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May 23, 2016

Leader of Multi-Million Dollar Bank ‘Bustout’ Scheme that used Counterfeit Checks Sentenced to over 5 Years in Federal Prison

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:01 am

LOS ANGELES – A West Los Angeles man who masterminded a bank account ‘bustout’ scheme that defrauded financial institutions such as Bank of America and Chase Bank and cumulatively caused more than $15 million in losses has been sentenced to serve 63 months in federal prison.

Jae Ho Chung, 46, who resides in Westwood, received the prison sentence on May 12 from United States District Judge John A. Kronstadt, who also ordered the defendant to pay nearly $2.1 million in restitution to a variety of banks.

The overall scheme involved approximately $15 million in losses, but Chung was directly involved in criminal conduct that netted him approximately $2 million – money that prosecutors said Chung used to support his lifestyle, which included a home in Bel Air and gambling at casinos.

Chung pleaded guilty in October 2015 to two counts of bank fraud, admitting that he “conspired over a period of more than five years with 14 others to defraud banks by depositing fraudulent checks to inflate account balances so that, in the brief period that credited and reflected those deposits, defendant and others could withdraw provisionally-granted funds for their benefit,” according to a sentencing memorandum recently filed in federal court. “This scheme was defendant’s brain child.”

According to documents filed in the case, beginning in July 2008 and continuing until October 2013, Chung conspired with Michael Yeon Cho and 13 other co-defendants to defraud banks through the bustout scheme that used counterfeit checks to inflate account balances so that withdrawals could promptly be made before the banks learned that the deposited checks were worthless. Chung created and directed others to create counterfeit checks, directed others to arrange the establishment of “shell” corporations make it appear that bank accounts were legitimate; and withdrew funds from bustout accounts and transferred the fraudulent proceeds to himself and others.


Operator of Costa Mesa Boiler Room at Center of $11 Million Oil and Gas Investment Scam Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:58 am

SANTA ANA, California – A former Orange County resident who oversaw a company that claimed to be developing oil and gas wells and bilked investors by, among other things, falsely claiming they would see 50 percent annual returns has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.

Jerry L. Aubrey, 51, who at the time of the fraud lived in Santa Ana, was sentenced Monday for his in role in the scheme that caused investors in the Costa Mesa-based Progressive Energy Partners (PEP) to suffer over $9 million in losses.

United States District Judge James V. Selna imposed the decade-long sentence and ordered Jerry Aubrey to pay $9,408,184 in restitution to nearly 200 victims.

Jerry Aubrey was sentenced after pleading guilty in January to one count of mail fraud. As prosecutors noted in sentencing papers filed with the court, Jerry Aubrey orchestrated the PEP scheme from October 2005 until April 2010 – and after that he served a five-year prison term in Florida for another fraud scheme that he was involved in prior to PEP.

“This defendant orchestrated a classic investment fraud that promised extravagant returns while investors’ money was simply being used to line the pockets of the scammers,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “This is a serial offender who was deserving of a lengthy sentence.”


May 20, 2016

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Takedown of Stockton Criminal Street Gangs ‘Westside Bloods’ and ‘Taliban’

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 1:42 am

STOCKTON — Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the successful takedown of two criminal street gangs in the Stockton area, following a joint investigation and operation by the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Investigation Special Operations Unit (SOU) and the Stockton Police Department’s Gang Violence Suppression unit.

The joint operation, named Operation Bloodline, resulted in the seizure of 22 illegal firearms, $12,000 in currency, and 41 pounds of marijuana; as well as the arrests of 52 individuals on felony crimes.

The investigation found that ‘Westside Bloods’ and ‘Taliban’ gangs have been illegally purchasing firearms and are responsible for numerous armed robberies and shootings in the Stockton area, including a recent triple homicide.

Several attempted murders and robberies were solved or circumvented as a result of the investigation.

“Members of these two street gangs have terrorized the Stockton community and escalated violence and the proliferation of illegal guns in the city.  Today, the California Department of Justice, the California Highway Patrol and the Stockton Police Department have made significant strides toward dismantling these groups and increasing safety in Stockton,” said Attorney General Harris. “I want to thank our DOJ Special Agents and the dedicated officers of the Stockton Police Department and the California Highway Patrol for their incredible efforts in this case.”


