Best Defender Bytes:

August 17, 2015


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

SANTA ANA – Three defendants were sentenced today to 15 years to life in state prison for firing several rounds at a police officer’s vehicle that was out on patrol in Anaheim for the benefit of their Hispanic criminal street gang. Juan Carlos Covarrubias, 22, Jordy Roman Martinez, 22, Andrew Gomez Sanchez, 22, all of Anaheim, were each found guilty by a jury on Feb. 26, 2015, of one felony count of shooting at an occupied motor vehicle and one felony count of street terrorism, with sentencing enhancements for the vicarious discharge of a firearm by a gang member and criminal street gang activity.

At approximately 3:30 a.m. on June 1, 2012, Sanchez was driving Martinez and Covarrubias and pulled up in front of an unmarked Anaheim Police Department (APD) vehicle that was patrolling the street. Sanchez was driving the car on the wrong side of the road to block the officer’s vehicle from moving forward on Palm Street at Boysen Avenue in Anaheim. The officers were on duty and in their full uniform at the time of the incident.

Martinez got out of the vehicle with a loaded firearm and began shooting several rounds at the officers inside the vehicle with specific intent, premeditation, and deliberation to murder the police officers. The officers attempted to find safety by turning their vehicle around, switching on their police emergency lights, and attempting to drive to safety.

Martinez got back inside the vehicle. Sanchez pursued the officer’s vehicle and one of the other defendants continued to shoot at the officers while they were driving. The defendants lodged two bullets into the front passenger side of the officer’s vehicle. The officers were not struck and did not return fire.


Pennsylvania Man Sentenced to LWOP For Ritualistic Murder

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

A Pennsylvania man was sentenced today to life without the possibility of parole for torturing, stabbing and dismembering a Los Angeles man in a downtown hotel room, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Edward Garcia Jr., 41, was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Larry Fidler for the Nov. 28, 2010, murder of Herbert Tracy White.

Deputy District Attorney John McKinney with the Major Crimes Division prosecuted the case.

Garcia was found guilty in June of first-degree murder. Jurors also found true the special circumstances of murder during a robbery and murder involving torture.


August 14, 2015

Cold Case Fugitive Wanted for Crimes Against Children in Northern California Arrested in Los Angeles

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:53 am

A former northern California school teacher wanted for alleged crimes against children was arrested this morning in Los Angeles by members of the FBI’s Fugitive Task Force, announced David Bowdich, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, and David Johnson, special agent in charge of the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office.

Frank Joseph Montenegro, 52, a current resident of Los Angeles, was taken into custody following a foot pursuit and struggle with task force members this morning.

Montenegro, who had been residing at a community home in the Brooklyn Heights section of Los Angeles, is currently in state custody in Los Angeles awaiting transfer to the custody of officials in Alameda County, California.

According to a federal criminal complaint filed in United States District Court in San Francisco on August 15, 2001, Montenegro was charged by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office on July 25, 2001, following an investigation by detectives with the Fremont Police Department. Montenegro was charged with multiple counts of sodomy of a child under 14 years of age against the victim’s will; oral copulation; and the continued sexual abuse of a minor. At the time, Montenegro had been working as an elementary school teacher. After investigators had established that Montenegro fled across the southern United States border to Mexico, the FBI was asked to assist in finding him. The federal complaint charged Montenegro with unlawful flight to avoid prosecution (UFAP).



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:38 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – An inattentive driver was convicted today of killing a motorist by crashing into the victim’s car at approximately 85 mph after failing to notice that traffic had come to a stop. Jorene Ypanto Nicolas, 32, San Diego, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. On April 16, 2014, a previous jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict in this case finding 11 to one in favor of guilt and the trial resulted in a mistrial. Nicolas faces a maximum sentence of six years in state prison at her sentencing on Sept. 4, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-28, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

At approximately 11:00 a.m. on April 27, 2011, Nicolas was speeding while traveling northbound on Interstate 405 near Edwards Street in a Toyota Prius. She became distracted and inattentive while driving and failed to notice that the traffic ahead had come to a complete stop.

Nicolas was driving at approximately 85 mph and failed to brake or slow when she slammed into the back of a Hyundai sedan, which was just starting to move after being at a full stop in traffic, driven by 23-year-old Deanna Mauer. Mauer’s sedan was pushed into the car in front of her and then traveled and struck the center divider before coming to a stop facing southbound in the northbound lanes.

After crashing into the victim’s car, Nicolas lost control of her own vehicle and also crashed into the center divider. Nicolas was transported to the hospital and treated for minor lacerations.


Bumble Bee Foods to Pay State’s Largest Known Workplace Violations Settlement for Death of Employee Trapped Inside Industrial Oven

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:34 am

Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey today announced a settlement agreement that will require Bumble Bee Foods LLC to pay $6 million for willfully violating worker safety rules, causing the 2012 death of an employee who became trapped inside an industrial oven at the company’s Santa Fe Springs plant.

The settlement is the largest known payout in a California criminal prosecution of workplace safety violations involving a single victim. The case was prosecuted by Consumer Protection Division Assistant Head Deputy Hoon Chun and Deputy District Attorney Christopher Curtis.

The payout will be applied as follows:

  • The company will pay $3 million to replace all of their outdated tuna ovens with new ovens that are automated and will not ever require workers to set foot inside the super-heated, pressurized steam cookers. (more…)

August 13, 2015

Former Executive Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Bribe Panamanian Officials

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:30 am

A former regional director of SAP International Inc. pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) by participating in a scheme to bribe Panamanian officials to secure the award of government technology contracts for SAP.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of the Northern District of California, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI’s Miami Division and Acting Special Agent in Charge Thomas McMahon of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) made the announcement.

