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January 19, 2018

Attorney General Becerra: Retailer Sentenced to Prison for $5.6 Million Fraud Scheme

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

LOS ANGELES – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced today that Jeong Kim, the owner and operator of Fashion Q and Q retail clothing stores throughout Southern California, was sentenced to two years in prison for sales tax evasion, false income tax returns, failure to pay taxes and workers’ compensation fraud. Attorney General Becerra filed a felony complaint against Kim in the Los Angeles Superior Court on June 19, 2017.

“Like the rest of us, businesses must pay their taxes. Tax evasion is a crime,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Failing to pay payroll taxes, sales taxes, and workers compensation insurance hurts employees, our local communities, and businesses that are playing by the rules. The California Department of Justice will continue to hold criminals accountable and protect the pockets of Californians who pay their fair share.”

Jeong Kim owned and operated more than fifty retail clothing stores in Los Angeles, Orange, San Diego, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. From 2010 through 2016, Kim failed to report more than $29 million in taxable sales to the Department of Tax and Fee Administration, more than $39 million in taxable income to the Franchise Tax Board, more than $8 million in wages to the Employment Development Department, and evaded payment of $5.6 million in sales, income and payroll tax. Kim also failed to report more than $7 million in wages to his insurance carriers and evaded payment of $353,792 in workers’ compensation insurance.

The Department of Justice, Department of Tax and Fee Administration, Franchise Tax Board, and Employment Development Department pursued this case in partnership as part of the Tax Recovery and Criminal Enforcement (TRaCE) Task Force. On July 18, 2017, Kim entered a guilty plea to four counts. He has paid $7,636,725 in restitution, including tax, interest, insurance premiums, and the cost of investigation.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra  / Wednesday, January 17, 2018

MAN CHARGED WITH HATE CRIMES FOR YELLING RACIAL SLURS AT GYM MANAGER AND SPITTING ON BREA POLICE OFFICER

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:58 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was charged with hate crimes and arraigned today for yelling racial slurs at gym employees and spitting on a Brea Police Department (BPD) officer.

Defendant Charges Maximum Sentence Court Date
Erik Lee Overturf, 33, La Habra Charged today with: Felony

  • Hate crime (Assault) with present ability to commit violent injury

Misdemeanor

  • Violation of civil rights
  • Battery on a peace officer
Three years in state prison Pre-trial Jan. 25, 2018, 8:30 a.m. Department N-3, North Justice Center, Fullerton

Circumstances of the Case

  • At approximately 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 12, 2018, Overturf is accused of entering a gym in Brea where his membership was previously revoked due multiple instances of disruptive behavior. (more…)

Youth Boxing Coach to be Arraigned in Sex Assault Case

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

A former Olympic gold medalist and youth boxing coach is scheduled to be arraigned today on charges that he sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl last year, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Paul Gonzales (dob 4/18/64) is expected to be arraigned in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center. He is charged in case BA464024 with four counts of lewd act upon a child and one count each of attempted lewd act upon a child, possession of child pornography, distributing or showing pornography to a minor and contact with a minor for sexual offense.

Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Hall Cops of the Sex Crimes Division is prosecuting the case.

Gonzales, who won a gold medal in boxing at the 1984 Summer Olympics, worked at the Eddie Heredia Boxing Club in East Los Angeles. He occasionally trained the 13-year-old victim and allegedly committed the crimes between May and December 2017.

If convicted as charged, he faces a possible maximum sentence of 18 years and four months in state prison. (more…)

January 18, 2018

FORMER CLASSMATE CHARGED WITH MURDERING 19-YEAR-OLD BLAZE BERNSTEIN AND BURYING HIS BODY IN SHALLOW GRAVE IN BORREGO PARK

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A former classmate of 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein was charged today with murdering the victim and burying his body in a shallow grave in Borrego Park in Lake Forest.

Defendant Charges Maximum Sentence Court Date
Samuel Lincoln Woodward, 20, Newport Beach Charged today with:

  • One felony count of murder

Sentencing Enhancement

  • Personal use of a knife
26 years to life in state prison Arraignment

Jan. 17, 2018, 1:30 p.m.

