Best Defender Bytes:

June 15, 2016


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 1:22 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A Garden Grove man was convicted today of shooting and murdering a man and attempting to murder two women in Santa Ana. Dustin Sean Ross McDonald, 24, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of first degree murder, two felony counts of attempted murder with premeditation and deliberation, and sentencing enhancements for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death or great bodily injury. He faces a maximum sentence of 114 years to life in state prison at his sentencing Aug. 26, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-30, Central Justice Center Santa Ana.

On Aug. 12, 2014, McDonald arranged to meet with the three victims in Santa Ana for a drug transaction. At approximately 11:30 p.m. that night, the defendant drove up to the victim’s vehicle in the area of 12th Street and Main Street, stepped out of his vehicle, walked around to the front passenger side of the victims’ vehicle while armed with a firearm, and fired approximately 10 shots. McDonald murdered the front passenger, 23-year-old Aaron Chavez, and wounded both the 21-year-old female driver of the vehicle and the 28-year-old female passenger.

The Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) responded to the scene and investigated this case. McDonald was arrested by SAPD the next day.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Keith Burke of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 14CF2681 / June 14, 2016

Two Charged With Drug-Deal Capital Murder in Tarzana

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 1:19 am

Two men have been charged with killing two men after they allegedly fled in their vehicle to Tarzana after a drug deal gone bad in Woodland Hills, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Guillermo Terán (dob 7/14/92) of Oxnard and Tomás Ramos Ochoa (dob 3/7/82) of Los Angeles both face two counts each of murder and attempted murder.

Case LA083605 includes special circumstance allegations of murder during the commission of a robbery, murder by means of discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle and multiple murders.

Ochoa was charged today and is scheduled to be arraigned with Terán on July 13 in Department 100 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Van Nuys Branch. The charges against Terán were filed on June 7.

The criminal complaint includes allegations that Terán personally and intentionally discharged a handgun, causing the death of Christian Barrera-Rivera, 23, and Sonny Peña, 28, and that he was convicted in San Diego in 2012 of federal drug charges.


June 14, 2016

Orange County Doctor and Two Employees Indicted on Federal Drug Charges that Allege Illegal Prescriptions Written without Medical Need

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:38 am

SANTA ANA, California – A federal grand jury has indicted a doctor who operated a medical clinic in Fountain Valley, as well as two physician assistants who worked at the clinic, on federal drug trafficking charges that allege they issued prescriptions for dangerous and addictive narcotics without a medical purpose.

The indictment, which was returned by the grand jury on June 8, was announced today after one of the physician assistants was arrested this morning by federal authorities in the Bay Area. The other defendants have agreed to surrender.

Dr. Victor Boon Huat Siew, 65, a resident of Laguna Beach, is accused of seeing “patients” – some of whom were addicted to drugs, and some of whom were undercover law enforcement officers – and issuing prescriptions outside the usual course of professional practice and without a legitimate medical purpose.

The indictment alleges that Siew wrote prescriptions for at least four people who died from drug overdoses within days of seeing the doctor.

Siew and his employees allegedly wrote prescriptions for narcotics for “patients” who often paid cash for office visits that typically involved only the most cursory examination, if any at all.


Former State Senator Ronald Calderon Agrees to Plead Guilty to Federal Corruption Charge; Admits Receiving Tens of Thousands of Dollars in Bribes

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:34 am

LOS ANGELES – Former California State Senator Ronald S. Calderon has agreed to plead guilty to a federal corruption charge and admits in a plea agreement filed today that he accepted tens of thousands of dollars in bribes in exchange for performing official acts as a legislator.

Ron Calderon, 58, of Montebello, agreed to plead guilty to one count of mail fraud through the deprivation of honest services to resolve a case against him that was filed in 2014. The plea agreement comes several weeks before Ron Calderon was scheduled to go on trial on charges contained in a 24-count indictment.

In the plea agreement, Ron Calderon admits accepting bribe payments from the owner of a Long Beach hospital who wanted a law to remain in effect so he could continue to reap millions of dollars in illicit profits from a separate fraud scheme and from undercover FBI agents who were posing as independent filmmakers who wanted changes to California’s Film Tax Credit program.

Ron Calderon’s brother, Thomas M. Calderon, 62, also of Montebello, a former member of the California State Assembly who became a political consultant, pleaded guilty last Monday to a federal money laundering charge for allowing bribe money earmarked for his brother to be funneled through his firm.

