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August 11, 2014

Bay Area Man Sentenced to Federal Prison For Insider Trading in The Walt Disney Company’s Acquisition of Marvel Entertainment in August 2009

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

LOS ANGELES – A San Francisco man was sentenced to three months in federal prison, followed by six months of home confinement with electronic monitoring, for his involvement in insider trading by purchasing Marvel Entertainment, Inc. stock options immediately prior to its acquisition by The Walt Disney Company in August 2009.

Toby G. Scammell, 29, was sentenced this morning by United States District Judge S. James Otero.  In addition to the prison term, which Scammell was ordered to begin serving on September 22, 2014, Judge Otero ordered him to pay restitution in the amount of $122,494.05 to victim broker-dealers who sold the options to Scammell, and ordered him to make payments upon his release from prison toward a judgment to disgorge his trading profits and pay civil penalties and interest totaling $800,985 in a related civil action filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Scammell pleaded guilty in April 2014 to one count of securities fraud through insider trading.

According to court documents, Scammell learned that Disney planned to acquire another company “that people would recognize right away” from his then-girlfriend, who was an extern at Disney in the Summer of 2009 and who worked on the deal to acquire Marvel. Scammell later learned from a supervisor at his then-employer—which had periodically provided corporate consulting services to Disney and had confidentiality obligations to Disney—that Disney had previously been interested in acquiring Marvel. Scammell admitted that he learned the planned acquisition by Disney was estimated to close by Labor Day 2009, based on his observations of his girlfriend’s work schedule at Disney and their own travel plans at the time.



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

SANTA ANA – A man was sentenced today to life in state prison without the possibility of parole for the special circumstances murder of an 84-year-old apartment complex owner in a 1984 cold case. Richard Stanley Sandoval, 61, Santa Ana, was found guilty by a jury June 19, 2014, of one felony count of special circumstances murder in the commission of rape or attempted rape.

In 1984, 84-year-old Margaret Lenney owned and lived in an Anaheim apartment complex on Winston Road. Sandoval, then 30 years old, was hired by the victim to paint the complex but did a poor job and was fired. He returned to the complex on several occasions to ask to borrow money from tenants.

On the night of Sept. 23, 1984, Sandoval went to Lenney’s apartment, beat and strangled the victim, and murdered her as he raped or attempted to rape the elderly victim after causing her to suffer blunt force trauma to the head and a skull fracture. Sandoval then fled the scene.

Anaheim Police Department (APD) officers responded to calls and located the victim bleeding on her front porch. Lenney’s pants and underwear had been pulled all the way down and her shirt had been lifted to expose her breasts



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

WESTMINSTER – A woman is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday for operating two massage parlors as brothels and pandering female victims. Sujin Kim, 55, Los Angeles, is charged with six felony counts of pandering. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of 12 years and eight months in state prison. Kim is being held on $250,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, at 8:30 a.m. in Department W-2, West Justice Center, Westminster.

Between May 1, 2014, and Aug. 6, 2014, Kim is accused of operating illegal brothels disguised as massage parlors. Kim is accused of collecting money from sex purchasers who entered the massage parlors for commercial sex services. The defendant is accused of having female victims perform massages on the patrons, and then negotiate money in exchange for a sexual act. The Garden Grove Police Department investigated this case with assistance from the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF) and arrested Kim on Aug. 6, 2014.

Members of OCHTTF and the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) Office work proactively to protect women and minors from falling victim to commercial sexual exploitation. This case was investigated by OCHTTF, a partnership between the Anaheim Police Department, California Highway Patrol, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Huntington Beach Police Department, OCDA, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and community and non-profit partners.

Deputy District Attorney Daniel Varon of the HEAT Unit is prosecuting this case.

