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May 23, 2017

Banamex USA Agrees to Forfeit $97 Million in Connection with Bank Secrecy Act Violations

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

Today Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division announced that Banamex USA (BUSA), a financial institution based in Los Angeles, California, and a subsidiary of Citigroup Inc., agreed to forfeit $97.44 million and entered into a non-prosecution agreement (NPA) to resolve an investigation into BUSA’s Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) violations. In its agreement with the Justice Department, BUSA admitted to criminal violations by willfully failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering (AML) compliance program with appropriate policies, procedures, and controls to guard against money laundering and willfully failing to file Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs).

According to admissions contained in the NPA and the accompanying statement of facts, from at least 2007 until at least 2012, BUSA processed more than 30 million remittance transactions to Mexico with a total value of more than $8.8 billion. During the same period, BUSA’s monitoring system issued more than 18,000 alerts involving more than $142 million in potentially suspicious remittance transactions. BUSA, however, conducted fewer than 10 investigations and filed only nine SARs in connection with these 18,000-plus alerts, filing no SARs on remittance transactions between 2010 and 2012.

BUSA also admitted that, for several years, BUSA recognized that it should have improved its monitoring of MSB remittances but failed to do so. BUSA employed a limited and manual transaction monitoring system, running only two scenarios to identify suspicious activity on the millions of remittance transactions it processed. These two scenarios produced paper reports that were intended to be reviewed by hand by the two employees assigned to perform the BSA functions of the bank, in addition to time-consuming non-BSA responsibilities. As BUSA began to expand its remittance processing business in 2006, BUSA understood the need to enhance its anti-money laundering efforts, yet failed to make necessary improvements to its transaction monitoring controls or to add staffing resources.

In July 2015, in a related matter, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and California Department of Business Oversight ordered BUSA to pay a $140 million civil money penalty to resolve separate BSA regulatory investigations. Thus, the combined penalties paid by BUSA associated with the criminal and regulatory investigations of its BSA compliance violations amount to approximately $237.44 million. In March 2017, the FDIC also announced related enforcement actions against four former senior BUSA executives relating to BUSA’s violations of the BSA. As part of those actions, two executives were fined and prohibited from working at financial institutions in the future, one was fined, and one was prohibited from working at financial institutions in the future.

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Art Dealer Sentenced for Theft of Paintings Worth More than $1 Million

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

A former art dealer was sentenced today for stealing over $1 million owed to the owners of paintings sold through his gallery, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Marisa Zarate of the White Collar Crime Division said Perry Rubenstein, 63, will serve six months of actual time in jail and three years of formal probation. If the defendant is found in violation of probation, he could be sentenced to 16 months in state prison.

Rubenstein also was ordered to pay $1,142,500 to his victims, Michael Ovitz and Michael Salke.

On March 30, the defendant pleaded no contest to two counts of grand theft by embezzlement.

Beginning in 2012, Rubenstein sold a Takashi Murakami painting on behalf of Salke but failed to turn over the full amount to him.

The following year, the former art dealer sold two Richard Prince paintings on behalf of Ovitz but never paid his client and kept the proceeds.

Case BA444929 was investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Bunco-Forgery Division.

Los Angeles County District Attorney / Case BA444929 / May 22, 2017

May 22, 2017

MAN SENTENCED TO 120 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR SEXUALLY ASSAULTING INFANT RELATIVE AND POSSESSING OVER 220,000 CHILD PORNOGRAPHY PHOTOS AND VIDEOS

Filed under: California Chid Pornography Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:09 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was sentenced today to 120 years to life in state prison for sexually assaulting his infant relative and possessing over 220,000 pornographic photos and videos of prepubescent children.

