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January 20, 2014

Attorney Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison for Racketeering and Money Laundering Offenses Committed on Behalf of Mexican Mafia

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:57 pm

LOS ANGELES – A federal criminal defense attorney was sentenced this afternoon to seven years in federal prison for his conviction on racketeering and money laundering offenses committed on behalf of the Mexican Mafia and the 18th Street gang.

Isaac Guillen, 52, received the 84-month sentence from United States District Judge Dean D. Pregerson.

Guillen was a member of a street gang during his late teens, leaving that life behind to attend the UCLA School of Law and become a successful criminal defense attorney. But he became an associate of the Columbia Lil’ Cycos (CLCS) clique of the 18th Street gang while doing legal work for a member of that criminal street gang.

Guillen admitted that he used the shield of the attorney-client privilege to relay CLCS communications to and from convicted Mexican Mafia member Francisco “Puppet” Martinez, who was serving multiple life sentences at the federal “supermax” prison in Florence, Colorado. With Guillen’s help, Martinez was able to continue to run the CLCS from behind the walls of the United States Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum Facility, which is regarded as the nation’s most secure prison.



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:52 pm

NEWPORT BEACH – An Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) deputy was convicted and sentenced today to one year of informal probation and 100 hours of community service for pepper spraying a teen’s pizza during a routine traffic stop. Juan Tavera, 30, pleaded guilty today, Jan. 17, 2014, to one misdemeanor count of assault or battery by a public officer.

At the time of the crime, Tavera was a 6-year veteran of the OCSD assigned to the South Operations Division/Contract City of Laguna Hills.

On Sept. 8, 2012, the defendant arrived on-scene after 19-year-old John Doe was pulled over by a different officer for a traffic infraction in Laguna Hills. Upon arriving, the defendant found a pizza box on the backseat of the victim’s car and pepper sprayed the pizza without the victim’s knowledge.

John Doe later returned to his home and shared the pizza with four friends, causing all five to experience discomfort as a result of ingesting pepper spray. John Doe notified OCSD after becoming suspicious of his earlier interaction with the deputy.


January 17, 2014

San Fernando Valley Pastor Arrested for Running a Fraudulent Investment Scheme that Targeted Spanish-Speaking Investors

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

LOS ANGELES – A Chatsworth man was arrested this morning by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation after being named in a federal grand jury indictment that charges him with running a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme that targeted Latino victims.

Luis Alonso Serna, 61, who operated Architects of the Future Investments, which he purported to be a foreign currency investment company, was arrested this morning on federal charges that allege he ran a Ponzi scheme that lured more than 70 victims into investing almost $4 million.

“The Ponzi scheme is a century-old concept, but it remains a clear and present danger to the investing public,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. “Cases like the one against Mr. Serna demonstrate the accuracy of the old adage that if it sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is.”

Serna, the pastor of Zion Living Word Christian Center (formerly Amistad Cristiana) in San Fernando, was named in a superseding indictment returned on January 10. The indictment charges him with two counts of mail fraud, two counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering. Serna is expected to be arraigned on the indictment this afternoon in United States District Court in Los Angeles.


El Salvadoran National Sentenced To 15 Years in Federal Prison in Credit Card Fraud Case

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

LOS ANGELES – An El Salvadoran national who was convicted of credit card fraud, trafficking in counterfeit goods and identity theft has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for causing victims to suffer losses of over $100,000.

Jose Rolando Renderos, 39, who last resided in Montebello, but has been in federal custody since February 1, 2013, was sentenced yesterday afternoon by United States District Judge Audrey B. Collins. In October 2013, a federal jury convicted Renderos of various federal charges related to a credit card manufacturing scheme.

Renderos was apprehended on February 1, 2013, after receiving a box of more than 3,000 counterfeit credit cards imported from China and then leading law enforcement on a high-speed chase through the San Gabriel Valley. All told, authorities seized more than 100,000 counterfeit credit cards and numbers in packages imported from China and at a credit card manufacturing plant that Renderos had operated in Montebello, California.

“Credit card fraud and identity theft impact the financial security, privacy, and emotional well-being of millions of Americans every year,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. “Mr. Renderos is a repeat offender who callously disregarded the effect that his schemes had on the lives of his unfortunate victims and now he will be serving a lengthy and richly deserved sentence in federal prison.”


San Fernando Valley Woman Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges in $25 Million Health Care Fraud Case

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

LOS ANGELES—A North Hollywood woman who worked in the health care industry pleaded guilty today to federal charges for orchestrating a scheme that submitted nearly $25 million in fraudulent bills to Medicare for services and supplies, including power wheelchairs and diagnostic tests that were medically unnecessary and sometimes were never provided.

Susanna Artsruni, 46, who formerly owned a durable medical equipment (DME) company and worked at a number of medical clinics in Los Angeles, pleaded guilty this afternoon before United States District Judge Margaret M. Morrow. Artsruni, who often used the names “Mary” and “Rose,” pleaded guilty to one count of health care fraud and one count of money laundering.

In a plea agreement filed last year in United States District Court, Artsruni admitted that she defrauded Medicare in a number of ways. In one part of the scheme, Artsruni had physician’s assistants at three Los Angeles medical clinics sign prescriptions and orders for medically unnecessary DME and diagnostic tests that were later referred to other Medicare providers that billed for the equipment and tests. Artsruni also caused the three clinics to bill Medicare for medically unnecessary services. Further, Artsruni fraudulently billed Medicare on behalf of her own DME supply company, Midvalley Medical Supply in Van Nuys, for medically unnecessary DME based on referrals from one of the three medical clinics.

