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August 4, 2015

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces $700,000 Settlement with Capital Sweepstakes For Illegal Gambling

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:01 am

SAN FRANCISCO – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced that Capital Sweepstakes Systems, Inc. (Capital Sweepstakes), a major sweepstakes gambling software provider, will pay $700,000 in civil penalties and costs and admit that it violated state gambling laws, in a case brought by the joint state and local Sweepstakes Gambling Task Force.

This settlement resolves allegations that Capital Sweepstakes violated state laws governing illegal gambling and unfair competition.  In addition to the $700,000 it will pay, Capital Sweepstakes is barred from conducting any kind of sweepstakes operations in the state for 10 years.

“Capital Sweepstakes profited by targeting low-income communities, misrepresenting their slot-machine style operations as legal enterprises and creating magnets for crime,” said Attorney General Harris. “My office is dedicated to combatting and dismantling illegal and unregulated gambling operations statewide. I thank our Gambling Task Force and the Bureau of Gambling Control for their tireless investigative work.”

This case stems from a joint investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Gambling Control that included extensive undercover work and multiple search warrants being served on Capital Sweepstakes’ California operations.  Additionally, cash and accounts totaling more than $3,000,000 were seized in the investigation.

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August 3, 2015

Israeli Organized Crime Figure Sentenced to 32 Years in Federal Prison for Drug Trafficking, Money Laundering and Extortion

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:33 am

LOS ANGELES – A man linked to one of the most notorious organized crime rings in Israel and who on his own operated “a vast international criminal conspiracy engaged in drug trafficking and money laundering” was sentenced today to 384 months in federal prison.

Moshe Matsri, 48, of Tarzana, was sentenced this morning by United States District Judge S. James Otero.

Matsri was found guilty by a federal jury last October of conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine, eight counts of money laundering, attempted distribution of at least five kilograms of cocaine, attempted possession with intent to distribute at least five kilograms of cocaine and conspiracy to commit extortion. He was convicted pursuant to a grand jury indictment that outlined Matsri’s role as leader of an organized crime enterprise that engaged in a wide-range of criminal behavior, including laundering money for narcotics traffickers by moving money around the world.

Matsri, who is also known as “Moshe the Religious,” is a well-known crime figure in the San Fernando Valley, and he has significant ties to the Abergil organized crime family, which is based in Israel and also operates internationally.

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HUSBAND, WIFE, AND NOTARY PUBLIC CHARGED WITH STEALING OVER $100,000 FROM ELDERLY WOMAN

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:25 am

WESTMINSTER, Calif. – A husband and wife have been charged with stealing over $100,000 from an elderly woman with the assistance of a notary public. Christina Espinosa Aldana, 32, Thalia Lugo-Lainez 37, both of Garden Grove, and Willmar Lainez, 44, Anaheim, are each charged with three felony counts of filing a false document and three felony counts of forgery with sentencing enhancement allegations for aggravated white collar crime over $100,000, property loss over $65,000 and theft over $100,000. Lugo-Lainez and Lainez are also charged with two felony counts each of grand theft, two felony counts of theft from an elder, and two felony counts of identity theft. Aldana is also charged with three felony counts of perjury by declaration. If convicted, Lugo-Lainez and Lainez face a maximum sentence of 11 years and four months in state prison, and Aldana faces a maximum sentence of nine years and four months in state prison. Aldana is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday, Aug. 3, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in Department W-12, West Justice Center, Westminster. Lainez is scheduled to be arraigned on Aug. 5, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in Department W-12. Lugo-Lainez remains a fugitive.

Aldana is a registered notary public certified by the California Secretary of State. She is also employed in a clerical position by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA), but does not provide notary services to OCDA.

Between Nov. 7, 2008, and Jan. 1, 2009, Lugo-Lainez and Lainez are accused of living with the elderly victim, the maternal grandmother of Lugo-Lainez, and forging her name on a second mortgage on her home in Garden Grove. Aldana is accused of violating her position of trust as a notarypublicand knowingly submitting and verifying the false documents. Aldana, Lugo-Lainez, and Lainez are each accused of forging the victim’s signature and information on documents to secure a second mortgage on the victim’s home. Lugo-Lainez and Lainez are accused of taking the money received from the second mortgage and depositing it into their own personal bank accounts, resulting in the victim losing over $75,000.

Additionally, Lainez and Lugo-Lainez are accused of stealing the victim’s personal identifying information in 2014, in order to gain access and control over the victim’s primary bank-account. Lainez and Lugo-Lainez are accused of stealing over $40,000 from that account for their own personal use.

