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January 23, 2014

Three Scheduled to be Arraigned in Cleveland High School Fatal Stabbing

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

Two alleged teen gang members charged with the murder of an 18-year-old are expected to be arraigned today, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Scott Marcus said Anthony Carpio, 17 (dob 5/14/96), of Panorama City, Michael Steven Carpio, 19 (dob 3/31/94), of Pacoima, and Michelle Pineda, 20 (dob 12/27/1993), of Van Nuys, are scheduled to appear in Department R of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Van Nuys Branch.

The Carpio brothers were ordered to stand trial on Jan. 8 for one count each of murder with the allegations that Anthony Carpio used a deadly and dangerous weapon, a knife, and that he committed the felony while being a minor for the benefit of a criminal street gang, according to the prosecutor. The defendants are charged in case LA073936.

Pineda was held to answer to one felony count of accessory after the fact (knowledge of crime) with an allegation that the offense was committed for the benefit of a criminal street gang, the prosecutor added.

According to preliminary hearing testimony, on April 24, 2013, the brothers – both alleged members of the Rockwood street gang – approached the victim who was playing handball at Cleveland High School in Reseda and issued a gang challenge.

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Gang Member Arraigned on Murder, Attempted Murder Charges

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

A Hawaiian Gardens gang member, accused of killing a woman during a walk-up shooting, was arraigned today, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Dean A. Bengston said Robert Rubio Jr., 53 (dob 01/23/1960), pleaded not guilty this morning to one count each of murder, attempted murder and possession of a firearm by a felon in case NA097773.

The charges include special allegations that the crime was “committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, and in association with a criminal street gang with the specific intent to promote, further and assist in criminal conduct by gang members.”

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BUSINESS OWNER SENTENCED TO NINE YEARS AND EIGHTS MONTHS IN PRISON FOR EMBEZZLING OVER $950,000 FROM CLIENT/EMPLOYER

Filed under: Uncategorized — fayarfa @ 12:03 am

SANTA ANA – A business owner was sentenced to nine years and eight months in state prison for defrauding over $950,000 from his client/employer. Carino Torres, 45, Westminster, pleaded guilty yesterday, Jan. 21, 2014, to three felony counts of forgery, one felony count of grand theft, and one felony count of writing non-sufficient fund checks with sentencing enhancements for committing an aggravated white collar crime over $500,000 and property loss over $200,000.

Torres was employed as a forklift driver at Catalina Cylinders in Garden Grove since 1992. The company specialized in producing and supplying metal tanks, which were commonly used as oxygen tanks, fire extinguishers, or within the medical field. The company shipped out its products on wooden pallets.

Torres received approval from his employer and began a side business making wooden pallets. He then sold them to the company. Catalina Cylinders therefore became both the defendant’s employer and client.

Between 2002 and 2012, Torres billed Catalina Cylinders for over $950,000 worth of wooden pallets, which he never delivered. Torres forged employee signatures on delivery receipts to make it appear as if the pallets were delivered in order to receive payment from the company.

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January 22, 2014

Three Men Charged in Federal Court for Starting Illegal Campfire in Angeles National Forest that Became Colby Fire

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:12 pm

LOS ANGELES, California – Three men were charged this afternoon in United States District Court with illegally setting a campfire above Glendora that erupted in Santa Ana winds last week to become a destructive wildfire called the Colby Fire.

Federal prosecutors filed a criminal complaint that charges the three men with unlawfully setting timber afire, a felony offense that carries a possible five-year prison term.

The three men named in the criminal complaint are:

  • Clifford Eugene Henry Jr, 22, of Glendora;
  • Steven Robert Aguirre, 21, a transient; and
  • Jonathan Carl Jarrell, 24, also a transient.

