Best Defender Bytes:

April 21, 2015

PAROLE DENIED SEVEN YEARS FOR INMATE CONVICTED OF SHOOTING AND MURDERING FOUR PEOPLE IN 1977

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:08 am

SANTA ANA – The Board of Parole Hearings (Panel), California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations denied parole for seven years on Friday, April 17, 2015, for a man convicted of shooting and murdering three people in 1977. Brett Matthew Paul Thomas, 56, pleaded guilty to three felony counts of murder and admitted to being involved in a kidnapping and attempted robberies. Had Thomas committed the murders seven months later, in August 1977, under California Law he would have been charged with capital murder, making Thomas eligible only for the death penalty or life in state prison without the possibility of parole. Thomas was sentenced Oct. 17, 1977, to life in state prison with the possibility of parole running concurrently, which makes him eligible for a parole hearing every three to 15 years after serving seven years of his sentence. He is presently being held at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility, San Diego. This case was originally prosecuted by former Deputy District Attorney Robert Chatterton.

District Attorney Rackauckas, Chief of Staff Susan Kang Schroeder, and Senior Deputy District Attorney Jim Mendelson were present at the hearing to oppose Thomas’s parole and advocate for a 15-year denial under Marsy’s Law. Lynette Duncan, daughter and sister of two of Thomas’ victims, was also present to oppose the inmate’s parole. Dr. Henry Nicholas, Lynette Duncan’s attorney Mike Fell, John Trevathan, Patricia and Kurt Bauman, Irena Nissnoff, and Maurene Baumgartner were also present to advocate for Thomas’ parole denial.

Lynette Duncan, whose father and sister were killed and whose mother was shot, gave an emotional statement to the Panel recalling the night of the murders and how she and her family were directly affected and said in part, “Life was very difficult after that. My family, which previously spent many weekends camping or visiting friends, ceased to exist. My mom checked out emotionally. The rest of us found families of close friends to emotionally adopt. We couldn’t help each other heal because we were all just surviving and needing help ourselves. I would love to now know my dad and sister as adults.”

Duncan went on to say, “Brett Thomas knew the consequences of his actions, that is why he tried so hard to not leave any witnesses. He could have just asked my dad for the money, he would have given it to him or better yet, gotten a job, like everybody else. But by choosing to murder [my father], he chose his life sentence. A life sentence should be for life.”

(more…)

MAN SENTENCED TO FOUR YEARS IN PRISON FOR ATTEMPTED HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND PANDERING “MINOR” HE CONTACTED ON FACEBOOK

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:04 am

FULLERTON – A man was sentenced today to four years in state prison and mandatory lifetime sex offender registration for pandering and attempted human trafficking of a minor who was actually an undercover police officer on Facebook. Dwight Lamith Garris, 35, Palmdale, pleaded guilty today to one felony count each of attempted human trafficking of a minor and pandering.

Circumstances of the Case
Garris is a pimp who exploits women and/or children for financial gain. Between April 8, 2014, and April 16, 2014, Garris befriended an undercover 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 and instructed her to recruit other sex workers for Garris.

On April 16, 2014, Anaheim Police Department (APD) investigators traveled to Los Angeles County and arrested Garris.

Members of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF) and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) work proactively to protect women and minors from falling victim to commercial sexual exploitation. This case was investigated by OCHTTF, a partnership between the Anaheim Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Huntington Beach Police Department, OCDA, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and community and non-profit partners.

(more…)

Police Officer Charged with Assault Under Color of Authority

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:00 am

A Los Angeles police officer was charged today with assault by a public officer for allegedly applying unlawful force during an October 2014 arrest, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Oscar Plascencia of the Justice System Integrity Division said defendant Richard Garcia (dob 9/19/80) is expected to be arraigned this afternoon in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.  He is charged in case BA435794.

The charge stems from an incident at 55th Street and Avalon Boulevard in Los Angeles on Oct. 16, 2014. Officers approached the victim during an investigation of a robbery.

The victim, who matched the description of the robbery suspect, ran when he was approached by police officers, the prosecutor said.

Following a foot pursuit, the victim surrendered but Garcia allegedly went on to assault the man while he was laying prone on the ground, the prosecutor added. (more…)

April 20, 2015

Retired Marine Charged with Murdering His Girlfriend, Dismembering Her Body, and Dumping Her Remains in the Panamanian Jungle

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:38 am

Brian Karl Brimager, 37, prior boyfriend of murdered Los Angeles woman Yvonne Baldelli, was indicted by a federal grand jury in San Diego, California, today on first degree murder charges.  Brimager was arraigned in court on the superseding indictment and pleaded not guilty.

Brimager has been in U.S. custody since June 2013 on charges of obstruction of justice, giving false statements to a federal officer and falsifying records all related to the same murder investigation.

According to the indictment in September 2011, Brimager and Baldelli moved together from Los Angeles, California, to the archipelago of Bocas del Toro, Panama.  They rented a room in a small five-unit hostel on Isla Carenero, a small island near Bocas reachable only by boat.  Almost immediately upon arrival Brimager began emailing another girlfriend, the mother of his young daughter.  In these emails, Brimager discussed plans to move back to California to live with this other girlfriend and help raise their daughter.  The emails did not mention Baldelli.

