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September 15, 2017

Lakewood High School Teacher Charged with Lewd Acts with Student

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

A 52-year-old woman has been charged with having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a teen over the span of three years, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Mary Jahn (dob 9/10/65) of Lakewood has been charged with nine felony counts in case NA107331 four counts of sexual penetration by foreign object, three counts of lewd act upon a child and two counts of oral copulation of a person under 18.

The defendant is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in Department S01 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Long Beach Branch. Prosecutors are asking that bail be set at $750,000.

Deputy District Attorney Troy Davis of the Victim Impact Program, who is assigned to the case, said at the time of the reported crimes Jahn was a teacher at Lakewood High School.

In July 2008, the defendant allegedly began having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old female student, the prosecutor said. The sexual molestation reportedly continued until July 2011, the prosecutor added. (more…)

Man Charged with Killing Girlfriend in Whittier

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

A 56-year-old man was charged today with fatally shooting his girlfriend in their home on Monday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Rafael Ayala Castillo (dob 2/21/61) has been charged with one count of murder in case VA145805. The felony complaint includes a special allegation that the defendant personally and intentionally discharged a firearm, which caused great bodily injury and death to the victim.

Castillo is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in Department 6 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Bellflower Branch. Prosecutors are asking that bail be set at $3 million.

Prosecutors said Castillo and his girlfriend, Sandra Rodriguez Polanco, 54, had been in a relationship for nearly 10 years and shared an apartment together in the 11700 block of Floral Drive in Whittier.

On Sept. 12, a family member of Polanco’s went to her home and found the victim with a fatal gunshot wound to the head, according to prosecutors. (more…)

September 14, 2017

Former Prison Transport Officer Indicted for Sexual Assault and Possessing a Firearm in Furtherance of His Sexual Assault

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

A federal grand jury in Little Rock, Arkansas, returned a two-count indictment against Eric Scott Kindley, 49, a former prison transport officer, for crimes related to his sexual assault of a woman in his custody, and using his firearm in furtherance of the assault.

Count One of the indictment charges Kindley with committing civil rights offenses that resulted in bodily injury and includes the use of a dangerous weapon, kidnapping, and aggravated sexual abuse. Count Two charges Kindley with knowingly possessing a firearm in furtherance of these crimes of violence.

Kindley was indicted on June 29, 2017, in Phoenix, Arizona, for committing similar offenses related to sexual assaults he committed on a different woman in his custody, and as in this indictment, possessing his firearm in furtherance of those assaults.

These indictments stem from Kindley’s arrest in Stockton, California, on June 1, 2017, in connection with a criminal complaint filed in the District of Arizona. According to arrest paperwork, Kindley operated Group 6, LLC doing business as Special Operations Group, a company that local jails throughout the country hire to transport individuals who have been arrested on out-of-state warrants. The probable cause affidavit associated with the criminal complaint alleged that from January through May of this year, Kindley engaged in sexual misconduct in his Dodge Caravan with three different female prisoners during three different transports. The transports were from California to Arizona, Alabama to Arizona, and Mississippi to New Mexico. In each instance, the victim was handcuffed and restrained, and taken to secluded locations where Kindley sexually assaulted her. All the while, Kindley threatened each victim with his firearm and warned her that he will get away with his conduct because no one will believe her. (more…)

Man Sentenced for Murder of Victim Found in Plastic Storage Box

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

A 29-year-old man was sentenced today to 16 years to life in state prison for fatally stabbing an acquaintance whose body was found in a plastic storage box, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Deann Rivard said a jury found Kenneth Mullen Watkins guilty on Aug. 8 of one count of second-degree murder with the special allegation that he used a knife.

On Jan. 12, 2016, 52-year-old Terry Nigale Benjamin’s sister reported him missing. Days before, tenants at the apartment complex where the victim lived complained about a foul smell, according to court testimony.

On Jan. 23, 2016, the apartment’s building owner entered the victim’s apartment and discovered Benjamin’s body stuffed into a 45-gallon plastic storage container, the prosecutor said.

According to evidence presented at trial, Watkins stabbed the victim multiple times on Jan. 4, 2016. The defendant then cleaned up the crime scene, bagged the evidence and piled the bags of evidence on top of the victim’s body after stuffing him into the container, the prosecutor added.

Case BA444632 was investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department.

Los Angeles District Attorney / Case BA444632 / September 13, 2017

LAUSD President Charged With Conspiracy, Improperly Identifying Campaign Donors

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

The president of the Los Angeles Unified School District and his cousin were charged today for allegedly reimbursing nearly $25,000 to donors that he claimed in a campaign filing form, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Refugio Rodriguez (dob 7/12/71) and Elizabeth Tinajero Melendrez (dob 9/2/72) were each charged in case BA460879 with one felony count of conspiracy to commit assumed name contribution and 25 misdemeanor counts of assumed name contribution. Rodriguez also faces one felony count each of perjury and procuring and offering a false or forged instrument.

The defendants are scheduled to be arraigned after 1:30 p.m. today in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

The Los Angeles City Ethics Commission received a whistleblower complaint in March 2015 about Rodriguez’s fundraising activities.

Rodriguez, who earlier this summer became LAUSD’s president, announced in November 2014 that he was running for the school board. Despite his late start in the filing period, he raised more than $50,000 during his first campaign reporting that ended Dec. 31, 2014. (more…)

September 13, 2017

DRUNKEN DRIVER SENTENCED TO 13 YEARS IN PRISON FOR VEHICULAR MANSLAUGHTER AFTER CRASHING INTO TRAFFIC LIGHT POLE THAT KILLED NEPHEW AND INJURED BROTHER-IN-LAW

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A drunken driver was sentenced to 13 years and eight months in state prison for vehicular manslaughter after crashing into a light pole, killing his nephew and severely injuring his brother-in-law after refusing the offer of a bartender and police officer to call him a cab.

