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July 29, 2014

Former Bell Councilmember Sentenced To Two Years in State Prison

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

Former Bell City Councilwoman Teresa Jacobo was sentenced today to two years in state prison and  ordered to pay more than $242,000 in restitution to the city, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Jacobo, 61, is the third of five former council members to be sentenced in a massive public corruption case that nearly bankrupted the city of 35,000.

Deputy District Attorneys Sean Hassett and Edward Miller with the Public Integrity Division were seeking a four-year prison term.

Jurors in March 2013 convicted Jacobo of five counts of misappropriation of public funds. In April of this year, she pleaded no contest to two additional counts of misappropriation of public funds to avoid a retrial.

Jacobo, along with former Mayor Oscar Hernandez and former Councilmembers George Mirabal, George Cole and Victor Bello, were convicted of stealing a total of nearly $1 million. (more…)

July 28, 2014

UPS Driver Accused of Stealing Guns from the Shipper and Giving Firearms to Associate for Sale on Streets

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:21 am

RIVERSIDE, California – A United Parcel Service driver was arrested this afternoon on federal gun trafficking charges for allegedly stealing dozens of guns going through the shipping company’s Ontario hub and providing them to an associate who sold the weapons in underground transactions.

Curtis Hays, 36, of Rancho Cucamonga, was arrested without incident by special agents with the ATF. Hays is expected to be arraigned this afternoon in United States District Court.

The associate who allegedly sold some of the firearms – Dennis Dell White Jr., 35, of Moreno Valley – will be summoned to appear in federal court for an arraignment in the coming weeks.

The 16-count indictment, which was filed on July 23, alleges that Hays stole a series of packages containing guns that were supposed to be delivered to Turner’s Outdoorsman in Rancho Cucamonga. The indictment also accused Hays of stealing jewelry and mobile phones that were supposed to be delivered to other retailers, and this merchandise also was allegedly given to White.

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MAN SENTENCED TO 25 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON AFTER BEING LINKED THROUGH DNA TO 2001 COLD-CASE SEXUAL ASSAULT OF WOMAN HE KIDNAPPED FROM BUS STOP

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

SANTA ANA – A man was sentenced today to 25 years to life in state prison and mandatory lifetime sex offender registration for kidnapping a woman from a bus stop and forcibly sexually assaulting her in his car in a 2001 cold-case after being linked to the crime through DNA using the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) local DNA database. Raul Moreno-Perez, 34, was found guilty by a jury May 29, 2014, of one felony count each of kidnapping to commit a sexual offense, forcible oral copulation, and sentencing enhancement allegations for increasing the risk of harm by kidnapping and kidnapping to commit a sexual offense were found true.

Circumstances of the Sexual Assault
At approximately 8:00 p.m. on Nov. 3, 2001, 19-year-old Jane Doe was waiting at a bus stop on Main Street in Orange. Moreno-Perez drove up in his vehicle and stopped his car near Jane Doe. He asked the victim if she wanted a ride and then drove away when she declined.

Several minutes later, Moreno-Perez returned to the bus stop and got out of his car to sit on the bench next to Jane Doe. He put his arm around the victim and told her that he wanted to take her home. Jane Doe refused and Moreno-Perez then forced the victim to stand up and get into his car.

Moreno-Perez slapped Jane Doe as she tried to resist and drove her to a parking lot behind a grocery store in Garden Grove. When Jane Doe got out of the parked car and attempted to escape, Moreno-Perez chased and pushed her before forcing her back to the car. Once back inside the vehicle, Moreno-Perez forced Jane Doe to orally copulate him.

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WOMAN CONVICTED OF CONSPIRACY TO PIMP TWO WOMEN FROM BROTHEL SHE OPERATED FROM MOTEL

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:14 am

FULLERTON – A woman was convicted today of conspiring to pimp two women from a brothel that she operated out of a motel. Ramona Judith Mora Garcia, 41, Anaheim, pleaded guilty today to two felony counts of conspiracy to commit pimping. She was sentenced to one year in jail and six years in state prison stayed pending the completion of three years formal probation.

Circumstances of the Case

Garcia is a pimp/modern-day slave owner who exploits women and/or children for financial gain. She required the victims in this case to turn over half the payment they received for performing unlawful sex acts from sex purchasers.

Between Oct. 1, 2013, and Feb. 12, 2014, Garcia recruited 38-year-old Jane Doe #1 and 33-year-old Jane Doe #2 to work for her as prostitutes in a brothel she was operating out of an Anaheim motel. Garcia placed sexually suggestive advertisements in a Latino magazine and then set up sex purchasers to meet with a Jane Doe for commercial sex. The defendant kept half the payment Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2 received.

