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March 23, 2015

DMV EMPLOYEE ARRESTED AND CHARGED FOR TAKING BRIBES TO OBTAIN DRIVER’S LICENSES FOR TWO APPLICANTS

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:01 am

WESTMINSTER – A Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) employee was arrested and charged today for accepting bribes from customers in exchange for providing California driver’s licenses (CDL). Jose Alberto Carrillo, 47, Fresno, is charged with two felony counts of altering public documents and two felony counts of computer access and fraud. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of five years in jail. He was arrested today in Fresno and is out of custody on $20,000 bail. He is scheduled to appear for arraignment on April 20, 2015, at the North Justice Center, Fullerton. The time and department are to be determined.

At the time of the crimes, Carrillo worked as a Motor Vehicle Representative at the Westminster DMV Office.

On May 10, 2012, Carrillo is accused of offering to alter a customer’s DMV record to reflect that the customer had passed a written driving test, that he had previously failed, in exchange for $100. Carrillo is accused of instructing the customer to go to the men’s bathroom to hide the money in between papers to avoid video surveillance. When the customer returned from the bathroom, the defendant is accused of accepting the money that was hidden between the papers. Carrillo is accused of unlawfully accessing the man’s DMV record on the computer and falsely inputting that the customer had passed the written tests.

An interim CDL was issued to this customer. Without the record being altered to indicate that the customer passed the written tests, the CDL process could not have continued and the interim CDL could not have been issued.

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March 20, 2015

Justice Department Highlights Ongoing Efforts to Protect the Public and the Fisc from Fraudulent Tax Return Preparers and Tax Scheme Promoters

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:42 am

During this tax-filing season, the Justice Department announced today the results of its ongoing efforts to combat fraudulent tax return preparers and promoters of tax fraud schemes.  The department’s Tax Division has an active program to stop fraudulent return preparers and promoters from violating federal tax laws, particularly where the fraudulent activity can harm individual customers or drain the U.S. Treasury.

According to available Internal Revenue Service (IRS) statistics, taxpayers filed approximately 145 million individual income tax returns in 2014, with more than 84 million individuals using a paid tax return preparer.  The division’s civil enforcement efforts have been directed against both large-scale return preparation franchises and smaller, independent return preparers and promoters.  Last year, the Tax Division obtained permanent injunctions against more than 40 preparers, promoters and businesses operating all over the United States.

“In 2014, the Tax Division continued its pursuit of tax return preparers and promoters who violate the tax laws through abusive schemes and scams, and take advantage of their customers,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Tax Division.  “The division’s attorneys and staff, along with our colleagues in the IRS, are committed to identifying, enjoining, and where appropriate, prosecuting those individuals who engage in such conduct.”

Preparers

As in past years, the IRS has again designated return preparer fraud as one of the “Dirty Dozen” tax scams to avoid during return filing season.  The Tax Division took action in 2014 against preparers to curb some of the most common types of return preparation fraud:

Your refund should never be deposited directly into a preparer’s bank account.

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Former High School Teacher Pleads to False Imprisonment of Students in Altadena

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:36 am

A former high school teacher pleaded no contest today to falsely imprisoning students in their car while they drove over a weekend through Altadena, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Melanie Buccat said John Edward Maust (dob 4/23/80) entered the plea to two felony counts of false imprisonment by violence in case GA094098.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Elaine Lu of the Pasadena Branch immediately sentenced Maust to five years of formal probation, 180 days of community service and more than 50 Alcoholics Anonymous sessions.

Maust also was ordered to one year of counseling and to stay away from the victims. Additionally, he is prohibited from consuming any alcohol while on probation.

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Man Pleads No Contest to Scamming Elderly Motorists, Attempting to Bribe Police Officer

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:26 am

A man pleaded no contest today to charges that he scammed elderly motorists by falsely claiming they had been involved in traffic collisions and then demanding money, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

David Stevens, 43, entered his plea to one count each of residential burglary, two counts of theft from an elder and one count of bribing an executive officer in case LA076682. Stevens is scheduled to return to court on April 22 when he is expected to be sentenced to 10 years in state prison.

Deputy District Attorney William Chung of the Elder Abuse Section said Stevens approached elderly drivers and told them they had been in a traffic collision.  Stevens then pressured the victims to give money for alleged vehicle damage or personal injuries caused by the accident.

After his arrest Stevens complained about his health and was taken to a hospital for observation.  While there Stevens offered to pay off a police officer if the officer would give him time to escape.

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March 19, 2015

Fugitive Chinese Official And Former Wife Named In Grand Jury Indictment Charging Immigration Fraud And Money Laundering

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:38 am

LOS ANGELES – The ex-wife of a former Chinese official was arrested today in Newcastle, Washington, on charges that she and her former husband fraudulently obtained visas to enter the United States through the immigrant investor program and laundered money to purchase property in Washington state.

Shilan Zhao, 51, of Newcastle, Washington, and her ex-husband Jianjun Qiao, 51, are charged in a federal grand jury indictment unsealed today with conspiracy to commit immigration fraud and international transport of stolen funds, as well as conspiracy to commit money laundering. Zhao is additionally charged with one count of immigration fraud.

