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July 29, 2014

Historic Clean Water Act Settlement Will Prevent Millions of Gallons of Sewage Discharges into San Francisco Bay

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

Seven East Bay Communities, Municipal Utility District to Repair Systems, Pay Civil Penalties

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a Clean Water Act settlement requiring the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) and seven East Bay communities to conduct extensive system repairs aimed at eliminating millions of gallons of sewage discharges into San Francisco Bay.  Under today’s agreement, EBMUD and the communities will assess and upgrade their 1,500 mile-long sewer system infrastructure over a 21-year period.  The work is expected to cost approximately $1.5 billion.  The entities will pay civil penalties of $1.5 million for past sewage discharges that violated federal environmental law.

Since 2009, EPA, state and local regulators and environmental groups have worked to reduce sewage discharges from East Bay communities.  During that period, interim actions required EBMUD and the East Bay communities to improve their sewer maintenance practices and gather information to identify priorities for investment.

The San Francisco Bay covers 1,600 square miles and is the largest Pacific estuary in the Americas, a host for millions of migratory birds and a hub of commerce and recreation for more than 7 million Bay Area residents.  Unfortunately, the bay is under threat from many sources of pollution, including crumbling wastewater infrastructure that allows sewage to escape from the system.  During rainstorms, in particular, older sewer systems can be overwhelmed, releasing rivers of sewage before fully treated.

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MAN SENTENCED TO FIVE YEARS IN PRISON FOR TRAFFICKING 17-YEAR-OLD GIRL AND THREATENING HER

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

SANTA ANA – A man was sentenced today to five years in state prison for human trafficking and threatening a 17-year-old girl. Marsalis Joseph Smith, 27, Gardena, pleaded guilty today to one felony count each of human trafficking and criminal threats.

Circumstances of the Case

Smith is a human trafficker/pimp who exploits women and/or children for financial gain.

On Jan. 21, 2014, Smith met 17-year-old Jane Doe in Gardena while the defendant was with a group of friends. Smith lured the victim to perform commercial sex acts for his benefit by promising Jane Doe money, clothing, and other material items. He gave the victim instructions on interacting with sex purchasers and trafficking her from Los Angeles County to Orange County. Smith threatened the victim with violence if she did not comply with his orders.

On Jan. 24, 2014, the victim made with contact with the Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD), who investigated this case with assistance from the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF) and arrested Smith.

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Former Bell Councilmember Sentenced To Two Years in State Prison

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:01 am

Former Bell City Councilwoman Teresa Jacobo was sentenced today to two years in state prison and  ordered to pay more than $242,000 in restitution to the city, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Jacobo, 61, is the third of five former council members to be sentenced in a massive public corruption case that nearly bankrupted the city of 35,000.

Deputy District Attorneys Sean Hassett and Edward Miller with the Public Integrity Division were seeking a four-year prison term.

Jurors in March 2013 convicted Jacobo of five counts of misappropriation of public funds. In April of this year, she pleaded no contest to two additional counts of misappropriation of public funds to avoid a retrial.

Jacobo, along with former Mayor Oscar Hernandez and former Councilmembers George Mirabal, George Cole and Victor Bello, were convicted of stealing a total of nearly $1 million. (more…)

July 28, 2014

UPS Driver Accused of Stealing Guns from the Shipper and Giving Firearms to Associate for Sale on Streets

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:21 am

RIVERSIDE, California – A United Parcel Service driver was arrested this afternoon on federal gun trafficking charges for allegedly stealing dozens of guns going through the shipping company’s Ontario hub and providing them to an associate who sold the weapons in underground transactions.

Curtis Hays, 36, of Rancho Cucamonga, was arrested without incident by special agents with the ATF. Hays is expected to be arraigned this afternoon in United States District Court.

The associate who allegedly sold some of the firearms – Dennis Dell White Jr., 35, of Moreno Valley – will be summoned to appear in federal court for an arraignment in the coming weeks.

The 16-count indictment, which was filed on July 23, alleges that Hays stole a series of packages containing guns that were supposed to be delivered to Turner’s Outdoorsman in Rancho Cucamonga. The indictment also accused Hays of stealing jewelry and mobile phones that were supposed to be delivered to other retailers, and this merchandise also was allegedly given to White.

