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January 22, 2016

Former Pilot for Alaska Airlines Arrested on Federal Charges of Flying Passenger Aircraft while under the Influence of Alcohol

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

LOS ANGELES – Federal authorities have arrested a former captain with Alaska Airlines on federal charges of piloting a plane with passengers while under the influence of alcohol.

David Hans Arntson, 60, a resident of Newport Beach, was arrested yesterday morning and was arraigned on the felony charge yesterday afternoon in federal court in Los Angeles.

Arntson was released on a $25,000 bond and was ordered to appear for an arraignment on February 10.

According to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday in United States District Court, Arntson was the pilot of two Alaska Airlines flights on June 20, 2014. The first flight was from San Diego International Airport to Portland, Oregon. He then flew a plane from Portland, Oregon, to John Wayne Airport in Orange County.

After landing at John Wayne Airport, Arntson was selected for random drug and alcohol testing by Alaska Airlines. A technician for Alaska Airlines performed two tests on Arntson and received results that the pilot had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.134 percent and 0.142 percent. After the technician informed Alaska Airlines of the test results, it removed Arntson from all safety-sensitive duties.

According to federal law, a person operating a “common carrier,” such as a commercial airliner, is presumed to be under the influence of alcohol when his or her blood alcohol content is 0.10 percent or higher.

Arntson’s co-pilot on the two flights on June 20 remembered seeing the drug tester when the plane landed at John Wayne Airport and recalled Arntson say “I bet it’s for me,” according to the complaint.

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Riverside Woman Convicted of Stealing the Identities of Residents of Medical Facility in Long Beach

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

LOS ANGELES – A Riverside woman has been convicted on federal identity theft charges for possessing the identities of more than 50 patients of a residential medical facility in Long Beach formerly known as the Hillcrest Care Center.

Bridgette Jackson, 45, was convicted by a jury yesterday afternoon in United States District Court of conspiring to possess more than 15 identities, possessing more than 15 identities, and aggravated identity theft.

Jackson’s aunt, who testified against her at the trial, was an employee at the Hillcrest Care Center and had access to all of the patient files. According to the testimony at trial, Jackson approached her aunt and asked for personal identifying information of patients. Jackson’s aunt copied or wrote down personal identifying information and provided it to Jackson on three separate occasions. Jackson then used that information to help others file false tax returns in the names of the patients and keep the refunds for themselves. When law enforcement executed a search warrant on Jackson’s residence, officers seized approximately 56 Hillcrest medical records, along with almost 70 other identity profiles, which included names, social security numbers, and dates of birth of individuals other than Jackson. Law enforcement also seized over 50 prepaid debit cards in names of people other than Jackson.

“This identity theft scheme targeted vulnerable victims,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “The victims included elderly patients at a convalescent home and a 28-year-old woman with a traumatic brain injury who has lived in a 24-hour nursing facility since she was 16.”

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“HARD MONEY” LENDER CONVICTED OF STEALING OVER $2.9 MILLION IN PONZI REAL ESTATE FRAUD SCHEME

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

WESTMINSTER, Calif. – A “hard money” lender was convicted today of embezzling over $3 million from investors in a Ponzi real estate-mortgage investment fraud scheme. Thomas Franklin Tarbutton, 56, Newport Beach, was found guilty by a jury of 18 felony counts of grand theft, nine felony counts of forgery, 11 felony counts of using an untrue statement in the purchase or sale of a security, and one felony count of the use of a device or scheme to defraud. Sentencing enhancements for loss of over $100,000, property loss over $3.2 million, and aggravated white collar crime of over $500,000 were found true. Tarbutton faces a maximum sentence of 34 years and four months in state prison at his sentencing on March 4, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. in Department W-9, West Justice Center, Westminster.

Between 2004 and 2010, Tarbutton operated Villa Capital Inc. as a “hard money” lender who solicited money from private investors for borrowers looking for funds from non-bank lenders. The defendant defrauded eleven people in a Ponzi real estate mortgage investment fraud scheme. A “Ponzi” scheme is a fraudulent scheme that offers investors high, short-term returns on investments. Instead of using the money to generate actual income and legitimate profits, the money from the investors is kept for the benefit of the defendant or used to repay earlier investors.

Tarbutton embezzled money from his private investors by keeping the money they lent for borrowers and not funding the loans as promised. He gave his victims fraudulent and forged real estate documents from both the Orange County Clerk-Recorder and the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder /County Clerk Departments showing that they were lien holders on property deeds, and supplied investors with false and forged mortgage payments and fraudulent documents of investment of the mortgage payments. The defendant supplied his investors with small interest payments using funds from their investments to prevent them from discovering that the loans were either no longer preforming or, in several instances, that the loans had never been funded in the first place. Tarbutton then stopped making any and all payments in the summer of 2010, after the real estate market had completely collapsed.

