Best Defender Bytes:

June 26, 2015


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:55 am

SANTA ANA – Five protesters are scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow for delaying police officers and obstructing a Santa Ana street by chaining themselves together. Mariela Martinez, 23, Los Angeles, Jorge Hernandez, 25, Oakland, Sandra Paola Jara Riveros, 33, Pasadena, Isaia Celestino Noyola, 36, Vellejo, and Jeffrey Christopher Neel, 43, Anaheim, are charged with one misdemeanor count each of obstructing or delaying a peace officer, obstructing passage on a public street, and unlawfully loitering or sitting on a public street. If convicted, each of the defendants face a maximum sentence of one year in jail and $1,000 fine. The defendants are scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, Friday, June 26, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-54, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

At approximately 8:30 a.m. on May 28, 2015, the five defendants were part of a group of approximately 50 individuals participating in a protest regarding the detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants who are part of the LGBT community. The protestors gathered at the intersection of Civic Center Drive and Flower Street in Santa Ana, near the Central Justice Center to begin their demonstration. The protest was not pre-planned with the City of Santa Ana, and no permits had been issued allowing blockage of the intersection as required by law.

The defendants are accused of walking into the middle of the intersection and chaining themselves together with metal chains and locks. Despite the lack of notice to the city, Santa Ana police officers allowed the demonstration to continue, but instructed the protesters to clear the intersection and move to the sidewalk so that blocked vehicles could pass. Continual dispersal orders were given to the protesters in both English and Spanish through an amplified speaker system.

The defendants are accused of delaying officers from the Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) by refusing to unchain themselves or move out of the intersection. At approximately 9:10 a.m., all of the other protestors followed SAPD orders, moved to the sidewalk, and were not cited or arrested.  They were then allowed to continue their protest from the sidewalk.



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:51 am

FULLERTON – A man was charged yesterday for pandering and attempting to pimp two women. Dameon Dupree Jefferson, 37, is charged with two felony counts of pandering and two felony counts of attempted pimping. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of seven years and four months in state prison. He is being held on $50,000 bail and must prove that the funds come from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond. Jefferson is scheduled to appear for pre-trial on June 29, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in Department N-3, North Justice Center, Fullerton.

Circumstances of the Case
Jefferson is accused of being a pimp who exploits women for financial gain. Between June 15, 2015, and June 22, 2015, Jefferson is accused of dropping off two women, both 20, in an area known for prostitution in Anaheim to solicit commercial sex. Members of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF) approached the women and were led to the defendant while investigating this case. OCHTTF located the defendant’s vehicle and performed a traffic stop on Jefferson’s vehicle. The defendant is accused of possessing property belonging to the two women and exchanging text messages with the victims suggesting that he was unlawfully attempting to live and derive support from the earnings and proceeds from them.

OCHTTF and the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) Office work proactively to protect women and minors from falling victim to commercial sexual exploitation. This case was investigated by OCHTTF, a partnership between the Anaheim Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Huntington Beach Police Department, OCDA, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and community and non-profit partners.

Deputy District Attorney Daniel Varon of the HEAT Unit is prosecuting this case.

Proposition 35 and HEAT
In November 2012, California’s anti-human trafficking Proposition 35 (Prop 35) was enacted in California with 81 percent of the vote, and over 82 percent of the vote in Orange County, to increase the penalty for human trafficking, particularly in cases involving the trafficking of a minor by force.


June 25, 2015

Three Deputy Sheriffs Found Guilty of Federal Civil Rights Offense in Beating of Visitor at Downtown Los Angeles Jail

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:59 am

LOS ANGELES – A federal jury this afternoon returned guilty verdicts against three deputies with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department who violated the civil rights of a visitor to the Men’s Central Jail by beating him while he was restrained with handcuffs.

Concluding a one-week trial, the jury determined that Deputies Fernando Luviano and Sussie Ayala, as well as former Sergeant Eric Gonzalez, violated the civil rights of the victim in 2011 when they beat the man and caused bodily injury. The jury also determined that all three defendants falsified records when they prepared reports about the incident.

Ayala and Gonzalez were additionally convicted of conspiring to violate the victim’s civil rights by using unreasonable force.

Two other defendants who were named in a federal grand jury indictment in late 2013 – Pantamitr Zunggeemoge and Noel Womack – previously pleaded guilty and are pending sentencing.



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:37 am

SANTA ANA – The Orange County District Attorney – Public Administrator’s Office (OCDA – PA) was appointed to replace a trustee, who was disqualified by the Probate Court, a caretaker who used undue influence on a senior citizen to wrongfully place himself in charge of her assets and become beneficiary of her assets after her death.

The Orange County District Attorney was appointed the Orange County Public Administrator in 2014 by the Orange County Board of Supervisors, forming the OCDA – PA. The OCDA – PA protects the assets and manages the affairs of deceased residents of Orange County who at the time of death left no person available, willing or qualified to act to administer the estate or trust of a decedent. Most public administrator cases involve the public administrator acting to secure the assets of a decedent, represent the estate, and distributing property to the rightful heirs under law.