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MAN SENTENCED TO 25 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON AFTER BEING LINKED THROUGH DNA TO 2001 COLD-CASE SEXUAL ASSAULT OF WOMAN HE KIDNAPPED FROM BUS STOP

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:17 am

SANTA ANA – A man was sentenced today to 25 years to life in state prison and mandatory lifetime sex offender registration for kidnapping a woman from a bus stop and forcibly sexually assaulting her in his car in a 2001 cold-case after being linked to the crime through DNA using the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) local DNA database. Raul Moreno-Perez, 34, was found guilty by a jury May 29, 2014, of one felony count each of kidnapping to commit a sexual offense, forcible oral copulation, and sentencing enhancement allegations for increasing the risk of harm by kidnapping and kidnapping to commit a sexual offense were found true.

Circumstances of the Sexual Assault
At approximately 8:00 p.m. on Nov. 3, 2001, 19-year-old Jane Doe was waiting at a bus stop on Main Street in Orange. Moreno-Perez drove up in his vehicle and stopped his car near Jane Doe. He asked the victim if she wanted a ride and then drove away when she declined.

Several minutes later, Moreno-Perez returned to the bus stop and got out of his car to sit on the bench next to Jane Doe. He put his arm around the victim and told her that he wanted to take her home. Jane Doe refused and Moreno-Perez then forced the victim to stand up and get into his car.

Moreno-Perez slapped Jane Doe as she tried to resist and drove her to a parking lot behind a grocery store in Garden Grove. When Jane Doe got out of the parked car and attempted to escape, Moreno-Perez chased and pushed her before forcing her back to the car. Once back inside the vehicle, Moreno-Perez forced Jane Doe to orally copulate him.

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WOMAN CONVICTED OF CONSPIRACY TO PIMP TWO WOMEN FROM BROTHEL SHE OPERATED FROM MOTEL

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

FULLERTON – A woman was convicted today of conspiring to pimp two women from a brothel that she operated out of a motel. Ramona Judith Mora Garcia, 41, Anaheim, pleaded guilty today to two felony counts of conspiracy to commit pimping. She was sentenced to one year in jail and six years in state prison stayed pending the completion of three years formal probation.

Circumstances of the Case

Garcia is a pimp/modern-day slave owner who exploits women and/or children for financial gain. She required the victims in this case to turn over half the payment they received for performing unlawful sex acts from sex purchasers.

Between Oct. 1, 2013, and Feb. 12, 2014, Garcia recruited 38-year-old Jane Doe #1 and 33-year-old Jane Doe #2 to work for her as prostitutes in a brothel she was operating out of an Anaheim motel. Garcia placed sexually suggestive advertisements in a Latino magazine and then set up sex purchasers to meet with a Jane Doe for commercial sex. The defendant kept half the payment Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2 received.

This case was investigated by the Anaheim Police Department (APD) with assistance from Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF), who contacted Garcia through the magazine advertisement.

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July 25, 2014

Four Defendants Indicted For Their Participation in Orange County-Based Loan Modification Scam Targeting Distressed Homeowners

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:09 am

LOS ANGELES – Federal agents this morning arrested three defendants who worked at Orange County businesses that allegedly offered bogus loan modification programs to financially distressed homeowners. As a result of the fraudulent scheme allegedly run out of U.S. Homeowners Relief and several related entities, hundreds of financially distressed homeowners across the United States lost millions of dollars, and many victims also lost their homes in subsequent foreclosure proceedings.

The three defendants taken into custody this morning were among four defendants named in a federal indictment following an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) and IRS - Criminal Investigation.

According to the indictment, the four defendants operated a series of telemarketing “boiler rooms” that pitched loan modification services to distressed homeowners in the wake of the financial collapse in 2008. The defendants operated offices in Irvine, Santa Ana, Newport Beach, Garden Grove and Westminster under a series of company names from late 2008 to early 2010. Initially called Greenleaf Modify, they subsequently used the names U.S. Homeowners Relief, Waypoint Law Group and, finally, American Lending Review. The defendants would shut down each company name once their businesses attracted too many consumer complaints at the Better Business Bureau or attracted attention from state regulators such as the California Department of Justice.

The defendants and their associates used a consistent sales pitch throughout the scheme. According to the indictment, their advertising materials and telemarketers promised distressed mortgage holders that after paying advance fees ranging from about $1,450 to approximately $4,200, homeowners were highly likely to obtain a long-term modification to their current mortgage obligation, meaning they would have a lower monthly payment, an interest rate reduced to as low as 2 percent, and/or a reduction of principal. Many consumers were falsely told that their up-front money would be refunded if the promised loan modification failed to materialize.

