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November 26, 2015


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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man previously convicted of the shaking abuse of his girlfriend’s 11-month-old daughter in 2005 was charged yesterday with murder after the victim died as a result of the injuries she sustained 10 years ago. Christopher Edward Byrd, 39, La Habra, is charged with one felony count of murder and one felony count of assault on a child with force likely to produce great bodily injury resulting in death. If convicted, Byrd faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison. The defendant is currently in custody for a 2012 conviction for possession of methamphetamine and identity theft. He was sentenced to eight years and eight months in jail on April 30, 2013. Byrd is scheduled to be arraigned Friday, Dec. 4, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

Circumstances of the Case

At the time of the crime, Byrd lived with his girlfriend and her 11-month-old daughter, Savannah Lee Quake, in La Habra.

On Jan. 12, 2005, the defendant was watching Savannah while her mother left the home for several hours. During that time, Byrd is accused of shaking the victim until the victim was unconscious. Byrd took the infant to a neighbor, who called 911. Paramedics responded to the scene and the victim was subsequently placed on a ventilator.

The La Habra Police Department (LHPD) investigated this case. On Jan. 18, 2005, Byrd was charged with one felony count of child abuse and one felony count of possession of methamphetamine. The defendant pleaded guilty to both charges on May 18, 2007, and was sentenced to four years and eight months in state prison.


November 25, 2015

Former California Attorney Pleads Guilty in International Investment Fraud Scheme

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:39 am

A Las Vegas man pleaded guilty today to conspiracy for his role in an investment fraud scheme that promoted fraudulent investment opportunities and caused more than $5 million in losses to investors.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Daniel G. Bogden of the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Laura A. Bucheit of the FBI’s Las Vegas Field Office made the announcement.

Joseph Micelli, 62, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Kent J. Dawson of the District of Nevada to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and securities fraud.  His sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 23, 2016.

As part of his plea, Micelli admitted that he conspired with others in the United States and Switzerland to promote investments and loan instruments that he knew to be fraudulent.  The conspirators told victims that, for an up-front payment, a Swiss company known as the Malom Group A.G. would provide access to lucrative investment opportunities and substantial cash loans.  In connection with his plea, Micelli admitted that he held himself out to investors as an attorney, when in fact he had lost his license to practice law.  In addition, as part of an effort to defraud an investor who held an equity stake in a corporation that had filed for bankruptcy, Micelli submitted a sworn affidavit to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Hampshire, in which he made false statements about the Malom Group’s ability to provide financing to the debtors.

Five other defendants have been charged in the case and are awaiting trial or extradition.


Five People, including Two Doctors, Charged in Kickback Schemes Involving nearly $600 Million in Fraudulent Claims by SoCal Hospitals

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

Santa Ana, California – In a series of related cases announced today, the former CFO of a Long Beach hospital, two orthopedic surgeons and two others have been charged in long-running health care fraud schemes that illegally referred thousands of patients for spinal surgeries and generated nearly $600 million in fraudulent billings over an eight-year period.

Two of the defendants have previously pleaded guilty, and three others have agreed to plead guilty in the coming weeks. All five have agreed to cooperate in the government’s ongoing investigation into kickbacks for patient referrals and fraudulent bills for spinal surgeries.

The schemes involved tens of millions of dollars in illegal kickbacks to dozens of doctors, chiropractors and others. As a result of the illegal payments, thousands of patients were referred to Pacific Hospital in Long Beach, where they underwent spinal surgeries that led to more than $580 million in bills being fraudulently submitted during the last eight years of the scheme alone. Many of the fraudulent claims were paid by the California worker’s compensation system and the federal government.

In a second, similar scheme – also involving spinal surgeries – doctors received illegal kickbacks for referrals to a Hawaiian Gardens hospital.