The fraud was reported by four victims to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in October 2010. The FBI, with assistance from Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) Investigators, investigated this case.

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January 21, 2016

California Men Charged with Bank Fraud Conspiracy Related to Trademark Scam

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 1:45 am

Two residents of Glendale, California, were charged in a superseding indictment in connection with a bank fraud scheme involving the proceeds of a mass mailing scam targeting holders of U.S. trademarks.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker of the Central District of California, Inspector in Charge Robert Wemyss of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Los Angeles Division, Inspector in Charge David G. Bowers of the USPIS Washington, D.C., Division and Special Agent in Charge Erick Martinez of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Los Angeles Field Office made the announcement.

Artashes Darbinyan, 36, and Orbel Hakobyan, 41, were charged in a superseding indictment that was unsealed today in the Central District of California with one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.  Darbinyan was also charged with four counts of mail fraud, three counts of aggravated identity theft, two counts of concealment money laundering and one count of bank fraud for a separate scheme.  Hakobyan was also charged with one count of bank fraud.

According to the superseding indictment, Darbinyan operated and controlled Trademark Compliance Center (TCC) and Trademark Compliance Office (TCO), which purported to offer trademark registration and monitoring services.  The superseding indictment alleges that, through TCC and TCO, Darbinyan sent mass solicitations offering, for a fee, trademark registration and monitoring services to holders of trademarks recently registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, services which Darbinyan did not intend to, and did not, provide.  To accomplish this scheme, Darbinyan used the names of other persons to open accounts for TCC and TCO at “virtual office centers” (i.e., businesses that offered call answering and mail forwarding services) in the Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles areas, and directed employees of the Washington, D.C.-area virtual office centers to forward mail addressed to TCC and TCO – envelopes containing payments from trademark holders – to the virtual office centers in the Los Angeles area, the superseding indictment alleges.

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DRUNKEN DRIVER TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR EVADING POLICE OFFICERS AFTER FAILING TO APPEAR ON ANIMAL ABUSE CHARGES

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 1:41 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A drunken driver is scheduled to be arraigned today for evading police officers after failing to appear in court on animal abuse charges. Tiffini KuuipoTobe, 47, La Habra, was charged today, Jan. 20, 2016, with one felony count of evading while driving recklessly, one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence of alcohol, one misdemeanor count of resisting and obstructing an officer, and one misdemeanor count of driving a motor vehicle without a valid license in Case #16NF0168. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence ofthree years in state prison and two years and six months in jail. Tobe was scheduled for a pre-trial hearing today in Case #15WM07685, but will appear to be arraigned in Case #16NF0168 this afternoon, Jan. 20, 2016, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

Circumstances of Case # 15WM07685

Tobe is accused of owning and caring for a 4-year-old American Pit Bull Terrier named Alan. Prior to February 2015, the defendant is accused of failing to properly care for Alan and leaving his hypertrophic osteopathy untreated. The defendant is accused of neglecting to seek veterinary assistance for Alan when he had chewed off his own affected foot, exposing the bone.

In February 2015, the defendant is accused of staying in the Garden Grove Inn with Alan and three additional pit bulls, two of which were young puppies.

On Feb. 19, 2015, a witness saw Alan’s injuries and contacted the Garden Grove Police Department (GGPD), who investigated this case. Alan was subsequently transported to the Sunny Hills Animal Hospital in Fullerton. Further investigation revealed that Alan’s foot had been missing since October 2014, and that he suffered from other severe and irreversible joint lesions. Veterinarians determined that an amputation could not be performed and that the severity of the lesions on Alan’s other limbs would prevent him from recovering and were required to immediately euthanize Alan. The remaining pit bulls were impounded.

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Three Charged with Capital Murder for Home Invasion Robbery in Downey

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 1:38 am

Two men and a teenager accused of breaking into a Downey house and killing the homeowner were charged today, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Paul Darvis Misikei (dob 4/26/97), Henry Willie Sao (dob 2/4/88) and Sakaopo Atanasio Folau (dob 11/24/98) have each been charged with three felony counts in case VA141024: murder, home invasion robbery and first-degree burglary, person present.

The charging document includes a special circumstance allegation that the defendants committed the murder during the course of a robbery and residential burglary.

Additionally, the felony complaint includes a special allegation that Misikei, Sao and Folau committed great bodily injury upon the victim during the commission of the crime.

The three defendants are scheduled to be arraigned today in Department 5 at the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Downey Branch. Prosecutors will ask that Misikei, Sao and Folau be held on no bail.

