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February 9, 2016

FORMER TREASURER FOR YOUTH SOCCER CLUB ORGANIZATION CONVICTED OF EMBEZZLING AND LAUNDERING OVER $174,000

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 1:23 am

FULLERTON, Calif. – A former treasurer for a youth soccer club organization was convicted and sentenced today for embezzling and laundering over $174,000 from the organization. Laura Alicia Zellerbach, 41, Long Beach, pleaded guilty today to one felony count of embezzlement by fiduciary of trust, one felony count of falsifying records, one felony count of money laundering, and one felony count of computer access and fraud, with a sentencing enhancement for property damage or loss over $65,000. She was sentenced today to five years formal probation, one year in jail, and ordered to pay $227,000 in restitution. The defendant has returned $106,000 in restitution prior to her sentencing today.

Between April 2013 and January 2015, Zellerbach served as treasurer for the Fullerton Rangers Youth Soccer Club (FRYSC). She had access to all of the individual team accounts and club organization accounts. At the time of the crime, she handled the finances for a business she and her husband owned, Zellcorp Inc. dba Restaurant Packaging Group.

Zellerbach embezzled over $174,000 from FRYSC by transferring money from the various team accounts into her own personal account, withdrawing FRYSC’s money at a bank or ATM, and through debit card transactions.

She laundered the embezzled money by transferring the funds into her personal accounts and using the money as capital loans from her personal account to fund Zellcorp Inc. She withdrew over $20,000 for a cashier’s check to partially pay for a European vacation for her children. Zellerbach resigned as treasurer after FRYSC board members began questioning her about the organization’s finances.

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February 8, 2016

Operator of ‘Document Mill’ that Produced Bogus Credentials for Port Workers and Other Fake IDs Arrested on Federal Charges

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

LOS ANGELES – A Porter Ranch man who allegedly operated a “document mill” in Sylmar that produced fake IDs – including the credentials used to access secure areas of the Port of Los Angeles – has been arrested on federal charges of illegally manufacturing the counterfeit documents.

Brian Allen Dunmore, 54, was arrested Wednesday by special agents with the United States Coast Guard Investigative Services (CGIS), which is involved in an ongoing investigation into document mills that manufacture fraudulent identification, such as Transportation Worker Identification Credentials (TWICs), which are needed to access secure areas of the Port of Los Angeles.

Dunmore was arrested pursuant to a criminal complaint filed on Monday that charges him with one count of unlawfully possessing and producing an authentication feature. At his initial appearance Wednesday afternoon in United States District Court, Dunmore was ordered detained (held without bond), in part because he is a previously convicted felon who had a cache of firearms at his Porter Ranch residence.

“Our national security depends in part upon our ability to restrict access to sensitive areas, including significant transportation hubs such as the Port of Los Angeles,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Here, false identification documents were given to unauthorized individuals by a person who also illegally possessed an arsenal of high-powered weapons, making this crime extremely serious.”

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Orange County Man Faces Nearly 200 Years in Prison after Being Convicted of Federal Charges in Mortgage Fraud Scheme

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

SANTA ANA, California – A federal jury today convicted an Orange County man for leading a “builder bailout” real estate scheme that resulted in the fraudulent purchase of more than 100 condominium units around the country with mortgages that mostly went into default, resulting in foreclosures and millions of dollars in losses.

Momoud Aref Abaji, 34, of Huntington Beach, was convicted this afternoon in United States District Court of conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, five counts of wire fraud, and two counts of tax evasion. Five of Abaji’s co-conspirators have already been convicted, and one, Wajieh Tbakhi, remains a fugitive.

“Abaji’s fraud cost these financial institutions millions of dollars and put taxpayer funds at risk,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “The Department of Justice is dedicated to protecting the public fisc from this type of fraud.”

Abaji and his co-conspirators operated the scheme through Excel Investments and related companies in Santa Ana and then Irvine. In the scheme, Abaji and his co-conspirators identified condominium developments in which the developers were struggling to sell units and then arranged with the developers to purchase the units in return for large commissions. The developers benefitted by making it appear that their condos were selling and maintaining their value, while Abaji and his co-conspirators benefitted from the hefty commissions that they received, which were concealed from the mortgage lenders. The defendants recruited a number of straw buyers to purchase the properties as “investors,” and ensured that they qualified for financing by filing false loan applications on their behalf.

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MAN SENTENCED TO 50 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR SHOOTING-MURDER OF FRIEND AS VICTIM SAT IN HIS CAR IN BUENA PARK

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was sentenced to 50 years to life in state prison today for the shooting murder of his friend as the victim sat in his car in Buena Park. Jonathan Peterson, 35, Buena Park, was found guilty by a jury Nov. 18, 2015, of one felony count of first degree murder, and a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm was found to be true. The court heard a bifurcated trial today and the defendant’s prior prison convictions for possession of a controlled substance and being an active participant in a criminal street gang carrying a loaded firearm in public in 2004 in Orange County and domestic violence in 2010 in Los Angeles County were found to be true.

