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March 7, 2014

Man Charged With Kidnapping 4-Year-Old Boy

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:19 am

A North Hollywood man was charged today with kidnapping a 4-year-old boy who was walking with his babysitter and 6-year-old brother in the Westchester area, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Andron Gazarov (dob 1/20/1981) was charged in case SA086645 with one count each of kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury and indecent exposure.

Prosecutors said Gazarov approached the two children and the babysitter on Wednesday afternoon as they were walking in the area of Loyola Boulevard and Manchester Avenue.

Deputy District Attorney Simone Shay of the Sex Crimes Division said Gazarov punched the babysitter and then snatched the 4-year-old boy. At one point, Gazarov also picked up the older child, the prosecutor said.


March 6, 2014

California Man Guilty in $7 Million Fraud Scheme Concerning Purported Alternative Energy Technology

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:25 am

LOS ANGELES – A Northern California man has been convicted of federal fraud charges for his involvement in a $7 million investment scheme that lured investors with false promises relating to the development of an alternative energy technology, Richard S. Hartunian, the United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York, announced today.

Richard M. Rossignol, 63, who now resides in Shingle Springs, California, was convicted on February 28 of one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. The jury took less than six hours to render its verdict on the sole count.

United States District Judge Audrey B. Collins presided over the seven-week trial in United States District Court in Los Angeles. Following the verdict on Friday, Judge Collins scheduled a sentencing hearing for June 16. At sentencing, Rossignol faces a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison.

Rossignol and a co-defendant – William A. Stehl, 69, of Ventura – were arrested in Oxnard, California four years ago in connection with an indictment filed in the Northern District of New York. Both men were charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Additionally, Stehl was charged with several tax charges and lying to federal agents.


Two Individuals and Company Found Guilty of Conspiracy to Sell Trade Secrets to Chinese Companies

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:20 am

First Federal Jury Conviction Under Economic Espionage Act of 1996
A federal jury in San Francisco has found two individuals and one company guilty of economic espionage, theft of trade secrets, bankruptcy fraud, tax evasion, and obstruction of justice for their roles in a long-running effort to obtain U.S. trade secrets for the benefit of companies controlled by the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), announced U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag; John P. Carlin, Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the Department of Justice; David Johnson, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), San Francisco Division; and Jose Martinez, Special Agent in Charge of the Oakland Field Office, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Criminal Investigation.

The jury found that Walter Lian-Heen Liew (aka Liu Yuanxuan), his company, USA Performance Technology Inc. (USAPTI), and Robert Maegerle conspired to steal trade secrets from E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company regarding their chloride-route titanium dioxide production technology and sold those secrets for large sums of money to state-owned companies of the PRC.  The purpose of their conspiracy was to help those companies develop large-scale chloride-route titanium dioxide production capability in the PRC, including a planned 100,000-ton titanium dioxide factory in Chongqing.  This case marks the first federal jury conviction on charges brought under the Economic Espionage Act of 1996.

“Fighting economic espionage and trade secret theft is one of the top priorities of this Office and we will aggressively pursue anyone, anywhere who attempts to steal valuable information from the United States,” said U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag.  “As today’s verdict demonstrates, foreign governments threaten our economic and national security by engaging in aggressive and determined efforts to steal U.S. intellectual property.  I commend the efforts of the women and men of the FBI and the IRS in protecting America’s businesses and our national security.”

“The theft of America’s trade secrets for the benefit of a foreign government poses a substantial threat to our economic and national security” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Carlin.  “Today’s verdict clearly demonstrates that we take this threat seriously.  This case shows that we will not hesitate to pursue and prosecute those who steal from American businesses.”



Filed under: Los Angeles sexual assault attorney — fayarfa @ 4:15 am

SANTA ANA – A hospital emergency room patient care technician faces trial today for sexually assaulting a female patient in her hospital bed. Francisco Ayala Jr., 30, Anaheim, is charged with one felony count each of forcible rape, sodomy by force, and forcible oral copulation. If convicted, he faces a maximum of 24 years in state prison. Opening statements are expected to begin today, Wednesday, March 5, 2014, in Department C-42, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.

