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March 17, 2016

Federal Court Permanently Bars California-Based Tax Preparer from Preparing Federal Tax Returns

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:31 am

The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California has permanently barred Stacy John Sanchez of Orange County, California, from preparing federal tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today.

The civil injunction order prohibits Sanchez from acting as a federal tax return preparer and from owning, operating, or profiting from tax-return preparation businesses.  Sanchez agreed to the entry of the injunction but did not admit the allegations in the civil complaint against him.

According to the complaint, Sanchez owned and operated 12 Liberty Tax Service franchise locations, primarily in the Los Angeles and Las Vegas areas.  At these locations, Sanchez and his employees prepared federal income tax returns that, among other things, contained bogus Schedules C (Profit or Loss From Business), fake Form W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) information and falsely claimed dependents, the suit alleged.  These fraudulent returns improperly generated federal income tax refunds and tax credits, such as the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Credit, for Sanchez’s clients, according to the complaint.

In addition, the complaint alleged that Sanchez and his employees prepared fraudulent income tax returns using stolen names and social security numbers and kept the bogus refunds generated by these identity theft returns.  The estimated loss to the U.S. Treasury from Sanchez and his employees’ misconduct is at least $14 million, according to the complaint.

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Mother Sentenced to Prison for Abandoning Baby in Compton

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

A 33-year-old woman was sentenced today to 14 years in state prison for deserting her newborn baby near a Compton riverbed, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

At today’s court appearance, Porche Laronda Washington pleaded no contest to attempted murder in case TA138783. The defendant also admitted a special allegation that she committed great bodily injury on a child under six years old.

Deputy District Attorney Adrian Roxas, who prosecuted the case, said on Nov. 27, 2015, a three-day old baby girl was found abandoned in a hole near a Compton riverbed.

Law enforcement immediately began an investigation into the desertion and a week later identified a person of interest through the assistance of tips from the public, the prosecutor said.

On Dec. 3, 2015, Washington was arrested in connection with the crime and subsequently charged.

The case was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Los Angeles County District Attorney / case TA138783 / March 16, 2016

Arraignment Set For Trio Charged With Murdering Ex-High School Football Player

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:24 am

Three men are scheduled to be arraigned today on murder charges for the 2013 slaying of a former Garfield High School football player, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Jonathon Joseph Gonzalez (dob 12/4/87), Roque Solis (dob 11/4/85) and Anthony Aaron Gabriel (dob 7/23/90), all of Los Angeles, are expected to be arraigned in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

Deputy District Attorney Hilary Williams of the Hardcore Gang Division is prosecuting the case.

Each defendant was charged in case BA442133 with murdering 21-year-old Gabriel S., who was at a party with some former teammates on May 25, 2013, in East Los Angeles. All three also face gang allegations.

The victim was in a garage when a car drove by and Gonzalez and Solis are accused of opening fire. The young man was shot and killed while another partygoer was wounded.

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March 16, 2016

Pennsylvania Man Charged with Hacking Apple and Google E-Mail Accounts Belonging to More Than 100 People, Mostly Celebrities

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

LOS ANGELES – A Pennsylvania man was charged today with felony computer hacking related to a phishing scheme that gave him illegal access to over 100 Apple and Google e-mail accounts, including those belonging to members of the entertainment industry in Los Angeles.

Ryan Collins, 36, of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, has signed a plea agreement and agreed to plead guilty to a felony violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. In the plea agreement also filed today, Collins agreed to plead guilty to one count of unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information.

Although Collins has been charged in Los Angeles, the parties have agreed to transfer the case to Harrisburg in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, near Collins’ home, for the entry of his guilty plea and sentencing. Once he enters the guilty plea, Collins will face a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison. The parties have agreed to recommend a prison term of 18 months, but that recommendation will not be binding on the sentencing judge.

“Today, people store important private information in their online accounts and in their digital devices,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Lawless unauthorized access to such private information is a criminal offense. My Office remains committed to protecting sensitive and personal information from the malicious actions of sophisticated hackers and cyber criminals.”

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Federal Jury Convicts Studio City Man of Credit Card Fraud for Possessing Card Numbers Stolen from Gas Station ‘Skimmers’

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

LOS ANGELES – A federal jury has convicted a Studio City man of possessing more than 1,400 credit card profiles that had been stolen from consumers who used gas pumps with “skimmers” that illegally collected their credit card information.

