Best Defender Bytes:

August 2, 2013


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:30 am

SANTA ANA – A treasurer is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow for embezzling over $110,000 from church bank accounts. Fiatala Manu, 46, Lake Elsinore, is charged with four felony counts of money laundering, seven felony counts of falsifying records, one felony count of embezzlement by fiduciary of trust, one felony count of grand theft with sentencing enhancements for committing an aggravated white collar crime over $100,000, and property damage over $65,000. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 11 years and four months in state prison. He is being held on $100,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, Friday, Aug. 2, 2013, at 10:00 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

Between October 2011 and August 2012, Manu is accused of being a member of the First Samoan Christian Congregational Church in Santa Ana and serving as an interim treasurer. The defendant is accused of being responsible for handling the church’s financial accounts which included paying the bills.

Manu is accused of embezzling approximately $113,000 from the church by making unauthorized cash withdrawals, writing checks payable to himself, and transferring funds from the church bank accounts into his personal bank account. The defendant is accused of embezzling $96,000 solely from a deposit account set aside to build a new church. Manu is also accused of laundering the embezzled funds deposited into his personal bank account through cash withdrawal transactions and purchases made at an Indian gaming casino.

The defendant is accused of attending monthly church meetings and reporting false financial reports, which included reporting false balances and funds in the church bank accounts.



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:27 am

SANTA ANA – A man was convicted and sentenced today to six years in state prison for fraudulently collecting his deceased father’s social security and pension benefits after being identified by detectives investigating human bones found in a Santa Ana backyard. Larry Thomas Dominguez, 66, Santa Ana, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of grand theft by embezzlement, one felony count of forgery, two felony counts of identity theft, two felony counts of forging an access cardholder’s signature, and sentencing enhancements for aggravated white collar crime over $100,000 and property loss over $65,000. In addition to his prison sentence, Dominguez is ordered to pay over $97,000 in restitution.

On Jan. 27, 2013, residents in Santa Ana contacted the Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) to report finding bones in the backyard of their home. SAPD began investigating the case, as the bones appeared to be human remains. Investigators determined that Dominguez was the prior resident and subsequently contacted the defendant at his mobile home residence in Santa Ana as part of the investigation into the bones.

The investigation revealed that Dominguez’s father Wallace Benjamin Dominguez died in May 2005. The defendant then buried his father in the backyard of the Santa Ana home, where the bones were located in 2013.

Between January 2005 and January 2013, the defendant illegally stole his deceased father’s social security benefits. He fraudulently collected over $1,100 per month in benefits, stealing over $92,000 in all. The defendant also collected his deceased father’s pension from a Washington Mutual account, amounting to over $4,500. After his father’s death, Dominguez forged his father’s name on checks and assumed his father’s identity to open numerous credit cards.



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:23 am

SANTA ANA – A man faces trial today for kidnapping a toddler, who was strapped into a car seat, during a carjacking in Aliso Viejo. James Christopher Corr, 35, Mission Viejo, is charged with one felony count each of first degree robbery, aggravated assault, carjacking, kidnapping, kidnapping during the commission of a carjacking, kidnapping child under 14 years old, child abuse, child stealing, second degree vehicle burglary, hit and run with injury, first degree residential burglary, vandalism over $400, one misdemeanor count of resisting an officer, and sentencing enhancements for non-accomplice present during a residential burglary and a prior prison conviction in Nevada for leaving the scene of an accident in 2005. If convicted, Corr faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison. Opening statements are scheduled to begin today at 9:15 a.m. in Department C-36, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Between 6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. on Oct. 15, 2011, Corr is accused of breaking into a Honda Accord parked in a lot in front of a business in Aliso Viejo and stealing a purse and its contents, including credit cards. He is accused of fleeing the scene.

Shortly after 8:00 a.m., Corr is accused of going into a nearby neighborhood. Victim Suzanne C., who was seven months pregnant, was preparing to leave her home and was in her garage with the garage door open. The victim put her Saint Bernard in the caged-off rear area of her Volvo sport utility vehicle (SUV) and then put her 2-year-old son, John Doe, in his child safety seat in the back seat of the car behind the driver’s seat. She placed her keys in the car and left the driver’s door and door next to her son open as she walked into her home through the internal garage access door for a matter of seconds to get her son’s sippy cup.

In the few seconds that Suzanne C. was inside her home, Corr is accused of getting into the driver’s seat of her car. The victim walked out and began screaming at Corr to let her get her son as John Doe cried in the back seat. The victim attempted to remove her son from his car seat through the open door, but the defendant is accused of backing out of the garage and knocking Suzanne C. to the ground with the SUV. He is accused of running over her foot as he rapidly reversed, leaving tire skid marks from his speed.