Defendants Charges Sentence
Tapu Aniceto Sitagata, 33, Santa Ana Pleaded guilty on Sept. 8, 2017, to:

Felony

  • Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated
  • Driving under the influence with BAC .08% or more

Misdemeanor

  • Driving with a suspended license (DUI)

Sentencing Enhancement

  • Inflicting great bodily injury
  • 13 years and eight months in state prison

Circumstances of the Case

  • On the night of Dec. 20, 2010, Sitagata drank alcohol with several friends and relatives at Newport Five Cocktail Lounge in Tustin.
  • At approximately 1:15 a.m. on Dec. 21, 2010, the defendant and his group were asked to leave the bar by the bartender for becoming too rowdy. (more…)

California Resident Sentenced to Prison for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud

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

A California resident was sentenced to 25 months in prison for filing and conspiring to file fraudulent claims for income tax refunds with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch for the Northern District of California.

According to documents filed with the court, Trong Nguyen aka John Nguyen, 57, and his codefendant Diep Vo aka Nancy Vo, 74, used the identities of homeless and unemployed individuals in the San Jose, California area to file fraudulent claims for refunds with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Vo went to homeless shelters and homeless encampments and falsely represented to individuals that she could get them money from a government program designed to assist people who had not worked in previous years. Vo convinced people to write down their names and social security numbers and to sign blank income tax returns. Vo and Nguyen then falsified the signed returns including bogus income and income tax amounts withheld and sought more than $1.5 million in refunds from the IRS. Vo and Nguyen directed the IRS to send the refund checks to private mailboxes they controlled.

In addition to the term of prison imposed, U.S. District Court Judge Beth Freeman also ordered Nguyen to serve three years of supervised release and to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $700,816. Nguyen previously pleaded guilty in May. Vo also pleaded guilty and she is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 14.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg and U.S. Attorney Stretch thanked special agents of IRS Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, who conducted the investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Newman and Trial Attorney Gregory Bernstein of the Tax Division. (more…)

California Internet Sales Company President Sentenced to Prison for Embezzlement and False Tax Returns

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

A Manhattan Beach, California resident was sentenced to nine months in prison for wire fraud and filing false tax returns, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Alana W. Robinson for the Southern District of California.

According to the evidence presented at trial, James Miller, a California attorney, was the president and managing partner of MWRC Internet Sales LLC, an online sales company. As part of his duties, Miller had check signing authority for the company’s business bank account. From January 2009 through October 2012, Miller wrote unauthorized checks to himself from MWRC’s account, embezzling more than $300,000. Miller used this money to pay for personal expenses and did not report it on his individual tax returns for 2009 through 2012, causing a tax loss of approximately $58,000.

In addition to the term of prison imposed, U.S. District Judge George Wu ordered Miller to serve two years of supervised release and to pay $64,329 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg and Acting U.S. Attorney Robinson commended special agents of FBI and IRS Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebecca Kanter and Trial Attorney Benjamin Weir of the Tax Division, who prosecuted the case.

Additional information about the Tax Division’s enforcement efforts can be found on the division’s website.

Topic(s): Tax

Component(s): Tax Division USAO - California, Southern

Press Release Number: 17-989 Updated September 11, 2017

Southern District of California DOJ / 17-989 / September 11, 2017

September 12, 2017

Fifth Defendant Sentenced to Federal Prison for Credit Card Fraud and Identity Theft Related to Cyberattacks on 3 U.S. Companies

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

LOS ANGELES – The fifth and final defendant charged with using credit and debit cards obtained from a series of cyberattacks on U.S. companies that resulted in an estimated $5 million in losses – and caused one victim company to go out of business – was sentenced today to 33 months in federal prison.

Dmitry Fedoseev, 34, a Russian national who resides in Koreatown, was sentenced after pleading guilty in March to possession of unauthorized access devices (credits cards and debit cards) and aggravated identity theft.

Fedoseev was sentenced today by United States District Judge Stephen V. Wilson.

Three other Russian nationals and another Eastern European immigrant who monetized the information obtained from the cyberattacks by making fraudulent purchases, selling the purchased goods and transferring money to others involved in the fraudulent scheme were previously sentenced to federal prison. They are: (more…)

Previously Convicted Sex Offender from Long Beach Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison for Attempted Sex Trafficking of a Minor

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

SANTA ANA, California – A convicted sex offender from Long Beach was sentenced this morning to 10 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to attempted sex trafficking of a child for responding to an online advertisement that offered sex with a 15-year-old girl in exchange for $200.

Victor James Sporman, 47, was sentenced by United States District Judge James V. Selna. Once he completes the prison sentence, Sporman will be on supervised release for the rest of his life.

The case against Sporman is the result of an undercover operation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation (HSI). Authorities were conducting an anti-sex trafficking operation in Long Beach and posted an advertisement on the Craigslist website that was designed to attract individuals interested in engaging in sex acts with minors.

On October 26, 2016 Sporman responded to the advertisement via e-mail and subsequently engaged in a series of text messages with an undercover agent he thought was a 15-year-old girl, according to court documents. Sporman agreed to pay $200 to engage in sex with the “girl.” Sporman repeatedly texted photographs of himself, money and his genitals. In preparation for the encounter on December 6, Sporman purchased condoms. When Sporman arrived at the hotel to have the sexual encounter with the girl, Sporman had approximately $200 in his possession, as well as two condoms. He was arrested at the scene.

Sporman engaged in nearly identical conduct in 2008 when he was caught in an undercover sting attempting to have sex with a 13-year-old girl. (more…)

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