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January 20, 2016

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Arraignment of Riley Bangerter in Placer County Cyber Harassment Case

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:01 am

SACRAMENTO - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and Placer County District Attorney R. Scott Owens today announced the arraignment of Riley Bangerter, 36, of Roseville, on 11 charges of identity theft, in a case of cyber harassment. Bangerter pled not guilty when he was arraigned on January 11, 2016.

Bangerter was arrested on December 3, 2015, following an investigation by Attorney General Harris’ eCrime Unit, which found that he had superimposed images of his ex-wife onto pornographic images and posted them online, accompanied by her personal identifying information.

“Bangerter’s heinous actions sought to humiliate, belittle and destroy the personal and professional life of his victim,” said Attorney General Harris.  “This prosecution sends a clear message to all who dare to perpetrate the crimes of cyber harassment and cyber exploitation, that these cowardly acts will not be tolerated in California.  I thank the Placer County District Attorney’s office for their partnership and commitment to holding Bangerter accountable for these deplorable acts.”

Bangerter is charged with identity theft – violating Penal Code section 530.5, which prohibits the misuse of personal identifying information.  The case is being prosecuted by the Placer County District Attorney’s office.

During her tenure, Attorney General Harris has pioneered the prosecution of cyber exploitation cases, successfully securing criminal convictions and sentences for those who post intimate photos or videos online without the consent of the individual depicted.

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Mother Sentenced to Prison for Stabbing Son in Cudahy

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 2:57 am

A 23-year-old woman was sentenced today to six years in state prison for stabbing her toddler during a domestic dispute, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

At today’s court appearance, Michelle Betancourt of Cudahy pleaded no contest to a felony count of assault with a deadly weapon in case VA139184.

The defendant also admitted a special allegation that she personally inflicted great bodily injury during the commission of the crime.

Deputy District Attorney Efrain Matthew Aceves, who prosecuted the case, said on the evening of May 18, 2015, the defendant’s 3-year-old son was severely injured during a domestic dispute involving the child’s father.

Following the incident, authorities were called and Betancourt was arrested in connection with the attack.

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TWO FRESNO STRIKERS TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR PIMPING AND PANDERING TWO WOMEN IN ORANGE COUNTY

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 2:54 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Two strikers from Fresno are scheduled to be arraigned today for pimping and pandering two women in Orange County. Trent Omar Babcock, 40, and Efrain Dominguez Gonzalez, 25, are each charged with two felony counts each of pimping and two felony counts each of pandering. Babcock also faces sentencing enhancement allegations for two prior strike convictions for carjacking in 2000 and robbery in 2002, and a prior prison conviction for possession of a controlled substance in 2013 in Fresno County. Gonzales is also charged with one felony count of false personation and faces sentencing enhancement allegations for a prior strike conviction for robbery and possession of a firearm in 2009 in Tulare County. If convicted, Babcock faces a maximum sentence of 17 years and four months in state prison and Gonzalez faces a maximum sentence of 16 years in state prison. Babcock and Gonzalez are scheduled to be arraigned today, Jan. 19, 2016, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined this afternoon.

Circumstances of the Case

Babcock and Gonzalez are accused of being pimps who exploit women for financial gain. The victims are often required to turn over all payment they receive for sex acts from sex purchasers to their pimp.

In January 2016, Babcock and Gonzalez are accused of meeting Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 and travelling with the victims to areas known for prostitution and human trafficking in Orange County. The defendants are accused of collecting the money that the victims received from engaging in commercial sex and using the money to pay for rent and food.

On Jan. 14, 2016, an Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) deputy contacted Jane Doe 1 in an area known for prostitution in Stanton. Babcock and Gonzalez are accused of waiting in a vehicle nearby with Jane Doe 2. OCSD investigated this case and subsequently arrested the defendants.

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January 19, 2016

Nine Charged in Alleged Fraudulent Billing Scheme For Interpreting Services

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:12 am

Nine people are scheduled to be arraigned today on charges of participating in a $24 million phony billing scam for interpreting services across Southern California, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

All nine are charged in case BA441949 with conspiracy and insurance fraud. They were arrested last month and they are expected to be arraigned today in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

Deputy District Attorney Angela Brunson of the Healthcare Fraud Division is prosecuting the case.

Francisco Javier Gomez Jr. (dob 6/15/83) and his sister, Angela Rehmann (dob 6/23/77), ran a Sherman Oaks company that provided Spanish interpreters at various medical clinics.

Between 2007 and 2013, the defendants allegedly took part in a scheme to defraud dozens of insurance companies by creating and submitting invoices for services that were never provided.

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