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March 30, 2015

MAN SENTENCED TO LIFE IN PRISON WITHOUT POSSIBILITY OF PAROLE FOR SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES STABBING-MURDER OF FORMER GIRLFRIEND IN SANTA ANA ALLEYWAY

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:15 am

SANTA ANA – A man was sentenced today to life in state prison without the possibility of parole for stabbing and murdering his former girlfriend in a Santa Ana alleyway. Luis Antonio Garcia Morales, 26, Santa Ana, was found guilty by a jury Nov. 24, 2014, of one felony count of special circumstance murder by lying in wait. The sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon was also found true.

On the evening of Nov. 13, 2012, Morales arranged to meet with 21-year-old Maria Isabel Cerrillo, with whom he had a previous romantic relationship, by pretending to be someone else. The defendant met his ex-girlfriend in an alleyway in Santa Ana, murdered her by stabbing her repeatedly, and then fled the scene. The victim died from the multiple stab wounds.

Morales was arrested on the morning of Nov. 15, 2012, by the Santa Ana Police Department, who investigated this case.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Jim Mendelson of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 12CF3351 / March 27, 2015

PAROLE RESCINDED FOR INMATE WHO MURDERED 17-YEAR-OLD STUDENT AS SHE SLEPT ON PROM NIGHT IN 1991

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:12 am

SANTA ANA – The Board of Parole Hearings (Board), California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations rescinded the parole of a man today who shot and murdered a 17-year-old high school student on prom night while she was sleeping in her hotel room. Paul Crowder, 42, is currently being held at Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy. Crowder was sentenced Nov. 1, 1991, to 15 years to life in state prison and an additional four years for the personal use of a firearm. A rescission hearing was held today where the Board heard evidence from two correctional officers who witnessed Crowder’s serious prison violations from 2014. Based on the evidence that was presented at today’s hearing, the Board determined that the violations were proven and gave them good cause to rescind the inmate’s 2010 grant parole. Crowder will be scheduled for a parole hearing in the next four months at the prison before the Board. Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Chrisopoulos attended today’s rescission hearing to oppose Crowder’s parole.

“My office is committed to keeping dangerous murderers behind bars long after a conviction is obtained,” stated District Attorney Rackauckas. ”I commend the work of the prosecutors, Investigators, and the staff at the Orange County District Attorney’s office for their devotion and dedication in seeking justice for victims and thank Governor Brown and the parole board for putting public safety first.”

In 2010, the Board granted Crowder parole. On Nov. 12, 2010, then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger invoked his authority to reverse the Board’s decision to grant Crowder parole for various reasons including lack of insight and responsibility of the murder.

On March 31, 2011, the Anaheim Police Department sent a letter to the Board in opposition of Crowder’s parole. On Oct. 19, 2011, the Board granted Crowder parole. On Nov. 4, 2011, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. invoked his authority to reverse the Board’s decision to grant parole for the inmate for various reasons including the inmate’s dishonesty about the murder, failure to accept responsibility, and participating in illegal activity in prison.

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March 27, 2015

Former United Commercial Bank Chief Credit Officer Convicted of Securities and Other Corporate Fraud After Trial

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:56 am

A jury convicted Ebrahim Shabudin yesterday of seven felony counts of conspiracy, securities fraud and other corporate fraud offenses stemming from the failure of United Commercial Bank (UCB), announced U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of the Northern District of California, Acting Inspector General Fred W. Gibson Jr. of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s Office of the Inspector General, Special Inspector General Christy Romero of the Troubled Asset Relief Program, Inspector General Mark Bialek of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of the Inspector General and Special Agent in Charge David J. Johnson of the FBI’s San Francisco Division.

Shabudin, 66, of Moraga, California, was the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Credit Officer at UCB in 2008 and 2009.  Shabudin was the second most senior officer in executive management at UCB after former Chief Executive Officer Thomas Shiu-Kit (Tommy) Wu.

On Nov. 6, 2009, UCB was taken over by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).  With over $10.9 billion in assets, UCB’s failure was the ninth largest failure since 2007 of a bank insured by the FDIC’s Deposit Insurance Fund, according to the FDIC.  In 2013, FDIC estimated that total losses for UCB would exceed $1.1 billion.  Through 2014, however, with the recovery of the U.S. economy, FDIC now estimates the loss to the Deposit Insurance Fund to be approximately $677 million.  On Nov. 14, 2008, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) provided approximately $298 million in federal funds to UCB during the financial crisis.

Late yesterday, a jury found Shabudin guilty of conspiring with others within the bank to falsify key bank records as part of a scheme to conceal millions of dollars in losses and falsely inflate the bank’s financial statements.  Among the records falsified were those filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and FDIC related to the third and fourth quarters of 2008 describing UCB’s so-called Allowance for Loan Losses.  Also falsified were documents relating to UCB’s quarterly and year-end earnings per share as announced by the bank to the investing public.  The guilty verdict followed a six-week jury trial before U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White of the Northern District of California.

