Best Defender Bytes:

July 17, 2014


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

SANTA ANA – An Army Specialist faces a jury trial today for murdering a friend and attempting to murder his father and another man in an unprovoked shooting at a Cypress hotel. Steven Matthew LeClaire Jr., 26, is charged with one felony count of murder, two felony counts of attempted murder, and sentencing enhancements for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death and the personal discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury. If convicted, he faces a minimum sentence of 90 years to life in state prison. Opening statements are scheduled to begin this morning, Wednesday, July 16, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-30, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

In February 2011, LeClaire Jr. was stationed in Texas.

At approximately 9:30 p.m. on Feb. 24, 2011, LeClaire Jr. is accused of being in a hotel room drinking and socializing with three other men at the Cypress Lodge on Lincoln Avenue. The other men included the victim’s father, Steven LeClaire Sr., then 42, and friends Marques Murray, 24, and Raymond Eligan, then 51.

The defendant is accused of pulling out a firearm, pointing it at the three men, and firing the weapon multiple times. LeClaire Jr. is accused of murdering Murray by shooting him in the arm and chest. He is accused of attempting to murder his father by shooting him several times. He is accused of attempting to murder Eligan by shooting him in the legs as the victim attempted to escape into the bathroom. LeClaire Sr. and Eligan survived the attack



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

SANTA ANA – A 30-year-old man will be arraigned tomorrow for negotiating bail bonds without being licensed. Derek Leslie O’Lear, San Bernardino, is charged with four felony counts of undertaking bail without a license. If convicted on all counts, he faces a maximum sentence of five years in Orange County jail. The defendant received an arraignment letter and is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, July 17, 2014, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-55, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

In 2011, O’Lear is accused of working at Bail Hotline Bail Bonds in Santa Ana without having a bail bonds license. California Law prohibits any person from negotiating the execution or delivery of bail unless they are a bail bonds licensee. While employed at Bail Hotline Bail Bonds, the defendant is accused of being tasked with answering the phones when individuals called about bail.

On four separate occasions between October 2011 and November 2011, O’Lear is accused of negotiating the terms of bail bonds agreements with four separate inmates.

This case was investigated by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

Deputy District Attorney Brock Zimmon of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 14CF2042 / July 16, 2014

July 16, 2014

San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney Pleads Guilty to Laundering Drug Proceeds and Tampering with Witness

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

SAN DIEGO – San Diego criminal defense attorney James Warner pleaded guilty today to two federal felony offenses, admitting that he laundered $100,000 of a client’s drug trafficking proceeds and then tampered with a potential witness in the case.

Warner, 65, a San Diego resident who has been a member of the California bar since December of 1974, pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Jeffrey T. Miller to conspiracy to launder drug proceeds and attempted harassment of a witness.

At today’s hearing in United States District Court in San Diego, which was Warner’s first court appearance in this case, bond was set at $5,000. Judge Miller also scheduled a sentencing hearing for October 16, at which time Warner will face a statutory maximum sentence of 23 years in federal prison.

According to the plea agreement filed today, federal drug agents searched the home and business of one of Warner’s clients in May of 2012. The drug trafficker told Warner that agents had overlooked $100,000 in cash during their search, and Warner agreed to conceal the money.



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

CHICAGO — Two California men were indicted on federal charges for allegedly damaging and interfering with the operations of a mink farm in Morris, Ill., last August.  Property belonging to the mink farm, about 60 miles southwest of Chicago, was damaged and approximately 2,000 minks were released from captivity on Aug. 14, 2013. The defendants also allegedly conspired to damage and interfere with the operations of a fox farm in Roanoke, Ill., northeast of Peoria, around the same time.

One defendant, TYLER LANG, was arrested today by FBI agents in El Segundo, Calif.  He was scheduled to appear this afternoon in Federal Court in Los Angeles before facing further court proceedings in U.S. District Court in Chicago. The second defendant, KEVIN JOHNSON, is in state custody in Woodford County, Illinois, and both defendants are scheduled to be arraigned in Federal Court in Chicago on July 29.