The divorced couple’s scheme involved falsely portraying themselves as still married and lying about the source of Zhao’s foreign investment, which was required under the EB-5 immigrant investor program to obtain U.S. immigrant visas, according to the indictment. Zhao allegedly stated under oath on documents submitted to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that she had an ownership interest in the companies providing the $500,000 minimum investment, which investigators later learned she did not.

The indictment also states the divorced couple purchased a residence in the Seattle suburb of Newcastle with laundered money related to fraudulent transactions from a grain storehouse in Zhoukou City, Henan Province, China where Qiao served as director from 1998 to 2011.

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Hollywood Film Scheme Results in Unhappy Ending for Investors

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:32 am

The owners of Gigapix Studios told investors they had a sure thing: They were going to make an animated version of the Wizard of Oz called OZ3D, and those who got in on the ground floor—and the company’s imminent public offering—could make a killing.

Unfortunately, the film was a bigger fairy tale than investors bargained for, and approximately 730 people lost millions of dollars. For some, the investment represented their life savings.

“Potential investors were told, ‘You’re going to make so much money that your kids and grandkids won’t want for anything,’” said Special Agent Eric Potocek, who investigated the case out of our Los Angeles Division. “In the end, the movie was never made, and it is unlikely investors will ever get anything back.”

Between the film and the impending public offering, the two principal fraudsters behind Los Angeles-based Gigapix raised some $21 million over a seven-year period beginning in 2006. Of the $8 million raised for the movie, only 5 percent of that amount went toward actually producing a film. The rest was used to pay big salaries, commissions, overhead for a fancy office, and other expenses.

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Father Charged with Attempted Murder, Kidnapping

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:26 am

A man suspected of stabbing his ex-girlfriend’s boyfriend and kidnapping his year-old son, triggering a statewide Amber Alert, is due in court on Thursday for arraignment on attempted murder, kidnapping and additional charges, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today.

Giovany Santiago-Enriquez (dob 5/31/77) is scheduled to be arraigned sometime Thursday in Department 30 at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center in case BA434389.  Prosecutors will ask that his bail be set at $1.3 million.

Santiago-Enriquez is suspected of assaulting his ex-girlfriend and stabbing her new boyfriend in the early morning hours on March 9. The attack occurred at her San Pedro home in the 500 block of W. 15th Street. He then allegedly fled with his young son. He was arrested yesterday after he tried to reenter the country from Mexico.

He is charged with one count of attempted willful, deliberate and premeditated murder, three counts of assault with a deadly weapon, one count of kidnapping, one count of residential burgalry and one count of child custody deprivation, all felonies. The complaint alleges use of a deadly weapon, a knife, and that he has a prior conviction.

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March 18, 2015

MAN FORMERLY ON SAPD’S MOST WANTED LIST CONVICTED OF MURDERING EMPLOYER IN 2009

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

SANTA ANA – A man who was on the Santa Ana Police Department’s (SAPD) most wanted list was convicted today of  murdering his employer. Gerald Guy Byrne, 54, was convicted of one felony count of second degree murder. The defendant has two prior strike convictions for robbery in 1986 and arson in 1993. The Court will hear a bifurcated trial on the defendant’s prior strike convictions on April 10, 2015, at 9:00 a.m., in Department C-41, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. Byrne faces a maximum sentence of 55 years to life in state prison if convicted of the prior strike offenses.

At the time of the crime, Byrne was working for 69-year-old Charles Samo.

Between July 19, 2009, and July 21, 2009, Byrne entered Samo’s residence in Santa Ana and strangled him to death. After the crime, Byrne fled to Washington and was placed on the “Santa Ana Police Department’s 10 Most Wanted Suspects” list.

On Oct. 22, 2011, Byrne was arrested in Everett, Wash. by the Everett Police Department on an unrelated charge. He was identified during the booking process as a wanted parole suspect in California and was extradited back to Orange County.

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New York Real Estate Heir Charged with Cold Case Murder

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

New York real estate heir Robert Durst was charged today with the 2000 murder of his friend, Susan Berman, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Durst (dob 4/12/43) is charged in case SA089983 with one count of first-degree murder with the special circumstances of murder of a witness and lying in wait and gun use allegations. Durst, who was arrested Saturday by FBI agents in New Orleans, is being held without bail.

Deputy District Attorneys John Lewin and Habib Balian with the Major Crimes Division are assigned to the case. Prosecutors have been working closely with the Los Angeles Police Department for the past two years investigating the cold case murder.

Durst is charged with murdering Berman on or about Dec. 23, 2000. Her body was discovered in her Benedict Canyon home on Christmas Eve.

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Former NFL Player Charged with DUI in Manhattan Beach

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:52 am

A former tight-end with the Seattle Seahawks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was charged today in connection with a DUI arrest in Manhattan Beach earlier this year, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Juree Kim said Jerramy Ryan Stevens (dob 11/13/1979) is charged with one misdemeanor count each of driving under the influence of alcohol within 10 years of another DUI offense and driving with a .08% blood alcohol content within 10 years of another DUI offense.

Case 5SY02142 alleges that Stevens refused a chemical test; that he had a blood alcohol concentration that was .15 percent or more; and that he had a 2007 DUI conviction in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Arraignment is scheduled on March 19 in Department P of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Torrance Branch.

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