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March 6, 2017

MAN CONVICTED OF KILLING MOTHER IN HER HOME AND DISPOSING OF VICTIM’S BODY IN LA HABRA

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:40 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was convicted today of killing his mother in her home and disposing of the victim’s body in La Habra. Gabriel Antonio Espinoza, 32, Santa Maria, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of first degree murder. He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life at his sentencing on June 2, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

In the early morning hours of July 17, 2014, Espinoza killed his mother, 58-year-old Emma Espinoza-Posadas, in her Lompoc home. The victim died of asphyxiation due to severe chest compression. Espinoza moved his mother’s body to her car and drove south to La Habra.

On July 18, 2014, Espinoza disposed of Espinoza-Posadas’ body behind a carport in a residential area of La Habra. Three days later on July 21, 2014, a passerby discovered the victim and called 911. The La Habra Police Department (LHPD) responded to the scene.

During the course of their investigation, LHPD identified Espinoza as a suspect and arrested the defendant in Santa Maria on Dec. 23, 2014.

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FORMER FULLERTON CITY MANAGER CHARGED WITH DUI AND HIT AND RUN ON ELECTION NIGHT

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:38 am

FULLERTON, Calif. – The former city manager of Fullerton was charged today with driving under the influence and hit and run on election night. Joseph Burt Felz, 58, Fullerton, is charged with one misdemeanor count of driving under the influence of alcohol and one misdemeanor count of hit and run with property damage. If convicted, Felz faces a maximum sentence of one year in county jail. The defendant is scheduled to be arraigned on April 3, 2017, at 8:30 a.m. in Department N-8, North Justice Center, Fullerton.

On Nov. 8, 2016, Felz is accused of driving a vehicle under the influence in a residential area of Fullerton, driving over a curb and striking a tree. A witness to the incident called 911 and the Fullerton Police Department (FPD) responded and located Felz nearby. Felz is accused of unlawfully failing to stop his vehicle immediately.

FPD initially responded to the scene and then transferred the case to the OCDA for further investigation and legal review.

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

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 17NM03367 / March 3, 2017

MAN CONVICTED OF STABBING-MURDER OF MOTHER’S BOYFRIEND OUTSIDE RESIDENCE IN ANAHEIM

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:36 am

SANTA ANA, Calif – A man was convicted today of stabbing and murdering his mother’s boyfriend outside of a residence in Anaheim. Ruben Martinez, 29, Anaheim, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of first degree murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon. The defendant faces a maximum sentence of 52 yearsto life in state prison. The court will hear a bifurcated trial on Martinez’s prior strike conviction for carjacking in 2009 in Fullerton and a prior conviction for the unlawful taking of a vehicle in 2008 in Riverside County, for which he served a prison term, at his sentencing on May 12, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-44, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

At approximately 8:00 p.m. on Nov. 16, 2014, Martinez stabbed 52-year-old Maximino F. multiple times in the torso region while they were outside a home in a neighborhood in unincorporated Anaheim. The crime was reported to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) who arrived at the scene and discovered the victim’s body on a street near the home. The victim died as a result of his injuries. OCSD arrested the defendant at the scene.

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

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 14NF4890 / March 3, 2017

March 3, 2017

Attorney General Becerra Joins Price-Fixing Lawsuit Against Six Drug Companies

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

LOS ANGELES – Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced that California has joined a federal antitrust lawsuit with 39 other states charging six generic drug-makers with an illegal conspiracy to divide customers and markets and increase prices for two generic drugs.

The complaint alleges that the six pharmaceutical companies – Heritage Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Aurobindo Pharma USA, Inc., Citron Pharma, LLC, Mayne Pharma (USA), Inc., Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.— had a well-coordinated and long-running conspiracy to fix prices and allocate markets for doxycycline hyclate delayed release, an antibiotic, and glyburide, an oral diabetes medication. The complaint alleges that the defendants routinely coordinated their scheme through meetings with competitors at industry trade shows, customer conferences and other events, as well as through direct email, phone and text message communications. The alleged anticompetitive conduct – including efforts to fix and increase prices, allocate markets and otherwise thwart competition – caused significant, harmful and continuing effects in the country’s healthcare system.

“All consumers deserve fair and reasonable drug prices,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Today’s lawsuit represents just one small step in what will be a robust and sustained challenge to anticompetitive practices in the pharmaceutical industry.  My office is committed to combating wrongful drug company conduct on behalf of all consumers in California.”