Co-defendant Jihad Qahir Nasir Jones, 31, Anaheim, pleaded guilty Nov. 17, 2015, to one felony count of being an accessory after the fact with sentencing enhancements for prior strike convictions for robbery and two state prison convictions for street terrorism and possession of a firearm by a felon in 2007 and corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant in 2012, both in Orange County. Jones was sentenced to two years and eight months in state prison.

In the early morning hours on May 25, 2014, Peterson got into a verbal argument with the victim, 25-year-old Antwan Jones, at a residence in Buena Park. After a brief fist fight with the victim outside of the residence, Peterson walked into his residence and retrieved a firearm from a closet. The defendant’s girlfriend saw Peterson retrieve the firearm and attempted to prevent the defendant from returning outside. Peterson exited the apartment and walked to a nearby car that Antwann Jones was sitting in. Peterson shot the victim at least two times, striking Antwan Jones in the chest. The victim died a short time later from his injuries. Peterson then got into Jihad Jones’ BMW sedan and the defendants drove away from the scene.

Witnesses near the scene called 911 and reported the shooting to the Buena Park Police Department, who investigated this case. An eyewitness identified Peterson as having gone inside an apartment and returning with a gun.

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February 7, 2016

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Reaches $470 Million Joint State-Federal Settlement with HSBC to Address Mortgage Loan Origination, Servicing, and Foreclosure Abuses

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:03 am

SAN FRANCISCO – Today Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced that California will join the U.S. Department of Justice, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and 48 other states in entering into a consent judgment with mortgage lender and servicer HSBC over its faulty mortgage servicing practices. This ruling will address mortgage origination, servicing, and foreclosure abuses perpetuated by HSBC.

“California homeowners worked hard and played by the rules to stay in their homes during the housing crisis, but for too many, their struggle and sacrifice was met by abusive mortgage servicing practices,” said Attorney General Harris. “This settlement holds HSBC accountable for its abusive practices that manipulated people fighting to stay in their homes. I encourage eligible borrowers who receive a claim form and feel they were a victim of HSBC’s practices to file a claim immediately.”

Under the terms of the agreement, HSBC will pay $100 million in cash, of which $59.3 million will be used to distribute payments to borrowers whose homes were foreclosed upon between 2008 and 2013, and $40.5 million will be paid to the federal government. The agreement also requires HSBC to provide $370 million in other consumer relief, such as loan modifications, principal reductions, and loan refinancing.

Based on foreclosure numbers, it is estimated that California borrowers are eligible for about 10% of the $59.3 million fund for payments to foreclosed borrowers.

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TRANSIENT MAN CONVICTED OF ATTACKING AND CRITICALLY INJURING 83-YEAR-OLD VICTIM

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:57 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A transient man was convicted today for attacking and critically injuring an 83-year-old man. Demarrea Chante Barnes, 29, pleaded guilty today to one felony count of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, one felony count of elder and dependent adult abuse, a sentencing enhancement for great bodily injury, and three state prison priors for drug possession in 2005 and 2008, and assault on a peace officer with injury in 2012. He is expected to be sentenced to nine years in state prison at his sentencing Feb. 25, 2016, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-49, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

At approximately 6:00 a.m. on Sept. 25, 2015, John Doe, 83, drove to a strip mall on West Edinger Street in Santa Ana to get his daily newspaper and coffee. As John Doe was walking in the parking lot to the coffee shop, Barnes attacked the victim, punched him in the face and knocked the victim to the ground. The defendant kicked John Doe multiple times and then fled the scene.

The critically injured victim was transported to a local hospital and treated for broken facial bones and a brain hemorrhage.

The Santa Ana Police Department investigated this case and released a surveillance tape depicting part of the attack. Barnes was identified and arrested the next day, Sept. 26, 2015.

Deputy District Attorney Renee Jones of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.

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MAN CONVICTED OF ILLEGALLY REIMBURSING CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTORS OVER $13,000

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:53 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was convicted and sentenced today for illegally reimbursing contributors for Janet Nguyen’s 2012 Orange County Board of Supervisors election campaign. Son Truong Nguyen, 39, Fountain Valley, pleaded guilty today to 10 misdemeanor counts of unlawful contribution. He was sentenced to three years of informal probation, must contribute $5,000 to Victim Witness Emergency Fund, perform 40 hours of community service in lieu of jail, and is prohibited from being involved in any political campaigns during the duration of his probation. He is also required to pay a $20,000 fine to the General Fund of the State of California within three months of his plea date to resolve the Fair Political Practices Commission’s (FPPC) proactive investigation.

