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August 3, 2016

MAN CONVICTED OF STABBING-MURDER OF ACQUAINTENCE AFTER CHASING AND STALKING HIM BEFORE FLEEING TO MEXICO

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

FULLERTON, Calif. – A man was convicted today of stabbing and murdering an acquaintance after chasing and stalking him before fleeing to Mexico. Mario Alberto Rodriguez, 26, Santa Ana, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a knife. Rodriguez’s prior serious felony conviction for possession of a controlled substance for sale for the benefit of a criminal street gang in 2012 in Orange County was found true. Rodriguez faces a maximum sentence of 36 years to life in state prison at his sentencing on Oct. 7, 2016, at 8:30 a.m. in Department N-11, North Justice Center, Fullerton.

On March 9, 2013, Rodriguez saw 26-year-old acquaintance Paul Anthony Garcia in front of the defendant’s family’s home in Santa Ana, and chased him on foot. Rodriguez and two associates followed Garcia for a few blocks until he entered the El Chile Picante restaurant on South Main Street.

Rodriguez entered the restaurant and attempted to grab Garcia to lead him outside. Restaurant employees informed the defendant that the business had video surveillance and asked the defendant to leave the building. Rodriguez left the restaurant and waited near the exit to further pursue Garcia.

The defendant chased Garcia across the street to a parking area behind a business after the victim exited the restaurant. Rodriguez punched Garcia and stabbed the victim once in the chest. The victim ran across Main Street and collapsed on the sidewalk where he died as a result of the stab wound.

Rodriguez subsequently fled to Mexico. The defendant returned to California several days later and fled to Mexico again after the Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) released the restaurant’s surveillance footage to the public in an effort to identify the defendant.

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August 2, 2016

California Businessman Charged with Conspiring with Israeli Banks to Hide Income

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 1:14 am

A Los Angeles, California, businessman was charged today in an information, which charges one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States and one count of corruptly endeavoring to impair and impede the due administration of the internal revenue laws, announced Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo, head of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

Masud Sarshar, who owned and operated Apparel Limited Inc., a business that designed, manufactured and sold clothing and other apparel, signed a plea agreement admitting that he maintained several undeclared bank accounts at Bank Leumi and two other Israeli banks, both in his name and in the names of entities that he created.  For decades, with the assistance of at least two relationship managers from Bank Leumi and a second Israeli bank (Israeli Bank A), Sarshar hid tens of millions of dollars in assets in these accounts in an effort to conceal income and obstruct the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  As alleged in the information, between 2006 and 2009, Sarshar diverted more than $21 million in untaxed gross business income to these undeclared bank accounts.  Between 2007 and 2012, Sarshar also earned more than $2.5 million in interest income from these accounts.  Sarshar omitted all of this income from his 2006 through 2011 individual and corporate tax returns and he failed to report his authority over and ownership of these bank accounts in false Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBARs) that he submitted to the U.S. Department of Treasury.

Sarshar signed a plea agreement to the charges in the information, agreeing to plead guilty and pay more than $8.3 million in restitution to the IRS.  If the court accepts the parties’ agreement, Sarshar will be sentenced to 24 months in prison.  In addition, Sarshar stipulated to a civil penalty in the amount of 50 percent of the high balance of his undeclared accounts to resolve his civil liability for not disclosing the existence of his Israeli bank accounts.

“Mr. Sarshar stashed millions in secret foreign financial accounts in Israel and then sought to use these accounts to evade his U.S. tax obligations, seeking to cover his tracks along the way,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo.  “The message of this case is clear: There are no safe havens.  If you are concealing assets and income in undeclared offshore accounts – or are a banker, an asset manager or otherwise are assisting accountholders in such criminal conduct, your only viable option is to come forward and accept responsibility for your actions.  Those who continue to violate U.S. tax laws will be held accountable and pay a heavy price.”

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California Man Sentenced to 70 Years in Federal Prison for Traveling to Cambodia to Engage In Illicit Sex with Young Girl

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 1:11 am

LOS ANGELES – A California man who was found guilty at trial of traveling to Cambodia to have illicit sexual conduct with young girls was sentenced today to 70 years in federal prison and $40,000 restitution to a victim.

Ronald Gerard Boyajian, 55, who previously resided in Menlo Park and has spent time on the Palos Verdes peninsula, was sentenced this afternoon by United States District Judge Christina A. Snyder.

At today’s hearing, Judge Snyder observed that “the conduct was extremely serious.” In imposing the maximum sentence, the court stated that it is “obvious that the reason for the sentence is for the protection of the public and to deter such behavior in the future.”

Following a six-week trial earlier this year, Boyajian was found guilty of three child exploitation crimes – traveling to Cambodia with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, engaging in illicit sexual conduct with a nine-year-old girl in Cambodia, and committing these offenses while being required to register as a sex offender under California law.

