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October 22, 2014

Former Immigration Officer Who Took Bribes From Immigrants Sentenced To 51 Months In Federal Prison

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:10 am

SANTA ANA, California – A former immigration officer who was found guilty of taking bribes from Cambodian immigrants in exchange for immigration benefits, including granting the immigrants temporary legal status, has been sentenced to more than four years in federal prison.

Billy Louis Nelms Sr., 54, of Los Angeles, was sentenced to 51 months in prison late Monday afternoon by United States District Judge Andrew J. Guildford.

During the federal court proceeding Monday, Judge Guilford called the corruption offenses a “disappointment,” noting that “we live in a cynical time where people are not believing in their government.” Judge Guilford also stated that Nelms’ corrupt actions sent a poor message to immigrants, essentially telling them: “Pay the man, get the result.”

Following a seven-day trial, a federal jury on August 1 found Nelms guilty of conspiracy to commit bribery and defraud the United States, bribery, conspiracy to witness tamper and witness tampering.

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MAN SENTENCED TO SEVEN YEARS IN PRISON FOR CONSPIRACY TO COMMIT OVER $16 MILLION IN REAL ESTATE FRAUD

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:06 am

SANTA ANA – A man was sentenced Friday to seven years in state prison for conspiring with three other family members to commit over $16 million in real estate fraud by forging documents and purchasing homes using “straw buyers.” A straw buyer is a person who knowingly and willingly allows their credit to be used for the purchase of a property they never intend to control.

Dinesh Valjeebhai Shah, 65, pleaded guilty to the court Friday, Oct. 17, 2014, to five felony counts of conspiracy to commit a crime, 13 felony counts of forgery, four felony counts of identity theft, four felony counts of recording false and forged instrument, five felony counts of grand theft, and sentencing enhancement allegations for loss over $100,000, property damage over $1.3 million, and aggravated white collar crime over $500,000. Dinesh Shah is also sentenced to pay $12,800 in restitution. Dinesh Shah was also sentenced to two years in state prison after being found guilty by a jury on June 25, 2014, of one felony count of filing a false tax return and two felony counts of failure to file any return or supply any information with intent to evade any tax (Case #11ZF0120).

Co-Defendants

Suniti Shah, 53, was sentenced July 27, 2012, to eight years in state prison after pleading guilty to the court to five felony counts of conspiracy to commit a crime, 13 felony counts of forgery, four felony counts of identity theft, four felony counts of recording false and forged instrument, five felony counts of grand theft, and sentencing enhancement allegations for loss over $100,000, property damage over $1.3 million, and aggravated white collar crime over $500,000.

Supriti Soni, 54, was sentenced July 27, 2012, to 10 years in state prison after pleading guilty to the court to nine felony counts of conspiracy to commit a crime, 17 felony counts of forgery, one felony count of identity theft, 12 felony counts of grand theft, with sentencing enhancement allegations for loss over $100,000, property damage over $3.2 million, aggravated white collar crime over $500,000, and a 2003 prison prior for perjury.

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Redondo Beach Doctor Awaiting Trial Charged with Illegally Possessing Millions in Drugs

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:02 am

A Redondo Beach neurologist charged in two separate drug cases was arrested today on charges that he illegally possessed an estimated $2 million of powerful narcotics that were discovered in a Long Beach storage facility, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Dr. Gerard Geoffrey Goryl, 59, was arrested for the third time after the DEA and the Redondo Beach Police Department discovered that Goryl had a storage locker containing an estimated 500,000 diet pills and other narcotics. Because of his two pending complaints, Goryl is barred from possessing narcotics.

Goryl was taken into custody in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center, where he appeared in court on his two pending cases. He pleaded not guilty to 18 felony counts contained in the third case — BA430223.

Deputy District Attorneys Emily Street and John Niedermann of the Major Narcotics Division are prosecuting all three cases.

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October 21, 2014

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Major 500lb. Meth Bust Linked to Mexican Cartel

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

SAN FRANCISCO – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the takedown of a transnational criminal organization based in Contra Costa County, including the arrest of 22 individuals and the seizure of 500 pounds of methamphetamine and over $700,000 in U.S. Currency.