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:31 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A 24-year-old man is expected to be arraigned tomorrow on charges of attempted murder for repeatedly shooting at an on-duty peace officer, who was responding to a call. Evan Williams Taylor, Orange, is charged with one felony count of attempted murder of a peace officer, one felony count of assault with a semiautomatic firearm on a peace officer, and a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years to life in state prison. The People will be requesting the defendant be held on $1 million bail at his arraignment scheduled tomorrow, Nov. 25, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-55, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

At approximately 9:20 p.m. on Nov. 21, 2015, two officers from the Orange Police Department (OPD) were dispatched to a home for a family disturbance. When the OPD officers entered the home with permission from a family member, Taylor is accused of retreating to his room and shutting the door. When Officer King ordered Taylor to open the door, the defendant is accused of opening the door and pointing a semiautomatic rifle at Officer King, who started to draw his weapon as Taylor quickly shut the door. As Officer King backed away from the door, Taylor is accused of firing a shot through the door at chest level, then pausing and firing two more shots. The defendant is accused of firing the semiautomatic gun at himself, grazing his head.

Taylor was arrested and transported to a nearby hospital with a superficial wound. The OPD officers never discharged their firearms during the incident.

The defendant is accused of possessing three firearms, including an AR-15 pistol, a 12-gauge shotgun, and a Glock pistol, ammunition, light-armor piercing ammunition, and two bullet proof vests.


November 24, 2015

Man Ordered Held without Bond after Being Arrested on Charges of Retaliating Against IRS Employee by Filing $10 Million Lien

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 9:02 am

RIVERSIDE, California – A man facing federal charges related to a $10 million lien filed against an Internal Revenue Service employee has been ordered held without bond pending trial after being arrested last week by federal agents.

James R. Vanderveldt was arrested Thursday morning and arraigned on Thursday afternoon in United States District Court. The Court entered a not guilty plea on his behalf under the name of “John Doe” after he refused to enter a plea to the charges.

A federal grand jury on Wednesday returned a two-count indictment that charges Vanderveldt with retaliation against a federal law enforcement officer by filing a false lien and obstructing the administration of the internal revenue laws. The indictment alleges that the crimes took place in San Bernardino County.

At Vanderveldt’s court appearance on Thursday, a trial was scheduled for January 12, 2016 before United States District Judge Jesus G. Bernal. If he is convicted of the two counts, Vanderveldt would face a statutory maximum sentence of 13 years in federal prison.


Two More Charged with Murder in Officer’s Death

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:59 am

An 18-year-old and a 21-year-old were charged today with special circumstance murder in the fatal shooting of a Downey police officer last Wednesday night, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Steven Knott (dob 8/18/97) and Jeremy Anthony Alvarez (dob 8/7/94) are scheduled to be arraigned along with co-defendant Abel Diaz (dob 11/27/98) after 1:30 p.m. today in Downey at the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Department 5, in case VA140624.

The three are each charged with one count of special circumstance murder and one count of attempted second-degree robbery. The amended complaint includes the special circumstance that the murder occurred during an attempted robbery.

The amended complaint also includes gun and gang allegations as to each defendant. Prosecutors will ask that each defendant be held without bail.

Deputy District Attorneys Michael Blake and Mary Murray with the Crimes Against Peace Officers Section are prosecuting the case.


Santa Fe Springs Man Sentenced for Murder of Victim Discovered Encased in Concrete

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:56 am

A 49-year-old man was sentenced today to 50 years to life in state prison for killing a former coworker and then hiding his body by encasing it concrete under a Santa Fe Springs business, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Steven Schreiner said Juan Alberto Galvez was found guilty on Oct. 23 of one count of first-degree murder.

The jury also found true the allegation that Galvez used a shotgun to commit the murder and foundhim guilty of misdemeanor possession of methamphetamine in case VA128108.

On Dec. 23, 2012, Galvez shot Guillermo Díaz, 38, at a skylight manufacturing business where both men previously worked together, according to court testimony. Galvez had grown resentful toward Díaz after being fired from the skylight business, according to the evidence presented at trial.

In an effort to hide the victim’s body, Galvez encased it in cement and buried it under a makeshiftshower he constructed at an auto repair business where he worked within the same industrial park area, the prosecutor said.

The Whittier Police Department investigated the case.

Los Angeles County District Attorney / case VA128108 / November 23, 2015

November 23, 2015

Bakersfield, California, Police Narcotics Detective Charged with Bribery, Drug Trafficking, Obstruction and Filing False Tax Returns

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:41 am

Damacio Diaz, 43, of McFarland, California, a detective with the Bakersfield, California, Police Department (BPD), was arrested today, charged with abusing his position of trust as a police detective when he conspired with and assisted a narcotics dealer in the operation of the dealer’s drug organization, announced U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner of the Eastern District of California, Special Agent in Charge Monica M. Miller of the FBI’s Sacramento Division, DEA Special Agent in Charge John J. Martin, Acting Special Agent in Charge Thomas McMahon of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) and Bakersfield Police Chief Greg Williamson.  The charges are contained in a 16-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury yesterday.