Boyajian was arrested by the Cambodian National Police (CNP) in February 2009, while he was on his 35th trip to Asia over a nine-year period.  Boyajian began traveling to Cambodia shortly after completing his parole following convictions on 22 counts of illegal sex with a minor and oral sex with a minor in 1995.

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MAN TO FACE TRIAL FOR STABBING-MURDER OF STRANGER IN PARKING LOT

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 1:08 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man is scheduled to face trial tomorrow for the stabbing-murder of a stranger in a parking lot. Daniel Perez Munoz, 23, Garden Grove, is charged with one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a knife. If convicted, Perez Munoz faces a maximum sentence of 26 years to life in state prison. Opening statements are scheduled to begin tomorrow, Aug. 2, 2016 at 9:15 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

On Jan. 11, 2014, Perez Munoz is accused of leaving his friend’s apartment in Stanton and approaching a local family man, 52-year-old Phuong “Bob” Huynh, as he walked across the parking lot of a local business. Perez Munoz is accused of confronting Huynh and stabbing the victim several times in the neck and chest. The victim took one or two steps before he collapsed and died at the scene from the stab wounds.

Perez Munoz is accused of fleeing the scene.

On Jan. 11, 2014, the Garden Grove Police Department arrested Perez Munoz at his home approximately one hour after the murder.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department investigated this case.

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August 1, 2016

Valencia man Who Caused $11 Million in Losses Related to Precious Metal Investment Scam Sentenced to over 11 Years in Federal Prison

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

LOS ANGELES – A businessman who defrauded more than 300 investors in a precious metal investment scam was sentenced today to 135 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to federal fraud and money laundering offenses in a case that caused victims to lose nearly $11 million.

Bruce Richard Sands Jr., 54, of Valencia, was sentenced by United States District Judge George H. Wu, who also ordered the defendant to pay $11,039,404 in restitution.

Today’s sentencing follows Sands pleading guilty in April to four counts of mail fraud, five counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering.

Sands owned Superior Gold Group, LLC and Superior Equity Group, LLC, which had offices in Santa Monica, West Hills and Woodland Hills. At times, the companies used an address in Irvine.

According to court documents, from about October 2007 through the end of 2010, the Superior Gold Companies solicited investments in precious metals and collectible coins. Individuals across the nation were solicited through national radio, television and Internet advertising.

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North Hollywood Pool Cue Maker Charged with Helping Smuggle Elephant Ivory

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

LOS ANGELES – A North Hollywood man surrendered to U.S. Marshals this morning after an arrest warrant was issued on federal charges of aiding and abetting the illegal smuggling of protected elephant ivory.

Cesar Ernesto Gutierrez, 75, was charged in a criminal complaint filed Wednesday in United States District Court with aiding and abetting the attempted illegal exportation from the United States to Taiwan of protected African elephant ivory.

The affidavit in support of the criminal complaint alleges that Gutierrez, a well-known custom pool cue maker in the United States, operates Ginacue, a custom pool cue manufacturing business in North Hollywood. Gutierrez allegedly manufactured and sold two people approximately 41 sections of custom pool cues containing the protected elephant ivory inlays.  The two individuals were subsequently arrested at Los Angeles International Airport when agents with U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service discovered the pool cues in their luggage.  The seized pool cues were purchased from Gutierrez for approximately $75,000 to $85,000.  Gutierrez is charged with aiding and abetting the attempted illegal smuggling of the high-value pool cues.

“The protection of threatened and endangered wildlife is an international concern,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Illegal trafficking of protected species, even small parts of them, creates a market and demand that can lead to the decimation of these vulnerable populations.”

Gutierrez appeared this afternoon in United States District Court and was released on a $10,000 appearance bond.  Post-indictment arraignment was scheduled for August 24.

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PAROLE AGENT ARRESTED ON CHARGES OF EXCHANGING EMBEZZLED CDCR FUNDS FOR PAROLEE’S PRESCRIPTION NARCOTICS

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

LOS ANGELES – The Mayor of South El Monte was charged today with bribery for accepting money from a contractor doing business with the city, as well as accepting a bribe during an FBI undercover operation.

In conjunction with the case filed today, Luis Aguinaga, 48, of South El Monte, agreed to plead guilty to one count of bribery.

In a plea agreement filed today in United States District Court, Aguinaga admitted that, from 2005 to September 2012, he took bribes from a contractor doing work for the City of South El Monte and the payments were rewards in connection with the approval of city contracts for the contractor.