This case was investigated by the Anaheim Police Department (APD) with assistance from Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF), who contacted Garcia through the magazine advertisement.

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July 25, 2014

Four Defendants Indicted For Their Participation in Orange County-Based Loan Modification Scam Targeting Distressed Homeowners

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:09 am

LOS ANGELES – Federal agents this morning arrested three defendants who worked at Orange County businesses that allegedly offered bogus loan modification programs to financially distressed homeowners. As a result of the fraudulent scheme allegedly run out of U.S. Homeowners Relief and several related entities, hundreds of financially distressed homeowners across the United States lost millions of dollars, and many victims also lost their homes in subsequent foreclosure proceedings.

The three defendants taken into custody this morning were among four defendants named in a federal indictment following an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) and IRS - Criminal Investigation.

According to the indictment, the four defendants operated a series of telemarketing “boiler rooms” that pitched loan modification services to distressed homeowners in the wake of the financial collapse in 2008. The defendants operated offices in Irvine, Santa Ana, Newport Beach, Garden Grove and Westminster under a series of company names from late 2008 to early 2010. Initially called Greenleaf Modify, they subsequently used the names U.S. Homeowners Relief, Waypoint Law Group and, finally, American Lending Review. The defendants would shut down each company name once their businesses attracted too many consumer complaints at the Better Business Bureau or attracted attention from state regulators such as the California Department of Justice.

The defendants and their associates used a consistent sales pitch throughout the scheme. According to the indictment, their advertising materials and telemarketers promised distressed mortgage holders that after paying advance fees ranging from about $1,450 to approximately $4,200, homeowners were highly likely to obtain a long-term modification to their current mortgage obligation, meaning they would have a lower monthly payment, an interest rate reduced to as low as 2 percent, and/or a reduction of principal. Many consumers were falsely told that their up-front money would be refunded if the promised loan modification failed to materialize.

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Orange County Man Pleads Guilty To Defrauding Banks And S.B.A. By Illegally Obtaining Commercial Loans Worth More Than $10 Million

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:06 am

SANTA ANA, California – An Orange County businessman has pleaded guilty to federal charges related to a series of fraud schemes that include one in which he worked with his criminal defense attorney to fraudulently apply for millions of dollars in loans backed by the Small Business Administration.

Donald Keith Goff, 66, of Laguna Niguel, pleaded guilty late yesterday to three felony counts – mail fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud – for leading a group of conspirators in a series of complex, multi-million dollar fraud schemes. In one scheme, Goff admitted that he and his criminal defense attorney conducted a scam after Goff had already been indicted by a federal grand jury in the prior fraud.

According to court documents and his admissions in court, Goff orchestrated a scheme in 2006 and 2007 to defraud Grand Pacific Financing Corporation (GPFC), which provided a $4.5 million loan to finance the purchase of a gas station business in Fountain Valley. Goff was unable to obtain the loan himself as a result of his poor credit rating, history of being sued by creditors and failure to pay judgments. To obtain the loan, Goff created a shell corporation and recruited an unemployed truck driver to act as a “straw buyer” who posed as the owner of the shell company and applied for the loan in the corporation’s name. As part of the scheme, Goff and a co-conspirator included false information in the loan application regarding the straw buyer’s experience and assets. In addition, Goff and a co-conspirator bribed an escrow agent to falsely advise the bank that a $600,000 equity down payment had been used for the purchase, when in fact no down payment was made. During this scheme, Goff worked with his wife, Melanie Goff; his step-daughter, Monty Brown; a business associate named Leon Draper; and others.

Later in 2007, after obtaining the loan from GPFC and gaining control of the Fountain Valley gas station business, Goff orchestrated a scheme to defraud Nara Bank. In this fraud, Goff formed another shell corporation, installed his wife as owner and had the new shell corporation “buy” the gas station business. Goff then had his wife and step-daughter apply to Nara Bank for a loan to “refinance” the supposed debt one shell company owed the other, without disclosing to the bank that they controlled both companies. Nara Bank was provided false information regarding his wife’s credit history and a $600,000 deposit supposedly put down on the purchase.  When the deal closed, more than one-third of the $1.4 million in loan proceeds were transferred to a bank account the Goffs controlled.