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FORMER CONTROLLER OF SANTA ANA PIANO COMPANY SENTENCED TO 18 YEARS IN PRISON FOR EMBEZZLING OVER $5.6 MILLION DOLLARS

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:22 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A former controller of a Santa Ana piano company was sentenced today to 18 years in state prison for embezzling over $5.6 million from the business. Russell Eugene Dunbar, 58, was found guilty by a jury on Oct. 21, 2014, of 17 felony counts of forgery, 17 felony counts of falsifying records, and 16 felony counts of grand theft with sentencing enhancement allegations for committing an aggravated white collar crime over $500,000 and property damage over $2.5 million.

Fields Piano is a long established piano store in Santa Ana. In 2001, the owners hired Dunbar, a close friend, to be the controller for the business in charge of accounting for the company.

On or around 2003, the defendant opened a bank account using the fictitious business name of the Fields Piano Company. He received large checks from the business owners and deposited them into his own personal account instead of the business bank account. Dunbar then wrote smaller checks from his personal account and deposited them into the Fields Piano business account and used the bank deposit receipts to construct altered receipts. He then falsely told the owners of Fields Piano that large amounts of money were put into their account even though the deposits were never made. The business owners subsequently paid taxes on the income they thought they had received and were unaware of the losses.

Dunbar stole at least $5.6 million and up to $6.8 million from the company over a 3-year period.

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July 31, 2015

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Arrests and Seizure of Meth Valued at $2 Million in Drug Trafficking Case Linked to Sinaloa Cartel

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

LOS ANGELES —Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the arrest of five individuals suspected of being associated with the Sinaloa Cartel, for trafficking 55 pounds of methamphetamine with a street value of $2 million.

“California is the gateway for 70 percent of the methamphetamine trafficked into the United States from Mexico,” said Attorney General Harris. “This dangerous drug, and the actions of those who traffic and sell it, threatens the public health and safety of our communities. I thank our DOJ agents and local and federal partners for their commitment to dismantling transnational criminal organizations.”

Pedro Gallegos, 33, Teodoro Yau-Silva, 43, Bernardo Real-Rojo, 39, Anthony Perez, 29, and Jose Christian Rodriguez, 19, were arrested on charges of transportation of methamphetamine and possession for sales, as well as conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. They are suspected to be associated with the Sinaloa Cartel.

The arrests are a result of joint investigations between the Inland Crackdown Allied Task Force (INCA), which is led by the California Department of Justice (DOJ), the Drug Enforcement Agency’s Los Angeles Cartel Strike Force, and the Riverside Police Department.

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SAN CLEMENTE MASSAGE THERAPIST FACES TRIAL FOR SEXUAL BATTERY AGAINST SIX WOMEN

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

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – A San Clemente massage therapist is scheduled to face trial this morning for committing sexual battery against six women. Ping Li, 51, San Clemente, is charged with six misdemeanor counts of sexual battery against six victims. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of three years in jail and a $12,000 fine. Opening statements are expected to begin this morning at 10:30 a.m. in Department H-12, Harbor Justice Center, Newport Beach.

At the time of the crime, Li owned and operated Massage Clover in San Clemente. Li is accused of working as a licensed massage therapist.

Between June 4, 2014, and Oct. 4, 2014, Li is accused of committing sexual battery by inappropriately touching a massage parlor employee and five clients for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse on six separate occasions. The victims reported the crimes to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, who investigated this case.

Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Schaniel is prosecuting this case.

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 14HM08787 / July 30, 2015

PAROLEE SEX OFFENDER ON GPS MONITORING DEVICE CONVICTED OF PANDERING AND ATTEMPTED PIMPING OF 18-YEAR-OLD WOMAN

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A parolee sex offender on a GPS monitoring device was convicted yesterday of pandering and attempted pimping of an 18-year-old woman. Eddie Bridges III, 36, Compton, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of attempted pimping and one felony count of pandering by procuring. The defendant’s sentencing enhancements for prior prison convictions in 1996 and 1998 in King County, Washington, for possession with the intent to sell a controlled substance, a prior prison conviction for possession of marijuana in Maricopa County, Arizona, a prior prison conviction in Los Angeles County in 2007 for the pimping and pandering of a minor, and pimping and pandering of an adult, a prior prison conviction in Los Angeles County in 2011 for attempted pandering, and serving separate prison terms but not remaining free for five years were also found to be true. Bridges faces a maximum sentence of 11 years in state prison at his sentencing on Sept. 11, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-55, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Circumstances of the Case

Bridges is a pimp who exploits women and/or children for financial gain. Pimps often establish rigid rules that their victims are expected to follow such as addressing the pimp as “Sir” or “Daddy.”

At the time of the crime, Bridges was wearing a GPS monitoring device as a parole condition and considered a high-risk registered sex offender.

