Best Defender Bytes:

August 13, 2014


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:28 pm

SANTA ANA – The Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) announced the extradition of two fugitives from Guatemala and Spain for serious and violent felonies committed in Orange County. Jose Carmen Sian, 42, and Jose Luis Pereda, 46, were extradited on Aug. 7, 2014. Sian was extradited from Guatemala for the sexual assault of a child, and Pereda was extradited from Spain for a probation violation stemming from domestic violence and child abduction.

“Whether it is before or after conviction, we are going to continue to bring fugitives to justice to ensure they are held accountable for the harm they have caused,” said District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “Bringing these defendants to justice will help bring closure to victims and prevent innocent people from becoming future victims.”

Deputy District Attorney Erin Rowe of the Special Prosecutions Unit secured the extraditions.


In 2013/2014, the OCDA extradited eight international fugitives and successfully brought home a child who had been abducted. These extraditions have included defendants located in Canada, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, and Spain, and an abducted child located in the Netherlands.


Macy’s Pleads in Death of Employee

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:25 pm

Macy’s Corporate Services, Inc. has pleaded no contest to Corporate Criminal Liability for the death of an employee in 2009, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today. Deputy District Attorney Daniel Wright of the Environmental Crimes Section said Macy’s entered the plea on the misdemeanor count in case BA399249 yesterday.

As part of a negotiated settlement, Macy’s will pay a $950,000 fine at a sentencing hearing scheduled on Aug. 15, 2015 at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center, Department 132.

On July 13, 2009, Roy Polanco, 65, was operating a cardboard baling and compactor machine at a Macy’s distribution center in East Los Angeles when he fell into an unguarded opening of the unit.

Polanco was crushed to death and decapitated by the machine’s hydraulic compacting ram.

Balers are used to compact similar types of waste for recycling. The machine had been modified so it would operate without interruption.


August 12, 2014


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

WESTMINSTER – A man was convicted today of sexually assaulting four young girls between the ages of 7 and 11 years old. Bryan William Anast, 46, Corona, pleaded guilty to one felony count of continuous sexual conduct, six felony counts of lewd acts by duress on a child under 14, one felony count of possession of child pornography, and one felony count of using a minor for sex acts. In addition to his prison sentence, Anast is scheduled to be sentenced to 55 years and four months in state prison and lifetime sex offender registration at his sentencing Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, at 1:30 p.m. in Department W-9, West Justice Center, Westminster.

The sex crimes against all of the victims involved rubbing of the vaginal area.

Between November 1997 and November 2000, Anast sexually assaulted his female relative, Jane Doe #1, on at least four different occasions in three different locations in Orange County. The victim was 11 years old in 1997.

In May 2013, Jane Doe #1 contacted the Orange County Sheriff’s Department to report the sexual assaults. Anast was arrested at Disneyland, where he worked as a machinist fixing rides. In his home in Riverside County, Anast was in possession of several videos of child pornography on a computer data storage device, including several amateur images of young girls. Anast was charged with the sex crimes against Jane Doe #1 and for possession of child pornography in June 2013.

The ongoing investigation resulted in the identification of Jane Doe #2, Jane Doe #3, and Jane Doe #4. (more…)


Filed under: Uncategorized — fayarfa @ 5:02 am

SANTA ANA – A violent Santa Ana criminal street gang have been preliminarily enjoined from terrorizing the community and acting as a public nuisance, marking the 13th injunction to be brought against Orange County gangs and the second in the City of Santa Ana. This injunction is in response to decades of violent crime by this gang and numerous residents pleading with law enforcement to eliminate the gang presence so that they no longer have to live in fear.

Deputy District Attorney Susan Eckermann prepared the injunction on behalf of the Gang Unit of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

“The families and residents in this neighborhood have been terrorized and victimized by this gang’s propensity for violence. Children have been caught in the crossfire of this gang and their rivals, including an innocent 15-year-old girl who was shot while holding her baby brother as her mother installed a car seat,” said District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “This community deserves to live free from fear, and we will to use every available legal tool to help them live in peace and free from intimidation and harm.”

“Our main objective is to bring all available resources to bear on criminal street gangs impacting the safety of our community,” said Santa Ana Police Chief Carlos Rojas. “This gang injunction will give us a valuable tool in our efforts for a safer Santa Ana.”


A gang injunction is a civil order that restricts or prohibits documented gang members from participating in specific acts or activities that may not be inherently criminal within a designated area, or “Safety Zone.” The terms are designed to curb intimidating or harassing behavior.  If a member of an enjoined gang violates the terms, he or she will be arrested and face prosecution. The case may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor for disobeying a court order and the defendant will be placed on gang probation terms or be sent to jail for up to six months.


Ex-Manager Who Wore Fake Bomb in Bank Heist Charged With Insurance Fraud

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:58 am

A woman sentenced last week for her role in a 2012 East Los Angeles bank robbery was charged today with insurance fraud, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Aurora Barrera (dob 8/27/80) was charged in case BA428063 with two counts of insurance fraud. She is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

Deputy District Attorney Richard Gallegly of the Healthcare Fraud Division said Barrera claimed she had post-traumatic stress disorder following a September 2012 robbery at a Bank of America branch where she worked. Barrera filed a workers’ compensation claim shortly thereafter and collected about $35,000 in disability benefits, the prosecutor said.

In March, a federal jury found Barrera and her ex-boyfriend, Reyes “Ray” Vega, guilty of conspiracy and bank robbery. Investigators determined Barrera, working with Vega, strapped a fake bomb to herself to make it appear she was a hostage while the bank was being robbed.


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.


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