Background of the Case

In 2002, Anna Lou Horspool, who is now deceased and whose assets are the subject of the trust, was recovering from knee surgery at a care facility in Fullerton. Prior to the surgery, she lived independently in her home in Brea.

Brimah Vonjo met Horspool while he worked as a caregiver at the same facility. In June 2003, Horspool was discharged and returned to her home in Brea but needed physical assistance and care. She did not have any children and her husband was deceased. Horspool’s neighbors assisted her extensively when she returned home.


Department of Justice Filed Charges on more than 2,700 Human Smugglers in Fiscal Year 2014

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:32 am

The Justice Department is committed to using its resources to bring to justice those that are breaking the law by smuggling migrants into the United States.  In Fiscal Year 2014 (FY14, Oct. 1, 2013, up to Sept. 30, 2014), the Justice Department filed criminal charges against 2,762 individuals for human smuggling or harboring immigrants.  Nearly 90 percent of the criminal charges filed in FY14 for smuggling took place in Texas (1,515), California (511), Arizona (394), Florida (75) and New York (31).  The announcement of these actions is just one part of ongoing, collaborative efforts to tackle unlawful migration.  These efforts also helped to address last year’s influx of Central American migrants, including unaccompanied children and families crossing into the Rio Grande Valley, and demonstrate a continued commitment to dismantling human smuggling operations that put so many lives at risk.

Individuals that facilitate smuggling acts need to be aware that they face criminal prosecution and fines.  They also need to be aware of the dangers faced by the individuals that are being smuggled and also that the Department of Justice will seek forfeiture of funds transferred to others in connection with a smuggling crime.  In addition, individuals trying to bring a family member to the United States by transferring funds to a coyote should be aware that those acts are against the law and their funds can be seized by the federal government.

The penalty for human smuggling if done for commercial benefit is up to 10 years in prison and an accompanying fine.  For example, in January, Ruth Fernandez Morales-Lopez pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Hilda G. Tagle of the Southern District of Texas to bringing in and harboring aliens and money laundering.  Morales-Lopez admitted that she was the person who decided, based on whether they paid their smuggling fees, which individuals could stay at the “stash house,” located in San Benito, Texas.  She further admitted that more than $1 million in her bank account was comprised of smuggling fees and that she structured her withdrawals from that account to circumvent the Bank Secrecy Act.  Morales-Lopez faces up to 10 years in federal prison for the smuggling charge and up to 20 years for money laundering.  The remaining five defendants in the case, all of whom pleaded guilty, each face up to 10 years of federal imprisonment.

Many of the stories revealed in court cases outline the severe examples of exploitation and violence against migrants.  For example, in April 2014, a federal jury in Del Rio, Texas, convicted Eduardo Rocha Sr., 44, for his role in a human smuggling ring operation in Carrizo Springs, Texas, known for torturing its victims and exploiting their families.  The evidence presented during the trial showed that Rocha Sr. extorted additional money from family members of migrants that already lived in the United States.  In some instances, he ordered his accomplices to subject migrants to brutal violence and mutilation while their family members were forced to listen over the phone.


June 24, 2015


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:17 am

SANTA ANA – A man was charged today with murder for a hit-and-run crash that killed a woman and her granddaughter in Irvine. Alec Scott Abraham, 20, Costa Mesa, was charged today with two felony counts of murder. He was originally charged June 15, 2015, with two felony counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, one felony count of hit-and-run with permanent injury or death, one felony count of reckless driving with bodily injury, and one misdemeanor count of petty theft by taking and carrying away, and sentencing enhancements for fleeing the scene of a vehicular manslaughter and inflicting great bodily injury. After further investigation by the Irvine Police Department (IPD) and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA), newly discovered scientific evidence and witness information allowed OCDA to pursue murder charges against the defendant. No further information about the investigation will be disclosed at this time. If convicted, Abraham faces a maximum sentence of 30 years to life in state prison. Abraham is being held on $1 million bail. Today’s scheduled arraignment was continued in court to July 8, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

OCDA released a press release June 15, 2015, with the following information on the Abraham case:

At approximately 8:50 p.m. on June 10, 2015, Abraham is accused of driving a Ford Mustang and traveling westbound on Alton Parkway in Irvine. He is accused of speeding and failing to stop for a red light at the intersection of Alton Parkway and Barranca Parkway. Abraham is accused of slamming into the driver’s side of a Chevy Cruze being driven by Katherine Hampton, 54, who was traveling southbound on Barranca Parkway through a green light with her daughter and two grandchildren also in the car. The defendant is accused of causing the crash which forced the vehicles into a Honda Civic that was stopped at the red light going eastbound on Alton Parkway. The solo driver in the Honda Civic was treated for minor injuries at the hospital and released.

Shortly after the crash, the defendant is accused of approaching a bystander and requesting to use their cellphone. Abraham is accused of taking the bystander’s phone and fleeing from the scene on foot.



