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May 22, 2015

U.S. Army Sergeant Sentenced to 51 Months in Prison for Taking Bribes While Deployed in Afghanistan

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:35 am

A sergeant with the U.S. Army was sentenced today to 51 months in prison for accepting bribes from Afghan truck drivers at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Gardez in Afghanistan, in exchange for allowing the drivers to take thousands of gallons of fuel from the base for resale on the black market, announced Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Michael J. Moore of the Middle District of Georgia.

James Edward Norris, 41, of Fort Irwin, California, was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Clay D. Land of the Middle District of Georgia, who also ordered Norris to pay $176,100 in restitution and to forfeit two vehicles he purchased with money from the bribery scheme and $70,000 in cash that he received from the scheme.

In connection with his guilty plea, Norris admitted that he conspired with other soldiers stationed at FOB Gardez to solicit and accept approximately $2,000 per day from local Afghan truck drivers in exchange for permitting the truck drivers to take thousands of gallons of fuel from the base.  Norris admitted that he was personally paid a total of $100,000 over the course of the conspiracy.

Norris and the other soldiers shipped the bribe proceeds back to the United States in tough boxes.  Norris admitted that, after returning from deployment, he purchased a 2008 Cadillac Escalade with $31,000 cash derived from the bribery scheme and a custom built 2014 Hardcore Choppers motorcycle with approximately $30,000 in proceeds from the scheme.


May 21, 2015

Federal Court Shuts Down California Tax Preparer and Convicted Felon

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:36 am

A federal court in Sacramento, California, has permanently barred a former Ripon, California, man from preparing tax returns for others, the Justice Department announced today.

The civil injunction order, to which Sarad Chand consented, was entered by U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. of the Eastern District of California.  According to stipulation, the defendant admitted to repeatedly preparing federal tax returns that understated his customers’ federal tax liabilities.

The complaint alleged that Chand, and others working with him under the business name S. Chand Tax & Accounting Services, prepared tax returns that falsely claimed inflated or fabricated tax credits or deductions.  The suit noted that Chand most frequently prepared returns that falsely inflated unreimbursed employee business expenses.  Chand also created Schedule Cs (Profit or Loss From Business) with false income, while for other clients he created false losses or inflated expenses, according to the suit.  According to the complaint, these fabrications served to improperly reduce the customers’ taxable income and resulted in reduced tax liability or inappropriate tax refunds.  Moreover, according to the complaint, Chand also led his customers to believe that he was a former Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employee, when he was not.

The suit also noted that on May 15, 2014, Chand pleaded guilty to aiding and assisting in the preparation and presentation of a false and fraudulent tax return.  As part of his plea agreement, Chand agreed to the entry of a permanent civil injunction.



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:34 am

SANTA ANA – A businessman and a bookkeeper were convicted and sentenced Friday for defrauding employees by taking their wages on a public works project. Saeed Kenari, 54, Tujunga, pleaded guilty Friday, May 14, 2015, to four felony counts of receiving workers’ wages on a public works project, eight felony counts of failure to pay taxes, and four felony counts of attempting to file a false or forged document with a sentencing enhancement allegation for property loss over $200,000. He was sentenced to four years and eight months in state prison and ordered to pay $540,000 in restitution.

Co-defendant Rina Arakelian, 62, Glendale, pleaded guilty on Friday, May 14, 2015, to one felony count of conspiring to file a false or forged document. She was sentenced to 50 days in jail and three years formal probation.

Co-defendant Shahan Haider Zaidi, 44, Long Beach, is charged with four felony counts of conspiracy to commit fraud. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of five years and six months in state prison. Zaidi remains a fugitive.

Kenari and Arkelian are convicted of, and Zaidi is accused of the following:



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:29 am

FULLERTON – A man and a woman were arraigned yesterday on charges of human trafficking, and attempted pimping and pandering for attempting to exploit a minor girl to be exploited for commercial sex. Lorenze Trannseau Lanier, 33, and Denise Lucy Obregon, 25, both from Los Angeles, were charged and arraigned yesterday May 18, 2015, on one felony count of human trafficking of a minor, one felony count of pandering, and one felony count of attempted pimping. Obregon was charged with an additional misdemeanor count of driving a motor vehicle without a valid license. If convicted, Lanier and Obregon face a maximum sentence of 12 years in state prison and an additional six months for Obregon, due to the misdemeanor. The defendants are in custody on $50,000 bail and are scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on May 27, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in Department N-3, North Justice Center, Fullerton.

