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February 25, 2016

British Man Named in Federal Grand Jury Indictment that Charges Him with Coming to U.S. to Have Sex with Pre-Teen Boys

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

LOS ANGELES – A federal grand jury today indicted a British man on federal charges alleging that he travelled to the Coachella Valley in late January in order to engage in illicit sexual conduct with boys who were 10 and 12 years old.

Paul Charles Wilkins, 70, of Littleport in East Cambridgeshire, England, who had dual United States-United Kingdom citizenship, was charged today with one count of traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and one count of attempted sex trafficking of children.

While the first count of the indictment relates to Wilkins travel to the United States to allegedly have sex with two pre-teen boys, the attempted sex trafficking charge stems from a deal he allegedly brokered with an undercover investigator in which Wilkins allegedly paid $250 to have sex with a 9-year-old boy at an apartment he had rented in Palm Springs.

“My office is committed to protecting children from predators – whether the predators are foreign or domestic,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “When this defendant’s original plan was thwarted, he made other arrangements to sexually abuse a child. He must be held accountable for these crimes.”

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Former Employee of Sporting Goods Distributor Convicted of Embezzling over $300,000 from Orange County Company

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

SANTA ANA, California – A former office manager for an independent sporting goods distributor was found guilty this afternoon of three counts of wire fraud for using company checks and credit cards to embezzle more than $300,000 from her Los Alamitos-based employer.

Juliana James England, 60, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was found guilty of the three felony counts for embezzling money from her former employer, Callan Western Sales Company (CWS).

The evidence at trial showed that England charged company credit cards and wrote company checks to herself to obtain the company’s funds. As part of her scheme, she altered company records and created false bank stubs to give to the company’s accountant.

England was hired by CWS in 2000 to be a part-time secretary and office manager in charge of office administration, which including preparing checks for the signature of Michael Callan, the founder of the company. England was also in charge of maintaining the company’s check ledger, coding the payments, and providing monthly bank statements to the company’s accountant.

From March 2003 to July 2007, England wrote at least 55 checks payable to either herself or her creditors totaling more than $33,000. To cover her tracks, England wrote false notations on the check stubs to indicate payment to a legitimate company vendor. After using these checks for her personal use, she altered the company’s bank statements and provided these altered statements to the CPA. (more…)

Arraignment Scheduled in Case of Elderly La Crescenta Man Found Dead in His Home

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

A Gardena man is scheduled to be in court today accused of killing a 73-year-old man with a mallet, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

David Xavier Bushman (dob 6/6/71) faces one count of murder with the allegation that he used a mallet as a deadly and dangerous weapon in case GA098019.

Deputy District Attorney Ryan Erlich said the felony complaint includes allegations that Bushman was convicted in 1991, 2003 and 2009 of felonies that include robbery and false imprisonment.

Arraignment is scheduled in Department D of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Pasadena Branch. The case was filed on Feb. 3.

Victim Arthur George Palmer was found bludgeoned to death inside his La Crescenta house on July 24, 2015, the prosecutor said. According to the criminal complaint, Bushman killed Palmer on or between July 21 and July 24, 2015.

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February 24, 2016

Recruiter in Multi-Million Dollar Mortgage Fraud Sentenced to Prison

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:29 am

LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles man who recruited churches into a $4.2 million mortgage scheme that defrauded Broadway Federal Bank has been sentenced to serve one year and one day in federal prison.

Chester Peggese, 59, received the prison sentence yesterday from United States District Judge Manuel L. Real, who also ordered the defendant to pay $4.2 million to Broadway Federal Bank and $38,609 to the Internal Revenue Service.

Peggese pleaded guilty in 2015 to one count of bank fraud and one count of subscribing to a false tax return.

“It is beyond dispute that mortgage fraud does significant harm to the country,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Crimes like these in the aggregate place financial institutions in jeopardy, which in turn places the entire economy in jeopardy.”

According to the plea agreement filed in the case, Peggese acted as a “consultant” who targeted Los Angeles-area churches with promises of new mortgages to purchase property or refinanced mortgages from Broadway Federal Bank. Between 2007 and 2009, Peggese met with representatives of churches and obtained financial information required for the loan applications. Others involved in the scheme altered the financial information to make it appear the churches were more financially sound than they actually were, and Peggese caused these false loan applications to be submitted to Broadway Federal Bank.

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Woman Who Obtained Mortgages, Lying about Homes Being Her Primary Residences, Convicted of Making False Statements to Banks

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:26 am

LOS ANGELES – A Lakewood woman has been found guilty of five felony charges for lying to banks that funded mortgages for three properties that later went into default, causing about $660,000 in losses to the lenders.

Felicia Muhammad, 45, who at the time of the criminal conduct was a licensed real estate broker living in Long Beach, was convicted Friday afternoon of five counts of making false statements to federally-insured financial institutions, specifically U.S. Bank, Countrywide Bank, and First Horizon Home Loans (a subsidiary of First Tennessee Bank).

United States Michael W. Fitzgerald, who presided over a four-day trial, is scheduled to sentence Muhammad on June 6, at which time she will face a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.

“This defendant lied to three different financial institutions, causing significant losses to all of them,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “The Department of Justice will continue to hold accountable those who would commit mortgage fraud and place U.S. financial institutions at risk.”

According to the evidence at trial, in the summer of 2008, Muhammad applied for three loans so she could purchase condominium units in North Hollywood and Canoga Park. The total value of the loans was more than $1.1 million.

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Former California Attorney Sentenced to 60 Months for His Role in International Investment Fraud Scheme

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:23 am

A Las Vegas man was sentenced today to 60 months in prison for his role in an investment fraud scheme that promoted fraudulent investment opportunities and caused more than $5 million in losses to investors.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden of the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Laura A. Bucheit of the FBI’s Las Vegas Field Office made the announcement.