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:13 am

SANTA ANA – A man was charged today for using Facebook in an attempt to recruit an undercover officer posing as two underage teenage girls, to work for him as prostitutes. Donald Levan Clark, 25, is charged with two felony counts of attempted human trafficking of a minor, two felony counts of attempted pimping of a minor, and one felony count of pandering. He faces sentencing enhancements for a prior strike conviction for committing a 2011 robbery in Los Angeles County and a prior prison conviction for a 2013 false imprisonment in Los Angeles County and serving a separate prison term of one year and more and not remaining free for a period of five years. If convicted, Clark faces a maximum sentence of 15 years and eight months in state prison. He is being held on $100,00 bail and must prove the funds are from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond. Clark was arraigned today and is scheduled for pre-trial on June 30, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in Department N-3, North Justice Center, Fullerton.

Circumstances of the Case

Clark is accused of being a human trafficker/pimp who exploits women and/or children for financial gain. With the rise in popularity of social media and ease of meeting people on the Internet, many pimps and human traffickers utilize a variety of social media to locate potential victims.

Between May 27, 2015, and June 17, 2015, Clark is accused of using Facebook and contacting 17-year-old Jane Doe 1, who was an undercover officer, to work for the defendant as a prostitute. Clark is accused of ordering Jane Doe 1 to pay him a fee in order to work as a prostitute for the defendant.

On June 17, 2015, the defendant is accused of contacting Jane Doe 1 on Facebook to have Jane Doe 1 contact the fictitious Facebook account of 16-year-old Jane Doe 2 to recruit Jane Doe 2 as a prostitute for the defendant.



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:09 am

SANTA ANA – A drunken driver was convicted today of killing a woman by crashing into her motorcycle after making an unsafe turn into an intersection. Steven Todd Newcomer, 47, Santa Ana, pleaded guilty to the court to one felony count each of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated without gross negligence and hit and run causing death and a sentencing enhancement for fleeing the scene of a vehicular manslaughter. Pursuant to the court’s offer, he faces a maximum sentence of six years and four months in state prison at his sentencing Sept. 4, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-5, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

At approximately 8:40 p.m. on April 12, 2012, 32-year-old Kimberly Krause was riding her motorcycle eastbound on Chapman Avenue approaching the intersection at Pioneer Lane in Garden Grove. Newcomer was driving under the influence of alcohol traveling westbound on Chapman Avenue toward the same intersection.

As Krause legally passed through the intersection on a green light, Newcomer made a left turn in front of the victim without yielding to oncoming traffic. The defendant crashed into the victim which threw her from the motorcycle. Newcomer briefly stopped at the scene before fleeing into a nearby residential complex to a friend’s home. He failed to call 911 to seek help for the victim or render aid.

Officers from the Garden Grove Police Department (GGPD), who investigated this case, responded to the scene and located Krause lying at the corner of the intersection. She was transported to the University of California, Irvine Medical Center and pronounced dead at 9:01 p.m. due to multiple blunt force traumatic injuries.


June 23, 2015

Former Gulfstream Executive Sentenced To Over 11 Years In Federal Prison For Embezzling Over $10 Million From The Aerospace Company

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:23 am

LOS ANGELES – The former director of finance and accounting at Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation’s Long Beach facility was sentenced today to 135 months in federal prison for embezzling more than $10 million from his employer over a 13-year period.

Marvin Jay Caukin, 66, of Calabasas, was sentenced this morning by United States District Judge John F. Walter, who remanded the defendant into custody at the conclusion of the sentencing hearing.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Walter ordered the defendant to pay $10.25 million in restitution, and to forfeit to the government his interest of at least $2.4 million in properties in Calabasas and Toluca Lake.

Caukin pleaded guilty in January to conspiracy to commit mail fraud, admitting then that he participated in a long-running scheme to defraud Gulfstream by submitting fictitious business invoices to the aerospace company. According to court documents, the invoices were from bogus companies that had been set up by Caukin’s relatives and associates, and had names that were similar to actual businesses involved in the aerospace industry. Once Gulfstream issued checks in response to the invoices from the bogus vendors, Caukin used the funds to pay for range of personal expenses, including his mortgage, car payments, credit cards and professional escorts.


California Man Pleads Guilty in Prescription Drug Diversion Scheme

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:11 am

A Corona, California, man pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati to one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud for his participation in a large-scale, nationwide prescription drug diversion scheme.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, U.S. Attorney Carter M. Stewart of the Southern District of Ohio, Special Agent In Charge Antoinette V. Henry of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA-OCI) Metro Washington Field Office and Assistant Inspector in Charge Christopher White of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Cincinnati Field Office announced the guilty plea, entered today by U.S. District Judge Timothy S. Black.

According to court documents, from May 2010 through December 2012, Vin Nguyen, 45, and others conspired to distribute illegally-diverted prescription drugs while concealing the true, illicit sources of the drugs.  Nguyen purchased prescription drugs, including HIV medications, anti-psychotic medications and other brand name drugs, from various unlicensed and illegal sources in California and Florida.  Working with co-conspirators, Nguyen then sold the drugs to other drug diverters without the statutorily required pedigree documents stating the origin of the drugs.  Nguyen and his co-conspirators sold more than $6.5 million worth of diverted drugs.

“Illegal prescription drug diversion threatens the security of America’s drug supply chain,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mizer.  “The Department of Justice will continue to protect American consumers by prosecuting those who engage in prescription drug diversion.”


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