Defendant Charges Sentence
Ryan Michael Booth, 32, Long Beach Found guilty by a jury on March 8, 2017, of the following felony counts:

  • (8) Oral copulation or sexual penetration with a minor 10 years or younger
  • (5) Using a minor for sex acts

Misdemeanor counts:

  • Sexual exploitation of a child

Sentencing Enhancement:

  • Possessing over 600 images of child pornography with 10 or more involving a prepubescent minor
  • 120 years to life in state prison
  • Mandatory lifetime sex offender registration pursuant to PC 290

Circumstances of the Case

  • Between 2013 and August 2014, Booth sexually assaulted his relative, Jane Doe, from the time she was under one year old until Jane Doe was two years old.
  • Booth also possessed over 600 pornographic videos and images of prepubescent children and traded the images and videos online for additional child pornography.
  • On Aug. 29, 2014, a Constable with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police was conducting a child pornography investigation when he discovered images of a female approximately two to three years of age.
  • The officer determined that the Internet Protocol (IP) address for the user who posted the images originated in Long Beach, and he referred the case to U.S. Homeland Security Cybercrimes Center.
  • On Sept. 5, 2014, the Los Angeles Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) and Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) investigators discovered over 220,000 images and 2,000 videos of child sexual exploitation content, including photos and videos of the defendant engaging in sexual conduct with his two-year-old relative, Jane Doe, in Booth’s residence. LAPD officers arrested Booth later that day.
  • During the investigation, LAPD officers discovered that the defendant sexually assaulted Jane Doe in her home in Costa Mesa and submitted the case to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

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MAN SENTENCED TO 60 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR SEXUALLY ASSAULTING THREE GIRLS UNDER 14 HE MET THROUGH CHURCH

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was sentenced today to 60 years to life in state prison for sexually assaulting three girls under the age of 14 he met through church.

Defendant Charges Sentence
Jose Luis Aguilera, 42, Santa Ana Found guilty by a jury on April 28, 2017, of:

  • Four felony counts of committing lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14

Sentencing Enhancement:

  • Multiple victims
60 years to life in state prison

Circumstances of the Case

  • At the time of the crime, Aguilera was a member of the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Santa Ana.
  • The defendant befriended the victims’ families, who attended the church, and gained their trust.
  • Between Oct. 12, 2012, and Sept. 8, 2015, Aguilera sexually assaulted three victims under the age of 14.
  • The defendant committed lewd acts on the victims, including touching victims’ genitals and kissing the victims.
  • One of the victims reported the crime to a relative, who contacted SAPD.
  • SAPD investigated this case and arrested the defendant on Sept. 4, 2015.

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MAN TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR STABBING-MURDERS OF TWO HOMELESS MEN IN ANAHEIM THREE MONTHS APART

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man is scheduled to be arraigned today for the special circumstances stabbing-murders of two homeless men in Anaheim three months apart.

Defendant

Charges

Minimum Sentence

Court Date

Marvin Magallanes, 25, Anaheim

  • Two felony counts of murder

Sentencing Enhancements

  • Special circumstances - Multiple murders
  • Personal use of a knife

Life in state prison without the possibility of parole

Arraignment

May 19, 2017, time to be determined

Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana

Circumstances of the Case

  • On Oct. 27, 2016, Magallanes is accused of stabbing 52-year-old Onosai Tavita, a homeless man, on Euclid Street in Anaheim.
  • The victim was found dead as a result of multiple stab wounds in the early morning, and a suspect was not immediately identified or located during the Anaheim Police Department (APD) investigation.
  • On Jan. 25, 2017, the defendant is accused of stabbing 49-year-old Sabah Alsaad, also a homeless man, to death on South Magnolia Avenue in the early morning.
  • APD investigated and collected forensic evidence, but the case remained unsolved.
  • On May 12, 2017, Magallanes is accused of speaking with APD officers at the front counter, who connected the defendant with Alsaad’s murder and arrested him at the station.
  • APD used forensic evidence from both crime scenes to link the defendant to both murders.

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May 19, 2017

Manager of Clothing Factory Sentenced to Prison after Offering Bribe to Federal Labor Investigator in Exchange for Closing Investigation

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

LOS ANGELES – The general manager of a La Puente garment factory, who was found guilty of offering to pay bribes to an investigator with the United States Department of Labor in exchange for the investigator closing an investigation into wage violations, has been sentenced to 18 months in federal prison.