The contractor – identified in the court documents as a confidential witness, or CW – made payments to Aguinaga approximately every two to three weeks, shortly after the contractor was paid by the City of South El Monte, according to the plea agreement. If the contractor failed to pay Aguinaga within a few days of being paid by the City, Aguinaga would call and ask for his payment.

The bribe amounts were initially $500, and later they increased to $1,000. According to the plea agreement, the contractor made the bribe payments by placing cash in envelopes that were left in a bathroom at the South El Monte City Hall or were left inside the passenger side pocket of a car.

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July 29, 2016

O.C. Man Previously Accused in Investment Schemes Charged in New Indictment that Adds Allegations of $3.2 Million Green Energy Scam

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:51 am

SANTA ANA, California – A federal grand jury has returned a superseding indictment that now accuses a Laguna Beach man of defrauding victims out of more than $3 million in an investment fraud scam related to green energy.

Peter Heinrich Conrad Reinert, 61, was arrested in April 2015 after a grand jury charged him in two investment fraud schemes that allegedly caused $3.6 million in losses. Since that time, federal authorities have continued to investigate Reinert for additional crimes.

According to the 35-count superseding indictment filed yesterday in United States District Court, in addition to the two scams outlined in the 2015 indictment, Reinert ran a third scheme out of the Irvine-based Income from Waste Corporation (IFW). Reinert told victims that IFW was developing a technology to convert used tires into oil. As part of the scheme, to gain legitimacy with victims, Reinert falsely claimed to be a United States Secret Service agent and a veteran.

Between January 2014 and his arrest on April 14, 2015, Reinert used IFW to fraudulently obtain $3.2 million dollars from victims from across the country, including a family of farmers in Missouri. Instead of spending the money to develop the purported green energy technology, Reinert used the money to pay for personal expenses and luxury automobiles, sales commissions and purchases at Apple’s iTunes store, as well as sending money to an account in Poland.

In addition to the IFW scam, the superseding indictment alleges that Reinert fraudulently obtained and used a United States passport in the name “Peter Michael Berger” after falsely claiming he was born in Maine. During the investigation, authorities learned that Reinert actually was born in Germany.

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Two Men Dubbed the ‘Cowboy Gun Bandits’ Found Guilty of Armed Robbery Spree Involving Large-Caliber Handgun

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:45 am

LOS ANGELES – Two men who earned the moniker the “Cowboy Gun Bandits” for brandishing a large-caliber revolver during a series of robberies – starting with gas stations and culminating in a bank robbery that netted them over $55,000 – were convicted today in federal court.

Dominic Dorsey, 48, of Hollywood, and Reginald Bailey, 71, of the Jefferson Park district of Los Angeles, were found guilty of 11 felony counts – conspiracy to interfere with commerce in violation of the Hobbs Act, five specific Hobbs Act robberies and five counts of using a firearm during the robberies.

The jury that heard evidence during a trial that lasted just over two weeks found Dorsey and Bailey guilty of five robberies:

• a September 24, 2013, robbery at a Shell gas station in Woodland Hills;

• an October 6, 2013, robbery at an ARCO gas station in Newhall;

• an October 18, 2013, robbery at a Chevron gas station in Woodland Hills;

• an October 25, 2013, robbery at an ARCO gas station in Encino; and

• a November 5, 2013, robbery of a Citibank branch in Glendale that netted more than $55,000.

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PAROLE AGENT ARRESTED ON CHARGES OF EXCHANGING EMBEZZLED CDCR FUNDS FOR PAROLEE’S PRESCRIPTION NARCOTICS

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:42 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A parole agent was arrested yesterday on charges of exchanging embezzled California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) funds for narcotics prescribed to a parolee. Scott Patric Keblis, 49, Chino, is charged with one felony count of embezzlement by a public employee and one misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance. If convicted on all counts, Keblis faces a maximum sentence of three years in state prison and one year in county jail, and would be ineligible to ever hold any office of honor, trust, or profit in California. Keblis was released from custody today after posting $20,000 bond. The defendant’s court date is to be determined.

At the time of the crime, Keblis was employed as a CDCR parole agent.

On Nov. 5, 2015, the CDCR received an anonymous report that Keblis was providing out of state bus passes in exchange for narcotics a parolee was prescribed.

On Nov. 23, 2015, the defendant is accused of obtaining two bus passes and two $40 Target gift cards from the CDCR, claiming he needed to give them to a parolee under his supervision. Later that day, Keblis is accused of driving to Huntington Beach to meet with a different parolee, who was not under Keblis’ supervision, in his state vehicle. Keblis is accused of exchanging the bus passes, gift cards, and $30 of his personal money for 26 of the parolee’s prescription hydrocodone pills.

On July 27, 2016, Keblis was arrested by CDCR Internal Affairs, who investigated this case.

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