Department C-5, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana

Circumstances of the Case

  • At approximately 11:00 p.m. on Jan. 2, 2018, Woodward is accused of picking up the victim, 19-year-old University of Pennsylvania student Blaze Bernstein, from his residence in Lake Forest. The victim and the defendant knew each other from attending Orange County School of the Arts in Santa Ana. (more…)

Attorney General Becerra: Central Valley Sex Traffickers Plead Guilty

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

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced that defendants Quinton Brown and Gerald Turner have pled guilty to multiple felony charges of sex trafficking of a minor.  The defendants entered guilty pleas in Tulare County Superior Court. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Quinton Brown is expected to serve a 28-year sentence, and Gerald Turner is expected to serve an 11-year sentence. The third defendant, Mia McNeil, is expected back in court on February 26.

“These guilty pleas are a prime example of how we will fight to ensure that justice is served upon those who commit the heinous crime of sex trafficking,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Delivering justice for victims of these crimes is a top priority for me as Attorney General. I want to thank all of the law enforcement agents and officers throughout the State who worked tirelessly on this investigation and who work every day to ensure Californians are safe. My team will continue to work to protect victims from sex trafficking and prosecute those who profit from the exploitation of human beings.”

In July 2017, Attorney General Becerra filed 54 felony charges against Brown, Turner and McNeil, following a six-month investigation by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles Regional Human Trafficking Task Force, and the Division of Law Enforcement of the California Department of Justice. The criminal complaint alleged that Brown lured victims from the Central Valley and trafficked them throughout the State.  It also alleged that Turner trafficked minors in the Central Valley and that McNeil fraudulently procured luxury vehicles and apartments used to facilitate the trafficking. The victims, including eight minors, were sold for commercial sex throughout the Central Valley, Bay Area and Los Angeles.

Victims and survivors of human trafficking are encouraged to call any police department or the National Human Trafficking Resource Center at (888) 373-7888.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra / Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Attorney General Becerra Urges Congress to Incorporate $6.7 Billion Cannabis Industry into Banking System

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

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today joined a bipartisan group of 18 state attorneys general in urging Congress to advance legislation that will enable the cannabis industry to participate in the banking system in states that have legalized medicinal or adult use of cannabis. The recent decision by the Trump Department of Justice to rescind prior federal guidance rolled back critical protections for the legal cannabis industry.

“California voters have made it clear: when it comes to the cannabis industry, California is moving forward, not backwards,” said Attorney General Becerra. “This is an issue that is impacting both red and blue states. The future of small and local licensed businesses has been clouded by the Trump Administration’s relentless attacks on progress, in conflict with the will of voters. Congress has the power to protect a growing $6.7 billion industry and the public safety of our communities. My team at the Department of Justice is committed to implementing and enforcing the law in California in a way that most effectively protects the health and safety of our people.”

California, along with 28 other states and several U.S. territories, has legalized the medical use of cannabis. However, under the Controlled Substance Act and certain federal banking statutes, banks providing services to state-licensed cannabis businesses can be subject to criminal and civil liability, as the federal government classifies cannabis as an illegal substance. Accordingly, financial institutions are reluctant to provide services to cannabis businesses operating legally within their state jurisdiction. Forced to operate on a cash basis, cannabis businesses are left vulnerable to criminal targeting. Additionally, law enforcement is less able to track potential financial crimes, and it is more difficult for businesses to pay—and for the state to collect—tax deposits.

In their letter, the Attorneys General note that the enactment of legislation such as the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act would not only bring billions of dollars into the banking sector, but would also give law enforcement greater ability to monitor transactions. Moreover, compliance with tax requirements would be simpler and easier to enforce with a better-defined tracking of funds. This would, in turn, result in higher tax revenue. (more…)

January 17, 2018

Deputy Sheriff, Three Cohorts Arrested in Drug Trafficking Scheme After Agreeing to Provide Security for Narcotics Shipments

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 9:29 pm

LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles County deputy sheriff who allegedly agreed on two occasions to oversee the delivery of narcotics and other contraband in exchange for cash payments was arrested this morning, along with three other men, on federal narcotics charges.

Special agents with the Federal Bureau Investigation this morning arrested Deputy Sheriff Kenneth Collins and the other three after they arrived in Pasadena, allegedly to provide “security” for the transport of nearly 45 pounds of cocaine and more than 13 pounds of methamphetamine. During the FBI’s undercover investigation, Collins allegedly agreed that he and his team would accompany the narcotics and take calculated steps to prevent legitimate law enforcement from intercepting the drugs – in exchange for cash payments as high as $250,000.