Howard Quoc Trinh, 43, of Arcadia, the manager of Seven-Bros. Enterprises, was sentenced yesterday by United States District Judge Christina A. Snyder.

In April 2016, a federal jury, which deliberated for only about one hour, convicted Trinh of two counts of bribery, finding that he offered to pay $10,000 in bribes – and actually paid $3,000 – to a Department of Labor Wage and Hour investigator. As part of the bribery scheme, Trinh promised to pay the balance when the investigation was closed.

The Labor Department investigator was investigating Seven-Bros. for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which sets standards for minimum wage and overtime pay. The Wage and Hour investigator led a team that conducted an unannounced visit to Seven-Bros on March 10, 2015. The investigation into wage violations covered a period from May 2012 through March 10, 2015 and found that Seven-Bros owed approximately $100,000 to compensate employees for FLSA violations over that period. As part of the investigation, the Labor Department issued a “hot goods” Notice to Restrain the Shipment of Goods, which prevented the company from shipping certain inventory until the back wages were paid to employees.

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FAKE ATTORNEY ARRAIGNED FOR DEFRAUDING SEVERAL CLIENTS THROUGH DEBT CONSOLIDATION AND MORTRAGE MODIFICATION SCHEMES

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was arraigned yesterday for impersonating an attorney and defrauding several clients through debt consolidation and mortgage modification schemes.

Defendant Charges Maximum Sentence Court Date
James Frank Barker, 57, Newport Beach Charged on April 5, 2017, with the following felony counts:

  • (8) Money laundering
  • (3) Grand theft

Sentencing Enhancements:

  • Aggravated white collar crime over $100,000
  • Property damage/loss over $65,000
  • Property loss over $200,000
11 years and eight months in state prison Pre-trial

May 25, 2017, 8:30 a.m.

Department C-55,

Central Justice Center, Santa Ana

Circumstances of the Case:

  • Between December 2013 and July 2015, Barker is accused of posing as an attorney under several different aliases and law firm names.
  • Barker is accused of soliciting clients by promising to consolidate outstanding debts and/or reduce mortgage payments through loan modifications.
  • Between November 2013 and July 2015, the defendant is accused of collecting $20,960 from his clients, John Doe 1 and Jane Doe 1, $3,000 from John Doe 2 and Jane Doe 2, and $21,640 from John Doe 3 and Jane Doe 3.
  • The defendant is further accused of never notifying his clients’ debtors of his representation, never attempting to negotiate any debts on behalf of his clients, and never submitting any mortgage assistance applications on behalf of his clients.
  • Barker is accused of refusing to refund his clients and laundering the money at a JPMorgan Chase bank.
  • On Dec. 7, 2015, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) received a tip from an attorney in Orange County who represented two of Barker’s victims.
  • OCDA investigated this case and discovered that Barker has never been a licensed member of the State Bar of California.
  • Newport Beach Police Department arrested Barker on May 15, 2017.

WARNING:

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Charter School Founder, Son Charged With Money Laundering, Theft

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

The founder and director of a South Los Angeles charter school and her son have been charged with funneling about $200,000 to a company that submitted fake invoices for a shell company, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Kendra Uzoma Okonkwo (dob 10/22/65) and Jason Chiazom Okonkwo (dob 9/7/87) were charged in case BA457205 with one count each of misappropriation of public funds, grand theft by embezzlement, money laundering and keeping a false account.

Both defendants were arrested today. Arraignment will be set for a later date.

Deputy District Attorney Dana Aratani of the Public Integrity Division is prosecuting the case.

The elder Okonkwo founded Wisdom Academy for Young Scientists more than a decade ago. She no longer worked at the charter school when it was determined she had a conflict of interest.

