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August 31, 2017

Attorney General Becerra Announces Charges Against Adriana Pinnisi in $1 Million Corporate Credit Card Embezzlement Case

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

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced the arraignment of Adriana Pinnisi, after charges were made of grand theft and identity theft in a case of embezzlement from her employer. Pinnisi pled not guilty when she was arraigned on August 28, 2017.

Pinnisi was arrested on August 17, 2017, following an investigation by Attorney General Becerra’s eCrime Unit which found that she allegedly used an American Express Corporate Credit Card from her employer, Signal Products, to make unauthorized purchases for her personal use. Over 12 months – December 3, 2015 to November 12, 2016 – Pinnisi allegedly stole $1,015,350.88.

“Computer-related fraud threatens both businesses and consumers,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Unauthorized purchasing with a corporate credit card is stealing and is something no business owner should have to worry about.”

Pinnisi abused her position as Controller at Signal Products, where she would monitor, approve, and record business-related expenses. After discovering that Pinnisi had stolen from the company, Signal Products also discovered that the records and receipts of her expenses were missing.

The Office of the Attorney General filed a felony complaint in the LA Superior Court charging the defendant with the following three counts: (more…)

CONVICTION UPHELD FOR REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER SERVING LIFE IN PRISON WITHOUT PAROLE FOR SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES MURDER OF 29-YEAR-OLD WOMAN IN THE COURSE OF SEXUAL ASSAULT

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – The California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division Three, affirmed a judgment today of the Superior Court of Orange County by the Honorable Steven D. Bromberg for the special circumstances murder conviction of a man who killed a 29-year-old woman in the course of sexually assaulting her in a Stanton motel room. Charles Patrick Drew, 67, was found guilty by a jury on Sept. 15, 2015,of one felony count of special circumstances murder in the commission of rape, sodomy, oral copulation, and sexual penetration by foreign object, one felony count each of rape of an unconscious person, sodomy of unconscious victim, oral copulation of unconscious person, sexual penetration by foreign object of unconscious victim, and aggravated assault. The defendant’s two prior strike convictions for forcible rape and assault with a deadly weapon in Orange County in 1995 were found to be true. He was sentenced to life in state prison without the possibility of parole on Oct. 23, 2015.

In publishing this opinion, the Court of Appeal established for the first time in California that the felony murder rule can be based on a defendant failing to perform a certain act, and not just based on doing a specific act. The opinion stated in part, “Appellant is correct that the precedential landscape here is not lush … We see no reason in law or logic why the felony murder rule, when otherwise applicable, cannot be applied when the victim dies as a result of inaction by defendant.”

“This decision is a great victory for crime victims and prosecutors throughout the state,” stated District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “This victim suffered terribly at the defendant’s hands. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office is proud to establish the precedent of holding a defendant accountable for first degree murder based on failure to seek medical assistance for the victim when there is a duty to do so.”

Circumstances of the Case

  • Sometime between March 17, 2012, and March 18, 2012, Drew stayed in a rented motel room at Motel 6 in Stanton with 29-year-old Amber Oceja, under the guise that he was the victim’s care-taker.
  • During that time, Drew brutally sexually assaulted the victim while she was unconscious in a diabetic coma, including rape, sodomy, and oral copulation. (more…)

North Hollywood Man Sentenced for Raping Two Elderly Women

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

A 33-year-old man was sentenced today to 50 years to life in state prison for raping two elderly women during two separate burglaries, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Elena Abramson of the Elder Abuse Section said Danilo Arturo Gonzalez pleaded no contest on Aug. 7 to two counts each of forcible rape and assault by means of force likely to cause great bodily injury.

Gonzalez also admitted allegations that he committed the rapes during the commission of a burglary and against more than one victim.

In September 2015, Gonzalez entered a Northridge house and startled a 71-year-old woman who had just returned home. He dragged the woman to a bedroom where he raped her, the prosecutor said.