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TWO WOMEN CONVICTED OF VOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER FOR KILLING FEMALE PATRON OUTSIDE SANTA ANA BAR

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

SANTA ANA – Two women were convicted today of voluntary manslaughter for killing a female patron outside a Santa Ana bar. Candace Marie Brito, 27, and Vanesa Tapia Zavala, 26, both of Santa Ana, were found guilty by a jury of one felony count of voluntary manslaughter and one felony count of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury with a sentencing enhancement for causing great bodily injury. They each face a maximum sentence of 11 years in state prison at their sentencing Sept. 12, 2014, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-45, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

During the early morning hours on Jan. 19, 2014, 23-year-old victim Annie Pham was involved in a mutual combat with a friend of defendants Brito and Zavala outside a restaurant and bar formally known as The Crosby in downtown Santa Ana. Brito and Zavala were involved in a verbal altercation with the victim and physically assaulted her with their hands and fists as the victim was fighting with the defendants’ friend. Brito and Zavala killed Pham by kicking the victim in the head as she was on the ground fighting the defendants’ friend on the sidewalk. Portions of the attack were captured on cell phone video as the victim’s friends and a security guard unsuccessfully attempted to intervene.

Witnesses at the scene called 911. Paramedics arrived and transported Pham to St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, where she was put on life support. Pham was considered brain dead from blunt force trauma injuries suffered during the attack and was removed from life support on Jan. 21, 2014.

The Santa Ana Police Department investigated this case.

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July 24, 2014

Coto De Caza Man Pleads Guilty in Investment Schemes that Bilked Physicians and Dentists out of more than $2 Million

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

SANTA ANA, California – An Orange County man pleaded guilty to defrauding dozens of doctors and others of more than $2 million in separate schemes that promised large returns on investments in the medical and dental fields.

David Rose, 57, of Coto de Caza, pleaded guilty today in United States District Court to one count of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud.

According to court documents, over a six-year period that ran through May 2011, Rose solicited physicians to invest in an Irvine company he called M.D. Venture Partners (MDVP) and falsely promised lucrative returns on investments in emerging medical technologies.

In a subsequent scheme, Rose used Technology Innovation Partners (TIP) to solicit dentists and orthodontists to invest, claiming funds would be pooled and invested in a company developing ablation technology that would be used to remove wisdom teeth in children without surgery.

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Inland Empire Man Who Admitted Sex Trafficking of a Child who Worked as Prostitute Sentenced to 17½ Years in Federal Prison

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:06 am

RIVERSIDE, California – A resident of Quail Valley who pleaded guilty to sex trafficking charges – and admitted forcing a 14-year-old girl to work as a prostitute – was sentenced today to 210 months in federal prison.

Kawaum Marquez Scott, 24, received the 17½-year sentence from United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips.

Scott pleaded guilty in May to two counts of sex trafficking of a child.

Scott’s codefendant – Nekeyia Necole Weatherspoon, who also used the name “Keey Bee,” 22, of Perris – pleaded guilty at the same time to one count of conspiracy to engage in child sex trafficking.

According to court documents, Scott and Weatherspoon forced a 14-year-old victim into prostitution. The defendants, who took photos of the victims and used the pictures to advertise services on the Internet, drove the victim to destinations in Hemet to engage in prostitution, made her use an alias, and advised her to tell male customers that she was 18 years old. Scott and Weatherspoon took all the money paid to the girl for the sex acts.

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Former Bank Of America Employee Sentenced To 30 Months In Federal Prison For Taking Bribes To Approve Artificially Low-Price Short Sales

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

LOS ANGELES – A former Bank of America employee was sentenced this morning to 30 months in federal prison for taking more than $1.2 million in bribes to approve artificially low-price short sales of properties on which the bank held mortgages.

Kevin Lauricella, 29, of Thousand Oaks, was sentenced by United States District Judge Otis D. Wright II. In addition to the 2½-year prison term, Judge Wright ordered Lauricella to pay $5.7 million restitution to Bank of America and to forfeit his residence, which had been purchased with some of the bribe money.

In January, Lauricella pleaded guilty to two felony charges – receiving bribes and making false entries in the bank’s books and records. The fraudulent short sales that Lauricella approved in return for the bribes resulted in at least $5.7 million in losses to the bank. The fraudulent short sales also clouded the title on the properties, which in turn resulted in expensive litigation for innocent parties, including individuals who purchased the homes later.

Lauricella worked in the Short Sale Department of Bank of America’s Simi Valley office in 2010 and 2011. He was responsible for negotiating short sale transactions, in which a lender allows property securing a mortgage or deed of trust to be sold for less than the existing loan balance, usually because the borrower can no longer make the payments due on the loan or because the fair market value of the property has dropped below the balance due. By approving the short sale, the lender agrees to release the lien on the property securing the mortgage even though the lender will receive less than the full amount owed.

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