Between Nov. 2, 2011, and Jan. 30, 2012, Son Nguyen illegally reimbursed campaign contributors for Janet Nguyen’s 2012 Orange County Board of Supervisors election on 10 different occasions. He reimbursed a total of $13,300.

The FPPC and Orange County District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigation investigated this case following the 2012 election.

“We are pleased to present the findings from our joint investigation involving laundered campaign contributions,” said FPPC Chief of Enforcement Galena West. “Working cooperatively with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office allows us to combine our resources and expeditiously prosecute violations.”

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February 5, 2016

Former Chief of Los Angeles Port Police Pleads Guilty to False Statement and Tax Evasion Charges Related to Corruption Case

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 1:25 am

LOS ANGELES – The former chief of police for the Port of Los Angeles pleaded guilty today to federal charges of tax evasion and making false statements to FBI agents who were investigating his acceptance of a bribe in connection with the development of a social networking program that would become the official smartphone app for the Port and would then be marketed to other law enforcement agencies.

Ronald Jerome Boyd, 58, of Torrance, pleaded guilty this afternoon to three offenses and as a result faces a statutory maximum prison term of 11 years in federal prison.

Boyd pleaded guilty before United States District Judge R. Gary Klausner on the day he was scheduled to go to trial on a 16-count indictment that was returned by a grand jury last year.

Boyd pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about a scheme related to a smartphone app called Portwatch, which was developed to provide information to the public and to allow citizens to report criminal activity at the port.

In 2011, Boyd and two business partners formed BDB Digital Communications, a company that entered into a revenue-sharing agreement with the company developing Portwatch. The parties involved with BDB intended to generate revenues by marketing and selling a similar app – called Metrowatch – to other government agencies. Boyd was set to receive approximately 13.33 percent of all gross revenues generated by the sale of the Metrowatch application.

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Glendora Doctor Pleads Guilty to Distributing Addictive Painkillers and Transferring Proceeds to an Off-Shore Bank Account

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 1:21 am

LOS ANGELES – A medical doctor who served as the face of a sham Los Angeles clinic pleaded guilty today to federal drug trafficking and money laundering charges connected to her illegal distribution of the powerful painkiller best known by the brand name OxyContin.

Dr. Madhu Garg, 64, of Glendora, pleaded guilty to one count of illegally distributing oxycodone and one count of money laundering for transferring the proceeds of criminal activity to a Malaysian bank account.

Garg pleaded guilty before Untied States District Judge John A. Kronstadt, who scheduled a sentencing hearing for May 26. As a result of today’s guilty pleas, Garg faces a statutory maximum sentence of 30 years in federal prison.

Garg was arrested in January 2015, along with the other operators of the now-defunct Southfork Medical Clinic in Los Angeles. A federal grand jury indictment charged seven defendants with conspiring to sell medically unnecessary prescriptions for drugs that included oxycodone, hydrocodone (commonly sold under the brand names Vicodin, Norco and Lortab), alprazolam (best known by the brand name Xanax), carisoprodol (a muscle relaxant sold under the brand name Soma) and promethazine with codeine (a cough syrup sold on the street as “purple drank” and “sizzurp”).

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FORMER TREASURER FOR YOUTH SOCCER CLUB ORGANIZATION TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR EMBEZZLING AND LAUNDERING OVER $174,000

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 1:18 am

FULLERTON, Calif. – A former treasurer for a youth soccer club organization is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow for embezzling and laundering over $174,000 from the organization. Laura Alicia Zellerbach, 41, Long Beach, is charged with one felony count of embezzlement by fiduciary of trust, one felony count of attempting to falsify records, one felony count of money laundering, and 23 felony counts of attempted computer access and fraud. If convicted, Zellerbach faces a maximum sentence of 20 years and eight months in state prison. She is out of custody on her own recognizance and is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 5, 2016, at 8:30 a.m. in Department N-3, North Justice Center, Fullerton.

Between April 2013 and January 2015, Zellerbach served as treasurer for the Fullerton Rangers Youth Soccer Club (FRYSC). She is accused of having access to all of the individual team accounts and club organization accounts. At the time of the crime, she is accused of handling the finances for a business she and her husband owned, Zellcorp Inc. dba Restaurant Packaging Group.

Zellerbach is accused of embezzling over $174,000 from FRYSC by transferring money from the various team accounts into her own personal account, withdrawing FRYSC’s money at a bank or ATM, and through debit card transactions.

She is accused of laundering the embezzled money by transferring the funds into her personal accounts and using the money as capital loans from her personal account to fund Zellcorp Inc. She is accused of withdrawing over $20,000 for a cashier’s check to partially pay for a European vacation for her children. Zellerbach is accused of resigning as treasurer after FRYSC board members began questioning her about the organization’s finances.

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