Johnson, 27, also known as “Kevin Olliff,” and Lang, 25, whose last known residenceswere in Los Angeles, were both charged with one count each of conspiracy and interstate travel to damage and interfere with the operations of an animal enterprise. The two-count indictment was returned by a federal grand jury in Chicago on Tuesday and it was unsealed following Lang’s arrest.

According to the indictment, the Morris mink farm and the Roanoke fox farm were in the business of breeding, raising, and selling the animals to fur manufacturers.


Alhambra Man Sentenced for Assaulting Teenage Girls

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

A 31-year-old man was sentenced to 20 years in state prison last week after he was convicted of enticing teenage girls with job opportunities so that he could sexually assault them, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Miriam Avalos said Milton Joel Melgar of Alhambra pleaded no contest Friday to two felony counts of assault with intent to commit a felony, one felony count of false imprisonment by violence and two misdemeanor counts of child molesting.

In addition to Melgar’s prison sentence, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Jack Hunt ordered the defendant to register as a sex offender for life.

The prosecutor said Melgar harassed and sexually assaulted five female teenagers between August 2012 and July 2013 in El Monte. The girls were 14 to 16 years old when the crimes occurred.


July 15, 2014

Corona Woman Who Ran High-End Denim Jean Company Indicted For Defrauding Investors While On Bond

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:04 am

LOS ANGELES – A Corona woman, who is already charged with a $15 million bank fraud and bankruptcy fraud, was indicted on Friday on new charges.  Carolyn Marie Jones, 51, of Corona, who was the Chief Executive Officer of a high-end denim jean company, was charged in an indictment returned by the grand jury late Friday afternoon.

According to the seven-count indictment returned on Friday, which charges wire fraud and contempt, Jones defrauded victims in an investment fraud scheme.  According to the indictment, Jones convinced investors to invest with her by representing that she was operating a clothing company called Premium Management and needed money to close a securities deal and for other business-related expenses.  The indictment alleges that Jones spent the money on her own personal expenses. Jones, who was on bond pending a September 23 trial in the bank and bankruptcy fraud case, was prohibited from soliciting money from investors while the trial is pending.   The new indictment also alleges that Jones failed to disclose to investors that she was under indictment and was prohibited from soliciting money.  Jones is now being held in custody pending trial.

According to the nineteen count indictment returned by a federal grand jury in September 2013, Jones was the Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Decisions, Inc., which sold denim jeans marketed under the labels of Privacywear and PRVCY Premium.  According to the indictment, Jones obtained a $15 million business line of credit from Union Bank, using fake financial statements and fake tax returns.  The indictment states that Jones gave the bank a Social Security Number that belonged to someone else.  Jones also hid from the bank that she had filed for bankruptcy previously and that she had a felony record.  According to the indictment, Jones defaulted on the $15 million loan after a year causing Union Bank to file a lawsuit in state court.  When Union Bank tried to seize the contents of the Diamond Decisions warehouse, Jones caused the company to file for bankruptcy and hid assets from the bankruptcy trustee.

Jones faces a maximum statutory sentence of 80 years on the wire fraud and contempt indictment. Jones faces a maximum statutory sentence of 489 years in federal prison on the bank and bankruptcy fraud indictment.


German National, Two Attorneys Charged with Trying to Extort a Saudi Sheik’s Son

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:00 am

A woman who falsely claimed she was sexually assaulted and tortured by a Saudi sheik’s son along with the woman’s two attorneys were charged today with conspiracy to extort one of the wealthiest men in Saudi Arabia, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Leyla Ors (dob 2/24/81), Joseph Gerard Cavallo (dob 8/18/55), and Emanuel Karl Hudson (dob 1/08/56) are charged in case BA427039 with attempted extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion, conspiracy to receive a bribe and conspiracy to obstruct justice. In addition, Ors is charged with one count of offering to receive a bribe by a witness.