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FOUR MEN TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR DEFRAUDING OVER $36 MILLION FROM INSURANCE COMPANIES IN OVERBILLING SCHEME

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:09 pm

SANTA ANA – Four men will be arraigned on an indictment tomorrow for defrauding over $36 million from insurance companies in an overbilling scheme. Jeffrey Edward Campau, 39, Yorba Linda, Abraham Khorshad, 62, Beverly Hills, and Landen Alan Mirallegro, 38, Yorba Linda, are charged with 22 felony counts of submitting multiple fraudulent claims, 22 felony counts of manufacturing documents in support of a fraudulent claim, one felony count of conspiracy, and sentencing enhancements for aggravated white collar crimes for loss over $500,000 and special loss over $3.2 million. If convicted on all counts, they each face a maximum sentence of 53 years in state prison. The defendants are out of custody on $1.5 million bail each.

Ryan Nathanil McCracken, 29, Rancho Cucamonga, is charged with one felony count of conspiracy and faces a maximum sentence of five years in state prison if convicted. He is out of custody on $20,000 bail.

They are scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, Jan. 22, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-30, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

In 2005, Campau, Mirallegro, and Khorshad are accused of forming a durable medical equipment (DME) company named Aspen Medical Resources, LLC (Aspen). Between 2005 and 2013, the defendants are accused of renting out a DME machine similar in function to an ice pack or heating pad, which provided both hot and cold modalities to alleviate inflammation and/or pain for patients. The three defendants are accused of fraudulently overbilling insurance carriers for this DME in two ways: for rental of one machine as two separate hot and cold machines, and for renting the hot and cold units which were valued at less than $500 for as much as $15,500 to $17,500 per patient.

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MAN CHARGED WITH ATTACKING FIVE WOMEN IN VIOLENT 5-HOUR CRIME SPREE

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:06 pm

WESTMINSTER – A man has been charged with attacking five women, including stabbing three in the head, face, or back, in a 5-hour crime spree. Ulises Omar De La Torre, 32, Buena Park, is charged with one felony count of kidnapping to commit rape, two felony counts of assault with the intent to commit a sexual offense, and three felony counts of assault with the intent to commit a sexual offense in the commission of first degree burglary. He faces sentencing enhancements for causing great bodily injury, great bodily injury to a sexual assault victim, the use of a deadly weapon during a sexual offense, and two prior strike convictions from 2004 for attempted murder and street terrorism. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 244 years to life in state prison. The People will be requesting De La Torre be held without bail. He is expected to be arraigned today, Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, at 1:30 p.m., in Department W-2, West Justice Center, Westminster.

Between approximately 5:15 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. on Jan. 16, 2014, De La Torre is accused of attacking five women in the Cities of Anaheim and Garden Grove. The victims were all attacked within a short distance of one another.

De La Torre is accused of passing Jane Doe #1 as she was walking home from work and attempting to engage her in conversation. After she passed, De La Torre is accused of hitting her in the back of the head with his fist, repeatedly beating her, and at some point attempting to pull down the victim’s pants. He is accused of fleeing the scene.

De La Torre is accused of entering the home of Jane Doe #2 and grabbing the victim as she arrived and entered her house. He is accused of stabbing the victim in the arm and back as she struggled. Jane Doe #2’s boyfriend walked inside the home, and De La Torre is accused of fleeing the scene.

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January 21, 2014

Los Angeles-Area Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Sex Trafficking of Minors by Force

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:09 am

RIVERSIDE, California – On the day a jury was expected to hear opening statements in his trial, a Lynwood gang member pleaded guilty on Tuesday to federal sex trafficking charges, admitting that he used force, fraud and coercion to recruit teen-age girls who worked as prostitutes across Southern California.

Paul Edward Bell, 29, an alleged member of the Rolling 60s Crips street gang, pleaded guilty on Monday pursuant to a plea agreement that calls for a sentence of 30 years in federal prison.

Bell, who used multiple monikers, including J-Roc, pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips, who is scheduled to determine whether to accept the 30 year binding plea agreement and sentence the defendant to that term of imprisonment on March 31, 2014.

Bell is the eighth and final defendant convicted after a federal grand jury returned an indictment in August 2012 that resulted from an investigation by the Inland Child Exploitation/Prostitution Task Force, which is comprised of agents, deputies and officers with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, the Riverside Police Department, the San Bernardino Police Department, the Pomona Police Department, and the Ontario Police Department.