“Public officials who engage in corrupt behavior threaten the basic fabric of our democracy,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “The Calderons have acknowledged their roles in a bribery scheme in which money for them and their families alone was driving legislation that would have benefited only a few individuals.”


Former Actor Sentenced For Wife’s Murder

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:31 am

A former actor was sentenced today to 40 years to life in state prison for fatally shooting his wife at their Los Angeles home in front of the couple’s two young sons, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Michael Andrew Jace, 53, was found guilty last month of the second-degree murder of April Jace on May 19, 2014. Jurors also found true the special allegation that Jace personally used a firearm.

Deputy District Attorney Tannaz Mokayef with the Major Crimes Division prosecuted the case.

The actor, who portrayed a police officer in “The Shield,” was upset his wife wanted a divorce and was obsessed with the belief that she was seeing someone else, Mokayef told jurors in opening statements. Jace waited in their home and when April came home around 8 p.m., he shot her once in the back, the prosecutor said.

Jace shot her two more times in the legs in front of their sons, who were 8 and 5 at the time.


June 13, 2016

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Bust of Corona Varrio Locos and La Eme Gangs Operating in Riverside County, Seizure of $1.6 Million in Drugs

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:44 am

RIVERSIDE - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the arrests of 52 individuals and the seizure of 67 firearms, including assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons, $95,700 in currency, and methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana with a total street value of $1.6 million, as part of a bust of two gangs operating in Riverside County.

Today’s operation targeted criminal street gang Corona Varrio Locos and Mexican Mafia prison gang La Eme and involved more than 300 law enforcement officers.  The operation followed a joint investigation by the Corona Police Department, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Gang Task Force, and the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Investigation Special Operations Unit (SOU) Southern California team.

“Criminal gangs brazenly trafficking guns and drugs on our streets jeopardize public safety and will not be tolerated,” said Attorney General Harris. “I thank our California Department of Justice Special Agents, as well as the Corona Police Department, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, and the California Highway Patrol for their brave efforts to dismantle criminal enterprises in our Inland Empire communities.”

In addition to today’s arrests of 32 individuals and seizures of 50 guns including assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons, 314 rounds of ammunition, 1 stolen car, $48,700 in currency, 7 pounds of methamphetamine, 1 pound of marijuana, and 10 grams of cocaine, this investigation previously led to the arrests of 20 individuals for felony crimes including assault with a deadly weapon, extortion, and drug trafficking, and the seizure of 17 illegal firearms (handguns, assault rifles and shotguns), $47,000 in currency, 20 pounds of methamphetamine, and 10 pounds of cocaine.

These gangs traffic narcotics and illegal firearms, many of which were involved in crimes throughout Riverside County.


California Man Sentenced to 32 Months in Prison for Conspiring to Violate U.S. Sanctions Against Syria

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:42 am

Amin al-Baroudi, 50, a Syrian-born naturalized U.S. citizen, formerly of Irvine, California, was sentenced today to 32 months in prison for conspiring to export U.S.-origin goods from the United States to Syria in violation of sanctions imposed on Syria by the U.S. government.

The sentence was announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente of the Eastern District of Virginia, Assistant Director in Charge Paul M. Abbate of the FBI’s Washington Field Office, Assistant Director in Charge Deirdre Fike of the FBI’s Los Angeles Division and Director Douglas Hassebrock of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Export Enforcement.

Baroudi pleaded guilty on Jan. 15, 2016.  According to court documents, Baroudi admitted that from at least December 2011 through March 2013, he and his co-conspirators exported U.S. tactical equipment to Syria for the purpose of supplying and arming Ahrar al-Sham and other insurgent groups in Syria whose stated goal is to overthrow the Assad government and install an Islamic state.  Ahrar al-Sham frequently fights alongside Jabhat al-Nusrah, which has been designated by the U.S. State Department as a foreign terrorist organization and operates as al-Qaeda’s official branch in Syria.

According to court documents, Baroudi and his co-conspirators purchased tens of thousands of dollars of goods from companies and vendors in the United States, consisting largely of tactical equipment such as sniper rifle scopes, night vision rifle scopes, night vision goggles, laser bore sighters, speed loaders and bullet proof vests.  Baroudi and his co-conspirators traveled with the goods aboard commercial flights to Turkey and then transported the goods into Syria or provided them to others for transport.  Baroudi made two such trips in February and March of 2013.