Members of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (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 Bryan Clavecilla of the HEAT Unit is prosecuting this case.

Circumstances of the Case…


May 20, 2015

Chinese Professors Among Six Defendants Charged with Economic Espionage and Theft of Trade Secrets for Benefit of People’s Republic of China

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:01 am

On May 16, 2015, Tianjin University Professor Hao Zhang was arrested upon entry into the United States from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in connection with a recent superseding indictment in the Northern District of California, announced Assistant Attorney General for National Security John P. Carlin, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of the Northern District of California and Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson of the FBI’s San Francisco Division.

The 32-count indictment, which had previously been sealed, charges a total of six individuals with economic espionage and theft of trade secrets for their roles in a long-running effort to obtain U.S. trade secrets for the benefit of universities and companies controlled by the PRC government.

“According to the charges in the indictment, the defendants leveraged their access to and knowledge of sensitive U.S. technologies to illegally obtain and share U.S. trade secrets with the PRC for economic advantage,” said Assistant Attorney General Carlin.  “Economic espionage imposes great costs on American businesses, weakens the global marketplace and ultimately harms U.S. interests worldwide.  The National Security Division will continue to relentlessly identify, pursue and prosecute offenders wherever the evidence leads.  I would like to thank all the agents, analysts and prosecutors who are responsible for this indictment.”

“As today’s case demonstrates, sensitive technology developed by U.S. companies in Silicon Valley and throughout California continues to be vulnerable to coordinated and complex efforts sponsored by foreign governments to steal that technology,” said U.S. Attorney Haag.  “Combating economic espionage and trade secret theft remains one of the top priorities of this Office.”


Georgia Man Sentenced To Prison In Wire Fraud Scheme That Bilked Airlines By Obtaining Free ‘Non-Rev’ Tickets For Non-Employees

Filed under: Uncategorized — fayarfa @ 12:09 am

LOS ANGELES – A Georgia man who fraudulently booked airline reservations by pretending to be a flight crew member was sentenced today to six months in federal prison, as well as six months of home detention.

Gilbert Myers Jr., 38, of Atlanta, was sentenced this afternoon in Los Angeles by United States District Judge Dean D. Pregerson.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Pregerson ordered Myers to pay $91,660 in restitution to the victim airlines.

Myers pleaded guilty in January to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, admitting that he orchestrated a scheme to defraud air carriers by having travelers illegally board aircrafts while pretending to be employees of other airlines. In exchange for arranging their travel as “non-rev” employee travelers, Myers typically charged approximately $2,000 for one year of unlimited free flights.


Los Angeles Man Who Produced Child Pornography By Photographing Girl While In Philippines Sentenced To Life In Federal Prison

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

LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles man who was convicted of producing child pornography in the Philippines while being required to register as a sex offender due to his prior conviction for raping a 14-year-old girl was sentenced today to life without parole in federal prison.

Stanley Dan Reczko III, 50, who resided in the Koreatown District of Los Angeles, was sentenced today by United States District Judge George H. King, who in March found the defendant guilty of producing child pornography while being required to register as a sex offender.

“This defendant has a life-long history of violent behavior,” said Acting United States Attorney Stephanie Yonekura. “He has received treatment and counseling, but in light of this case, the help offered to him appears to have had no effect. Even though he has previously served prison time for the rape of a minor, this punishment did not deter his behavior. In light of his recidivism, the life prison sentence is richly deserved.”

In the first part of a bifurcated trial, a federal jury in February found Reczko guilty of sexual exploitation by producing child pornography in the Philippines.


May 19, 2015

San Diego Storage Company Agrees to Pay $170,000 to Settle Justice Department Allegations That it Unlawfully Sold Navy Service Members’ Belongings

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:15 am

Across Town Movers, a San Diego-based storage company, and its owner, Daniel E. Homan, have agreed to pay nearly $170,000 to resolve allegations by the Department of Justice that it unlawfully sold U.S. Navy service members’ stored goods.