August 1, 2013

Child Exploitation Task Forces Conduct Multi-Night Operation in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties as Part of Operation Cross Country VII

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:47 am

Two Minors Rescued and Multiple Arrests Made

The FBI and multiple law enforcement agencies in Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange, and Los Angeles Counties conducted proactive investigations in various cities over the weekend focusing on the identification and recovery of victims of sexual trafficking, announced Bill L. Lewis, the Assistant Director of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. ADIC Lewis made the announcement on behalf of multiple departments that participated in the operation.

The law enforcement activity was part of a national initiative known as Operation Cross Country VII took place in 76 cities in the United States and led to the rescue of over 100 minors. Over 150 suspects were arrested for allegedly transporting minors for the purposes of prostitution, among other violations. More than 230 agencies participated in Operation Cross Country VII.

In the four counties that fall within the jurisdiction of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, two minors, ages 15 and 16, were rescued, and four pimps were arrested. As part of these efforts, investigators also partner with experts in the field of human trafficking to seek evidence of sex trafficking where adults, as well as minors, are being victimized.

“The FBI is proud to partner with local law enforcement agencies whose personnel encounter the victimization of minors through prostitution in their cities on a routine basis,” said Bill L. Lewis, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “The FBI is committed to the identification and rescue of minor victims and to hold accountable through either state or federal prosecution those who exploit children for financial gain.”



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:45 am

FULLERTON – A pimp has been charged with human trafficking and pandering two minors and attempting to pimp a third teenage girl. Curtis Maurice Canady, 19, was charged yesterday, July 29, 2013, with two felony counts of human trafficking with the intent to pander, two felony counts of pandering a minor by procuring, and one felony count of attempted pimping. If convicted on all counts, Canady faces a maximum sentence of 15 years and four months in state prison. Canady is being held in custody on $75,000 bail and is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on Aug. 6, 2013, at 8:30 a.m. in Department N-12, North Justice Center, Fullerton.

Circumstances of the Case

Canady is accused of being a pimp/human trafficker who exploits women and children for financial gain. The victims are required to turn over all payment they receive for sex acts from sex purchasers to their pimp.

Prior to July 25, 2013, the defendant is accused of driving 19-year-old Jane Doe #1, 16-year-old Jane Doe #2, and 15-year-old Jane Doe #3 to an area known for commercial sex on Beach Boulevard in Anaheim.

The defendant is accused of dropping off the victims and instructing them to engage in acts of commercial sex. Undercover officers of the Anaheim Police Department (APD) observed two of the victims and made contact with them at the scene. Canady was arrested on July 25, 2013, by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Operation Cross Country, a large-scale human trafficking sweep.


July 31, 2013


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 11:35 am

SANTA ANA – A man will be arraigned tomorrow for pimping and pandering a teenage woman after posting an advertisement on a website known for prostitution. Davion D’Anthony Johnson-Harris, 24, Anaheim, is charged with one felony count each of pimping and pandering. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of six years in state prison. He is currently being held on $100,000 bail, and is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, July 31, 2013, at 8:00 a.m. in Department C-5, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Circumstances of the Case

Johnson-Harris is accused of being a pimp/human trafficker who exploits women and/or children financial gain.

The defendant is accused of exploiting 18-year-old Jane Doe for commercial sex. For approximately four days, the defendant is accused of instructing Jane Doe on how much money to bring in for specific sex acts.

During an undercover sting operation, Anaheim Police Department (APD) officers responded to an advertisement on a website known for prostitution offering sex with Jane Doe. The undercover officer met Jane Doe in a hotel room for sex and determined that she was being exploited by Johnson-Harris. On May 24, 2013, APD arrested Johnson-Harris.

This case was investigated by APD and Deputy District Attorney Daniel Varon of the HEAT Unit is prosecuting this case.

Proposition 35 and HEAT

In November 2012, California’s anti-human trafficking Proposition 35 (Prop 35) was enacted in California with 81 percent of the vote, and over 82 percent of the vote in Orange County, to increase the penalty for human trafficking, particularly in cases involving the trafficking of a minor by force.



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:52 am

SANTA ANA – A man will face trial Monday for the beating-murder of his girlfriend’s sister’s 18-month-old daughter and abusing another child in a similar way in 2009. Juan Carlos Aguilar, 27, Santa Ana, is charged with one felony count of murder, one felony count of assault on a child with force likely to produce great bodily injury resulting in death, and two felony counts of child abuse. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 31 years to life in state prison. Opening statements are expected to begin Monday, July 29, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-29, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

In July 2011, Aguilar is accused of living in a Santa Ana apartment with his girlfriend, their 3-year-old daughter, his girlfriend’s sister, and her 18-month-old daughter Megan Rodriguez.

At approximately 7:00 a.m. on July 9, 2011, Rodriguez’s mother left the apartment to go to work at a Newport Beach hotel. At approximately 8:30 a.m., Aguilar’s girlfriend left to go to the market with their 3-year-old daughter. Aguilar is accused of remaining at home with the 18-month-old toddler and was solely responsible for her care.