The takedown, named Operation Road Trip, represents the culmination of several related investigations targeting California-based Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTO) connected to Mexico’s Sinaloa Federation drug cartel. These investigations, which were led by California Department of Justice task forces that include federal, state and local law enforcement partners, have to date, resulted in 67 arrests and the seizure of $40 million of methamphetamine and $1.82 million in U.S. Currency over the past six years.

“This operation demonstrates our continuing commitment to focus on the connection between transnational criminal organizations and organized street gangs in California,” Attorney General Harris said. “We will do whatever is necessary with our federal and local partners to dismantle these violent, insidious organizations.”

Operation Road Trip is the merger of two long-term investigations led by the West Contra Costa County Narcotic Enforcement Team (“West-NET”) Task Force, the Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force (“LA IMPACT”), and associated local, state, and federal partners. During the Operation Road Trip investigation, the task forces revealed that methamphetamine from Mexico was being delivered to the Nitro gang, a DTO based in Southern California. The Nitro gang would make regular “road trips” to Contra Costa County in order to distribute to other DTOs, including the Urtiz gang based in Northern California. Over the past year, Operation Road Trip resulted in the service of 16 search warrants, the seizure of 500 pounds of methamphetamine, 1 firearm, 4 vehicles, $723,635 in U.S. Currency, and the arrests of 22 individuals for drug and firearms related violations.

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Man Charged in CSUN Student’s Murder

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

One count of capital murder was filed today against a Long Beach man in the death of Cal State Northridge student Abdullah Alkadi, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Agustin Rosendo Fernandez (dob 07/03/1986) is scheduled to be arraigned today at the Los Angeles Superior Court in San Fernando, Department S, in case PA082271. Prosecutors will ask that he be held without bail.

Prosecutors charged Fernandez with one count of murder with the special circumstances of murder during a robbery and murder during a carjacking. The complaint also alleges personal use of a deadly weapon, a knife.

Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Barnes with the Major Crimes Division is prosecuting the case.

Alkadi and the defendant met through a social media site after Alkadi posted his car for sale, Barnes said. The body of the engineering student, who was last seen near his Northridge home on Sept. 17, was discovered last week near Palm Springs off the 10 Freeway. (more…)

Gardena Gang Member Sentenced for 2008 Triple Murder, Attempted Murder

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

A member of the criminal street gang Gardena 13 – convicted of the murders of three and the attempted murder of a fourth victim – was sentenced to life in prison today, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Barnes said Luis Erasmo Rivera Garcia, 30, was sentenced to life in state prison without the possibility of parole in case YA080092.

Jurors found Garcia guilty on Nov. 14, 2013 of three counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder. The jury also found true a special circumstance allegation of multiple murders, as well as gang and gun allegations.

Judge Steven Van Sicklen of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Torrance Branch, presided over the 10-day trial and today’s sentencing hearing.

Garcia shot three people to death and wounded a fourth person on Aug. 10, 2008 at Imperial Highway and Western Avenue, an area of Hawthorne known for “cruising,” the prosecutor said. The defendant believed the victims were gang members but they were not, the prosecutor added. (more…)

October 20, 2014

ATTORNEY WHO PLOTTED WITH WIFE SENTENCED FOR HAVING SCHOOL VOLUNTEER ARRESTED BY PLANTING DRUGS IN HER CAR

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 1:29 am

SANTA ANA – An attorney who plotted with his wife was sentenced today for having an elementary school parent volunteer arrested and falsely imprisoned by planting drugs in her car. Kent Wycliffe Easter, 40, Irvine, was convicted by a jury Sept. 10, 2014, of one felony count of false imprisonment by deceit. This was a retrial of the case, as a former jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict, finding 11 to one for guilt. Easter was sentenced to six months in jail and three years informal probation.

Co-defendant Jill Bjorkholm Easter, 41, Irvine, pleaded guilty on Oct. 30, 2013, to one felony count of false imprisonment by deceit and was sentenced to one year in jail and three years of formal probation.