OC Pilot Indicted for Flying Planes Without FAA License

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


Today, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Arnold Gerald Leto III with two counts of piloting a plane without a license. Leto was charged for flying a Cessna Citation turbojet aircraft from Santa Monica, California, to Phoenix, Arizona, on or about January 30, 2015, and a Falcon 10 turbojet aircraft from Van Nuys Airport to Las Vegas, Nevada, on or about April 8, 2016.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Each charge alleged in the indictment carries a statutory maximum penalty of three years federal prison.

Original Release:

Orange County Pilot Charged with Flying Private Jet without Having Proper License Issued by FAA

LOS ANGELES – An Irvine man was arrested this morning on federal charges of illegally flying a twin-engine Falcon 10 turbojet airplane with passengers onboard without having a valid pilot’s license.


Lancaster Man Sentenced for Planning to Use IED on Ex-Girlfriend

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 1:35 am

A 52-year-old man was sentenced today to 16 years in state prison for having an improvised explosive device that he planned to detonate at his ex-girlfriend’s home, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Steven Mac said Vernon Russell Smith (dob 7/11/63) of Lancaster pleaded no contest on April 14 to one felony count of attempt to explode a destructive device with intent to injure.

Smith was pulled over by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy on Oct. 15, 2015, after making an illegal U-turn in the residential area of 10th Street West and Avenue H-12, the prosecutor said. The deputy discovered an explosive device made from a petroleum liquid, gun powder and laced with staples, the prosecutor added.

Further investigation determined the defendant planned to use the homemade bomb on his exgirlfriend and her husband.

Case MA067299 was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Lancaster Station.

Los Angeles County District Attorney / case MA067299 / May 19, 2016

May 19, 2016

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Indictment of Plains All-American Pipeline on Criminal Charges Resulting From May 2015 Santa Barbara County Oil Spill

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

SANTA BARBARA - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley today announced that Plains All-American Pipeline has been indicted by a grand jury on 46 criminal charges related to the May 2015 oil spill in Santa Barbara County.  A Plains All-American Pipeline employee was also indicted on 3 criminal charges.

On May 19, 2015, a pipeline operated by Plains All-American Pipeline ruptured, releasing into the environment approximately 140,000 gallons of heavy crude oil onto land, beaches, and the Pacific Ocean near Refugio State Beach.  Federal, state and local governments have spent millions of dollars to clean up the spill, which resulted in substantial damage to natural habitats and wildlife over a large area.

Attorney General Harris partnered with local and state law enforcement agencies to conduct a criminal investigation and jointly prosecute the criminal case with Santa Barbara County District Attorney Dudley.

“Crimes against our environment must be met with swift action and accountability,” said Attorney General Harris. “The carelessness of Plains All-American harmed hundreds of species and marine life off Refugio Beach. This conduct is criminal and today’s charges serve as a powerful reminder of the consequences that flow from jeopardizing the well-being of our ecosystems and public health.”



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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was convicted yesterday, May 17, 2016, of human trafficking, pimping, and pandering woman, and attempting to pimp another woman by threatening the victims. Johnny Lee Guyton Jr., 46, Henderson, Nevada, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of human trafficking, one felony count of pimping, two felony counts of pandering, and one felony count of attempted pimping. Guyton faces a maximum sentence of 21 years and four months in state prison at his sentencing on June 9, 2016, at 1:30 p.m. in Department C-37, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

On April 21, 2015, Guyton was charged in case 15NF1059 with two felony counts of human trafficking, two felony counts of pimping, two felony counts of pandering. This case was subsequently consolidated with case 15NF2346.

Circumstances of the Case

Guytonis a human trafficker/pimp who exploits women for financial gain. With the rise in popularity of social media and ease of meeting people on the Internet, many pimps and human traffickers utilize a variety of social media to locate potential victims. The victims are required to turn over all payment they receive for sex acts from sex purchasers to their pimp. Failure to follow these rules can result in deprivation of food and/or physical and/or emotional abuse.