Proposition 35 and HEAT (more…)

August 8, 2014

California Investment Manager Found Guilty After Trial for Leading $33 Million Fraud Scheme

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

A California investment manager was found guilty in federal district court in Salt Lake City, Utah for his role in a $33 million investment fraud scheme.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Acting U.S. Attorney Carlie Christensen for the District of Utah, Special Agent in Charge Mary Rook of the FBI’s Salt Lake City Field Office and Special Agent in Charge John Collins of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Las Vegas Field Office made the announcement.

Robert L. Holloway, 55, was found guilty after a 7-day trial by a federal jury in the District of Utah of four counts of wire fraud and one count of making and subscribing a false income tax return.

Evidence presented at trial established that Holloway operated an investment entity called US Ventures LC, which was founded in 1999. Holloway served as the chief executive officer and managing partner of US Ventures. From October 2005 until at least April 2007, Holloway recruited investors for US Ventures by making false representations about the company, including that US Ventures used proprietary trading software that was consistently profitable, US Ventures generated returns of 0.8 percent per trading day and US Ventures would retain a 30 percent share of investors’ profits as a management fee.

Additionally, during the course of US Ventures’ existence, Holloway generated and distributed reports to investors showing false daily returns on their investments. The evidence introduced at trial showed that between October 2005 and April 2007, contrary to the returns shown on the reports Holloway distributed, US Ventures in fact lost more than $10 million in trading and the “profit” figures on the investor reports were entirely fabricated. Holloway and US Ventures also made “profit distributions” to investors that consisted of funds solicited from new investors, not actual profits. US Ventures raised more than $33 million from investors for its trading activities.



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

SANTA ANA – A graduate student at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) was convicted today of shooting and murdering his ex-wife outside of his campus apartment related to a dispute over child support payments. Brian Hughes Benedict, 40, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of special circumstances murder for financial gain and lying in wait with a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death. Benedict faces a minimum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole at his sentencing on Sept. 12, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

At approximately 7:00 p.m. on Sept. 13, 2009, 30-year-old Rebecca Benedict went to pick up her 4-year-old son from Brian Benedict at his apartment on the campus of UCI on Verano Place. The couple recently attended a court hearing where the defendant had been ordered to pay child support. After the victim entered Brian Benedict’s apartment, the defendant attacked Rebecca Benedict by swinging a hammer at her head.

Rebecca Benedict ran from the apartment down an adjacent path to escape. Brian Benedict chased her with a firearm and shot the victim several times. Brian Benedict then went back into his apartment, grabbed his son, and put the boy in the car. Witnesses and neighbors, who feared the defendant was going to flee the scene with his son, physically restrained Brian Benedict until police arrived.

The Irvine Police Department and the UCI Police Department investigated this case.


Felons Sentenced for Murder, Attempted Murder, Robbery, Other Crimes

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

Three men were sentenced yesterday afternoon to life in state prison without the possibility of parole after they were convicted of a fatal home invasion robbery, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Greg Cernok, who prosecuted the case, said on April 11 a jury found Pedro Huerta Zuniga, 44, guilty of first-degree murder, attempted murder, assault with a semiautomatic firearm, possession of a firearm by a felon, four counts of home invasion robbery and first-degree burglary.

Francisco Argenis Parra, 32, was convicted of first-degree murder, attempted murder, assault with a semiautomatic firearm, four counts of home invasion robbery and first-degree burglary.

A third defendant, Hector Aguilar Arciga, 39, was found guilty of first-degree murder, four counts of home invasion robbery and first-degree burglary on April 14.


August 7, 2014


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:32 am

SANTA ANA - A man is scheduled to be arraigned today for attempted murder after a drive-by shooting on the 91 Freeway. Jerry Valentin, 32, Scottsdale, Ariz., was charged today with one felony count each of attempted murder, shooting at an occupied vehicle, aggravated assault, unlawful possession of an unregistered firearm inside a vehicle, with sentencing enhancements for personal discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury, personal use of a firearm, and great bodily injury. If convicted, Valentin faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison. The People will be requesting he be held on $1 million bail at his arraignment today in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.