At the time of the crime, Ayala was an emergency room patient care technician at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange.

On the morning of March 8, 2011, Ayala is accused of sexually assaulting 33-year-old Jane Doe in her hospital room bed while assigned to her care. He is accused of raping, sodomizing, and engaging in oral copulation with the victim.

The victim later reported the sexual assault to the hospital.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Jana Hoffmann of the Sexual Assault Unit is prosecuting this case.

Orange County District Attorney / Case #11CF0717 / March 5, 2014

March 5, 2014

Real Estate Professional Pleads Guilty to Federal Bank Fraud Charges for Illegally Flipping Central Coast Residential Properties

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:31 am

LOS ANGELES – A former San Luis Obispo real estate broker pleaded guilty today to orchestrating a property “flipping” scheme in which he purchased houses in short sales at artificially low prices and immediately resold the properties at their true market value.

Timothy William Barnes, 37, who now resides in San Francisco, pleaded guilty to one count of bank fraud, a federal offense that carries a statutory maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison.

Barnes owned and operated Apex Properties Real Estate Brokerage, Inc. in San Luis Obispo. Between January 2010 and September 2012, Barnes purchased properties after banks gave approval for short sales. In short sales, banks agree to accept less money than the outstanding balance on a mortgage, usually because the property is “under water,” meaning that the value of the property has fallen below the amount remaining on the mortgage. The lenders authorized the short sales after Barnes minimized the value of the houses and concealed higher offers he had already received. To carry out his scheme, Barnes made false statements about the fair market value of the properties in the documents he submitted to the banks.

Barnes admitted that, in many cases, he had already negotiated the resale at the higher price while he was simultaneously negotiating the short sale of the property at the lower price.

Barnes used this scheme to flip properties in San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, Pismo Beach and other cities on the Central Coast, earning profits of more than $500,000.

Barnes is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Stephen V. Wilson on June 16. (more…)

Inland Empire Attorney Pleads Guilty to Ripping Off Social Security

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:28 am

RIVERSIDE, California – A deputy public defender for Riverside County pleaded guilty today to two felony counts of stealing social security benefits.

Audrey Owens, 60, of Upland, pleaded guilty to two counts of theft of government property before United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips.

Owens pleaded guilty one week before she was scheduled to go on trial to two of the five counts contained in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in July. There was no plea agreement in this case.

According to documents filed in United States District Court, Owens diverted social security benefits intended for her deceased grandmother, who died in May 2000. The scheme started soon after Owens’ grandmother died and continued until August 2012.

After her grandmother’s death, Owens changed the address of a joint account she shared with her grandmother and continued to receive social security payments intended for her grandmother. She transferred some of the social security payments into her own personal account to pay bills. She also used some of the social security payments to directly pay for her personal expenses, including contributions to the Riverside County Employee Campaign.



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:23 am

SANTA ANA – A pimp faces trial today for trafficking a 14-year-old girl into prostitution in the first Orange County case of human trafficking of a minor under Proposition 35 (Prop 35). Chuncey Tarae Garcia, 33, is charged with one felony count each of human trafficking of a minor by force or fear, pimping a minor, and forcible rape, with sentencing enhancement allegations for forcible rape of a minor 14 years of age and prior prison convictions for possession for sale of cocaine in 2007 and transportation of cocaine in 2009. If convicted, Garcia faces a maximum sentence of 28 years to life in state prison. Opening statements are expected to begin today, Tuesday, March 4, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. in Department C-43, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Co-defendant Cierra Melissa Robinson, 28, was found guilty by a jury July 11, 2013, of one felony count each of human trafficking of a minor and pandering of a minor under 16 years old by procuring. She was sentenced Aug. 23, 2013, to five years in state prison.