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:37 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – The Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) today turned over to the court a complete copy of the newly obtained Special Handling Log (SH Log) from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD), and filed briefs to seal privileged data and request a court hearing to turn over discovery to the defense in the People v. Scott Dekraai. In May 2016, hearings in People v. Daniel Wozniak were held in the Honorable John D. Conley’s courtroom to confirm that the defense is being given all the materials to which they are entitled, and portions of recently-uncovered set of jail records were produced to defendant Wozniak by the OCSD in response to third-party subpoenas served on OCSD by the defense.

During the recent May court hearings in Wozniak, the OCSD custodian of records testified that OCSD management and command staff previously knew nothing of the existence of a set of jail records called the SH Log described in court as a daily activity log of the jail’s special handling deputies. Correspondingly, the OCDA did not know of the existence of this set of jail records.

Today, June 9, 2016, during an in-camera hearing, the OCDA filed two briefs with the Honorable Thomas M. Goethals in the People v. Dekraai case along with the un-redacted SH Log. In one brief, the OCDA requests the court temporarily seal the SH Log because it may contain privileged information. The other brief is a request for an in-camera hearing in order to turn over the SH Log to defense. The briefs were filed in Judge Goethals’ court because the SH Log contains material that impeaches the testimony of several OCSD witnesses who testified at the prior hearings of the Dekraai case. The OCDA is fulfilling its duty to correct the record by producing the SH Log to the court. The SH Log contains material that is also discoverable to the defense pursuant to Brady v. Maryland (1963) 373 U.S. 83, and responsive to prior court discovery orders. The OCDA, then, must also produce material from the SH Log to the Dekraai and Wozniak defense, who the OCDA consulted with as well as Deputy Attorney General Theodore Cropley, appellate counsel for the California Attorney General (CAG). Both have indicated that in their respective opinions that the OCDA may submit the complete SH Log to the court under seal.

The next court date on this matter is tentatively set for July 8, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-45, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.


June 10, 2016

U.S. Navy Admiral Pleads Guilty to Lying to Federal Investigators about His Relationship with Foreign Defense Contractor in Massive Navy Bribery and Fraud Investigation

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:06 am

U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Robert Gilbeau pleaded guilty today in federal court to charges that he lied to federal investigators to conceal his illicit years-long relationship with Leonard Glenn Francis, owner of Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), the foreign defense contractor at the center of a massive bribery and fraud scandal.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy of the Southern District of California, Acting Director Dermot O’Reilly of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), Director Andrew Traver of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and Director Anita Bales of Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) made the announcement.

Gilbeau, 55, of Burke, Virginia, pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement.  He was charged by information today and is the highest-ranking U.S. Navy officer to be charged in the investigation so far.  Gilbeau is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 26, 2016, before U.S. District Judge Janis L. Sammartino of the Southern District of California.

In his plea agreement, Gilbeau admitted that he lied when he told agents from DCIS and NCIS that he had never received any gifts from Francis, the owner of Singapore-based GDMA.  Gilbeau also admitted that he lied when he told investigators that he “always paid for half of the dinner” when he and Francis met about three times a year.  Gilbeau further admitted that when he became aware that Francis and others had been arrested in connection with the fraud and bribery offenses in September 2013, he destroyed documents and deleted computer files.  Francis previously pleaded guilty to plying scores of other U.S. Navy officials with gifts such as luxury travel, meals, cash, electronics, parties and prostitutes.


California Resident Convicted of Conspiring to Illegally Export Fighter Jet Engines and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to China

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

Wenxia Man, aka Wency Man, 45, of San Diego, was convicted today by a federal jury in the Southern District of Florida of conspiring to export and cause the export of fighter jet engines, an unmanned aerial vehicle – commonly known as a drone – and related technical data to the People’s Republic of China, in violation of the Arms Export Control Act.

The conviction was announced by Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida, Acting Special Agent in Charge Robert C. Hutchinson of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI) in Miami and Special Agent in Charge John F. Khin of the Department of Defense’s Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS).

“Man was convicted of conspiring to evade U.S. export laws by agreeing to illegally acquire and send to China fighter jet engines, a highly sophisticated military drone and related technical data,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin.  “Circumventing U.S. laws designed to safeguard our most sensitive materials serves to undermine our national security interests and we will aggressively pursue those who try to do so.  I would like to thank the many members of law enforcement whose tireless efforts led to this verdict.”

“Protecting our nation from the illegal movement of technology and defense articles is a top national security concern,” said U.S. Attorney Ferrer.  “In the interests of our national defense, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners will continue to target for criminal prosecution those who attempt to unlawfully procure military equipment, munitions, tools and materials.”


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