The settlement resolves a lawsuit filed in March by the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorneys’ Office for the Southern District of California.  The lawsuit alleged that Across Town Movers had a practice of selling active-duty service members’ storage lots without obtaining necessary court orders.

The lawsuit was filed under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), which protects the rights of service members while on active duty by suspending or modifying certain civil obligations.  Under the SCRA, a storage lien may not be enforced against service members during, or 90 days subsequent to, their period of military service without a court order.

Among the aggrieved service members is Master Chief Petty Officer Thomas E. Ward, now retired, who will receive $150,000 as compensation for his auctioned personal property.  A long-time car enthusiast and 30-year veteran, Master Chief Ward placed his valuable car parts and many household items into storage when he was deployed overseas.  He entrusted Across Town Movers to keep his personal property safe until he returned to his home in San Diego.  Just before completing his final tour, Master Chief Ward learned that Across Town Movers had auctioned all of his stored personal property, including rare, vintage car parts, without providing any notice or obtaining a court order.  Moreover, Across Town Movers allegedly continued to collect payment of storage fees from the government after it sold Master Chief Ward’s goods.


Attorney Representing Witnesses In ‘Chinese Birthing House’ Investigation Charged With Attempted Witness Tampering

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

SANTA ANA, California – An Irvine-based immigration attorney has been arrested and charged with attempted witness tampering after agreeing to help a Chinese national flee from the United States after the woman had been designated as a “material witness” in a criminal investigation into “birthing houses” operating in Southern California.

Ken Zhiyi Liang, 38, of Irvine, was arrested Friday afternoon after accepting $6,000 from the witness in exchange for assisting her abscond to China. In a criminal complaint filed Saturday, Liang was charged with attempted witness tampering, a charge that carries a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. Liang is scheduled to make his initial court appearance this afternoon in United States District Court.

The Chinese national had been designated as a material witness in the federal investigation, meaning she was subject to a court order preventing her from leaving the United States without authorization from the government or court. Liang had represented the witness in the matter until the court removed him as attorney of record, over his objections, on April 17.

The federal investigation, which became known when authorities executed dozens of search warrants in early March, focuses on so-called birthing houses that “provided services to Chinese nationals, who travelled into the United States from China, for the purpose of giving birth to children so that the children could obtain United States citizenship,” according to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint against Liang.



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:08 am

SANTA ANA – Two men were sentenced on Friday for committing provocative act murder. The two men were held accountable for the death of two of their accomplices, who were shot to death by a jewelry store owner, in a botched jewelry store attempted robbery. Alan Keith Hunter, 43, Moreno Valley, was found guilty by a jury on April 9, 2015, of one felony count of first degree murder and one felony count of attempted second degree robbery. Hunter’s prior serious and violent felony convictions for conspiracy to commit robbery and armed bank robbery in 1995 were found to be true. Hunter was sentenced to 30 years to life in state prison.

Co-defendant James Stephan Paschall, 44, Gardena, was found guilty by a jury on April 9, 2015, of one felony count of first degree murder and one felony count of attempted second degree robbery. Paschall’s prior serious and violent felony convictions for conspiracy to commit bank robbery in 1993 and armed bank robbery in 1995 were found to be true. Paschall was sentenced to 30 years to life in state prison.

Co-defendant Eddie Clark Sr., 53, Los Angeles, pleaded guilty on Dec. 12, 2014, to four felony counts of second degree robbery and one felony count of voluntary manslaughter. Clark Sr. will be sentenced to 10 years in state prison at his sentencing on June 12, 2015, at 9:00 a.m., in Department C-40, Central Justice Center.

Co- defendant George Anthony Boozer, 36, Apple Valley, pleaded guilty on May 22, 2013, to one felony count of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and five felony counts of attempted second degree robbery. He will be sentenced to 12 years and four months in state prison at his sentencing on July 17, 2015, at 9:00 a.m., in Department C-40, Central Justice Center.


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