As revealed in the charging document, at the same time he was emailing the other girlfriend, Brimager began physically abusing Baldelli.  Among other damage, these beatings caused bruises around Baldelli’s eyes and on her arms.  The indictment alleges that around Nov. 26, 2011, Brimager murdered Baldelli, dismembered her body and disposed of her body parts in a remote jungle area on Isla Carenero.  Following her murder, Brimager engaged in an elaborate scheme to cover up the crime.  This scheme included destroying evidence, giving false information to law enforcement and sending a series of emails purportedly from Baldelli in order to make it appear to her friends and family that she was still alive.

According to the indictment, Brimager created a cover story to explain Baldelli’s whereabouts and, in the days and months that followed, engaged in a series of obstructive acts designed to back up his story.  For example, Brimager, using Baldelli’s laptop, sent emails to Baldelli’s family and friends from her personal email account, in which he purported to be Baldelli.  These emails, among other things, falsely claimed that Baldelli was alive and living in Costa Rica with another man.  To corroborate this story, Brimager, after murdering Baldelli, withdrew money from her bank accounts at an ATM to make it appear that she was on her way to Costa Rica.  He further attempted to substantiate his cover story by making another withdrawal from Baldelli’s bank accounts when he travelled through Costa Rica on his way back to the U.S.

(more…)

OCDA, LAW ENFORCEMENT, VICTIMS’ RIGHTS LEADERS, AND ORANGE COUNTY ELECTED OFFICIALS UNITED IN OPPOSING PAROLE OF 1977 SERIAL MURDERER AND WILL REQUEST 15-YEAR DENIAL

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:30 am

SANTA ANA – Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) Tony Rackauckas, law enforcement, Victims’ Rights leaders, and the Orange County delegation is opposing the parole of a serial murderer who went on a 9-day killing spree in 1977 and will be requesting a 15-year denial. Brett Matthew Paul Thomas, 56, pleaded guilty to three felony counts of murder and admitted to being involved in a kidnapping and attempted robberies. Had Thomas committed the murders seven months later, in August 1977, under California Law he would have been charged with capital murder, making Thomas eligible only for the death penalty or life in state prison without the possibility of parole. Thomas was sentenced Oct. 17, 1977, to life in state prison with the possibility of parole running concurrently, which makes him eligible for a parole hearing every three to 15 years after serving seven years of his sentence. He is presently being held at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility, San Diego. This case was originally prosecuted by former Deputy District Attorney Robert Chatterton. Thomas is scheduled for a parole hearing today, Friday, April 17, 2015, at the prison before the Board of Parole Hearings (Panel), California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Thomas’ co-defendant, Mark Wayne Titch, was found guilty of two felony counts of murder, one felony count each of kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer, five felony counts of robbery, and three felony counts of burglary and was sentenced in 1977 to life in state prison with the possibility of parole. Last year, on April 22, 2014, Titch died from “natural causes,” per prison records.

District Attorney Rackauckas, Chief of Staff Susan Kang Schroeder, and Senior Deputy District Attorney Jim Mendelson will appear at the hearing to oppose parole and advocate for a 15-year denial. Lynette Duncan, daughter and sister of two of Thomas’ victims, will also be present to oppose the inmate’s parole.

(more…)

Member Of Hacking Group Sentenced To 3 Years In Prison For Intrusions Into Corporate And Governmental Computer Systems

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:17 am

LOS ANGELES – A member of the SwaggSec hacking group was sentenced today to three years in federal prison for participating in a series of computer attacks that compromised computer systems at DirecTV, Farmers Insurance and the Los Angeles Department of Public Works.

Mario Patrick Chuisano, 32, of Staten Island, New York, who used the online monikers “fame” and “infam0us,” was sentenced this morning in Los Angeles by United States District Judge S. James Otero.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Otero ordered Chuisano to pay $2,662,438.80 in restitution to the three victims.

Chuisano pleaded guilty in June 2014 to conspiracy to intentionally cause damage to a protected computer, as well as to possession of an unregistered firearm, namely a sawed-off shotgun. In addition to the sawed-off shotgun that was discovered in Chuisano’s residence during the execution of a search warrant, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation recovered an unregistered handgun, brass knuckles, and equipment that could be used to manufacture counterfeit credit and debit cards, according to court documents.

During 2012 and 2013, SwaggSec, or “Swagg Security,” carried out a series of computer attacks and released some of the information stolen from the compromised systems through an eponymous social media account. (more…)

April 17, 2015

Three Members of International Synthetic Drug-Trafficking Organization Arrested in Los Angeles

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:19 am

Three members of an international synthetic drug-trafficking organization—responsible for selling synthetic drugs with brand names like Twilite, Passion Sense, Stoopid, Black Diamond, and Platinum—were arrested in Los Angeles on Tuesday.  The federal charges were unsealed in the Northern District of New York today.  According to documents also unsealed in the Southern District of Indiana today, a leader of the organization has already pleaded guilty to federal drug-trafficking charges.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Richard S. Hartunian of the Northern District of New York and U.S. Attorney Josh J. Minkler of the Southern District of Indiana made the announcement.

