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October 23, 2017

Operation Jungle Book Targets Wildlife Trafficking, Leading to Federal Criminal Cases and Recovery of Numerous Animal Species

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

LOS ANGELES – Operation Jungle Book, a law enforcement initiative led by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service that targeted wildlife smuggling, has resulted in federal criminal charges against 16 defendants who allegedly participated in the illegal importation and/or transportation of numerous animal species – including a tiger, monitor lizards, cobras, Asian “lucky” fish, turtles, exotic songbirds and several coral species.

“We are combatting an ever-growing black market for exotic animals. An insatiable desire to own examples – both living and dead – of these vulnerable creatures is fueling this black market,” said Acting United States Attorney Sandra R. Brown. “This is a truly international problem that threatens the survival of iconic species and vulnerable animal populations. The United States Attorney’s Office is prosecuting a wide array of cases that highlight the pervasive problem of wildlife trafficking and the associated issues of invasive species, disease transmission and the extinction of certain species.”

In conjunction with the announcement of the criminal cases filed by federal prosecutors based in Los Angeles, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is holding a media event today to showcase the broad range of species that are being smuggled into the United States and recognize its law enforcement and community partners who provide substantial assistance in the fight against wildlife trafficking.

“Wildlife trafficking does not stop at international borders, and it is our duty to protect imperiled species both at home and abroad,” said Ed Grace, USFWS Acting Chief of Law Enforcement. “I commend our special agents who worked collaboratively with our state and federal partners to investigate, arrest, and prosecute these criminals. I would also like to thank the zoos, sanctuaries, and educational centers that shelter, care for, and rehabilitate the live animals we seize. Together, we are saving imperiled animals while bringing to justice those who attempt to profit from the illegal wildlife trade.” (more…)

FRESNO FELON SENTENCED TO THREE YEARS AND EIGHT MONTHS IN PRISON FOR PIMPING YOUNG WOMAN AND ILLEGALLY POSSESSING LOADED FIREARM

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A felon from Fresno was sentenced to three years and eight months in state prison today for pimping a young woman and illegally possessing a loaded firearm.

Defendant Charges Sentence
Adam Rocky Trinidad, 25, Fresno Pleaded guilty on Aug. 10, 2017, to:

Felony

  • Pimping
  • Pandering by procuring
  • Possession of a firearm by a felon
  • Possession of ammunition by a prohibited person

Misdemeanor

  • Possession of a firearm with identification numbers removed

Prior Conviction

  • Possession of a controlled substance for sale in 2012 in Fresno
Three years and eight months in state prison

Circumstances of the Case

  • Trinidad is a pimp who exploits women for financial gain. The victims are typically required to turn over all payment they receive for sex acts from sex purchasers to their pimp.
  • Between Aug. 23, 2016, and Aug. 25, 2016, Trinidad drove 18-year-old Jane Doe from Fresno to areas in Orange County known for human trafficking and prostitution. (more…)

MAN CONVICTED AND SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR 1986 COLD CASE MURDER OF BUSINESS ASSOCIATE

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was convicted and sentenced yesterday to 15 years to life in state prison for the 1986 cold case murder of a business associate in Orange County.

Defendant Charges Sentence
Steven Wyvern White, 67, Florida Pleaded guilty yesterday to the following felony count:

  • Second degree murder
15 years to life in state prison

Circumstances of the Case:

  • In 1986, White, then 29 years old, befriended 79-year-old Cedric Horn, a semi-retired dentist.
  • White persuaded Horn to enter into business dealings with him.
  • Sometime between March 7, 1986, and March 13, 1986, White murdered the victim.
  • After the murder, White attempted to withdraw the victim’s money from a bank account.
  • On April 7, 1986, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) began investigating the victim’s disappearance.
  • OCSD discovered the victim’s car in Houston, Texas, and the passenger seat headrest was soaked in blood. (more…)

October 20, 2017

Attorney General Becerra Announces $120M Multistate Settlement With General Motors Over Defective Ignition Switch

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

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced a $120 million multistate settlement with General Motors Company (GM) over allegations that the company concealed safety issues related to defective ignition switches in GM vehicles. California will be receiving over $7 million. The settlement, reached among the attorneys general of 49 states and the District of Columbia and GM, concludes a multistate investigation into the auto manufacturer’s failure to disclose in a timely manner known safety defects associated with unintended key-rotation and/or ignition-switch related issues in several models and model years of GM vehicles.