The indictment charges that Diaz, in exchange for bribes from the dealer, provided the dealer with intelligence on law enforcement practices and activities, disclosed the names and identities of police informants, tipped the dealer off as to police investigations and attempted to provide the dealer protection from search, seizure, arrest and prosecution.  The indictment also charges Diaz with bribery, retaining seized narcotics on multiple occasions for his own unlawful gain, disclosing contents of a wiretap investigation and two counts of filing false tax returns.

Diaz has been on paid administrative leave from the BPD since this investigation was initiated.  He is scheduled to be arraigned today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jennifer L. Thurston of the Eastern District of California in Bakersfield at 2:30 p.m.

“When a police officer misuses his badge to commit crimes for personal profit, it is the ultimate betrayal of public trust,” said U.S. Attorney Wagner.  “While it is a sad day for the Bakersfield Police Department, the department should be proud of the outstanding work it has done, together with the FBI, DEA, and IRS-CI, effectively investigating this case over the last few months.”



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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A drunken driver was sentenced to 18 years to life in state prison today for the murder of an elderly woman and injury of her grandson in a hit-and-run crash. Kelly Michele Wolfe, 47, Capistrano Beach, was found guilty by a jury on Sept. 28, 2015, of one felony count each of murder, driving under the influence causing bodily injury, driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or more and causing bodily injury, one misdemeanor count of driving a motor vehicle without a valid license, and a sentencing enhancement for driving with a blood alcohol concentration of .15 percent or more.

At approximately 8:30 p.m. on July 4, 2013, Wolfe drove a Volkswagen van northbound on El Camino Real in San Clemente while under the influence of alcohol and without a valid driver’s license. The defendant ran over the victim, 76-year-old Marthann Demchuk, who was standing in the gutter while her then 12-year-old blind grandson, Mason F. was on the curb holding her arm. They were watching some small fireworks displays that were being set off before the main city firework show. Wolfe crashed into the victims with her vehicle, fled the scene of the collision, and failed to render aid to the victims. The defendant drove home while her horn sounded in an attempt to avoid being caught. The defendant was contacted by the Orange County Sheriff Department, who investigated this case and subsequently arrested Wolfe after damage to her vehicle was found to be consistent with the debris at the scene.

Wolfe had a blood alcohol content of .31 percent at approximately 10:39 p.m., approximately two hours after the crash. Paramedics responded to the scene and transported the victims to the hospital. Mason F. was treated for injuries as a result of the crash, including abrasions to his face, mouth and legs. Demchuck died as a result of the injuries that she sustained from the crash.

Wolfe has a prior DUI conviction from Nevada in 1995 where she completed a DUI class and attended a Victim Impact Panel. The defendant received a Watson advisement when she renewed her California driver’s license in 2008, which gave her prior knowledge that she could be charged with murder if she killed a person while driving under the influence.



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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A gang member was sentenced to 101 years and eight months to life in state prison today for the murder of one woman, attempted murder of a female bystander and assault of a man. Irvin Tellez, 27, Garden Grove, was found guilty by a jury on Sept. 29, 2015, of one felony count each of first degree murder, attempted murder, assault with a semiautomatic firearm, and street terrorism with sentencing enhancements for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death, personal discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury, criminal street gang activity, and great bodily injury.

Co-defendant Jaime Prieto Rocha, 42, Santa Ana, pleaded guilty Sept. 4, 2015, to one felony count of voluntary manslaughter with a sentencing enhancement for criminal street gang activity. Rocha was sentenced on Oct. 30, 2015, to 16 years in state prison.

At the time of the crime, Tellez was a criminal street gang member, and was friends with Rocha and 28-year-old Nancy H.

On the afternoon of Aug. 11, 2013, Tellez argued with Vernon R. in Garden Grove, and used a semiautomatic firearm to shoot him in the thigh. Vernon R. was transported shortly thereafter to the hospital, and survived his injuries.


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