California joined the amended complaint filed in the federal court in Connecticut today along with 39 other states (Alabama, Arizona,  Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin). The lawsuit was filed under seal in the Connecticut federal court and portions of the complaint are redacted to avoid compromising the ongoing investigation.

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Two Los Angeles-Area Men Sentenced to Federal Prison for Running Mortgage Scam that Purchased Homes with ‘Straw Buyers’

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

LOS ANGELES – Two defendants linked to a mortgage fraud scheme that cost at least $2.4 million when fraudulently purchased homes went into foreclosure have been sentenced to federal prison.

The case involves a scheme to fraudulently obtain mortgages for residential properties through the use of “straw buyers” – individuals who pretend to purchase the properties and have no intention of living in the homes. In this case, the straw buyers’ personal information was used to obtain mortgages without their knowledge. The scheme was run out of JTR Real Estate, Inc., a Norwalk-based real estate brokerage company which bought, renovated and sold residential properties.

The two defendants sentenced on Monday by United States District Judge Dale S. Fischer were:

· John Martynec, 41, of Long Beach, a licensed real estate broker and co-owner of JTR, who previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and was sentenced to two years in prison; and

· Elek Andrade 32, of Downey, who also previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison.

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Bell Gardens Man Associated with Mexican Mafia Sentenced to over 13 Years in Federal Prison for Distributing Meth to Street Gangs

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

LOS ANGELES – A gang member with ties to the Mexican Mafia prison gang has been sentenced to more than 13 years in federal prison for distributing methamphetamine to street gangs in Bell Gardens.

Guillermo Ruiz, known on the street as “Weasel,” 42, of Bell Gardens, was sentenced Monday to 160 months in prison by United States District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald.

In October, Ruiz pleaded guilty to all six criminal charges contained in two indictments, each of which alleged narcotics distribution. Ruiz was charged pursuant to a large-scale investigation into Bell Gardens street gangs by special agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). The investigation led to a total of 15 defendants being federally prosecuted narcotics and/or firearms offenses.

Ruiz “participated in the total distribution of nearly 550 grams of methamphetamine that was seized by the government, and he is suspected of distributing even more methamphetamine based on defendant’s intercepted calls and recorded statements,” according to a sentencing memorandum filed by prosecutors. “However, defendant’s criminal activities extend beyond the drug trafficking conduct that gives rise to the underlying charges and instant convictions.”

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March 2, 2017

Fifty-Five Defendants Charged in Massive Crackdown on California Heroin, Methamphetamine and Firearms Traffickers

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

Ten federal indictments unsealed today charge 55 defendants with crimes ranging from money laundering to heroin, methamphetamine and firearms trafficking in what officials have described as one of the most significant crackdowns in recent memory.

The defendants, including prominent drug dealers and documented gang members, were responsible for supplying a substantial portion of the heroin and methamphetamine distributed in North County, California.

Early this morning, more than 150 members of the North County Regional Gang Task Force plus other law enforcement agencies made numerous arrests and during the course of the investigation searched more than 20 locations in Oceanside, Vista and elsewhere in North County in California as well as Kingman, Arizona.

As of today at noon, 46 of the 55 defendants are either in federal or state custody. Fourteen were arrested this morning; the rest were arrested earlier in the week or were already in custody. Authorities are continuing to search for seven defendants; two are in Mexico. Many of the defendants are scheduled to be arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge Karen S. Crawford at 2:00 p.m. today and tomorrow.

The yearlong investigation was led by the North County Regional Gang Task Force. It involved months of federal wiretaps, dozens of undercover drug and gun buys and extensive surveillance. Many of the defendants are documented members or associates of violent North County street gangs, including the Vista Home Boys, Varrio Fallbrook Locos, Varrio Carlsbad Locos, Encinitas Tortilla Flats, Varrio San Marcos and Escondido Viejo Diablos.

