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July 21, 2017

AlphaBay, the Largest Online 'Dark Market,' Shut Down

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

The Justice Department today announced the seizure of the largest criminal marketplace on the Internet, AlphaBay, which operated for over two years on the dark web and was used to sell deadly illegal drugs, stolen and fraudulent identification documents and access devices, counterfeit goods, malware and other computer hacking tools, firearms, and toxic chemicals throughout the world.  The international operation to seize AlphaBay’s infrastructure was led by the United States and involved cooperation and efforts by law enforcement authorities in Thailand, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Canada, the United Kingdom, and France, as well as the European law enforcement agency Europol.

On July 5, Alexandre Cazes aka Alpha02 and Admin, 25, a Canadian citizen residing in Thailand, was arrested by Thai authorities on behalf of the United States for his role as the creator and administrator of AlphaBay.  On July 12, Cazes apparently took his own life while in custody in Thailand.  Cazes was charged in an indictment (1:17-CR-00144-LJO), filed in the Eastern District of California on June 1, with one count of conspiracy to engage in racketeering, one count of conspiracy to distribute narcotics, six counts of distribution of narcotics, one count of conspiracy to commit identity theft, four counts of unlawful transfer of false identification documents, one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud, one count of trafficking in device making equipment, and one count of money laundering conspiracy.  Law enforcement authorities in the United States worked with numerous foreign partners to freeze and preserve millions of dollars’ worth of cryptocurrencies that were the subject of forfeiture counts in the indictment, and that represent the proceeds of the AlphaBay organization’s illegal activities.

On July 19, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California filed a civil forfeiture complaint against Alexandre Cazes and his wife’s assets located throughout the world, including in Thailand, Cyprus, Lichtenstein, and Antigua & Barbuda. Cazes and his wife amassed numerous high value assets, including luxury vehicles, residences and a hotel in Thailand. Cazes also possessed millions of dollars in cryptocurrency, which has been seized by the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

According to publicly available information on AlphaBay prior to its takedown, one AlphaBay staff member claimed that it serviced over 200,000 users and 40,000 vendors.  Around the time of takedown, there were over 250,000 listings for illegal drugs and toxic chemicals on AlphaBay, and over 100,000 listings for stolen and fraudulent identification documents and access devices, counterfeit goods, malware and other computer hacking tools, firearms and fraudulent services. Comparatively, the Silk Road dark web marketplace, which was seized by law enforcement in November 2013, had reportedly approximately 14,000 listings for illicit goods and services at the time of seizure and was the largest dark web marketplace at the time.

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California Resident Indicted for Impeding the Internal Revenue Laws and Filing False Tax Returns that Did Not Report Secret German and Israeli Accounts

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

A Beverly Hills, California resident was indicted by a federal grand jury in the Central District of California for corruptly endeavoring to impede the internal revenue laws, filing false tax returns, filing false reports regarding his offshore bank accounts and making false statements to a federal agent, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Sandra R. Brown for the Central District of California.

The indictment charges that from 2006 through 2014, Teymour Khoubian impeded the administration of the internal revenue laws. According to the indictment, Khoubian filed false individual tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for tax years 2005 through 2010 that did not report his financial interest in multiple Israeli and German bank accounts or the interest income that he earned from those accounts. He also allegedly falsely claimed refundable tax credits to which he was not entitled, including the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is intended for low-to moderate-income working individuals. In 2008, Khoubian is alleged to have held approximately $20 million in assets in his undisclosed accounts. The indictment charges that Khoubian also filed a false 2011 tax return that underreported the interest income he earned from his Israeli accounts and continued to fail to disclose that he held an account in Germany. Khoubian is also alleged to have filed false 2012 and 2013 Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts forms (FBARs) with the U.S. Department of Treasury that concealed his German account. U.S. citizens, resident aliens, and permanent legal residents with a foreign financial interest in or signatory authority over a foreign financial account worth more than $10,000 are required to file an FBAR disclosing the account.

In addition to filing false tax returns and FBARs, Khoubian allegedly provided his German bank with a copy of his Iranian passport and a residential address located in Israel to prevent the bank from disclosing the account to the IRS. He also allegedly sent a letter to Bank Leumi falsely claiming he was living in Iran when, in fact, he resided in Beverly Hills, California.

