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April 8, 2014

Former Irwindale Official Pleads To Conflict of Interest

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:59 am

Irwindale’s former finance director was ordered to pay $9,401 in restitution and fines after he pleaded no contest today to one count of conflict of interest for his role in spending city money on lavish trips to New York, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Abe De Dios, 69, also was ordered to complete 100 hours of community service by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor, who placed him on probation for three years.

In addition, Pastor sentenced De Dios to one year in county jail, but suspended the sentence as long as De Dios remains out of trouble while on probation.

As part of a negotiated plea, the felony charge was reduced to a misdemeanor because De Dios made full restitution and has already completed his community service, said Deputy District Attorney Kennes Ma with the Public Integrity Division.

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Former Glendale Mayor Sentenced to Jail

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:55 am

Former Glendale Mayor John Drayman was sentenced today to one year in county jail and ordered to repay more than $300,000 after he admitted stealing from the Montrose farmers’ market, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephen A. Marcus also ordered the 55-year-old Drayman to pay $14,016 to the California Franchise Tax Board. Drayman, who is barred from ever holding elected office again, will be placed on probation for five years once he completes his jail sentence.

Deputy District Attorneys Susan Schwartz and Dana Aratani with the Public Integrity Division prosecuted the case.

Drayman pleaded guilty in March to one felony count each of embezzlement, filing a false tax return and perjury.

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Third Defendant Pleads Guilty in Bribery Scheme Related to Projects at Spotlight 29 Casino Operated by Coachella Valley Indian Tribe

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:50 am

LOS ANGELES – A Central California man who was hired to advise the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians has become the third person to plead guilty to participating in a kickback scheme that defrauded the Coachella Valley tribe.

David Alan Heslop, 76, of Templeton, who was hired by the tribe to oversee some tribal business, pleaded guilty yesterday to conspiracy to commit bribery. Heslop admitted that he paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to bribe Gary Edward Kovall, an attorney acting as general counsel for the tribe.

Kovall, 67, of Ely, Minnesota, pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy to commit bribery.

A third defendant in the case – Paul Phillip Bardos, 58, a general contractor from Rancho Cucamonga – pleaded guilty last month to tax evasion.

As outlined in a 20-page factual basis filed in relation to Heslop’s plea agreement, Kovall and Heslop formed companies, and Kovall convinced the tribe to award construction and consulting work to those companies. To disguise Kovall’s interest in those companies, Heslop paid Kovall’s share to Peggy Anne Shambaugh, who at the time was Kovall’s girlfriend (and is now his wife). Over of period of about 18 months that ended in mid-2008, the tribe paid these companies approximately $2.8 million. Heslop, in turn, paid Shambaugh approximately $300,000 to influence and reward Kovall.

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April 7, 2014

Former Sheriff’s Deputy Sentenced in Rape Case

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:51 am

A former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy was sentenced today to nine years in state prison after pleading no contest to rape and bribery charges, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Terry Bork sentenced Jose Rigoberto Sanchez, 29, to nine years in prison and also ordered the defendant to register as a sex offender.

Last month, Sanchez pleaded no contest to one count each of rape under color of authority and soliciting a bribe.

Sanchez was on duty Sept. 22, 2010 when he pulled over a 24-year-old female driver who had an outstanding warrant.

Sanchez offered not to arrest the woman if she had sex with him, said Deputy District Attorney Rosa Alarcon. He then drove away with the victim into the desert where he raped her, the prosecutor said. (more…)

Two Men Sentenced in Flying Cash Police Pursuit

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:49 am

Two reputed gang members were sentenced today after being convicted of robbing a Canyon Country bank, then leading police on a high-speed chase as they threw cash out of the getaway car’s window, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Moira Curry said Lavelle Mosley, 24, was sentenced to 33 years in state prison and Terion Lamarr Collins, 27, received a 45-year, eight-month prison sentence.

They were found guilty of five counts each of second-degree robbery on Jan. 31. Jurors also found true gang and gun use allegations for both of the defendants. A third defendant, Phillip Ely, was acquitted by the jury.

However, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Daniel Feldstern of the San Fernando Branch ruled that there was enough evidence about Ely’s participation on the robbery to find him in violation of probation from an unrelated drug conviction.

Ely was sentenced to time served for the probation violation on Feb. 26. (more…)

Five Plead Not Guilty to Long Beach Murder

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:46 am

Five people accused of beating a man to death and then setting his RV on fire pleaded not guilty this morning, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Diana Sequen (dob 7/9/93), Jose Alfredo Zolorza (dob 1/3/95), David Romero (dob 10/6/85), Jazmin Montanez (dob 2/24/79), and Anthony Joshua Paz (dob 7/19/92) were each arraigned on one count of murder in case NA098200.

The defendants appeared before Judge Laura Laesecke at the Los Angeles County Superior Court in Long Beach and their bail was set at $1 million.

Deputy District Attorney Rachel Hardiman, who is assigned to the case, said the five defendants would regularly frequent Thomas Taylor’s recreational vehicle.

At some point, Taylor, 60, allegedly told the five defendants he did not want them to come back to his RV anymore. On the evening of Jan. 27, the defendants returned to Taylor’s RV and allegedly beat him to death. They then set his RV on fire with his body inside, Hardiman said. (more…)

April 4, 2014

Two California Men Indicted for Selling Endangered Black Rhinoceros Horns

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:58 am

Edward N. Levine, 63, of Mill Valley, Calif., and Lumsden W. Quan, 46, of San Francisco, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Las Vegas today for the illegal sale of two horns from an endangered black rhinoceros, announced Robert G. Dreher, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, and Daniel G. Bogden, U.S. Attorney for the District of Nevada.   The indictment is a result of “Operation Crash,” a nationwide effort led by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and the Justice Department to investigate and prosecute those involved in the black market trade of endangered rhinoceros horns.

The indictment charges Levine and Quan each with one count of conspiracy to violate the Lacey Act and the Endangered Species Act and one count of violating the Lacey Act.   The Lacey Act prohibits the sale of wildlife that was transported in violation of law.   The Endangered Species Act prohibits the interstate transportation of endangered species for a commercial purpose and the interstate sale of an endangered species.

According to the indictment, over the course of approximately two months, Quan and Levine negotiated the sale of two black rhinoceros horns by e-mail and telephone, ultimately communicating with a law enforcement officer acting in an undercover capacity.   The indictment further alleges that Quan and Levine offered to sell the two black rhinoceros horns for $55,000 and agreed to meet the buyer in Las Vegas.   On March 19, 2014, after directing another person to drive with the horns from California to Las Vegas, Quan and Levine flew from California to Las Vegas, to make the sale.   Quan met the law enforcement officer acting in an undercover capacity in a Las Vegas hotel room, where Quan sold two black rhinoceros horns for $55,000.   Both men were arrested later that day.

Rhinoceros are herbivores of prehistoric origin and one of the largest remaining mega-fauna on earth. They have no known predators other than humans.   All species of rhinoceros are protected under U.S. and international law and the black rhinoceros is endangered.   Since 1976, trade in rhinoceros horn has been regulated under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), a treaty signed by 180 countries around the world to protect fish, wildlife and plants that are or may become imperiled.  Nevertheless, trafficking in rhinoceros horn has skyrocketed in recent years due to the demand for horn for ornamental carvings, good luck charms or alleged medicinal purposes.   As a result of this demand, rhino populations have declined by more than 90 percent since 1970.   South Africa, for example, has witnessed a rapid escalation in poaching of live rhinos, rising from 13 in 2007 to more than 1,000 in 2013.