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WASHINGTON FELON CONVICTED OF TRAFFICKING WOMAN AND PIMPING HER BY USING FIREARM TO FORCE HER TO SOLICIT COMMERCIAL SEX

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A Washington felon was convicted yesterday of trafficking a woman and pimping her by using a firearm to force her to solicit commercial sex. Timogen Anthony Simpson, 27, Kent, Washington, was found guilty by a jury of two felony counts each of pimping and pandering; one felony count each of human trafficking, criminal threats, assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, possession of a firearm by felon, convicted felon having a concealed firearm in a vehicle, and felon carrying a loaded firearm in public, one misdemeanor count of false imprisonment, and a sentencing enhancement for being armed with a firearm while committing criminal threats. The defendant faces a maximum sentence of over 40 years in state prison. The court will hear a bifurcated trial on Simpson’s prior felony strike convictions for second degree robbery in 2009 in King County, Washington, and a prior prison conviction for possession of a firearm by a felon in 2012 from the United States District Court, Western Division, in Washingtonat his sentencing on June 9, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-30, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Circumstances of the Case

Simpson is a pimp who exploits women for financial gain. Pimps often establish rigid rules that their victims are expected to follow including setting daily quotas that the victims are expected to fulfill. Victims are often required to turn over all payment they receive for sex acts from sex purchasers to their pimp. Failure to follow these rules can result in deprivation of food, sleep, and/or physical and/or emotional abuse.

Prior to this case, Simpson met Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 in Washington. The defendant tricked Jane Doe 1 into traveling with him and Jane Doe 2 to California. Once arriving to California, Simpson forced the victims to solicit commercial sex on the street in areas known for prostitution and human trafficking in Orange County. Simpson threatened Jane Doe 1 by telling her she would not be able to eat or sleep until she made enough money for the defendant. On one occasion, the defendant choked Jane Doe 1 when she mentioned contacting the police. On another occasion while driving, Simpson pulled out a firearm and aimed it at Jane Doe 1 and threatened to shoot the victim and her family if she left him.

On June 9, 2016, Jane Doe 1 escaped from the defendant and contacted law enforcement. Members of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF) located Simpson and arrested him.

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Ex-Lynwood City Employee Pleads to Embezzling Employee Union Funds

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

A former Lynwood city employee pleaded guilty today to embezzling more than $27,000 from an employees’ union, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Eric Gonzalez, 35, entered his plea to one count of felony grand theft. He was immediately sentenced to two days in county jail, placed on formal probation for three years and ordered to complete 240 days of community service.

He also must pay $27,735 in restitution and can no longer be employed by the city of Lynwood. Gonzalez paid $20,000 today toward the restitution.

Deputy District Attorney Susan Ser of the Public Integrity Division prosecuted the case.

Between 2011 and 2012, Gonzalez served as president of the Lynwood Employees Association, a nonprofit union representing all city employees. During that period, the civil engineering technician made four unauthorized cash withdrawals totaling $27,735.

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March 1, 2017

MAN TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR ASSAULT AND INSURANCE FRAUD AFTER ATTACKING CO-WORKER AND FALSELY REPORTING BEING HIT BY FORKLIFT

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow for assault and insurance fraud after attacking a co-worker and falsely reporting being hit by a forklift. Randal Brown McKay, 65, Lake Forest, is charged with one felony count of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury with a sentencing enhancement for great bodily injury, three felony counts of insurance fraud, and one felony count of perjury under oath. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 11 years in state prison. McKay is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, March 1, 2017, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-55 Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

On June 6, 2014, McKay is accused of reporting to one of his managers that the victim, John Doe, tried to hit the defendant with a forklift. While management was investigating the claim, the defendant is accused of attacking Doe and striking the victim over the head with a closed fist in front of several witnesses. The victim was taken to a medical clinic where he received eight stitches and suffered from a mild concussion and blurred vision as a result of the assault. The defendant is accused of returning home to change clothes. Later the same day, McKay is accused of going to the Irvine Police Department (IPD) and reporting that he had been deliberately hit by John Doe with a forklift. IPD investigated the case and determined that the victim did not hit the defendant with a forklift.

On June 11, 2014, McKay is accused of filing a claim with CompWest Insurance Company alleging work related injuries for being struck by a forklift. On July 14, 2015, McKay is accused of committing perjury by testifying under oath during the Worker’s Compensation Appeals Board trial that he was struck by a forklift and was injured. An Administrative Law Judge determined that the defendant was not struck by a forklift and did not sustain any injuries. CompWest Insurance Company reported the fraud to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office Insurance Fraud Unit, who investigated this case.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Pamela Leitao of the Insurance Fraud Unit is prosecuting this case.

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 16CF2752 / February 28, 2017

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