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December 24, 2014

Duarte Man Found Guilty of Murder for DUI Crash

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 11:50 am

A Duarte man was found guilty today of second-degree murder and several other felony counts for a 2011 DUI crash that killed a 42-year-old woman, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

A jury found William Jose Segura (dob 4/7/81) guilty of one count each of second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI causing injury with three priors, leaving the scene of an accident and driving while having .08 percent or higher blood alcohol.

The jury also found true allegations of great bodily injury and blood alcohol of .15 percent or higher in case GA084275.

Sentencing is scheduled on Jan. 27, in Department T of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Alhambra Branch. The defendant faces at least 15 years to life in state prison.

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December 23, 2014

Bank Leumi Admits to Assisting U.S. Taxpayers in Hiding Assets in Offshore Bank Accounts

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:10 am

A major Israeli international bank admitted that it conspired to aid and assist U.S. taxpayers to prepare and present false tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by hiding income and assets in offshore bank accounts in Israel and elsewhere around the world.  A deferred prosecution agreement between the Bank Leumi Group and the Department of Justice was filed today in the Central District of California that defers prosecution on a criminal information charging the bank with conspiracy to aid and assist in the preparation and presentation of false tax returns and other documents to the Internal Revenue Service.  This unprecedented agreement marks the first time an Israeli bank has admitted to such criminal conduct which spanned over a 10 year period and included an array of services and products designed to keep U.S. taxpayer accounts concealed at Bank Leumi Group’s locations in Israel, Switzerland, Luxembourg and the United States.

The Bank Leumi Group’s parent company is Bank Leumi le-Israel, B.M.  Bank Leumi le-Israel is one of Israel’s largest banks, with subsidiaries in seven countries and more than 13,000 employees.  Other subsidiary banks entering into this deferred prosecution agreement include The Bank Leumi le-Israel Trust Company Ltd., the oldest and largest of all bank trust companies in Israel; Leumi Private Bank S.A., a Switzerland-based subsidiary; Bank Leumi (Luxembourg) S.A., a Luxembourg-based subsidiary; and Bank Leumi USA, a FDIC-insured, full-service commercial bank with offices in California, Florida, Illinois and New York.

According to documents filed in the case, to account for their criminal conduct, Bank Leumi Group will pay the United States a total of $270 million. Of this total payment, $157 million represents a penalty for U.S. taxpayer accounts held at Leumi Private Bank in Switzerland.  This $157 million penalty is consistent with the department’s Swiss Bank Program, which permits certain Swiss Banks to avoid prosecution by making a full and complete disclosure of their U.S. taxpayer-held accounts and paying substantial penalties.  The agreement further provides that Bank Leumi Luxembourg and Leumi Private Bank will cease to provide banking and investment services for all accounts held or beneficially owned by U.S. taxpayers.

“The Bank Leumi Group recognized that the writing is on the wall for offshore banking, and cooperating with the government’s investigation was the only way to proceed,” said Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole.  “This deferred prosecution agreement demonstrates both that the Justice Department will hold financial institutions accountable for their crimes, and that we will be fair in recognizing extraordinary cooperation.”

According to the filed statement of facts, from at least 2000 until early 2011, the Bank Leumi Group took affirmative and extensive steps to assist U.S. clients in concealing their assets offshore, including: (more…)

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Cramming Settlement With T-Mobile

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:06 am

LOS ANGELES – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced that the California Department of Justice—along with the Attorneys General of the other 49 States and the District of Columbia, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Federal Communications Commission—reached settlements with T-Mobile USA, Inc. to resolve allegations that T-Mobile placed charges for third-party services on consumers’ mobile telephone bills that were not authorized by the consumer, a practice known as “mobile cramming.” The state of California received $834,782 in the settlement.

“T-Mobile deceived its customers by adding unauthorized charges to their bills each month, in order to boost the company’s profits. This settlement puts an end to these bad business practices, refunds consumers and brings transparency to T-Mobile bills,” Attorney General Harris said.  “I encourage Californians who were victims of T-Mobile’s cramming practices to file a claim immediately.”

Under the settlement, T-Mobile must provide each victim of cramming who files a claim under its Premium SMS Refund Program an opportunity for a full refund.  The settlement terms require that T-Mobile pay at least $90 million; of this sum, at least $67.5 million must be paid to consumers—a portion of which may be paid by forgiving debts consumers may owe T-Mobile.  T-Mobile will also pay $18 million to the Attorneys General and $4.5 million to the Federal Communications Commission.