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Orange County Man Pleads Guilty To Defrauding Banks And S.B.A. By Illegally Obtaining Commercial Loans Worth More Than $10 Million

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:06 am

SANTA ANA, California – An Orange County businessman has pleaded guilty to federal charges related to a series of fraud schemes that include one in which he worked with his criminal defense attorney to fraudulently apply for millions of dollars in loans backed by the Small Business Administration.

Donald Keith Goff, 66, of Laguna Niguel, pleaded guilty late yesterday to three felony counts – mail fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud – for leading a group of conspirators in a series of complex, multi-million dollar fraud schemes. In one scheme, Goff admitted that he and his criminal defense attorney conducted a scam after Goff had already been indicted by a federal grand jury in the prior fraud.

According to court documents and his admissions in court, Goff orchestrated a scheme in 2006 and 2007 to defraud Grand Pacific Financing Corporation (GPFC), which provided a $4.5 million loan to finance the purchase of a gas station business in Fountain Valley. Goff was unable to obtain the loan himself as a result of his poor credit rating, history of being sued by creditors and failure to pay judgments. To obtain the loan, Goff created a shell corporation and recruited an unemployed truck driver to act as a “straw buyer” who posed as the owner of the shell company and applied for the loan in the corporation’s name. As part of the scheme, Goff and a co-conspirator included false information in the loan application regarding the straw buyer’s experience and assets. In addition, Goff and a co-conspirator bribed an escrow agent to falsely advise the bank that a $600,000 equity down payment had been used for the purchase, when in fact no down payment was made. During this scheme, Goff worked with his wife, Melanie Goff; his step-daughter, Monty Brown; a business associate named Leon Draper; and others.

Later in 2007, after obtaining the loan from GPFC and gaining control of the Fountain Valley gas station business, Goff orchestrated a scheme to defraud Nara Bank. In this fraud, Goff formed another shell corporation, installed his wife as owner and had the new shell corporation “buy” the gas station business. Goff then had his wife and step-daughter apply to Nara Bank for a loan to “refinance” the supposed debt one shell company owed the other, without disclosing to the bank that they controlled both companies. Nara Bank was provided false information regarding his wife’s credit history and a $600,000 deposit supposedly put down on the purchase.  When the deal closed, more than one-third of the $1.4 million in loan proceeds were transferred to a bank account the Goffs controlled.

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TWO WOMEN CONVICTED OF VOLUNTARY MANSLAUGHTER FOR KILLING FEMALE PATRON OUTSIDE SANTA ANA BAR

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

SANTA ANA – Two women were convicted today of voluntary manslaughter for killing a female patron outside a Santa Ana bar. Candace Marie Brito, 27, and Vanesa Tapia Zavala, 26, both of Santa Ana, were found guilty by a jury of one felony count of voluntary manslaughter and one felony count of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury with a sentencing enhancement for causing great bodily injury. They each face a maximum sentence of 11 years in state prison at their sentencing Sept. 12, 2014, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-45, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

During the early morning hours on Jan. 19, 2014, 23-year-old victim Annie Pham was involved in a mutual combat with a friend of defendants Brito and Zavala outside a restaurant and bar formally known as The Crosby in downtown Santa Ana. Brito and Zavala were involved in a verbal altercation with the victim and physically assaulted her with their hands and fists as the victim was fighting with the defendants’ friend. Brito and Zavala killed Pham by kicking the victim in the head as she was on the ground fighting the defendants’ friend on the sidewalk. Portions of the attack were captured on cell phone video as the victim’s friends and a security guard unsuccessfully attempted to intervene.

Witnesses at the scene called 911. Paramedics arrived and transported Pham to St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, where she was put on life support. Pham was considered brain dead from blunt force trauma injuries suffered during the attack and was removed from life support on Jan. 21, 2014.

The Santa Ana Police Department investigated this case.

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July 24, 2014

Coto De Caza Man Pleads Guilty in Investment Schemes that Bilked Physicians and Dentists out of more than $2 Million

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

SANTA ANA, California – An Orange County man pleaded guilty to defrauding dozens of doctors and others of more than $2 million in separate schemes that promised large returns on investments in the medical and dental fields.

David Rose, 57, of Coto de Caza, pleaded guilty today in United States District Court to one count of wire fraud and one count of mail fraud.

According to court documents, over a six-year period that ran through May 2011, Rose solicited physicians to invest in an Irvine company he called M.D. Venture Partners (MDVP) and falsely promised lucrative returns on investments in emerging medical technologies.

In a subsequent scheme, Rose used Technology Innovation Partners (TIP) to solicit dentists and orthodontists to invest, claiming funds would be pooled and invested in a company developing ablation technology that would be used to remove wisdom teeth in children without surgery.

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