Circumstances of the Case

Garcia is accused of being a pimp and Robinson worked for him as a prostitute and recruited other women to prostitute for Garcia. In the primp/prostitution subculture, pimps often assign ranks to the women they exploit. They often establish rigid rules that their victims are expected to follow including requiring victims to speak only when spoken to, address the pimp as “Sir” or “Daddy,” setting daily quotas that the victims are expected to fulfill, and assigning seats in the car based on “rank.” Failure to follow these rules can result in deprivation of food and/or physical or emotional abuse. Robinson was the highest-ranking of Garcia’s prostitutes.

In February 2013, 14-year-old Jane Doe lived in another state and ran away from home. A missing persons report was filed by her family. After running away, Jane Doe met Robinson, who befriended the victim with the intention of procuring her as a prostitute for Garcia.


March 4, 2014

Ex-Marine Receives 210-Year Federal Prison Sentence for Drugging and Raping Girls in Cambodia

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:31 am

LOS ANGELES – A retired Marine Corps captain who was convicted of drugging and sexually abusing girls in Cambodia was sentenced today to 210 years in federal prison.

Michael Joseph Pepe, 60, of Oxnard, was convicted by a jury in May 2008 of seven felony counts for traveling to Cambodia to engage in illicit sexual conduct with minors.

Pepe was sentenced by United States District Judge Dale S. Fischer, who also ordered the defendant to pay $247,000 in restitution to his victims.

At today’s sentencing hearing, Judge Fischer said what is essentially a life sentence is appropriate for a defendant who has shown no remorse for his crime. “Monstrous does not begin to capture the horror of the crime or the impact on the victims,” Judge Fischer said.

During the trial, prosecutors presented testimony from six of the seven girls Pepe sexually abused. The girls, who were between the ages of 9 and 13 at the time of the abuse, testified that Pepe drugged, bound, beat and raped them. Several victims testified that Pepe required them to give him sexual massages and perform oral sex on him on a daily basis.                                           (more…)

March 3, 2014


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

SANTA ANA – A man was sentenced today to life in state prison without the possibility of parole for the bludgeoning-murder of a Laguna Beach resident inside his apartment. Matthew Thomas Dragna, 23, Lake Forest, was found guilty by a jury Dec. 20, 2013, of one felony count of special circumstances murder during the commission of a robbery.

Co-defendant Jacob Anthony Quintanilla, 25, Lake Forest, faces the same charges and maximum sentence as Dragna. He is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing March 21, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-35.

Dragna has been convicted of the following and Quintanilla is accused of the following:

On Oct. 22, 2009, Dragna met 40-year-old Damon Nicholson for the first time after being introduced by a third person. The defendant and the victim engaged in a sexual encounter that night. After meeting the victim, Dragna planned to rob Nicholson the following night by going to his home under the pretense of another sexual encounter.                                       (more…)


Filed under: Uncategorized — fayarfa @ 3:28 am

SANTA ANA – A fifth striker was sentenced today to 33 years to life in state prison for causing an explosion that started a fire inside his motel room. Thanh Van Quang, 39, Fountain Valley, was found guilty by a jury Oct. 30, 2013, of one felony count each of arson of an inhabited property and possession of a flammable material with sentencing enhancements for arson with use of an accelerant. The defendant has four prior strike convictions from 1998 for voluntary manslaughter, assault with a firearm, and two felony counts of robbery. In addition to his prison sentence, Quang was ordered to pay over $177,000 in restitution.

At approximately 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 30, 2012, Quang started an argument with the manager at Pueblo Motel in Santa Ana about Quang inviting guests into his own motel room. Approximately one hour after the argument, Quang walked to a nearby gas station, purchased a gasoline canister, and filled it with one gallon of gasoline before he returned to the motel.

At approximately 4:00 p.m., Quang caused an explosion in his motel room, which started a fire that damaged his room and neighboring rooms. Quang was captured on surveillance removing several items from his room prior to the explosion.

Deputy District Attorney Andrew Katz of the Special Prosecutions Unit prosecuted this case.

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 12CF3471 / February 28, 2014

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