While alone with the little girl, Aguilar is accused of assaulting the victim with great force by squeezing her ribcage with his hands. At approximately 10:30 a.m., Aguilar’s girlfriend and daughter returned from the store to find the victim limp and having trouble breathing.  Aguilar is accused of insisting that his girlfriend not call the police and instead drove the victim from Santa Ana to the Newport Beach hotel where her mother worked.



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:48 am

WESTMINSTER – A man was convicted yesterday of assaulting a victim following a road rage pursuit. Robert Allen Barnhart, 54, Bellflower, was found guilty by a jury yesterday, July 25, 2013, of two felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one misdemeanor count of battery. He faces a maximum sentence of five years and two months in state prison at his sentencing Sept. 27, 2013, at 1:30 p.m. in Department W-9, West Justice Center, Westminster.

At approximately 10:50 a.m. on Nov. 5, 2011, Barnhart was driving his Dodge Ram truck on Bloomfield Avenue in Los Alamitos when he was rear-ended by 18-year-old John Doe at a red traffic light. Barnhart got out of his vehicle and confronted the victim by yelling and making threats at him. The victim returned to his vehicle and attempted to drive away.

Barnhart got back inside his truck, chased the victim, and sped up to get in front of John Doe’s vehicle. Barnhart purposely swerved, used the right rear bumper of his truck to hit the front of the victim’s driver-side bumper, and caused the victim’s vehicle to spin out into the opposite lane of traffic. The victim then attempted to drive away on the wrong side of the road.

Barnhart sped up and continued to chase the victim’s vehicle. Barnhart got in front of the victim’s vehicle and immediately swerved and hit the brakes, which caused John Doe’s vehicle to slam into the passenger side of the defendant’s truck and prevented the victim from driving.



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:43 am

SANTA ANA – Thirteen men, who were arrested in an undercover sting operation, pleaded guilty and were sentenced yesterday for soliciting sex or sex acts from an undercover police officer, whom they believed to be a prostitute in an area known for human trafficking. David Arellano, 36; Adan Castillo, 29; Ricardo Diaz, 41; Daniel Lopez, 29; German Lopez, 41; Alberto Napoles, 25; Jose Navarro, 56; Michael Rodriguez, 33; Serafin Romero, 23; Juan Ruiz, 41; Gregorio Sosa, 28; and Fidel Urquiza, 44, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of soliciting another to engage in prostitution. Arellano, Castillo, Lopez, Romero, and Sosa also pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of driving without a license. Each of the defendants were sentenced to three years of informal probation, 10 days in jail with the possibility of CalTrans in lieu of jail, and must submit DNA as well as AIDS testing and education.

Andres Dominguez, 44, pleaded guilty to a court offer to one misdemeanor count of soliciting another to engage in prostitution. Dominguez was sentenced to three years of informal probation, 10 days in jail, and must submit to AIDS testing and education. As part of the court offer, Dominguez is not required to submit DNA.

On the night of May 28, 2013, the 13 defendants were arrested in an undercover operation by officers from the Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) for soliciting sex or sex acts from an undercover female officer, whom they believed to be a prostitute. The defendants approached the undercover officer on First Street in Santa Ana and solicited sex in exchange for money.

This area of First Street is known to law enforcement to be a high-prostitution area and is known to frequently be used by individuals who sexually exploit and traffic women and underage girls for financial gain, including pimps, panderers, and human traffickers.


July 30, 2013


Filed under: Los Angeles sexual assault attorney — fayarfa @ 8:01 pm

SANTA ANA – A woman was sentenced today to 16 months in state prison for sexually assaulting two boys, ages 14 and 16 years old, who played on the hockey team of her teenage relative. Kathia Maria Davis, 46, Laguna Niguel, pleaded guilty June 27, 2013, to four felony counts of lewd acts on a child for John Doe #1. The defendant was previously found guilty by a jury Aug. 9, 2012, of four felony counts of unlawful sexual intercourse for John Doe #2, and two misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor for John Doe #2 and Jane Doe #1. That jury was unable to reach a unanimous verdict regarding the sex crimes against John Doe #1. In addition to her prison sentence, the defendant is subject to lifetime sex offender registration.

Davis met 14-year-old John Doe #1 and 16-year-old John Doe #2 through her male relative’s hockey team.

On one occasion between April 2006 and April 2008, the defendant let her relative and John Doe #1 drink alcohol in her home during a sleepover. After two of the defendant’s teen relatives fell asleep on the floor, Davis sexually assaulted the victim by kissing and masturbating him in the same room.

On four occasions between July 2010 and July 2011, the defendant had unlawful sexual intercourse with John Doe #2 at her home in her bedroom. Davis also gave John Doe #2 alcohol. On one other occasion, Davis encouraged John Doe #2 and a teen girl to drink alcohol during a party in her home.


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