Joseph Micelli, 62, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Kent J. Dawson of the District of Nevada, who also ordered Micelli to pay $5.65 million in restitution and to forfeit $505,220 in fraudulent proceeds.

As part of his plea, Micelli admitted that he conspired with others in the United States and Switzerland to promote investments and loan instruments that he knew to be fraudulent.  The conspirators told victims that, for an up-front payment, a Swiss company known as the Malom Group A.G. would provide access to lucrative investment opportunities and substantial cash loans.  In connection with his plea, Micelli admitted that he held himself out to investors as an attorney, when in fact he had lost his license to practice law.  In addition, as part of an effort to defraud an investor who held an equity stake in a corporation that had filed for bankruptcy, Micelli submitted a sworn affidavit to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Hampshire, in which he made false statements about the Malom Group’s ability to provide financing to the debtors.

Five other defendants have been charged in the case, two of whom were convicted at trial in December, two of whom are at large in Switzerland and one of whom is awaiting extradition from Canada.           (more…)

February 23, 2016

MAN TO APPEAR IN COURT FOR BURGLARIZING OVER 30 HOMES OF FEMALE COLLEGE STUDENTS THAT HE FOUND THROUGH INSTAGRAM

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man is scheduled to appear in court tomorrow on charges of committing burglaries of over 30 homes of female college students that he found by using Instagram. Arturo Galvan, 44, Menifee, is charged with 33 felony counts of first degree residential burglary, one felony count of attempted first degree residential burglary, one misdemeanor count of resisting and obstructing an officer, one misdemeanor count of vandalism under $400, and sentencing enhancement allegation for non-accomplice present during a residential burglary. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 50 years in state prison. He is scheduled for pre-trial tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-55, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

On 33 occasions between May 22, 2014, and Dec. 3, 2015, Galvan is accused of entering the homes of female college students in Orange and Fullerton, who primarily belonged to sororities at Chapman University and California State University, Fullerton. The defendant is accused of locating the victims’ residences through their GPS locations using their photographs posted on the social media website Instagram. He is accused of entering the victims’ homes during the late afternoon or evening hours when they were away and on some occasions he is accused of entering their residence in the evening while the victims were still home. Galvan is accused of stealing various items including women’s underwear and clothing, personal photos and planners, jewelry, laptops, and tablet devices.

On Dec. 3, 2015, Galvan is accused of looking through a window at a residence in Fullerton. A nearby Fullerton Police Department (FPD) officer patrolling the neighborhood attempted to contact the defendant. Galvan is accused of running away from the officer. At approximately 11:00 p.m. that evening, FPD located the defendant and arrested him as the defendant was entering a car. FPD and the Orange Police Department investigated this case.

Deputy District Attorney Denise Hernandez of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 16CF0007 / February 22, 2016

Woman Charged with Child Abuse After Abandoning Newborn

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

A 37-year-old woman accused of giving birth and abandoning her baby in a restroom is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Marygrace Trinidad (dob 10/27/78) has been charged with one felony count of child abuse in case KA111834.

The defendant is scheduled to be arraigned sometime after 1:30 p.m. today in Department F of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Pomona Branch. Prosecutors will ask that bail be set at $100,000.

Deputy District Attorney Deborah Shaw Scott, who is assigned to the case, said on Feb. 15, Trinidad reportedly arrived at a West Covina restaurant and entered the public restroom.

While Trinidad was inside the restroom, restaurant employees allegedly heard noises coming from inside. Trinidad then reportedly exited the restroom and left the restaurant, the prosecutor added.

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Woman Sentenced for Embezzling from Catholic School in San Pedro

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

A 49-year-old woman was sentenced yesterday to five years of probation and community labor for stealing Scrip fundraising gift cards from Holy Trinity School in San Pedro, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Last week, defendant Kimberly Rauch (dob 1/12/67) pleaded guilty to a felony count of grand theft by embezzlement in case NA099415.

At Thursday’s sentencing, Rauch was ordered by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Laura Laesecke to perform 150 days of Caltrans service and pay $1,600 in restitution to the school.

Additionally, the judge prohibited Rauch from holding any formal or informal job positions or roles where she can handle or affect the finances of any organization

Deputy District Attorney Brian Kang, who prosecuted the case, said at the time of the crime, Rauch had been a secretary at Holy Trinity School for two years.

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February 22, 2016

Oregon Man Pleads Guilty to Hacking Apple E-Mail Accounts

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

LOS ANGELES – An Oregon man has pleaded guilty to a felony computer hacking charge related to a phishing scheme that gave him illegal access to 363 Apple and Google e-mail accounts, including those belonging to members of the entertainment industry in Los Angeles.

Andrew Helton, 29, of Portland, pleaded guilty yesterday to a felony violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, specifically a charge of unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information.

Helton pleaded guilty before United States District Judge John A. Kronstadt, who scheduled a sentencing hearing for June 2. As a result of yesterday’s guilty plea, Helton faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.

“In today’s digital world, people use their e-mail and online accounts to store photos, music, notes, calendars, contacts, financial, and health information,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Through prosecutions such as the one announced here today, the United States Attorney’s Office is committed to assisting the continuing efforts of private companies to protect this sensitive and personal information from the malicious actions of sophisticated hackers and cyber criminals.”

According to his plea agreement, from March 2011 to May 2013, Helton engaged in a phishing scheme to obtain usernames and passwords for his victims. He sent e-mails to victims that appeared to be from Apple or Google and asked victims to “verify” their accounts by clicking on a link. Once the victims clicked on the link, they were taken to a malicious website that looked like an Apple or Google login page. When the victims entered usernames and passwords on the malicious website, Helton then had access to the victims’ e-mail accounts.

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