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June 15, 2017

Transient Charged With Arson For Hollywood Apartment Fire

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

A man was charged today with setting a fire at an apartment complex that was being built in Hollywood, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Benicio Garcia (dob 10/23/96) was charged in case BA458250 with two counts each of arson of an inhabited structure and arson of a structure. He is scheduled to be arraigned today in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

Deputy District Attorney Rachel Bowers of the Arson and Explosives Section is prosecuting the case.

On June 12, a fire was reported at an apartment building that was under construction in the 400 block of North Helitrope Drive. The blaze destroyed the complex and two other structures were damaged.

Garcia, no one was inside the building when the fire began. One firefighter was injured.

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June 14, 2017

Orange County Man Sentenced to Over 8 Years in Federal Prison for Possessing Large Collection of Child Pornography

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

SANTA ANA, California – A Westminster man has been sentenced to over 8 years in federal prison for possession of child pornography.

Peter Henry Herz, 61, yesterday received a 97-month sentence from United States District Judge Cormac J. Carney.

Following the completion of his prison term, Herz will be subject to supervised release for the rest of his life. Judge Carney also ordered the defendant to pay $7,500 to one of the victims of his offense.

Herz pleaded guilty in February to one count of possession of child pornography, admitting he had still images and videos of child pornography on his digital devices in 2009. After being charged and arrested for that conduct, Herz was freed on bond. While awaiting trial, Herz obtained new digital devices and possessed additional images of child pornography. Herz possessed a total of more than 500,000 images and 369 videos depicting child pornography.

From 2003 through 2013, Herz worked as the pianist and musical director for Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach and was the staff accompanist at the Theater Department at California State University, Fullerton.

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Fresno Man Arrested on Federal Copyright Violations for Alleged Illegal Upload of ‘Deadpool’ Movie to the Internet

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

LOS ANGELES – A Fresno man was arrested this morning on a federal criminal charge of copyright infringement that alleges he posted the movie “Deadpool” to his Facebook page.

As a result of the illegal upload, more than 5 million people were able to view the film copyrighted by the Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.

Trevon Maurice Franklin, 21, who used the screen name “Tre-Von M. King,” allegedly uploaded “Deadpool” approximately eight days after its February 2016 release to theaters.

Franklin is charged in a one-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury on April 7 with reproducing and distributing a copyrighted work, a felony offense that carries a statutory maximum penalty of three years in federal prison.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Franklin is expected to make his initial court appearance this afternoon in United States District Court in Fresno.

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Manhattan Beach Resident Convicted of Embezzlement and Filing False Tax Returns

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

WASHINGTON – A federal jury convicted a Manhattan Beach resident today of wire fraud and filing false tax returns, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Alana W. Robinson for the Southern District of California.

According to the evidence presented at trial, James Miller was the president and managing partner of MWRC Internet Sales LLC, an Internet sales company. As part of his duties, Miller had check signing authority for the company’s business bank account. From January 2009 through October 2012, Miller wrote unauthorized checks to himself, embezzling more than $300,000 from the company. Miller used this money to pay for personal expenses and did not report it on his personal tax returns for 2009 through 2012, causing a tax loss of approximately $58,000.

Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 7, 2017. Miller faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for each count of wire fraud and three years in prison for each count of filing a false tax return. He also faces a period of supervised release, restitution and monetary penalties.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg and Acting U.S. Attorney Robinson commended special agents of FBI and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Rebecca Kanter and Trial Attorney Benjamin Weir of the Tax Division, who prosecuted the case.

Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.

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June 13, 2017

Glendale Tax Return Preparer Who Stole over $1.2 Million in Refunds Owed to His Clients Sentenced to 46 Months in Federal Prison

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

LOS ANGELES – The operator of a Glendale tax preparation business who admitted defrauding his clients out of more than $1.2 million by diverting their tax refunds into his own bank accounts was sentenced today to 46 months in federal prison.

Michael Joseph Calalang Cabuhat, 42, a resident of the Hollywood Hills West neighborhood of Los Angeles, who refers to himself in online postings as “celebritytaxguy,” was sentenced by United States District Judge John F. Walter.

At this morning’s sentencing hearing, Judge Walter said Cabuhat’s scheme was “vicious” because it led to both financial and emotional harm to his victim-clients. Judge Walter noted that the stolen money was used simply to enhance Cabuhat’s lifestyle, allowing him to obtain a big house and a fancy car “all on the backs of these individuals who placed their trust” in Cabuhat.

Cabuhat is a half-owner of VisionQwest Resource Group, Inc., which operates VisionQwest Accountancy Group and Icon Tax Group, Inc., in Glendale. By pleading guilty, Cabuhat admitted that, from 2010 through 2016, he defrauded his clients in two ways.

In some instances, the client was given a copy of a tax return that showed a much smaller refund amount than on the tax return that Cabuhat actually filed with the IRS. Sometimes, Cabuhat would simply increase the amount of tax owed on the taxpayer’s copy of the return, thereby decreasing the refund; and sometimes he would manipulate the expenses reported on the filed returns to increase the refund. Without the taxpayer’s knowledge, Cabuhat filed paperwork that directed the IRS to deposit the small amount reflected on the taxpayer’s copy of the tax return into the taxpayer’s bank account, and to deposit the remainder into a bank account that Cabuhat controlled.