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May 18, 2017

Task Force Investigation Targets Leadership of MS-13, including Former Top ‘Shot-Caller’ of L.A. Faction, a Dozen ‘Shot-Callers’ who Supervised Cliques and Three Members Accused of Murder

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

LOS ANGELES – Capping a nearly three-year investigation, federal, state and local law enforcement authorities this morning took into custody a total of 21 members and associates of Mara Salvatrucha, a transnational criminal street gang commonly called MS-13 that was formed in Los Angeles about 30 years ago.

Those arrested today by members of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Task Force on Violent Gangs (LAMTFVG) are among 44 defendants who face federal charges, including the former head of the entire gang in Los Angeles and 12 senior leaders of the gang, who led a majority of the gang’s cliques in the Los Angeles region. These dozen high-ranking gang members had formed a de facto leadership council for the gang – a committee that was needed because no one person was willing to take on the top role in the wake of ongoing scrutiny by law enforcement.

A racketeering indictment charges three MS-13 members for murders they committed in connection with the gang’s activities. These murders were solved as a result of the LAMTFVG investigation and its partnership with LAPD Olympic Division Homicide detectives.

Carlos Alfredo Cardoza Lopez, also known as “Little Boy,” 23, faces a violent crime in aid of racketeering (VICAR) murder charge for allegedly fatally shooting an innocent bystander who was confronted on August 15, 2015 inside the gang-controlled Little San Salvador Nightclub and Restaurant on North Western Avenue. A friend of the murder victim was also stabbed during the attack.

Two other MS-13 members – Samuel Alexander Paredes Rivas, also known as “Blacky,” 39, and Joffri Molina, also known as “Espia,” 24 – are also charged with VICAR murder. Rivas is accused of murdering a man on August 30, 2015 at a strip mall in Pacoima. Molina is accused of murdering a man on September 27, 2015 on a street in North Hollywood.

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U.S. Navy Admiral Sentenced to Prison for Lying to Federal Investigators about His Relationship with Foreign Defense Contractor in Massive Navy Bribery and Fraud Investigation

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

U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Robert Gilbeau was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for lying to investigators to conceal his illicit 20-year relationship with Leonard Glenn Francis, the owner of Glenn Defense Marine Asia (GDMA), the foreign defense contractor at the center of a major bribery and fraud scandal.

Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Alana W. Robinson of the Southern District of California, Acting Director Dermot O’Reilly of the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), Director Andrew Traver of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and Director Anita Bales of Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) made the announcement.

On June 9, 2016, Gilbeau, 56, pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements and was sentenced before U.S. District Judge Janis L. Sammartino of the Southern District of California. Gilbeau is the highest-ranking U.S. Navy officer to be sentenced in the investigation so far.

In connection with his plea, Gilbeau admitted that he lied when he told agents from DCIS and NCIS that he had never received any gifts from Francis. Gilbeau also admitted that he lied when he told investigators that he “always paid for half of the dinner” when he and Francis met about three times a year. Gilbeau further admitted that when he became aware that Francis and others had been arrested in connection with the fraud and bribery offenses in September 2013, he destroyed documents and deleted computer files. Francis previously pleaded guilty to plying scores of other U.S. Navy officials with gifts such as luxury travel, meals, cash, electronics, parties and prostitutes.

By way of background, GDMA provided ship husbanding services such as trash and sewage removal, food, water, security and fuel to U.S. Navy ships. As stated in his plea agreement, in 2003 and 2004, Gilbeau was the supply officer on the USS Nimitz, where he was responsible for procuring all goods and services necessary for operation of the ship. He later served as head of the Tsunami Relief Crisis Action Team in Singapore, heading the Navy’s logistics response to the Southeast Asia tsunami in December 2004, and in June 2005, Gilbeau was assigned to the office of the Chief of Naval Operations as the head of aviation material support, establishing policies and requirements for budgeting and acquisitions for the Navy’s air forces, according to the plea agreement. In August 2010, after he was promoted to admiral, Gilbeau assumed command of the Defense Contract Management Agency International, where he was responsible for the global administration of DOD’s most critical contracts performed outside the United States, according to admissions made in connection with his plea.

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