“What GM did is inexcusable – it took nearly a decade for the company to inform consumers that its ignition switches were defective,” said Attorney General Becerra. “We are holding GM accountable today for this blatant violation of the law, which threatened the lives of millions of Americans. All companies should be put on notice: the California Department of Justice has zero tolerance for those who put profits over people.”

In 2014, GM issued seven vehicle recalls in response to unintended key-rotation and/or ignition-switch related issues, which have affected over 9 million vehicles in the U.S. The recalls involved a defective ignition switch which, under certain conditions, could move out of the “Run” position to the “Accessory” or “Off” position. If this occurs, the driver experiences a loss of electrical systems, including power steering and power brakes.  If a collision occurs while the ignition switch is in the “Accessory” or “Off” position, the vehicle’s safety airbags may also fail to deploy, increasing the risk of serious injury or death in certain types of crashes in which the airbag was otherwise designed to deploy.

The States alleged that certain employees of GM knew as early as 2004 that the ignition switch posed a safety defect because it could cause airbag non-deployment. However, GM personnel decided it wasn’t a safety concern and delayed making recalls. GM continued to market the reliability and safety of its motor vehicles which were equipped with this defective ignition switch.

(more…)

Lancaster Man Sentenced for Hit-and-Run Death of 11-Year-Old Girl

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

A Lancaster man has been sentenced to 25 years in state prison for killing an 11-year-old girl in a hitand-run crash this summer, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney David Delgado said Eduardo Medrano Jr., 25, was sentenced yesterday. On Sept. 6, Medrano pleaded no contest to one count of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

His girlfriend, Alicia Torres, 23, pleaded no contest on the same day to one count of accessory after the fact, knowledge of crime. She was sentenced yesterday to three years summary probation.

The crash occurred just after midnight on July 18. Medrano drove through a red light on 20th Street East and collided with a vehicle causing Emily T. to be ejected from the victim’s vehicle, the prosecutor said.

Following the collision, Medrano fled the scene. While Medrano was at large, Torres lied to police about her knowledge of Medrano’s whereabouts. (more…)

DUI Driver Pleads to Killing LAPD Officer

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

A 37-year-old woman pleaded no contest today to killing a Los Angeles police officer when her SUV slammed into his motorcycle three years ago, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Qaneak Shaney Cobb entered her plea to one count of second-degree murder. She is scheduled to be sentenced to 15 years to life in state prison on Oct. 30.

Deputy District Attorneys Mary Murray and Garrett Dameron of the Crimes Against Peace Officers Section prosecuted the case.

On April 5, 2014, LAPD Officer Christopher Cortijo was stopped at a red light behind another vehicle at Lankershim Boulevard and Saticoy Street when a Chevrolet Blazer driven by Cobb hit him from behind.

The SUV was traveling about 53 mph at the time of impact, according to prosecutors. The 51-year-old officer was killed when he was crushed between two vehicles. Cobb was driving under the influence of cocaine at the time of the crash, prosecutors added.

Case BA435352 was investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department.

Los Angeles District Attorney / Case BA435352 / October 19, 2017      

October 19, 2017

Orange County CPA Pleads Guilty to Obstructing an IRS Investigation into Tax Returns Seeking Millions of Dollars in Tax Refunds

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

SANTA ANA, California – A certified public accountant who worked at a tax preparation firm in Irvine has pleaded guilty to federal charges resulting from her obstruction of a federal investigation into millions of dollars in tax refunds claimed in tax returns that were prepared by her firm.