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OCDA TO OPPOSE PAROLE OF INMATE WHO MURDERED 17-YEAR-OLD STUDENT AS SHE SLEPT ON PROM NIGHT IN 1991

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:53 am

SANTA ANA – The Orange County District Attorney’s Office is opposing the parole of a man who shot and murdered a 17-year-old high school student on prom night while she was sleeping in her hotel room. Paul Crowder, 42, is currently being held at Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy. Crowder was sentenced Nov. 1, 1991, to 15 years to life in state prison and an additional four years for the personal use of a firearm. He is scheduled for a parole hearing tomorrow, Friday, March 27, 2015, at 8:30 a.m., at the prison before the Board of Parole Hearings (Board), California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Chrisopoulos is attending the hearing to oppose Crowder’s parole. In 2010, the Board granted Crowder parole. On Nov. 12, 2010, then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger invoked his authority to reverse the Board’s decision to grant Crowder parole for various reasons including lack of insight and responsibility of the murder.

On March 31, 2011, the Anaheim Police Department sent a letter to the Board in opposition of Crowder’s parole. On Oct. 19, 2011, the Board granted Crowder parole. On Nov. 4, 2011, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. invoked his authority to reverse the Board’s decision to grant parole for the inmate for various reasons including the inmate’s dishonesty about the murder, failure to accept responsibility, and participating in illegal activity in prison.

On Sept.19, 2012, Crowder was initially denied parole for five years by the Board. After Crowder was denied parole, The California Court of Appeals, Fourth Appellate Division, District Three, overruled Gov. Brown’s reversal from 2011 and reinstated a parole date for the inmate. Based on Crowder’s recent serious prison violations, the Board will hold a hearing to determine whether or not to rescind their earlier decision of granting Crowder parole.

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More Charges Added in Suspected Serial Killer Case

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:51 am

A suspected serial killer was charged today with an additional murder and three attempted murders that occurred months before his alleged killing spree last August around the San Fernando Valley, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Alexander Hernandez, 34, pleaded not guilty today to the eight added counts before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Stephen Marcus. Hernandez returns to court on May 5 in Department 102 at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center to set a date for his preliminary hearing in case PA081724. He is being held without bail.

Deputy District Attorney Michele Hanisee with the Major Crimes Division is prosecuting the case.

Prosecutors charged Hernandez with a March 14, 2014 murder and three attempted murders that occurred on April 27, May 14 and June 15, all in 2014. The amended complaint alleges Hernandez used a handgun in the earlier shootings and a shotgun during the attacks in August.

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March 26, 2015

MAN TO FACE TRIAL FOR ATTEMPTED MURDER OF FEMALE JOGGER BY STABBING HER MULTIPLE TIMES

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:27 am

WESTMINSTER – A man is expected to face trial tomorrow for the attempted murder of a female jogger by stabbing her multiple times. James Anthony Rivas, 20, Rossmoor, is charged with one felony count each of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and mayhem, with sentencing enhancements for premeditation and deliberation for the attempted murder, great bodily injury and personal use of a deadly weapon. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 11 yearsto lifein state prison. Opening statements are expected to begin tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24, 2015 in Department W-9, West Justice Center, Westminster. The time is to be determined.

At approximately 9:00 p.m. on Oct. 23, 2012, Rivas, then 18 years old, is accused of approaching 27-year-old Jane Doe, who was jogging through a residential neighborhood in Rossmoor.

Rivas is accused of running up behind Jane Doe, knocking her to the ground, getting on top of the victim, and stabbing her multiple times with a knife. The defendant is accused of cutting the victim’s face, back, arm, and hand. Rivas is accused of picking the knife back up after Jane Doe knocked it out of his hand, while remaining on top of the victim, and continuing to stab her. The defendant is accused of fleeing the scene after a neighbor heard screaming and came outside. Jane Doe was taken to the hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries.

At approximately 7:45 p.m. on Oct. 25, 2012, Orange County Sheriff’s Department detectives, who investigated this case, arrested Rivas.

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WIFE OF WHITE SUPREMACIST GANG LEADER SENTENCED TO 20 YEARS IN PRISON FOR RETALIATORY KIDNAPPING AND ASSAULT STEMMING FROM OPERATION STORMFRONT

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:21 am

SANTA ANA – The wife of a white supremacist gang leader was sentenced today to 20 years in state prison for the retaliatory kidnapping and assault of a man for the benefit of the gang. This criminal case stems from the December 2010 Operation Stormfront, the largest-ever takedown of white supremacist prison and street gang criminal enterprises in Orange County.

Ruthie Christine Marshall, 45, who goes by the moniker “Mama Bear,” pleaded guilty Jan. 27, 2015, to one felony count each of kidnapping, aggravated assault, extortion by force or threat, and a sentencing enhancement for criminal street gang activity.

