have other Lott gang members take care of witnesses. About the same time, he contacted his 15-year-old sister, Rosemary Chavira, to assist in getting other gang members to take care of witnesses.

On Oct. 18, 2002, 15-year-old Brenda Sierra was kidnapped on her way to Schurr High School in Montebello. She was raped and killed. Her body was discovered the next day in the San Bernardino Mountains. The cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. The victim had no ties to gangs, prosecutors said.

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July 29, 2015

Second Man Linked to Medicare Fraud Scheme Pleads Guilty to Federal Money Laundering and Tax Offenses

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:13 am

LOS ANGELES – A Glendale man pleaded guilty today to federal money laundering and tax charges related to a scheme in which he helped launder $1.1 million generated by a health care fraud scheme.

Khachatour Hakobyan, 47, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to commit money laundering and filing a false tax return.

A second defendant in this case – Aram Aramyan, 59, also of Glendale – pleaded guilty on July 13 to the same two felony offenses.

In plea agreements filed in United States District Court, Hakobyan and Aramyan admitted that they deposited over $1.1 million in proceeds derived from a health care fraud scheme into bank accounts in the names of bogus corporations they established “primarily to launder money.” Once the proceeds were deposited, Hakobyan and Aramyan wrote checks from these corporations to themselves and their associates.  Hakobyan and Aramyan further admitted that they cashed some of the checks – and directed their associates to cash others – and returned the cash to the medical entities, typically after deducting a 10 percent commission. In some cases, they deposited the checks into their personal accounts and used the money to pay personal expenses, such as mortgage payments, rent and home remodeling costs.

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GANG MEMBER CHARGED WITH DRIVING RECKLESSLY TO AVOID PEACE OFFICERS AND CAUSING CRASH THAT INJURED PASSENGERS

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:10 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A criminal street gang member was arraigned today on charges of driving recklessly to avoid peace officers and causing a crash that injured his passengers. Alberto Licona, 18, Santa Ana, is charged with one felony count of evading a peace officer and driving against traffic, one felony count of evading while driving recklessly and causing serious bodily injury or death, and sentencing enhancement allegations for criminal street gang activity. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 11 years in state prison. Licona is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing, Aug. 5, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-55, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

At the time of the crime, Licona is accused of being an active member of a criminal street gang.

At approximately 9:20 p.m. on July 26, 2015, Licona is accused of driving eastbound in a Nissan sedan on Highland Street in Santa Ana at 45 mph in a 25 mph speed limit zone with three passengers. Licona is accused of refusing to stop the vehicle and continuing to drive at a high rate of speed when officers from the Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) attempted to perform a traffic stop. SAPD then began a pursuit of the vehicle.

Licona is accused of driving recklessly through residential neighborhoods, including recklessly accelerating through turns and stop signs with the intent of evading SAPD officers. Licona is accused of possessing a firearm and throwing it out of one of the vehicle’s windows into an alleyway. The firearm has not yet been recovered.

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MAN TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR TRAFFICKING 16-YEAR-OLD GIRL TO ENGAGE IN COMMERCIAL SEX ACTS THROUGHOUT CALIFORNIA

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:06 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man is expected to be arraigned today for trafficking a 16-year-old girl to engage in commercial sex acts throughout California. James Justin Williams, 31, Oakland, is charged with one felony count each of human trafficking of a minor, pimping a minor, and pandering with a minor over 16 years old by procuring with a sentencing enhancement for human trafficking by force or fear. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in state prison. The People will request he be held on $1 million bail and is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.

Circumstances of the Case
Williamsis accused of being a human trafficker/pimp who exploits women and/or children for financial gain. Pimps often establish rigid rules that their victims are expected to follow including setting daily quotas that the victims are expected to fulfill. The victims are required to turn over all payment they receive for sex acts from sex purchasers to their pimp. Failure to follow these rules can result in physical and/or emotional abuse.

Between July 1, 2015, and July 26, 2015, Williams is accused of trafficking Jane Doe and taking her to areas known for prostitution and trafficking in Garden Grove, Santa Ana, and Oakland to engage in commercial sex acts with sex purchasers in exchange for money. The defendant is accused of forcing Jane Doe to give all the money she made from commercial sex to the defendant. The defendant is accused of physically assaulting Jane Doe on at least two occasions, verbally abusing her, and watching the victim solicit commercial sex on the streets.

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July 28, 2015

FORMER DANA POINT YACHT BROKER SENTENCED TO SEVEN YEARS IN PRISON FOR DEFRAUDING OVER $1.3 MILLION FROM 26 VICTIMS

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:09 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A former Dana Point yacht broker was convicted and sentenced to seven years in state prison today for stealing over $1.3 million from 26 victims in a fraudulent investment and sale scheme. Edward Sellers Fitzgerald, 62, formerly of Dana Point, pleaded guilty to a court offer to eight felony counts of theft from an elder, 19 felony counts of using untrue statements in the purchase or sale of a security, 17 felony counts of grand theft, and 14 felony counts of issuing non-sufficient checks with the intent to defraud.

Between 2007 and July 2009, Fitzgerald was the owner of a Dana Point yacht brokerage, Dana Island Yacht Sales and Charters. He defrauded 26 victims of over $1.3 million in various investment schemes related to the buying and selling of yachts.

Fitzgerald defrauded some of his victims by securing loans from friends and acquaintances under the false pretense of purchasing boats for resale. He failed to purchase boats as promised, used new investors to pay off previous investors, and stole the money to pay his personal expenses. In some cases, Fitzgerald sold yachts on behalf of clients, embezzled the sale funds from his escrow account, and either failed to return the funds to the victims or issued checks to the victims that were returned as non-sufficient funds. Fitzgerald stole deposits put down by victims for the purchase of boats and failed to return the deposit or secure the sale.

In July 2009, Fitzgerald cleaned out his bank accounts and moved away without telling any of his victims or providing his new location or contact information.

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