In 2010, Jane Doe was a parent volunteer at an elementary school in Irvine, where Jill and Kent Easter’s son was a student. Jill Easter became angry with the victim because the defendants believed Jane Doe was not properly supervising their son.

In February 2011, Jill and Kent Easter plotted to have victim Jane Doe arrested in retaliation.

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MAN SENTENCED TO 30 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR SEXUALLY ASSAULTING TWO GIRLS BETWEEN AGES 9 AND 12 AFTER MEETING THEM AT CHURCH AND BEFRIENDING THEIR FAMILIES

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 1:26 am

SANTA ANA – A man was sentenced today to 30 years to life in state prison for sexually assaulting two girls between ages 9 and 12 after meeting them through church and befriending their families. David Elifar Verduzco, 35, Santa Ana, was found guilty by a jury Oct. 1, 2014, of three felony counts of lewd acts upon a child under 14, one felony count of sexual penetration with a child 10 years or younger, one misdemeanor count each of child annoyance and disorderly conduct. The sentencing enhancement allegations for substantial sexual conduct with a child and lewd acts on multiple children were found true.

At the time of the crime, Verduzco was a parishioner of Agape House of Prayer in Anaheim, where he was a worship team leader and gave electronic keyboard lessons. The defendant met both of the victims and their families at the church and befriended them.

Between Jan. 1, 2011, and Sept. 27, 2011, Verduzco gave 12-year-old Jane Doe #2 keyboard lessons. During the lessons, the defendant kissed her on the cheek and inappropriately touched the victim’s thigh. Verduzco also sent Jane Doe #2 inappropriate text messages to her cell phone.

On Aug. 28, 2011, after befriending 9-year-old Jane Doe #1’s family, Verduzco began babysitting Jane Doe #1 and two other little girls while Jane Doe #1’s parents were at the hospital. After putting the two youngest girls to bed, Verduzco digitally penetrated Jane Doe #1 in her bed.

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MAN SENTENCED FOR ATTEMPTING TO TRAFFIC “MINOR” WHOM HE CONTACTED ON FACEBOOK

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 1:23 am

SANTA ANA – A man was convicted and sentenced yesterday for human trafficking and attempting to pimp a minor who was actually an undercover police officer on Facebook. Melvin Eugene Winslow, 31, San Diego, pleaded guilty today to one felony count of attempted human trafficking of a minor. He was sentenced to six years in state prison. The execution of his sentence was suspended pending completion of five years formal probation. He must also register as a lifetime sex offender.

Circumstances of the Case

With the rise in popularity of social media and ease of meeting people on the Internet, many pimps and human traffickers utilize a variety of social media to locate potential victims.

Between April 22, 2014, and April 30, 2014, Winslow befriended an undercover police officer on Facebook, whom he believed to be a 17-year-old girl. The defendant attempted to recruit her to work for him as a prostitute despite his concerns that she would not be able to make money while she’s still in school. He told her he would tattoo the underage victim with his “team logo.”

On April 30, 2014, the Anaheim Police Department (APD) and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) traveled to San Diego County and arrested Winslow. (more…)

October 17, 2014

Former Simi Valley Businessman Sentenced to Over 7 Years in Prison for Selling Knock-Off Batteries to Navy for Use on Warships

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

LOS ANGELES – The former owner of the Simi Valley-based battery distributor Powerline, Inc. was sentenced today to 87 months in prison for defrauding the government by selling more than $2.7 million in knock-off batteries to the U.S. Department of Defense.

Didier De Nier, 64, who lived in Simi Valley until he fled the U.S. nearly two years ago, was found guilty in April by a federal jury of five counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States.

In addition to the prison term, United Sttes District Judge Dolly M. Gee ordered De Nier to pay more than $2.7 million in restitution, mostly to the DoD.

The charges stem from a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS). The Defense Logistics Agency and the Defense Contract Audit Agency also provided significant support to the investigation, which represents the first case prosecuted under the 2011 Defense Authorization Act.

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