In total, Artsruni caused more than $24.8 million in fraudulent claims to be submitted to Medicare, which paid more than $9.2 million on the bogus bills.


January 16, 2014

Rancho Cucamonga Man Who Operated Large-Scale Marijuana Grow and Commercial Pot Store Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison

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

LOS ANGELES – The former president of G3 Holistics, Inc., a marijuana business operating in the Inland Empire, was sentenced this morning to 10 years in prison for his conviction last fall on federal narcotics charges for distributing hundreds of pounds of marijuana.

Aaron Sandusky, 42, of Rancho Cucamonga, was sentenced by United States District Judge Percy Anderson, who presided over Sandusky’s trial last fall.

A federal jury that heard two days of evidence convicted Sandusky of two counts – conspiracy and possession with the intent to distribute marijuana. In relation to each of the two counts, the jury determined that the crimes involved at least 1,000 marijuana plants. As a result of the convictions, federal law called for a mandatory sentence of at least 10 years.

Sandusky “is an unrepentant manipulator who used the perceived ambiguity surrounding ‘medical’ marijuana to exploit a business opportunity for himself,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo filed with the court.


18th Street Gangmember Sentenced to Life in Federal Prison for Racketeering Offenses Related to Fatal Shooting of 23-Day-Old Infant

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

LOS ANGELES – A member of the 18th Street criminal street gang was sentenced today to life in federal prison for his conviction on racketeering offenses arising out of the September 2007 shooting of a street vendor near MacArthur Park that resulted in the murder of a 23-day-old infant.

Javier Perez, 35, received the life prison sentence from United States District Judge Dean D. Pregerson. There is no parole in the federal system.

Perez was one of four defendants – all of whom were members or associates of the Columbia Lil’ Cycos (CLCS) clique of the 18th Street gang – who were found guilty of federal racketeering offenses last May.

The three other defendants found guilty after last May’s trial are: Eduardo Hernandez, 35; Vladimir Iraheta, 31; and Leonidas Iraheta, 31. Judge Pregerson is scheduled to sentence those defendants on January 24 and 25.



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

SANTA ANA – A pimp was convicted and sentenced yesterday for having a woman perform commercial sex acts after meeting her through a social networking website. Christopher Dominic Harper, 28, Los Angeles, pleaded guilty yesterday, Jan. 14, 2014, to one felony count of conspiracy to commit pandering. He was sentenced to six years in state prison stayed pending completion of three years of formal probation, one year in jail, and restitution.

Circumstances of the Case

Harper is a pimp/modern-day slave owner who exploits women and/or children for financial gain. Pimps 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,” assigning seats in the car based on “rank,” and setting daily quotas that the victims are expected to fulfill. The victims are required to turn over all payment they receive for sex acts from sex purchasers to their pimp. Failure to follow these rules can result in deprivation of food and/or physical and/or emotional abuse.

In September 2013, Harper met 19-year-old Jane Doe through a social networking website and arranged to meet with her in person. After meeting her, Harper convinced the victim to perform commercial sex acts for money. He then set a daily quota for the victim and drove her to multiple locations in Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, and Orange Counties. Harper collected all of the proceeds earned by the victim from performing commercial sex acts.

On Sept. 23, 2013, Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) conducted a covert operation and arrested Harper.

This case was investigated by SAPD and Deputy District Attorney Daniel Varon of the HEAT Unit prosecuted this case.


January 15, 2014

Tips from Public, Lead to Arrest, Federal Child Pornography

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:36 am

LOS ANGELES – Within hours of federal authorities appealing to the public for help in a child pornography case with ties to the Los Angeles area, a woman charged as “Jane Doe” has been arrested outside her apartment complex in the San Fernando Valley.

Letha Mae Montemayor, 52, was taken into custody without incident at approximately 7:30 p.m. Thursday by special agents with ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and officers from the Los Angeles Police Department. Montemayor was identified by both her facial appearance and distinctive tattoos.

Montemayor was arrested less than 10 hours after the United States Attorney and officials with HSI announced the filing of a criminal case and released photographs of an unidentified man and woman – who at the time were known only as “Jane Doe” and “John Doe” – involved in a child sexual exploitation case (see:

At approximately 2 p.m. Thursday, authorities received the first tip via a call to the ICE Tip Line regarding the possible identity of “Jane Doe.” After this initial phone call, several corroborating leads were provided by members of the public. After further investigation, HSI special agents determined that Montemayor was the likely suspect. She was placed under surveillance and subsequently arrested.



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

WESTMINSTER – A man is scheduled to be arraigned today for stabbing and murdering a victim in a parking lot. Daniel Perez Munoz, 21, Garden Grove, is charged with one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 26 years to life in state prison. He is being held on $1 million bail and is scheduled to be arraigned today, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2013, in Department W-2, West Justice Center, Westminster. The time is to be determined.

At approximately 7:20 p.m. on Jan. 11, 2014, Munoz is accused of approaching 52-year-old Bob H. in a parking lot in Stanton. The defendant is accused of murdering the victim by stabbing him with a knife in the neck area.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) arrested the defendant a short time later.

The investigation by OCSD is ongoing.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.

Orange County District Attorney / Case # TBA / January 14, 2014

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