Collins and two other men were charged in a federal criminal complaint filed last week. Collins and these two co-defendants allegedly provided security in November for the transport of what they thought was six kilograms of methamphetamine, as well as marijuana and counterfeit cigarettes.

In justifying the high fees for his services, Collins allegedly told an undercover FBI agent “we’re cops” and “all of our transports make it through.”

Those named in the complaint are: (more…)

Justice Department Files Notice to Appeal and Intends to Petition for Immediate Supreme Court Review in DACA Lawsuit

Filed under: Uncategorized — fayarfa @ 4:04 am

The Department of Justice today filed a notice of appeal in The Regents of the University of California and Janet Napolitano v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Elaine Duke seeking review before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Department also intends later this week to take the rare step of filing a petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment, seeking direct review in the Supreme Court.

“It defies both law and common sense for DACA—an entirely discretionary non-enforcement policy that was implemented unilaterally by the last administration after Congress rejected similar legislative proposals and courts invalidated the similar DAPA policy—to somehow be mandated nationwide by a single district court in San Francisco,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “It is clear that Acting Secretary Duke acted within her discretion to rescind this policy with an orderly wind down. This was done both to give Congress an opportunity to act on this issue and in light of ongoing litigation in which the injunction against DAPA had already been affirmed by the Supreme Court. We are now taking the rare step of requesting direct review on the merits of this injunction by the Supreme Court so that this issue may be resolved quickly and fairly for all the parties involved.”

Topic(s): Immigration Component(s):

Office of the Attorney General Press Release Number: 18 – 42 Updated January 16, 2018

Northern District of California DOJ / 18-42 / January 16, 2018

Man Charged with Capital Murder in Los Angeles Slaying, Blaze

Filed under: Uncategorized — fayarfa @ 3:54 am

A Los Angeles man was charged today with special circumstance murder and other counts in connection with a fatal stabbing and fire, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Kevyn Ramirez (dob 5/21/88) is expected to be arraigned today in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center. The criminal complaint in case BA464341 includes a special circumstance allegation of murder during the commission of an attempted first-degree robbery and an allegation of personal use of a deadly and dangerous weapon, a knife.

The defendant is additionally charged with two counts of arson with allegations of multiple structures and use of an accelerant. Deputy District Attorneys Rachel Bowers and Holly Harpham of the Arson and Explosives Section are assigned to the case.

Ramirez is accused of killing Victoria Ramos Gutierrez, a transgender woman whom he met online, in the early morning hours of January 10, 2018. Ramirez allegedly stabbed the victim and set ablaze her residence located in the 1700 block of South New Hampshire Avenue in Los Angeles, prosecutors said. (more…)

January 16, 2018

Former Veterans Affairs Official Agrees to Plead Guilty to Federal Charges after Taking Bribes for Years from Parking Lot Operator

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

LOS ANGELES – A former contract officer with the United States Department of Veterans Affairs was charged today with filing a false federal tax return and lying to VA investigators when he denied taking bribes from the operator of parking lots at the VA’s Los Angeles medical campuses.

Ralph Tillman, 58, of Whittier, who was a VA contract officer until he resigned in 2014 after being confronted by special agents with the VA’s Office of Inspector General, was named in a criminal information filed today that charges him with making false statements and subscribing to a false tax return.

In a plea agreement also filed today, Tillman agreed to plead guilty to the two felony offenses and admitted that he took well over $250,000 in bribes from the parking lot operator, Richard Scott, the owner of Westside Services LLC (WSS), which for years had a contract to operate parking lots across the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System (VA GLAHS).

Scott, 58, faces charges – including conspiracy and major fraud against the United States – contained in a 15-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury last month. Scott allegedly paid bribes to Tillman to conceal a scheme in which he allegedly failed to pay the VA more than $11 million generated by his operation of parking facilities at VA GLAHS. The vast majority of the activity authorized under the WSS contract took place at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center near Westwood.

As part of his duties at the VA, Tillman was responsible for managing contracts with “sharing partners,” such as WSS, which were required to perform services for the VA and share revenues with the agency. In his plea agreement, Tillman admitted that he approached Scott in late 2003 and solicited a bribe to pay for a family matter. One to two years later, Scott began making monthly cash payments to Tillman, with Scott personally delivering the bribes in sealed FedEx envelopes, according to the plea agreement. (more…)

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