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DRIVER UNDER INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR KILLING PASSENGER AND INJURING THREE OTHERS AFTER LOSING CONTROL OF VEHICLE IN RAIN

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:53 am

SANTA ANA – A man who was driving under the influence of alcohol is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow for killing his passenger and injuring three others after losing control of his vehicle while driving at an unsafe speed in the rain. Ulises Mendoza, 20, Santa Ana, is charged with one felony count of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and one felony count of driving under the influence causing great bodily injury to another, with sentencing enhancements for causing great bodily injury and causing brain injury resulting in a coma. If convicted, Mendoza faces a maximum sentence of 21 years in state prison. He is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, Thursday, April 3, 2014, at 10:00 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

At approximately 12:11 a.m. on Nov. 21, 2013, Mendoza is accused of consuming alcohol before driving a Honda Civic with four passengers. The defendant is accused of traveling at an unsafe speed in the southbound lanes on Fairview Street in Santa Ana in the rain. He is accused of losing control of his vehicle, spinning out off the road, and crashing backwards into a light pole.

The victims were transported to University of California, Irvine Medical Center to be treated for their injuries. Passenger Oliver Martinez-Iriate, 23, was seated in the rear middle seat and died as a result of injuries sustained in the collision. Passenger Amanda P., 18, was hospitalized for rib fractures and a concussion. A third passenger, 18-year-old Genesis C., was hospitalized for a fractured collarbone. The fourth passenger, 18-year-old Martin A., was hospitalized for several fractured bones and a brain hemorrhage that left him in a coma for several days after the crash.

At the hospital, Mendoza displayed objective signs of intoxication. The blood test taken at the hospital indicted his blood alcohol content (BAC) was at .05 percent at the time of the collision. Being that the defendant is under 21years old, it is illegal for him to drive with a BAC of .05 percent or greater.

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April 3, 2014

Three Arrested after Being Named in New Indictment that Alleges Money Laundering, Health Care Fraud and Tax Fraud Schemes

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:15 am

LOS ANGELES – Three people who were recently named in a superseding indictment that adds health care fraud charges to money laundering and tax fraud schemes were arrested this morning by federal authorities.

Edgar Hakobyan, 30, of Glendale; Karen Sarkissian, 43, of Glendale; and L’Tanya Smith, 57, of Ladera Park, were taken into custody without incident and are scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment this afternoon in United States District Court. These three defendants were named in a superseding indictment returned by a federal grand jury on March 27.

Previously in this case, two defendants were named in the original indictment that alleged a conspiracy to launder the proceeds of health care fraud through five sham corporations they owned and operated. Glendale residents Khachatour Hakobyan, 46, and Aram Aramyan, 59, have pleaded not guilty to charges that allege they

deposited millions in fraudulent proceeds into bank accounts for the bogus companies and then wrote checks from these corporations to themselves and their relatives, including Edgar Hakobyan. Khachatour Hakobyan and Aramyan have each been charged with five counts of filing false tax returns based on their failure to report all of their income from those corporations between 2007 and 2011. Khachatour Hakobyan and Aramyan are scheduled to go on trial on January 27, 2015, before United States District Judge Margaret M. Morrow.

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Mexican Police Officer to be Arraigned Today on Federal Drug Trafficking Charges Involving about 20 Pounds of Narcotics

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:12 am

RIVERSIDE,       California – A Tijuana municipal police officer is expected to appear in United States District Court this afternoon to be arraigned on federal indictment that accuses him of illegally transporting more than 13 pounds of heroin and over six pounds of methamphetamine.

Noe Raygoza-Garcia, 33, a Mexican national, was indicted on March 27 on one count of possession with intent to distribute heroin and methamphetamine.

Raygoza was arrested on March 13 after federal officials saw him driving erratically on Interstate 15 near the Border Patrol checkpoint north of Temecula. After he was stopped by authorities and gave answers that aroused suspicion, a drug-detecting canine alerted to the vehicle, where Border Patrol agents found narcotics hidden in the rear seat, according to court documents.

If he is convicted of the one count in the indictment, Raygoza would face a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a maximum possible penalty of life.

Raygoza is currently being held without bond.

The case against Raygoza was investigated by the United States Border Patrol.

CONTACT:        Special Assistant United States Attorney Carlo A. DiCesare

(951) 276-6286

Central District of California DOJ / Release No. 14-039 / April 2, 2014

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