On May 13, 2016, Gonzalez broke into a senior living center in Northridge during the night and raped an 89-year-old woman. A caretaker came to the victim’s aid and called 911, the prosecutor added.

Gonzalez also was convicted of attacking another woman in her 80s at the same senior living center in July 2015 and a 91-year-old man in October 2015 at another apartment building for seniors in North Hollywood, near the defendant’s home, the prosecutor said.

Case PA086333 was investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Robbery-Homicide Division.

Los Angeles District Attorney / Case PA086333 / August 30, 2017

August 30, 2017

Long Beach Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Narcotics Charges, including Distribution of Pills Manufactured with Fentanyl Analogue

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:50 am

LOS ANGELES – The leader of a narcotics-distribution ring pleaded guilty this morning to federal drug trafficking charges and admitted importing a powerful synthetic opioid from China that was used to produce homemade pills that were distributed in bulk across the nation.

Gary Resnik, 32, of Long Beach, led a conspiracy that imported acetylfentanyl, a drug very similar to fentanyl, a powerful and highly addictive opioid. Acetylfentanyl, which is many times more potent that heroin, is not approved for any use in the United States.

Resnik pleaded guilty to two felony offenses – conspiracy to manufacture and distribute narcotics (including acetylfentanyl and ecstasy), and possession with the intent to distribute acetylfentanyl.

In a plea agreement filed in federal court, Resnik admitted importing from China bulk chemicals that were used to manufacture narcotics, including acetylfenatnyl. The drug organization also obtained pill presses from China that were used illegally to make tablets in labs in Long Beach and Baldwin Park. Resnik acknowledged that DEA agents seized over 9 kilograms of acetylfentanyl from the organization. (more…)

DRUNKEN DRIVER CONVICTED OF CRASHING INTO ORANGE POLICE OFFICER WHO WAS STANDING BEHIND PATROL VEHICLE

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:47 am
SANTA ANA, Calif. – A drunken driver was convicted today of crashing into an Orange Police Department officer who was standing behind his patrol vehicle on a residential street.

Defendant Charges Maximum Sentence Court Date
Ashley Victoria Bertolino, 27, Tustin Pleaded guilty today to the following felony counts:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs causing bodily injury
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury
  • Driving with a blood alcohol level of .08% or more causing bodily injury

Sentencing Enhancements

  • Inflicting great bodily injury
Three years in state prison Sentencing

Oct. 24, 2017, 9:00 a.m.

Department C-49, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana

Circumstances of the Case

  • At approximately 3:00 a.m. on Dec. 10, 2016, three officers from the Orange Police Department (OPD) responded to a call for service on a residential street.
  • While at the scene, Officer Doe stood near the back of his patrol vehicle, which was parked alongside the curb, to gather paperwork.
  • Bertolino had a blood alcohol level of .13 percent and was under the influence of drugs while driving 40 mph in a 25 mph zone.

The defendant drifted towards the curb and crashed into Officer Doe and the back of his patrol vehicle. (more…)

Former Coach Sentenced for Sexually Assaulting Students

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:44 am

A former coach with LA’s Best after school program was sentenced today to 105 years to life in state prison for molesting seven girls while he worked at two elementary schools, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Ronnie Lee Roman, 44, of San Fernando was found guilty on June 7 of seven counts of lewd act on a child and a special allegation of multiple victims was found to be true.

Deputy District Attorney Whelma Llanos of the Sex Crimes Division prosecuted the case.

According to evidence presented at trial, the incidents involving five victims occurred between January 2012 and September 2014 when Roman worked at Cahuenga Elementary School in Los Angeles. Between August 2001 and July 2002, he sexually molested one girl while he worked at Vine Elementary in Hollywood.

Six of the sexual assaults happened on school grounds and a seventh occurred at a victim’s home. The victims were between the ages of 8 to 11 years old when the incidents occurred, the prosecutor said. (more…)

August 29, 2017

Long Beach Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Narcotics Charges, including Distribution of Pills Manufactured with Fentanyl Analogue

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

LOS ANGELES – The leader of a narcotics-distribution ring pleaded guilty this morning to federal drug trafficking charges and admitted importing a powerful synthetic opioid from China that was used to produce homemade pills that were distributed in bulk across the nation.