Antonia Rios, 52, of Irvine, who was a partner at Quick Rios & Associates, pleaded guilty late yesterday afternoon to one count of attempting to interfere with the administration of the internal revenue laws.

During yesterday’s hearing, Rios admitted that Quick Rios had prepared federal tax returns for approximately 200 clients – including a number of Fortune 500 companies – that cumulatively sought more than $100 million in refunds based on the Telephone Excise Tax Refund – the so-called TETR – which was available to compensate individuals and businesses that paid excess telephone excise taxes from 2003 to 2006.

Rios admitted that she submitted to the Internal Revenue Service altered documents related to TETR to support refunds claimed in the tax returns Quick Rios had prepared for its clients. Rios additionally admitted that, during an April 2011 meeting with IRS auditors, she had presented to IRS personnel a fake email she had fabricated in an attempt to show “proof” that Quick Rios was properly calculating the TETR credit. When the IRS questioned Rios and her business partner about the fake email, Rios and her business partner falsely blamed others at Quick Rios for fabricating the email, instead of admitting that she had done it. (more…)

MAN FOUND GUILTY BY JURY OF ROBBING SEVERAL MARIJUANA DEALERS AT GUNPOINT DURING LARGE SCALE DRUG DEALS AT NEWPORT COAST RESORT

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was found guilty by a jury today of robbing several marijuana dealers at gunpoint during two large scale drug deals at a resort in Newport Coast.

Defendant

Charges

Maximum Sentence

Court Date

Thomas Lamarr Prince, 40, Anaheim

Found guilty by a jury today of the following felony counts:

  • (4) Robbery

Sentencing Enhancements

  • Prior conviction for robbery in Los Angeles in 2015

25 years state prison

Sentencing

Dec. 15, 2017, at 9:00 a.m.

Department C-28, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana

Circumstances of the Case

  • On Feb.18, 2017, and March 21, 2017, Prince met victims in a parking lot in Newport Coast to purchase large quantities of marijuana worth over $100,000.
  • On each occasion, the defendant drove the victims to a nearby resort to conduct the illegal exchange inside a private hotel villa. (more…)

Fontana Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life for Attempting to Kill CHP Officer

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

A Fontana man has admitted that he tried to kill a California Highway Patrol officer in 2015 during a traffic stop in West Covina, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

John Alfred Garcia, 32, pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of attempted murder of a peace officer in case KA110677.

Garcia also admitted discharging a semiautomatic shotgun causing great bodily injury.

The defendant was immediately sentenced to 40 years to life in state prison.

Deputy District Attorneys Jack Garden and Robert Serna of the Crimes Against Peace Officers Section prosecuted the case.

On Sept. 11, 2015, a CHP officer attempted to pull over Garcia who was driving an SUV in West Covina. After the officer approached, a gun battle ensued, resulting in serious injuries to the officer. (more…)

October 18, 2017

Former San Bernardino County Income Tax Preparer Sentenced to Eight Months in Federal Prison for Filing Fraudulent Returns

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

RIVERSIDE, California – A San Bernardino County man who prepared and filed fraudulent tax returns for both his clients and himself that claimed false business losses has been sentenced to serve eight months in federal prison.

Mervyn Gucilatar, 46, of Yucaipa, was sentenced yesterday afternoon by United States District Judge Jesus G. Bernal. In addition to the prison term, Judge Bernal ordered Gucilatar to pay $573,440 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

Gucilatar, who operated his tax preparation business under the name JM Tax Solutions, pleaded guilty in February to one count of aiding and assisting in the preparation of a false tax return and one count of making and subscribing to a false tax return.

According to the plea agreement filed in the case, while working with another unidentified return preparer, Gucilatar prepared fraudulent tax returns that claimed false partnership losses to which his clients were not entitled. The false partnership losses related to a limited liability corporation that was created with no legitimate purpose.

The fraudulent tax returns included personal expenses and fictitious expenses for the partnerships that had no business purpose other than to create a loss. The false losses to the partnerships were passed through to the personal tax returns of Gucilatar’s clients, thereby reducing their income tax liability. (more…)

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