Deputy District Attorneys Deborah Delport and Stephanie Sparagna with the Justice System Integrity Division are prosecuting the case.

Ors, a German national, is scheduled to be arraigned today at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center in Department 30. Prosecutors will ask that her bail be set at $35,000. Cavallo is scheduled to be arraigned sometime Tuesday. Hudson is due in court July 31 for arraignment.


Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Nearly $200 Million Settlement with Citigroup

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:33 am

LOS ANGELES – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, along with the U.S. Department of Justice and state partners, today announced a settlement with Citigroup Inc. to resolve federal and state civil claims related to Citigroup’s conduct in the packaging, securitization, marketing, sale, and issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities prior to January 1, 2009.

Nationally, the settlement totals $7 billion. California will recover $102,700,000 in damages, which will reimburse the state’s pension funds, CalPERS and CalSTRS, for losses on investments in mortgage-backed securities of Citigroup and its affiliates. California is also guaranteed at least $90 million in consumer relief.

“Citigroup misled consumers and profited by providing California’s pension funds with incomplete information about mortgage investments,” Attorney General Harris said. “This settlement holds Citi accountable and compensates the state’s pension funds that protect the retirement savings of hardworking Californians.”

As part of the settlement, Citigroup acknowledged it made serious misrepresentations to the public, including investors, about the mortgage loans it securitized in residential mortgage-backed securities. The resolution also requires Citigroup to provide relief to underwater homeowners, distressed borrowers, and affected communities through a variety of means including financing affordable rental housing developments for low-income families in high-cost areas. The settlement does not absolve Citigroup or its employees from facing any possible criminal charges.

An investigation conducted by Attorney General Harris showed that offering documents for the securities failed to accurately disclose the true characteristics of many of the underlying mortgages, and that due diligence to weed out poor quality loans had not been adequately performed. (more…)

July 14, 2014

Two California Men Plead Guilty to Conspiracy to Engage in Sex Trafficking by Force, Fraud and Coercion

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:17 am

Two Long Beach, California, men pleaded guilty today to conspiracy charges arising from a sex trafficking scheme that exploited adult women for prostitution.  Roshaun Nakia Porter, 39, and Marquis Monte Horn, 35, both pleaded guilty before Judge Josephine L. Staton in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California to conspiring to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion.  Sentencing has been set for Oct. 24, 2014, and each defendant faces a sentence of up to life imprisonment.

According to documents filed in court, from October 2009 through April 2012, Porter and Horn conspired together and with others to recruit, entice, harbor, transport and provide women to engage in commercial sex acts, using various coercive means to compel the women to engage in prostitution for the defendants’ financial benefit.  Porter and Horn’s scheme of force, fraud and coercion included false and deceptive internet advertisements they used to lure the victims into romantic relationships with the defendants, and psychological manipulation and control to cause the victims to engage in commercial sex acts for the defendants’ financial benefit.

“The Department of Justice is committed to the vigorous prosecution of defendants who prey upon and exploit vulnerable individuals for their own financial gain,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “We will continue to pursue justice on behalf of victims of human trafficking to restore their rights and dignity and to hold their traffickers accountable.”

“Human trafficking is a horrific crime that causes significant damage to victims who are often forced to commit unspeakable acts,” said U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. for the Central District of California.  “This scheme to control and manipulate victims forced to work in the sex trade has come to an end.  With today’s guilty pleas, I hope that healing for the victims can begin.”


Dental Office Manager Sentenced to 180 Days in County Jail for Insurance Fraud

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:13 am

A former dental office manager convicted of insurance fraud was sentenced today to 180 days in county jail, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David M. Horwitz also placed Claudia Ventura, 40, on five years of formal probation and ordered her to complete 200 hours of community service.

Deputy District Attorney Grace Pak of the Healthcare Fraud Division prosecuted the case.

Ventura, who helped a Beverly Hills dentist bilk almost $440,000 from multiple insurance carriers, pleaded no contest in April to two felony counts of insurance fraud. Ventura also admitted an excessive taking allegation.


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