Consumers who have been “crammed” often complain about charges, typically $9.99 per month, for “premium” text message subscription services (also known as “PSMS” subscriptions) such as horoscopes, trivia, and sports scores, that the consumers have never heard of or requested.  The Attorneys General and federal regulators allege that cramming occurred when T-Mobile placed charges from third-parties on consumers’ mobile telephone bills without the consumer’s knowledge or consent.

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L.A. Doctor, Five Others Indicted in Massive RX Drug Ring

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:01 am

L.A. Doctor, Five Others Indicted in Massive RX Drug Ring

A Los Angeles physician and five co-defendants have pleaded not guilty to a 47-count Grand Jury indictment charging them in a widespread oxycodone prescription drug ring, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today.

Dr. Clyde Arnold (dob 11/22/32) was indicted on multiple counts of conspiracy and unlawful prescription of a controlled substance in case BA425314. The indictment was unsealed Friday after Arnold and his five co-defendants were arraigned. Their next court date is Jan. 28 at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center, Department 105, for pretrial.

Deputy District Attorneys John Niedermann and Emily Street of the Major Narcotics Division are prosecuting the case.

The indictment alleges that individuals would go to Arnold’s clinic, located at 3756 Santa Rosalia Drive, and receive multiple prescriptions for the maximum amount of oxycodone permitted by prescription, along with anti-anxiety medication, muscle relaxants and prescription cough syrup.

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December 22, 2014

Update on Sony Investigation

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

Today, the FBI would like to provide an update on the status of our investigation into the cyber attack targeting Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE). In late November, SPE confirmed that it was the victim of a cyber attack that destroyed systems and stole large quantities of personal and commercial data. A group calling itself the “Guardians of Peace” claimed responsibility for the attack and subsequently issued threats against SPE, its employees, and theaters that distribute its movies.

The FBI has determined that the intrusion into SPE’s network consisted of the deployment of destructive malware and the theft of proprietary information as well as employees’ personally identifiable information and confidential communications. The attacks also rendered thousands of SPE’s computers inoperable, forced SPE to take its entire computer network offline, and significantly disrupted the company’s business operations.

After discovering the intrusion into its network, SPE requested the FBI’s assistance. Since then, the FBI has been working closely with the company throughout the investigation. Sony has been a great partner in the investigation, and continues to work closely with the FBI. Sony reported this incident within hours, which is what the FBI hopes all companies will do when facing a cyber attack. Sony’s quick reporting facilitated the investigators’ ability to do their jobs, and ultimately to identify the source of these attacks.

As a result of our investigation, and in close collaboration with other U.S. government departments and agencies, the FBI now has enough information to conclude that the North Korean government is responsible for these actions. While the need to protect sensitive sources and methods precludes us from sharing all of this information, our conclusion is based, in part, on the following:

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Iron Mountain Companies Pay $44.5 Million to Settle Alleged False Billings for Storing Government Documents and Data

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

Iron Mountain Incorporated and Iron Mountain Information Management LLC (collectively Iron Mountain) has paid $44.5 million to resolve allegations under the False Claims Act that Iron Mountain overcharged federal agencies for record storage services under General Services Administration (GSA) contracts, the Department of Justice announced today.  Iron Mountain is a records storage company headquartered in Boston.

“Protecting the federal procurement process from false claims is central to the mission of the Department of Justice,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Joyce R. Branda for the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “We will continue to ensure that when federal monies are used to purchase commercial services the government receives the prices and services to which it is entitled.”

“This settlement illustrates our commitment to protecting the integrity of federal contracting programs,” said U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner for the Eastern District of California.  “Federal agencies rely on pricing information under the Multiple Award Schedule program in particular, and deserve the full benefit of applicable contract terms.”

This settlement relates to contracts under which Iron Mountain provided record storage services to government entities from 2001 to 2014 through GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) program.  The MAS program provides the government with a streamlined process for procurement of commonly used commercial goods and services.  The settlement resolves allegations that Iron Mountain failed to meet its contractual obligations to provide GSA with accurate information about its commercial sales practices during contract negotiations, and failed to comply with the price reduction clause of the GSA contracts by not extending lower prices to government customers during its performance of the contracts.  It also resolves an allegation that Iron Mountain charged the United States for storage meeting National Archives and Records Administration requirements when the storage provided did not meet such requirements.