Koren Robert Kechedzian, 24, of Studio City, was convicted on March 11 in United States District Court of two counts of credit card fraud (specifically, two counts of possession of 15 or more counterfeit access devices) and two counts of aggravated identity theft.

At the conclusion of a one-week trial, the jury found that Kechedzian possessed two USB flash drives – which are commonly called “thumb drives” – that contained stolen credit card information. The portable drives were found at Kechedzian’s residence when federal authorities executed a search warrant in June 2013. At that time, investigators also recovered an illegal skimming device designed to be installed in gas station pumps to steal credit card data.

“As credit card thieves use increasingly sophisticated technology to access consumer data, consumers must be more vigilant in protecting their financial information and keeping a close eye on their transactions,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Law enforcement is responding to the increasing use of skimmers by working with businesses to help them secure their equipment and by more aggressively targeting those engaging in identity theft. This case demonstrates our commitment to protect consumers and to punish those who seek to defraud consumers and financial institutions.”

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MAN TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR AIDING IN THREE DEFENDANTS’ ESCAPE FROM OCJ BY PROVIDING MONEY AND ALCOHOL

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:02 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man is scheduled to be arraigned today for aiding in three defendants’ escape from the Orange County Men’s Central Jail (OCJ) by providing them with money and alcohol. Tung Nguyen, 41, Westminster, is charged with one felony count of being an accessory after the fact. If convicted, Nguyen faces a maximum sentence of three years in state prison. Nguyen is scheduled to be arraigned today, March 14, 2016, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.

Between 5:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. on Jan. 22, 2016, Hossein Nayeri, Duong, and Jonathan Tieu are accused of escaping custody from OCJ through pipelines and by rappelling themselves down from the building’s roof.

In the early morning hours of Jan. 22, 2016, Nguyen is accused of aiding in the inmates escape by giving money and beer to Duong after the inmates arrived at Nguyen’s home in Westminster.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department investigated this case and arrested the defendant on Friday, March 11, 2016.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Nichols of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 16WF0517 / March 14, 2016

March 15, 2016

Los Angeles Man Sentenced to 150 Years in Prison for Sexually Abusing Minors in Russia

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

A Los Angeles man was sentenced today to 150 years in prison for sexually abusing three minor girls during trips to Russia over a two-year period, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.

In November 2015, a jury convicted Yusef Yunosovich Abramov, 58, of five felony counts of engaging in illicit sexual conduct in foreign places.  U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright II of the Central District of California also imposed a lifetime term of supervised release.

According to the evidence introduced at trial, in June 2009, Abramov, a dual Russian and U.S. citizen, flew from Los Angeles to Russia, and shortly after his arrival, he raped a 12-year-old girl and threatened to sever her head and play soccer with it if she told anyone about the abuse.  The trial evidence showed that in November 2009, Abramov again traveled to Russia and engaged in further sexual abuse of minor girls.

Trial evidence additionally demonstrated that in March 2010, believing that local schoolgirls had contacted the police, Abramov and two accomplices cornered three minor girls.  Abramov threatened all three girls while wielding a knife and each man then raped one of the girls.  The evidence showed that after threatening the girls’ lives, Abramov continued to rape at least two of the girls during that trip and subsequent trips to Russia.

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DEFENDANT FACES ADDITIONAL CHARGES FOR ATTEMPTING TO TAKE RESTITUTION MONEY FROM VICTIMS

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A defendant faces additional charges for attempting to take restitution money from victims in another open case. No Sung Pak, 75, Hollywood, is charged with two felony counts of attempted taking and receiving a portion of a worker’s wage on a public work, and a sentencing enhancement for crime-bail-crime. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of three years and 10 months in state prison for these charges. He was arraigned Friday, March 11, 2016, and is out of custody on $25,000 bail. He is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing May 26, 2016, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-55, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Pak and co-defendants Michael John Ferrin, 40, San Pedro, and Scott Sung Yang, 45, Los Angeles, are also each charged with five felony counts of taking and receiving a portion of a worker’s wage on public works and one felony count of recording a false forged instrument. Pak is additionally charged with 29 felony counts of willful failure to pay tax, two felony counts of misrepresenting facts to State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF), two felony counts of misrepresenting facts to workers’ compensation insurance company. If convicted, Pak faces a maximum sentence of 27 years and four months in state prison for these charges, and Ferrin and Yang each face a maximum sentence of five years and four months in state prison. Ferrin and Yang are out of custody on $50,000 bail. They are scheduled to be arraigned on May 26, 2016, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-55, Central Justice Center.