Gary Resnik, 32, of Long Beach, led a conspiracy that imported acetylfentanyl, a drug very similar to fentanyl, a powerful and highly addictive opioid. Acetylfentanyl, which is many times more potent that heroin, is not approved for any use in the United States.

Resnik pleaded guilty to two felony offenses – conspiracy to manufacture and distribute narcotics (including acetylfentanyl and ecstasy), and possession with the intent to distribute acetylfentanyl.

In a plea agreement filed in federal court, Resnik admitted importing from China bulk chemicals that were used to manufacture narcotics, including acetylfenatnyl. The drug organization also obtained pill presses from China that were used illegally to make tablets in labs in Long Beach and Baldwin Park. Resnik acknowledged that DEA agents seized over 9 kilograms of acetylfentanyl from the organization. (more…)

79-YEAR-OLD MAN CONVICTED AND FOUND LEGALLY SANE IN SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES SHOOTING-MURDER OF DOCTOR IN NEWPORT BEACH MEDICAL OFFICE

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

SANTA ANA – A man convicted of special circumstances murder for shooting his doctor in a Newport Beach medical office was found by a jury to be legally sane today.

Defendant Charges Maximum Sentence Court Date
Stanwood Fred Elkus, 79, Lake Elisnore Found guilty by a jury on Aug. 21, 2017, of one felony count of:

  • First degree murder

Sentencing Enhancement Found True:

  • Special circumstances – lying in wait
  • Personal use of a firearm causing death
Life in state prison without the possibility of parole Sentencing

Sept. 15, 2017, 9:00 a.m.

Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana

Circumstances of the Case

  • In 1992, Elkus was diagnosed with a narrow urethra by victim Dr. Ronald Gilbert.
  • Gilbert recommended that the defendant undergo a procedure to widen his urethra and the operation was performed by two different doctors. (more…)

“Pretty Little Liars” Actor Sentenced for Pointing Gun at Neighbor

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

An actor with a recurring role on the television show “Pretty Little Liars” was sentenced today to 180 days in jail for pointing a gun at a neighbor during a dispute, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Matthew Vodnoy said Brandon William Jones, 29, of North Hills today pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor count of assault with a firearm in case PA086095.

Jones also was immediately sentenced to three years summary probation, 30 days of community labor and 26 anger management classes.

On Oct. 30, 2015, Jones exhibited a handgun during a dispute with a neighbor at his home, the prosecutor said. The defendant also pointed a handgun at a neighbor during a different neighborhood dispute on March 24, 2016, the prosecutor added.

The case was investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department, Devonshire Station.

Los Angeles District Attorney / case PA086095 / August 28, 2017

August 28, 2017

Palm Desert Man Arrested in Stock Scheme that Targeted Nearly 100 Elderly Victims across U.S. and Allegedly Caused over $1 Million in Losses

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

SANTA ANA, California – A Palm Desert man who is accused of running a stock investment scheme that allegedly defrauded more than 90 victims out of more than $1 million has been arrested on federal fraud charges.

Robert Mark Seibert, 64, was arrested in Bermuda Dunes Wednesday afternoon by FBI agents.

The arrest of Seibert was announced today by Acting United States Attorney Sandra R. Brown and Danny Kennedy, the FBI’s Acting Assistant Director in Charge of the Los Angeles Field Office.

Seibert, who allegedly used the alias “John Grey” when communicating with his victims, was arrested pursuant to a 16-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury on August 16.

Seibert had an initial appearance yesterday afternoon in United States District Court in Santa Ana, where a United States Magistrate Judge ordered him held without bond. Seibert pleaded not guilty to the charges in the indictment, and a trial was scheduled for October 17. (more…)

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