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DRIVER CHARGED WITH KILLING BICYCLIST AND FLEEING TO MEXICO TO REPAIR VEHICLE

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

SANTA ANA – A driver was in court today for killing a bicyclist and fleeing to Mexico to repair his vehicle. Junior Rigoberto Lopez, 30, Buena Park, is charged with one felony count of hit and run with permanent injury or death. If convicted, Lopez faces a maximum sentence of four years in state prison. Lopez is being held on $500,000 bail. The scheduled arraignment was continued in court today to Jan. 16, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

At approximately 9:00 p.m. on Nov. 1, 2014, Lopez is accused driving his pick-up truck and traveling northbound on Magnolia Street in Anaheim. He is accused of approaching the intersection of Magnolia Street and La Palma Avenue and crashing into 44-year-old Daniella Palacios while the victim was riding her bicycle. Instead of stopping to assist the victim or calling 911, Lopez is accused of failing to remain at the scene or rendering any aid and fleeing the scene. The defendant is accused of sustaining damage to his pick-up truck consistent with colliding with a person riding a bicycle.

The victim was transported to the University of California, Irvine Medical Center to be treated for broken ribs, a broken right clavicle, head trauma, left lung filled with blood, and internal bleeding. The victim died hours later at the hospital while being treated for her injuries sustained in the crash.

After the crash, the defendant is accused of driving to Mexico to have his pick-up truck repaired. On Dec. 11, 2014, the defendant is accused of returning to Mexico to retrieve his repaired truck.

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December 19, 2014

Attorney Who Helped Owner of Marijuana Stores Launder Illegal Proceeds Pleads Guilty in Federal Money Laundering Case

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

SANTA ANA, California – An attorney who engaged in a conspiracy that allowed the owner of a chain of marijuana stores to hide some of his income has pleaded guilty to federal financial offenses.

Guilty pleas by Richard C. Brizendine, 59, of Long Beach, were entered Monday by United States District Judge James V. Selna. Monday’s action concludes proceedings in which Brizendine pleaded guilty to two counts: money laundering and conspiracy to structure cash deposits to avoid federal reporting requirements.

Brizendine was an attorney for John Melvin Walker, who operated marijuana stores across Los Angeles and Orange counties and generated approximately $25 million in income over a six-year period. Brizendine conspired with Walker and others to accept cash from the marijuana operation and invest the funds into several corporations. According to court documents, Brizendine agreed to accept more than $10,000 in cash and then make smaller deposits into different bank accounts so as to not trigger federal requirements that financial institutions report currency transactions of more than $10,000 (this process is called structuring cash transactions). By pleading guilty, Brizendine specifically admitted that he structured approximately $389,700 for Walker.

The case against Brizendine was announced today after Judge Selna unsealed documents associated with the case.

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The Fraudster Who Faked His Own Death Inside the Aubrey Lee Price Case

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

When a federal judge recently sentenced Aubrey Lee Price to 30 years in prison for bank fraud, embezzlement, and other crimes, it closed a chapter on the once successful businessman’s sensational criminal saga.

Price went from a devout Christian minister and trusted financial adviser to a schemer who wiped out many of his clients’ life savings and then faked his own death to avoid taking responsibility for what he had done. When a routine traffic stop in Georgia resulted in his arrest on New Year’s Eve in 2013—nearly 18 months after his disappearance—Price acknowledged that he had become a drug dealer.

His well-publicized rise and fall makes for a fascinating tale, but our agents who investigated the case and who specialize in white-collar crime are quick to point out that the real focus of this story should not be on Price but rather on his victims.

“It’s unbelievably sad,” said Special Agent Ed Sutcliff in our Atlanta Field Office. “Most of Price’s victims had worked 30 or 40 years to save for retirement. They were living off those funds,” said Sutcliff, who interviewed many of the victims while investigating the case. “They had to learn from us that Price—their friend and adviser—was missing, and all their money was gone.”

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MAN CHARGED FOR 1989 COLD CASE MURDER AFTER INVESTIGATION BY ORANGE COUNTY COLD CASE HOMICIDE TASK FORCE

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

SANTA ANA – A man has been charged for a 1989 cold case murder as a result of extensive investigative work by the Orange County Cold Case Homicide Task Force (OCHTF). Douglas Gregory Gutridge, 63, Lodi, is charged with one felony count of murder. He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison. He is being held on $1 million bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Jan. 2, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

In June 1989, Gutridge, then 37 years old, is accused of murdering 35-year-old Carla Salazar inside her apartment in Santa Ana. The defendant is accused of providing information about the murder to the Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) during the initial stages of the investigation. SAPD thoroughly investigated this case but did not have enough evidence to file charges against Gutridge.

In 2008, SAPD cold case detectives submitted forensic evidence collected from the murder scene to the Orange County Crime Lab (OCCL). As a result of the forensic examination, foreign male DNA associated to the homicide investigation was identified.

In November 2008, Gutridge is accused of participating in an interview with SAPD Cold Case Unit detectives and providing a sample of his DNA.

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