Khoubian is also charged with making false statements to an IRS Criminal Investigation (CI) special agent – denying that he owned an account in Germany between 2005 and 2010, stating that the German account was closed, when it was in fact still open, and stating that the funds had been transferred to the United States, when Khoubian had allegedly transferred over $600,000 from his German account to his accounts in Israel.

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OCDA SEEKING PUBLIC’S HELP IDENTIFYING POTENTIAL ADDITIONAL VICTIMS OF “MUSIC TOWN” TEACHER CHARGED TODAY WITH COMMITTING LEWD ACTS ON TWO STUDENTS UNDER SEVEN YEARS OLD

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – The Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) is seeking the public’s help in identifying potential additional victims of a music teacher who was charged today with committing lewd and lascivious acts on two students under the age of 14 from his music school, “Music Town.”

Defendant Charges Maximum Exposure Court Date
Randal “Randy” Letcher Scott, 57, Irvine Felony

  • (2) Lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14

Sentencing Enhancements

  • Multiple victims
  • Substantial sexual contact with a child

  • 30 years to life in state prison
  • Lifetime sex offender registration
Arraignment

July 20, 2017, 10:00 a.m.

Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana

Circumstances of the Case

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July 20, 2017

SAN JOSE FELON SENTENCED TO 31 YEARS IN PRISON FOR HUMAN TRAFFICKING, PIMPING AND PANDERING TWO MINORS AND SIX WOMEN USING FIREARM, INTIMIDATION, AND DRUGS

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A San Jose felon was sentenced to 31 years and six months in state prison yesterday for human trafficking, pimping, and pandering two minors and six additional women using a firearm, intimidation, and drugs.

Defendant Charges Sentence
Ariel Cuellar Guizar, 36, San Jose Pleaded guilty on July 18, 2017, to felony:

  • (4) Pimping
  • (3) Pandering as an inmate in a house of prostitution
  • (2) Human trafficking of a minor
  • (2) Human trafficking
  • Forcible rape
  • Sodomy of a minor over the age of 14
  • Pimping a minor
  • Pandering a minor under 16 years old
  • Furnishing a controlled substance to a minor
  • Possession of a firearm by a felon

Sentencing Enhancement

  • Personal use of a firearm

Prior Convictions

  • Possession of a firearm by a felon
  • Obstructing or resisting a peace officer in Santa Clara County in 2009
  • 31 years and six months in state prison
  • Lifetime sex offender registration

Circumstances of the Case

Guizar is a human trafficker/pimp. In the pimp/prostitution subculture, pimps exploit women and/or children for financial gain and often assign ranks to the women they exploit. The victims are often 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.

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Man Charged With Attempted Murder, Assault During SWAT Shootout

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

A suspected gang member is expected to be arraigned today on attempted murder and other charges after opening fire on SWAT officers last month, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Jose Rauda (dob 4/4/83) was charged in case BA458353 with 46 counts, including 19 counts of attempted murder on police officers. He also faces charges of assault with a firearm upon a peace officer, assault with a firearm, assaulting a police animal causing injury and possession of a firearm by a felon. He is scheduled to be arraigned today in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

Deputy District Attorney Mary Murray of the Crimes Against Peace Officers Section is prosecuting the case.

On June 15, police were about to start a probation search in the 400 block of East 49th Street, when gunfire erupted from inside a house. Several officers returned fire and Rauda was allegedly seen running from the home. No one was wounded.

After trying to locate Rauda for about two hours, he was believed to be hiding in a trash can in a backyard. A police dog was sent to investigate and was allegedly shot once in the hind leg, prosecutors said.

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Woman Pleads to Kidnapping Children of Slain Mother

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

A 22-year-old woman has pleaded no contest to kidnapping three young children of her half-sister who was killed last August, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today.

Brittney Sue Humphrey entered an open plea yesterday to three counts of kidnapping. In an open plea, the defendant pleads to the court without negotiating a settlement with the District Attorney’s Office.

She is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 7 and faces up to 26 years and four months in state prison.

Deputy District Attorney Tal Kahana with the Child Abduction Section is prosecuting the case.