At approximately 4:20 p.m. on Aug. 4, 2014, Valentin is accused of driving eastbound on the 91 Freeway near the Interstate 5 interchange in Fullerton. The defendant is accused of swerving his vehicle toward a sports utility vehicle (SUV) being driven by John Doe.

Valentin is accused of driving alongside the SUV and using a handgun, loaded with shotgun rounds, to fire at least one round at the driver’s side of the victim’s SUV. Valentin is accused of hitting the victim in the arm and torso as a result of the pellets fired from the shotgun round.

The defendant is accused of discarding the gun on the freeway and driving away from the scene. The victim called 911 and continued to follow the defendant’s vehicle.



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:29 am

FULLERTON – A man and woman were convicted yesterday of keeping two young female relatives malnourished and locked inside an unsanitary mobile home without letting them go outside. Lester Louis Huffmire and his wife Petra Huffmire, both 41 from Anaheim, pleaded guilty yesterday, Aug. 5, 2014, to two felony counts of child abuse, two misdemeanor counts of false imprisonment, one misdemeanor count of contributing to delinquency of a minor, and sentencing enhancements for great bodily injury. Lester Huffmire was sentenced to five years in state prison. Petra Huffmire was sentenced to three years and four months in state prison.

Lester Huffmire and Petra Huffmire were living in an unsanitary mobile park home with the victims, 10-year-old Jane Doe #1 and 5-year-old Jane Doe #2. The defendants had a duty of care to the victims.

Between May 21, 2010, and May 20, 2013, the defendants kept the mobile park home unsanitary and uninhabitable, including kitchen appliances covered in mold and cobwebs, stacks of trash, debris, mold, and feces throughout the home, a pile of used condoms under a stuffed teddy bear, and inoperable toilets. They kept the mobile park home in this condition while Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2 lived there. Lester Huffmire and Petra Huffmire were unemployed and played an online computer game, World of Warcraft, all day.

The defendants did not let the victims out of the home for any reason. They kept the victims from attending school.


Palmdale Couple Indicted in Fatal Beating of 8-Year-Old Boy

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:26 am

A criminal Grand Jury has indicted a Palmdale mother and her boyfriend with one count of capital murder in the fatal 2013 beating of the woman’s 8-year-old son, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Pearl Sinthia Fernandez, 30, and Isauro Aguirre, 34, pleaded not guilty today to one count each of murder with the special circumstance of torture of Gabriel Fernandez. Superior Court Judge Ronald Coen ordered the pair held without bail.

Both defendants return to court on Aug. 14 for pretrial in Department 107 at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center. Prosecutors argued the case should return to the Antelope Valley for trial, but their motion was denied.

Deputy District Attorney Jon Hatami, who is prosecuting the case, said prosecutors took the case to the Grnd Jury in July to avoid continued delays in setting a preliminary hearing date. The indictment was returned July 28.


August 6, 2014

Former Fannie Mae Official Sentenced to Federal Prison for Soliciting Kickbacks from Broker who Sold Foreclosed Properties

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

SANTA ANA, California – A former sales associate with the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) was sentenced today to 15 months in federal prison for taking kickbacks from a real estate broker who sold properties on behalf of the mortgage agency.

Armando Granillo, 45, of Huntington Beach, who worked in the Fannie Mae’s Irvine office, was sentenced by United States District Judge David O. Carter. In addition to his 15 month sentence in federal prison, Granillo was ordered to spend 6 months in a residential reentry center.

Following a two-day trial in March, Granillo was found guilty of three counts of “honest services” wire fraud for soliciting kickbacks while working for Fannie Mae.

As a “real estate owned foreclosure specialist” for Fannie Mae, Granillo reviewed applications submitted by real estate brokers who wanted to list Fannie Mae foreclosure properties, and he had the authority to approve sale offers presented by the brokers. In late 2012, Granillo asked a real estate broker in Tucson to pay a percentage of the commissions the broker earned for selling Fannie Mae foreclosure properties. The broker brought the matter to the attention of federal law enforcement officials and assisting in the investigation.


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