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Man Who Conspired with Female Friend to Solicit ‘Hit Man’ to Kill Her Daughter’s Boyfriend Sentenced to 7 Years in Federal Prison

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:05 am

SANTA ANA, California – A Hawthorne man who pleaded guilty in a murder-for-hire scheme targeting a man who was dating the daughter of his co-conspirator was sentenced today to seven years in federal prison.

Antonio Quevedo, 35, was sentenced by United States District Judge Josephine L. Staton.

The second defendant in the case – Adelina Cristobal, 56, of Lawndale, who also pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy to use interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire – is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Staton on January 31.

The murder-for-hire scheme was uncovered during an investigation by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Los Angeles Police Department. Investigators initiated the investigation after receiving information that the two defendants were attempting to solicit someone to commit a murder on their behalf. An undercover officer posing as the hired “hit man” met with the defendants, who offered the undercover officer $6,500 to kill the intended victim. Cristobal was to pay Quevedo an additional $500 for arranging the meeting with the “hit man.”

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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Busts Statewide, Multi-Million Dollar Housing Scheme

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:52 am

FRESNO – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the arrest of five individuals who allegedly ran a statewide housing scheme by using adverse possession laws to fraudulently seize at least 23 homes in nine counties.

“It is reprehensible that these individuals lied to the courts in order to steal homes and in some cases to demand payment from the rightful owners,” Attorney General Harris said. “The conduct of the attorneys in this scheme is even more offensive because they violated their ethical duty to be honest to the courts. I am pleased that my mortgage fraud strike force, together with our state and local partners, continue to investigate and prosecute these crimes against our people and our economy.”

Sandra Elaine Barton, 30, Christopher Spencer Barton, 31, Daniel Paul Vedenoff, 29, Sheldon W. Feigel, 50, and Craig Merrill Mortensen, 60, all of Fresno, were arrested today and charged with 288 felony counts including perjury, filing false court records and preparing false evidence. Cambria Lisa Barton, 21, remains at large.

All were booked into the Fresno County Jail on bail ranging from $27,500 to $1,795,000 and face restitution payments of at least $3.5 million.

According to the Attorney General’s filing, the Barton family, along with Vedenoff, Sandra Barton’s boyfriend, allegedly worked with two lawyers, Mortensen and Feigel, to identify seemingly abandoned residential properties and file for adverse possession of the property in court in order to obtain title. Once a Barton family member obtained ownership, the property would then allegedly be restored and was typically sold or rented.

Under California law (Code of Civil Procedure 325), an individual can claim adverse possession of real property if he or she has occupied or claimed it continuously for at least five years and paid property taxes for that period of time, among other requirements. (more…)

January 20, 2014

Five Arrested in Orange County-Based ‘Builder Bailout’ Mortgage Fraud Scheme that Fraudulently Purchased Condos

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 9:00 pm

Santa Ana, California – Federal authorities have arrested five people allegedly involved in a “builder bailout” real estate scheme that fraudulently purchased more than 100 condominium units around the country with mortgages that mostly went into default, resulting in foreclosures and millions of dollars in losses.

The scheme, which was operated out of Excel Investments and related companies that were based in Irvine and then Santa Ana, allegedly identified new condominium developments in which the builder-owners were struggling to sell units, and arranged with the builders to sell the units in return for large commissions. The builders benefitted by making it appear that their condos were selling and maintaining their value, while those involved with the fraudulent sale of the units financially benefitted from the hefty commissions that were concealed from the mortgage lenders. The defendants recruited a number of straw buyers to purchase the properties as “investors,” and ensured that they qualified for financing by fabricating important aspects of their loan applications.

The five defendants were arrested yesterday by special agents with the FBI, the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Office of Inspector General, and IRS - Criminal Investigation. Those taken into custody are:

Aref Abaji, 31, of Aliso Viejo, a real estate agent;

Maher Obagi, 26, of Huntington Beach, the brother of Aref Abaji;

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