In August 2014, Guyton pandered Jane Doe 1 by persuading her to perform commercial sex acts for his benefit in Santa Ana. The defendant forced the victim to solicit commercial sex and verbally threatened her with violence if she did not give him all of the money she received from sex purchasers.

During that time, Guyton filmed himself attempting to pimp and verbally threatening Jane Doe 1 in Orange County, and sent the videos to associates to brag about pimping the victim.


Man Convicted of Murder for Fatal Stabbing in Front of Child

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

A 30-year-old man was convicted yesterday of killing the boyfriend of his estranged wife in 2014, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

The jury deliberated for two days before finding Guillermo Hector Diaz of Carson guilty of six felony counts in case TA136133: one count each of first-degree murder and first-degree residential burglary and two counts each of resisting executive officer and dissuading a witness from reporting a crime.

The jury also found true a special allegation that the defendant personally used a deadly and dangerous weapon, a knife, during the commission of the crime.

Diaz is scheduled to be sentenced June 27 in Department K of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Compton Branch. The defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 34 years to life in state prison.

Deputy District Attorneys Adrian Roxas and Marlene Martinez of the Victim Impact Program, who coprosecuted the case, said on Dec. 22, 2014, Diaz broke into his estranged wife’s South Los Angeles apartment.


May 18, 2016

Two Former L.A. Sheriff’s Deputies Found Guilty of Violating Civil Rights of Jail Inmate who was Beaten as Punishment

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 2:48 am

LOS ANGELES – Two former deputies with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department were found guilty today of violating the civil rights of a mentally ill jail inmate by beating, kicking and pepper spraying the victim after he showed disrespect to a jail employee.

Bryan Brunsting, 31, and Jason Branum (also known as Jason Johnson), 35, were each found guilty of three felony counts related to the unprovoked attack on March 22, 2010.

The evidence presented during a one-week trial in United States District Court showed that Brunsting and Branum assaulted the victim, who was an inmate at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles. The assault occurred after the inmate mouthed-off to a civilian Sheriff’s Department employee. Brunsting, who was a training officer assigned to a rookie deputy who had just started working at the jail, told his trainee that they were going to “teach [the inmate] him a lesson.”

Brunsting, Branum and the rookie deputy brought the victim out of the visiting area and directed him to a locked hallway without any surveillance cameras. Once in the hallway, the inmate realized he was going to be assaulted and began to run. The victim was tackled. Brunsting and Branum then beat the victim with fists, kicked him in the genitals and sprayed him in the eyes with pepper spray. Once other deputies arrived, they instructed the rookie deputy to handcuff the victim before he was led away for medical treatment.

After the beating, Brunsting, Branum and the rookie deputy met to coordinate and falsify their stories. The rookie deputy testified that he was told what to say and how to write his report. As prosecutors argued at trial, the reports submitted by Brunsting and the rookie were strikingly similar, and were written to justify the use of force by falsely claiming that the victim had attempted to punch the rookie.


Inland Empire Man Sentenced to 9 Years in Prison for Defrauding Investors and Pennsylvania Car Dealership out of $1.3 Million

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 2:45 am

LOS ANGELES – An Inland Empire man who operated a fraudulent foreign currency exchange investment house and who arranged for an unauthorized wire transfer from a Pennsylvania car dealership was sentenced today to 108 months in federal prison, and to pay $1,303,307 in restitution.

Malachai Levy – who was born Ralph Maurice Metters, but recently legally changed his name – 38, of Corona, was sentenced today by United States District Judge John F. Walter.

While imposing the nine-year prison term, Judge Walter said that Levy was “the definition of a classic con man,” and noted that the defendant conspired to commit credit card fraud over jail telephones that he knew were being monitored while he was awaiting sentencing in the wire fraud case.

Levy pleaded guilty in January 2015 to conspiring to commit wire fraud and admitted both the fraudulent wire transfer and defrauding investors who thought their money would be used in connection with foreign currency investments with various companies, including Omni Finance and Mo Betta Advisors.

In relation to the fraudulent wire transfer, an unknown person hijacked the online banking profile of an account belonging to a Lexus dealership in Haverford, Pennsylvania, according to documents filed in this case. An online request was made in 2013 that resulted in a fraudulent wire transfer of $556,375 to Levy’s Omni Finance account in California.


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