Background of Case # 15CF1672
In 2005, Yang owned and operated Mackone Development. Yang is accused of working with Ferrin as his project superintendent to oversee his projects. Pak, who owns the business Pak’s Cabinets, is accused of working for Mackone Development as a subcontractor on several public works projects.

In 2012, Yang was awarded a public works project at Harvey Street Elementary School in Santa Ana as the prime contractor. Yang is accused of hiring Ferrin as his project superintendent to oversee the project and Pak as his subcontractor for the project. Pak is accused of using the employees from his business to help complete the public works project.

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THREE SANTA ANA POLICE OFFICERS CHARGED WITH PETTY THEFT AND VANDALISM DURING SERVICE OF SEARCH WARRANT ON MARIJUANA DISPENSARY

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Three Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) officers were charged today with petty theft and one with vandalism during a legal search of a marijuana dispensary pursuant to a search warrant. Brandon Matthew Sontag, 31, and Nicole Lynn Quijas, 37, and Jorge Arroyo, 32, are charged with one misdemeanor count of petty theft. Sontag is also charged with one misdemeanor count of vandalism under $400. If convicted on all counts, Arroyo and Quijas face a maximum sentence of six months in jail and a $1000 fine and Sontag faces a one year and six months in jail and a $2000 fine. They are scheduled for arraignment April 11, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-54, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

At approximately 5:50 p.m. on May 26, 2015, Arroyo, Quijas, and Sontag, along with other SAPD officers, were serving a search warrant signed by a magistrate on Sky High Holistic, a marijuana dispensary on 17th Street in Santa Ana. It was alleged that the dispensary was operating without proper permits to sell medical marijuana. The dispensary had two video surveillance systems, a visible 16-camera system and a hidden 4-camera system. SAPD personnel legally disabled 16 surveillance cameras, following investigatory and officer safety protocol. The hidden 4-camera system continued to record during the execution of the search warrant.

Sontag is accused of damaging fiveof the previously disabled surveillance cameras by banging and smashing the camera lenses into the corner of a display case and cash register, and banging the cameras into the corner of a shelf and safe. Each camera is valued between $80 and $100. At various times, Sontag, Quijas, and Arroyo are accused of entering the break room and taking snacks available to staff, including Detour Simple protein bars and Mrs. Thinsters cookies. The three defendants are accused of consuming the food items and sharing the protein bars with other SAPD personnel. Before leaving the premises at the conclusion of the search warrant, Quijas and Arroyo are accused of taking extra cookies with them.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation conducted a thorough investigation, including interviewing multiple witnesses and reviewing over 16 hours of unedited video surveillance footage with the cooperation of SAPD. While other SAPD personnel ate some protein bars, there is insufficient evidence that they knew the food items belonged to the dispensary and not their fellow officers. There was also no evidence that any SAPD personnel consumed any edible marijuana items available at the dispensary.

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March 14, 2016

Sylmar Woman Sentenced to Five Years In State Prison for Human Trafficking

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

A Sylmar woman was sentenced today to five years in state prison for forcing a young girl smuggled from El Salvador to work for her for two years, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office announced.

Dora Alicia Valle, 52, pleaded no contest last July to one felony count each of human trafficking and slavery in case BA423675 in an open plea before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Edmund Clarke Jr. An open plea means there was no offer from prosecutors.

Deputy District Attorney Paul Kim with the Organized Crime Division said Valle paid to have the girl, who was 8 years old at the time, smuggled into the United States from El Salvador in 2012. Valle forced the girl to work six days a week at a Pacoima restaurant where Valle worked.

When the child wasn’t working at the restaurant, she was ordered to clean the Sylmar home shared by Valle and her boyfriend, Estrada Melvin Sandoval, 41.

Sandoval pleaded no contest last year to one misdemeanor count each of false imprisonment and battery and was sentenced to 1 ½ years in county jail.

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