Vicente Eduardo Garcia, 65, of Miami, pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging him with conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA.  Sentencing before Senior U.S. District Court Judge Charles R. Breyer of the Northern District of California is scheduled for Dec. 16, 2015.

According to plea documents, in late 2009, SAP sought a multi-million dollar contract to provide a Panamanian state agency with a technology upgrade package.  In connection with his guilty plea, Garcia admitted that, to secure the contract, he conspired with others, including advisors and consultants to SAP, to pay bribes to two Panamanian government officials, as well as to the agent of a third government official (with the understanding that at least a portion of the money would be transmitted to the third official).  According to Garcia’s admissions, the conspirators used sham contracts and false invoices to disguise the true nature of the bribes.  Garcia further admitted that he believed paying such bribes was necessary to secure both the initial contract and additional Panamanian government contracts.



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:27 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A 19-year-old masseur is scheduled to be arraigned today for sexually assaulting a woman, who is in her 70’s, in her apartment. Ahkail Demyers, 19, Long Beach, is charged with one felony count of forcible rape, one felony count of assault with the intent to commit a sexual offense during the commission of a first degree burglary, one felony count of sexual penetration by force, one felony count of elder abuse, and sentencing enhancement allegations for aggravated kidnapping and commission of forcible rape and sexual penetration by force during the commission of a burglary. If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 61 years to life in state prison. Demyers is being held on $1 million bail and is scheduled to be arraigned today, Aug. 11, 2015, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.

At the time of the crime, Demyers worked as a masseur and was visiting a family member who lived in a senior living apartment complex in Huntington Beach.

At approximately 7:50 p.m., on Aug. 9, 2015, Demyers is accused of approaching Jane Doe near the apartment complex. The defendant is accused of telling the victim that he was a masseur and offering to give the victim a therapeutic massage.

Once inside the residence, the defendant is accused of forcing the victim into her bedroom, forcibly sexually assaulting Jane Doe and sexually penetrating the victim.


Orange County Man Pleads Guilty to Providing Material Support to ISIL and Making False Statements in Passport Application

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:25 am

SANTA ANA, California – A resident of the City of Orange pleaded guilty today to federal charges of attempting to provide material support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and making a false statement in a passport application.

Adam Dandach, 21, pleaded guilty before United States District Judge James V. Selna.

In a plea agreement filed today in federal court, Dandach admitted that, beginning in approximately November 2013 and continuing until July 2, 2014, he attempted to travel to Syria to join ISIL with the purpose of providing material support to the designated foreign terrorist organization. He further admitted that he knew that ISIL was a designated foreign terrorist organization that engaged in terrorist activity and terrorism.

“This case demonstrates the need for continued vigilance and swift action to fight the false allure of foreign terrorist organizations that threaten the security of the United States,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “As Mr. Dandach succumbed to ISIL’s online recruiting efforts, the Joint Terrorism Task Force was able to uncover his plan before he left the United States, which prevented this young man from becoming a foreign fighter. As a result of today’s guilty pleas, Mr. Dandach now faces a lengthy term in federal prison.”


August 12, 2015


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:27 am

A California woman was sentenced to 130 months in prison for her role in a half-million dollar Costa Rica-based “sweepstakes fraud” scheme that victimized hundreds of U.S. residents.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Jill Westmoreland Rose of the Western District of North Carolina made the announcement.

Patricia Diane Clark, 57, of Sacramento, California, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge Frank D. Whitney of the Western District of North Carolina for conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering.   Clark was also ordered to pay $642,032 in restitution and to forfeit the same amount jointly and severally with her co-defendants.

In connection with her guilty plea, Clark admitted that, from approximately 2007 through February 2013, her co-conspirators called U.S. residents from Costa Rican call centers, falsely informing them that they had won a substantial cash prize in a “sweepstakes.”  The victims, many of whom were elderly, were told that in order to receive the prize, they had to send money for a purported “refundable insurance fee.”  Clark admitted that she picked up money from the victims and sent it to her co-conspirators in Costa Rica.  Clark also admitted that she managed others who picked up money from the victims in the United States and that she kept a portion of the victims’ payments.



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:23 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Two drivers were charged today for a hit-and-run crash after speeding through a red light and killing a 9-year-old boy who was crossing the street. Miguel Villagomez Jr., 26, Anaheim, and Roderick Kent Jerro, 50, Orange,are each charged with one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence. Jerro is charged with one additional felony count of hit and run with permanent injury and death and a sentencing enhancement for a prior strike conviction for a 1986 residential burglary in Los Angeles County. If convicted, Villagomez faces a maximum sentence of six years in state prisonand Jerro faces a maximum sentence of 22 years in state prison. Villagomez is out of custody on $100,000 bail. Jerro is being held on $100,000 bail. Both defendants are scheduled to be arraigned on Aug. 28, 2015, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-55, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

At approximately 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 6, 2015, Villagomez is accused of getting into a minor traffic collision with Jerro’s vehicle on Tustin Street and Palm Avenue in Orange and attempting to drive away. Jerro is accused of pursuing Villagomez’s vehicle.

Both defendants are accused of speeding northbound through a red light at the intersection of North Glassell Street and Wilson Avenue. Jerro is accused of hitting 9-year-old Jesse Rosales as he was crossing the street with his older sister. The defendants are accused of failing to stop to render aid or assistance to the victim. Rosales was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Villagomez is accused of continuing to drive northbound, attempting to make a left turn on West Taft Avenue, and crashing into a brick wall, which disabled his vehicle. Jerro is accused of stopping his vehicle near the site where Villagomez had crashed. Both defendants were arrested a short time later by the Orange Police Department, who investigated this case.


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