Three additional white supremacist co-defendant gang members were previously charged and were being tried before a jury alongside Marshall. These three defendants changed their plea from not guilty to guilty mid-trial, on July 29, 2011, and were each sentenced to life in state prison.  They were convicted of the following counts:

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MAN CONVICTED OF HIT AND RUN AND MANSLAUGHTER FOR KILLING THREE TEENS ON HALLOWEEN

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:14 am

SANTA ANA – A man was convicted today of hit and run and manslaughter for killing three teens on Halloween night. Jaquinn Ramone Bell, 32, Orange, pleaded guilty today to three felony counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, one felony count of hit and run with permanent injury or death, one misdemeanor count of driving on a suspended license, and sentencing enhancement allegations for fleeing the scene of a crime after committing vehicular manslaughter. He faces a maximum sentence of 13 years and eight months in state prison at his sentencing May 21, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-55, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

When Bell was first charged on Nov. 4, 2014, he was also facing sentencing enhancement allegations for personally inflicting great bodily injury and a maximum sentence of 17 years in state prison. In February 2015, the California Supreme Court ruled that a great bodily injury enhancement could not attach to any manslaughter charge under any circumstance. As a result, an amended complaint was filed today, March 20, 2015, excluding the sentencing enhancement allegation for personally inflicting great bodily injury.

On Halloween night, Oct. 31, 2014, Bell was driving on Fairhaven Avenue in the City of Santa Ana in excess of 60 mph where the posted speed limit is 45 mph. At approximately 6:45 p.m., Bell drove through a crosswalk as 13-year-old twins Lexandra H. and Lexie H. and their friend, 13-year-old Andrea G., were in the crosswalk. Bell struck the three teens with his vehicle, failed to stop to render aid, and fled the scene. The three victims were later pronounced dead at the scene.

Several witnesses who observed the hit and run called the Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD). A short time later, Bell was seen driving into the Big Lots parking lot on North Grand Avenue and fleeing on foot. Subsequently, the vehicle that he abandoned was traced back to Bell, and he was arrested by SAPD at a motel in Orange on Nov. 2, 2014.

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March 25, 2015

Leaders Of South L.A. Gang Controlled By Incarcerated Mexican Mafia Member Sentenced To Prison In Federal Racketeering Case

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:57 am

LOS ANGELES – The daughter of a Mexican Mafia member who acted as the conduit between her father and South Los Angeles street gangs he controlled from state prison was sentenced today to 15 years in federal prison on racketeering charges.

Vianna Roman, 39, of South Los Angeles, received a 180-month prison term from United States District Judge R. Gary Klausner after she pleaded guilty last year in a RICO case targeting the Harpys street gang.

Roman, who is the daughter of Mexican Mafia member Danny Roman, pleaded guilty last May to racketeering, narcotics, and weapons offenses, while admitting that she acted as the street-level proxy for her father, carrying out his orders as he exercised control over Harpys and other street gangs. Danny Roman is serving a life-without-parole sentence at Pelican Bay State Prison and was not charged in the federal RICO case.

The “shotcaller” of the Harpys gang – Manuel Valencia, 38, of Walnut – was sentenced on March 2 to 27 years in federal prison. Valencia pleaded guilty last May to racketeering and drug trafficking charges for his role in orchestrating the day-to-day activities of the gang. Valencia specifically admitted that he oversaw and participated in gang activities, which included conspiracy to murder and violent retaliation against the gang’s rivals, issuing orders to gang members regarding violence such as drive-by shootings, collecting “taxes” from drug dealers who were allowed to operate in gang territory, and engaging in drug trafficking.

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MAN TO FACE TRIAL FOR ATTEMPTED MURDER OF FEMALE JOGGER BY STABBING HER MULTIPLE TIMES

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:54 am

WESTMINSTER – A man is expected to face trial tomorrow for the attempted murder of a female jogger by stabbing her multiple times. James Anthony Rivas, 20, Rossmoor, is charged with one felony count each of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and mayhem, with sentencing enhancements for premeditation and deliberation for the attempted murder, great bodily injury and personal use of a deadly weapon. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 11 yearsto lifein state prison. Opening statements are expected to begin tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24, 2015 in Department W-9, West Justice Center, Westminster. The time is to be determined.

At approximately 9:00 p.m. on Oct. 23, 2012, Rivas, then 18 years old, is accused of approaching 27-year-old Jane Doe, who was jogging through a residential neighborhood in Rossmoor.

Rivas is accused of running up behind Jane Doe, knocking her to the ground, getting on top of the victim, and stabbing her multiple times with a knife. The defendant is accused of cutting the victim’s face, back, arm, and hand. Rivas is accused of picking the knife back up after Jane Doe knocked it out of his hand, while remaining on top of the victim, and continuing to stab her. The defendant is accused of fleeing the scene after a neighbor heard screaming and came outside. Jane Doe was taken to the hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries.

At approximately 7:45 p.m. on Oct. 25, 2012, Orange County Sheriff’s Department detectives, who investigated this case, arrested Rivas.

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