Humphrey and her 27-year-old boyfriend, Joshua Robertson, allegedly kidnapped the three young children of Kimberly Harvill in August 2016. The three children were ages 5, 3 and 2 when the crime occurred.

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July 19, 2017

How much does a DUI cost? And what’s a fair price?

Filed under: California Defense Attorney, Los Angeles Drug Attorney — fayarfa @ 9:22 am

The price of a DUI is always going to vary based on multiple factors such as criminal charges, details of the case, and the attorney representing you. While there is no exact price tag for a DUI, it is guaranteed to be a hefty number. You will be hit with a whirlwind of fee’s that you would never even think of until you’re faced with a DUI. To begin with, you must put up money for bail which can range from either a few hundred up to several thousand dollars. While this will be returned to you, the subsequent fees for booking and fingerprinting, vehicle towing and impoundment, and increased car insurance will not.

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Director of South Korea’s Earthquake Research Center Convicted in L.A. of Money Laundering Stemming from Million Dollar Bribe Scheme

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

LOS ANGELES – A former director of South Korea’s Earthquake Research Center at the Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM) has been found guilty of using a Southern California bank account to launder bribes he received from two seismological companies, including one based in Pasadena.

Heon-Cheol Chi, 59, of South Korea, was convicted late yesterday of one count of transacting in criminally derived property, an offense that carries a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.

Chi was convicted of the money laundering charge following a four-day jury trial in United States District Court. The jury that issued the guilty verdict was unable to reach a unanimous decision on five other money laundering charges.

According to the evidence presented at trial, Chi laundered funds that were the proceeds of bribes he accepted in violation of South Korea law.

“The American financial system is not to be used as a storehouse for the proceeds of corrupt activity,” said Acting United States Attorney Sandra R. Brown. “This defendant used a bank account here in Southern California to conceal over one million dollars in bribe money obtained through the abuse of his public position. This conviction sends a message that should be heard around the world.”

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Crips Gangster Sentenced to 30 Years in Federal Prison after Being Convicted in Racketeering and Crack Cocaine Conspiracies

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

LOS ANGELES – A member of the Five Deuce Broadway Gangster Crips (BGC) – who was found guilty by a jury last year of conspiring to engage in racketeering activities, which included him selling crack cocaine on Skid Row – has been sentenced to 360 months in federal prison.

Tony Gordon, also known as “Wodi,” 36, of Freeport, Illinois, who has a lengthy criminal history that includes three prior felony narcotics convictions, was sentenced yesterday by United States District Judge S. James Otero.

Gordon was convicted late last year of conspiring to violate the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. Members of conspiracy engaged in murders, robberies, witness and informant intimidation, and narcotics sales. The jury further convicted Gordon of agreeing to distribute approximately 10 ounces of crack cocaine, as well as marijuana.

Gordon “was also a long time crack cocaine seller who preyed on the most vulnerable of the most vulnerable,” prosecutors wrote in sentencing papers filed with the court. Gordon “purposely traveled from his own neighborhood to infiltrate the Skid Row area of downtown, despite its own dangers, where, as established at trial, defendant sold directly adjacent to substance abuse recovery centers and mental health centers. Defendant purposefully and thoughtfully capitalized on these individuals’ most debilitating vice.”

During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence of Gordon’s membership in BGC and in the “Gremlin Riderz,” the gang’s violent “hit squad.” The jury saw videos of Gordon at gang meetings providing guidance on how the gang should operate, at one point bragging that he solved problems “the best way I can” – through “violence.” Other videos showed Gordon describing shooting at gang rivals, recounting a home invasion robbery, and discussing how to discipline gang “snitches.”

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Head of Rehab Program Charged with Murder of Patient

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

A man who operates an alcohol live-in program has been charged with the death of a man who was under the rehab’s care last year, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Jason Aviles (dob 3/20/91) of Long Beach faces one count of murder in case BA458474.

Aviles is scheduled to be arraigned today in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center. The case was filed for warrant on June 22.

Victim José Sandoval, 60, checked into the Grupo Renacer rehab facility on Aug. 11, 2016, prosecutors said. On Aug. 15, 2016, the defendant, who has no professional medical training, allegedly blocked Sandoval’s airway using a spoon and tape and stood on the agitated victim’s chest, prosecutors added.

Sandoval died of asphyxia, prosecutors said.

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