“The manufacture and distribution of synthetic narcotics is a growing problem that is especially dangerous to the young people of our communities,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “Drug traffickers peddle these illegal synthetic drugs with harmless sounding names to impressionable youth who are typically unaware of the harmful chemicals they actually are ingesting.  The Criminal Division will continue to partner with local and federal law enforcement around the nation to stem the flow of these unsafe and illegal substances and bring the traffickers to justice.”

“Despite the efforts of these drug traffickers to evade prosecution through the creation of synthetic drugs, these indictments demonstrate the ability of law enforcement to effectively respond to those who market these dangerous substances,” said U.S. Attorney Hartunian.  “We will continue to use all our resources to combat this national problem.”

(more…)

Valencia, California, Doctor Indicted in $6.5 Million Medicare Fraud Scheme

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:17 am

An indictment was unsealed today charging a doctor from Valencia, California, with operating a $6.5 million scheme to defraud the Medicare program by billing Medicare for medical services that were not actually provided.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Stephanie Yonekura of the Central District of California, Assistant Director in Charge David Bowdich of the FBI’s Los Angeles Division and Special Agent in Charge Glenn R. Ferry of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General’s (HHS-OIG) Los Angeles Region made the announcement.

Gary J. Ordog, 60, of Valencia, California, was indicted by a federal grand jury in the Central District of California on March 27, 2015, for nine counts of health care fraud.  The indictment alleges that Ordog billed Medicare for services that were not actually provided to the Medicare beneficiaries.

According to allegations in the indictment, Ordog was a physician who purportedly assisted beneficiaries with various toxicological symptoms, including those related to mold and chemical exposures.  Ordog would allegedly see a beneficiary at least once in connection with the potential evaluation and management of his or her conditions.  Subsequently, often several years after the last time he saw a particular beneficiary, Ordog would allegedly submit false claims to Medicare for purported additional visits with the same beneficiary, when the visits never actually occurred.  In certain instances, Ordog allegedly billed Medicare for services provided to beneficiaries who were deceased as of the claimed date of service.

(more…)

REAL ESTATE BROKER AND TWO REAL ESTATE AGENTS CHARGED WITH GRAND THEFT IN LOAN MODIFICATION SCHEME

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

SANTA ANA – A real estate broker and two real estate agents who worked together have been charged with grand theft in a loan modification scheme. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) is seeking the public’s help identifying potential additional victims in this case. Michael Pelimiano Soriano, 45, Irvine, Agustin Navarra Alayon, 52, Canoga Park, and Joseph Anthony Q. Oliva, 50, San Jose, are each charged with six felony counts of grand theft and one felony count of collecting a foreclosure consultant unlawful advance fee. If convicted on all counts, they each face a maximum sentence of seven years in jail. Alayon and Soriano are out of custody on $29,500 bail and are scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, April 16, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-55, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. Oliva remains at large.

At the time of the crime, Soriano was a licensed real estate broker accused of owning and operating Cyberlink Diamond Group, LLC (Cyberlink) in Huntington Beach, without having the company legally licensed with the California Bureau of Real Estate (CALBRE). Soriano is accused of employing Ayalan and Oliva, both real estate agents, to work at Cyberlink as marketing representatives to solicit consumers and offer them loan modification and foreclosure rescue services.

Between March 2011 and July 2011, Ayalan and Oliva are accused of contacting distressed homeowners and offering them loan modification services to save their homes. The defendants are also accused of advertising loan modification services by hosting seminars where marketing representatives sold these programs to homeowners.

The defendants are accused of taking upfront fees from three clients, totaling $29,500 in loss. The defendants are accused of collecting these upfront fees from at least one victim, even though the victim’s house was in actual foreclosure.

(more…)

April 16, 2015

U.S. Navy Officer Pleads Guilty to Selling Classified Ship Schedules as Part of Expanding Navy Bribery Probe

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:28 am

A lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy pleaded guilty to bribery charges in federal court today, admitting that he accepted cash, hotel expenses and the services of a prostitute in return for providing classified U.S. Navy ship schedules and other internal Navy information to an executive of a defense contracting firm.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy of the Southern District of California, Deputy Inspector General for Investigations James B. Burch of the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), Director Andrew L. Traver of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and Director Anita Bales of the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) made the announcement.

“Another Navy officer has now pleaded guilty and admitted to taking bribes to reveal classified military information to a major supplier,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell.  “It is both troubling and disappointing how many Navy officers we have exposed as willingly falling prey to GDMA’s corruption, and our investigation remains active and ongoing.  Those who serve in our nation’s military must uphold the public’s trust or pay the consequences for their crimes.”

“The receipt of envelopes of cash and lavish hotel stays by our public officials at whatever level erodes the public’s trust in our institutions and our government,” said U.S. Attorney Duffy.  “Today’s guilty plea reflects the next step in our ongoing effort to regain that public trust.”

(more…)

« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

Powered by WordPress