Between May 17, 2014, and May 21, 2014, Bridges drove 18-year-old Jane Doe to Santa Ana to an area known for prostitution with the intent of having the victim engage in commercial sex. The defendant pandered Jane Doe by persuading the victim to engage in commercial sex for his benefit. Bridges also attempted to derive support from the victim through the earnings and proceeds of prostitution.

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July 30, 2015

THREE DEFENDANTS CHARGED WITH CONSPIRING TO UNDERPAY EMPLOYEES ON PUBLIC WORKS PROJECTS

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:17 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Three defendants have been charged for underpaying employees on public works projects. No Sung Pak, 74, Hollywood, and Michael John Ferrin, 40, San Pedro, and Scott Sung Yang, 44, Los Angeles, are each charged with five felony counts of taking and receiving a portion of a worker’s wage on public works and one felony count of recording a false forged instrument. Pak is additionally charged with 29 felony counts of willful failure to pay tax, two felony counts of misrepresenting facts to State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF), two felony counts of misrepresenting facts to workers’ compensation insurance company. If convicted, Pak faces a maximum sentence of 27 years and four months in state prison, and Ferrin and Yang each face a maximum sentence of five years and four months in state prison. The defendants are out of custody on $50,000 bail and were arraigned today. They are scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Sept. 1, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-55, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

In 2005, Yang owned and operated Mackone Development. Yang is accused of working with Ferrin as his project superintendent to oversee his projects. Pak, who owns the business Pak’s Cabinets, is accused of working for Mackone Development as a subcontractor on several public works projects.

In 2012, Yang was awarded a public works project at Harvey Street Elementary School in Santa Ana as the prime contractor. Yang is accused of hiring Ferrin as his project superintendent to oversee the project and Pak as his subcontractor for the project. Pak is accused of using the employees from his business to help complete the public works project.

Between Jan. 1, 2005, and July 29, 2012, the defendants are accused of conspiring together to underpay workers on numerous public works project. The defendants in this case are accused of conspiring together to pay workers anywhere from $10 to $14 per hour after contractually agreeing to pay a wage of about $44 per hour.

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TWO MEN CONVICTED OF ROBBERY IN CONCERT FOR BREAKING INTO TWO HOMES IN ORANGE FOR BENEFIT OF GANG

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:13 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Two men were convicted today of robbery in concert after breaking into two homes in Orange for the benefit of a criminal street gang. Andre Ricardo Pierson, 25, Inglewood, and Dwight Ladale Stephen, 26, Los Angeles, were found guilty by a jury of seven felony counts of first degree robbery of a dwelling in concert, one felony count of possession of a firearm by a felon with sentencing enhancements for criminal street gang activity and vicarious use of a firearm by a gang member. Pierson’s prior prison conviction for possession of a firearm by a felon in 2010, and Stephen’s prior conviction for unlawfully carrying a concealed firearm in 2008 were also found to be true. The defendants each face a maximum sentence of 106 years and eight months to life in state prison at their sentencing on Aug. 21, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Co-defendant Curtis Ray Robinson, 27, Los Angeles, pleaded guilty on April 28, 2015, to seven felony counts of first degree robbery of a dwelling in concert as criminal street gang activity, two felony counts of assault with a firearm, one felony count of first degree residential burglary, and one count of street terrorism, with a sentencing enhancement for vicarious use of a firearm by a gang member. Robinson faces a maximum sentence of 27 years in state prison at his sentencing on Aug. 8, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center.

Pierson, Stephen, and Robinson are members of the same criminal street gang.

On Aug. 12, 2013, Pierson, Stephen, and Robinson drove to Orange and broke into three separate homes in the same neighborhood. Robinson broke into the first home while the owners were away. Robinson ransacked the house but did not take any items.

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Three More Charged in 2002 Kidnap-Murder Of Montebello Girl

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:05 am

Three men have been charged with the 2002 murder of a 15-year-old Montebello girl who was kidnapped on her way to school, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today.

Eddie Chavira (dob 2/4/85), Daniel Cervantes (dob 3/12/80) and George Barraza (dob 3/28/80) are charged along with co-defendant Rosemary Chavira (dob 7/3/87) in case BA434138, said Deputy District Attorneys Victor Avila and Eileen Kim, who are prosecuting the case.

The complaint alleges that on or between Oct. 7, 2002, and Oct. 18, 2002, Eddie Chavira was in custody for a shooting witnessed by victim Brenda Sierra’s relative. Chavira told a fellow Lott gang member that he was going to have other Lott gang members take care of witnesses. About the same time, he contacted his 15-year-old sister, Rosemary Chavira, to assist in getting other gang members to take care of witnesses.

On Oct. 18, 2002, 15-year-old Brenda Sierra was kidnapped on her way to Schurr High School in Montebello. She was raped and killed. Her body was discovered the next day in the San Bernardino Mountains. The cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head. The victim had no ties to gangs, prosecutors said.

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