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San Juan Capistrano Woman Pleads Guilty to Stealing over $1.5 Million from Clients of Her Orange County Accounting Business

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

SANTA ANA, California – The owner and operator of Mulder Financial Consulting – a financial services company that provided accounting, tax and bookkeeping services – pleaded guilty this afternoon to federal charges for embezzling more than $1.5 million from her clients.

Elizabeth Jane Mulder, who also goes by “Lizzie,” a 34-year-old resident of San Juan Capistrano, pleaded guilty to wire fraud and subscribing to a false income tax return for failing to disclose the misappropriated funds to the Internal Revenue Service.

According to documents filed in United States District Court, from July 2009 until last month, Mulder obtained money from small business clients by gaining the trust of their owners, some of whom allowed her to gain control over their financial accounts.

In relation to nearly all of her victims, Mulder convinced clients to make checks payable to “Income Tax Payments” with promises that those payments would satisfy the clients’ outstanding IRS tax obligations and would be forwarded to the appropriate federal, state or local tax authority. Mulder then deposited these checks into a bank account she created under the name “Income Tax Payments” and converted the funds for her own personal use.

Mulder took money from victims after creating false personas that appeared to be investors and/or representatives of other companies, which led her clients to believe various expenses were being paid for the benefit of their respective businesses. In fact, Mulder simply was depositing clients’ money into her own bank account.

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Lead Defendant in Federal Case Targeting Crips Gang Sentenced to Nearly 22 Years in Prison for Racketeering Offenses, including Murder Plot

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

LOS ANGELES – A leader of the Five Deuce Broadway Gangster Crips (BGC) – who pleaded guilty to five federal charges, including being the leader a scheme that led to the murder of a former-gangster-turned-cooperator, was sentenced today to 262 months in federal prison.

Tyrine Martinez, also known as “Lil’ C-Bone,” 36, of Vernon, was sentenced this morning by United States District Judge S. James Otero.

Martinez admitted in court that he conspired with other BGC members to murder a fellow gang member who had provided law enforcement with information about a 2012 BGC gang shooting that killed an unarmed teenager with no gang affiliation and wounded three others, including a 10-year-old girl and her mother;

Martinez pleaded guilty last September to conspiring to violate the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, conspiring to commit murder, conspiring to traffic crack cocaine, selling crack cocaine near schools, and illegally possessing a firearm in furtherance of his drug trafficking and violent crimes.

Martinez was a “vital leader” to the BGC subset, or “clique,” known as the Gremlin Riderz, which served as the gang’s “hit squad” and whose members bore tattoos from the 1984 movie “Gremlins,” according to court documents. As leader of the Gremlin Riderz, Martinez “served as the prototype of why and how gangs destroy communities (most often their own) through violence, intimidation, fueling crack cocaine addiction and by contriving a self-serving and morally corrupt ‘code,’” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum.

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June 12, 2017

Long Beach Man Pleads to Raping Elderly Woman

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

A 42-year-old man pleaded no contest today to sexually assaulting an 88-year-old woman in her home, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

District Attorney Troy Davis said Emmanuel Stanley Reales of Long Beach entered the plea to one felony count each of forcible rape and forcible oral copulation.

Additionally, Reales admitted he was previously convicted and served prison terms for assault with a deadly weapon in 2001 and receiving stolen property in 2007.

The defendant was immediately sentenced to 38 years in state prison and will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

In the early morning of June 6, 2015, the elderly victim woke up to find the sliding door open in her Harbor City home, the prosecutor said.

At that point, Reales attacked the woman and sexually assaulted her, the prosecutor added. The victim was able to break free, run to a neighbor’s home and call police.

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Former Silicon Valley CEO Indicted for Allegedly Defrauding Employees of Tech Company Start-Up

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

The founder and chief executive officer of a now-defunct Silicon Valley technology start-up company was charged in an indictment unsealed yesterday in Orange County, California with allegedly defrauding several of his company’s former employees by luring them to join his company based on false and misleading statements about his educational, professional and financial background, and by allegedly enticing them to continue working for his company by providing them with forged documents purportedly reflecting payments for unpaid salaries.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch of the Northern District of California and Special Agent in Charge John F. Bennett of the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office made the announcement.

Isaac Choi, aka Yi Suk Choi, aka Yisuk Choi, aka Yi Suk Chae, aka Isaac Chae, (Choi), 36, most recently of Orange County and previously of Santa Clara, California, was charged with five counts of wire fraud.

The indictment alleges that Choi, while working at his company, known publicly as WrkRiot, falsely claimed that he received a degree from a prestigious New York business school, worked as an analyst at a major financial instution, had access to significant personal wealth, and was investing significant amounts of that money into the company. The indictment further alleges that after certain WrkRiot employees came to learn that WrkRiot’s bank accounts did not contain the capital that Choi claimed to have invested, Choi falsely claimed that a significant portion of the money he pledged to invest was tied up overseas and elsewhere.

The indictment further alleges that in August 2016, Choi sent a series of individualized emails to WrkRiot’s employees stating that salary payments were forthcoming, and attaching documents purporting to confirm wire transfers from a U.S.-based bank to the bank accounts of the recipient WrkRiot employees. In reality, as alleged in the indictment, Choi sent forged wire transfer confirmations in order to induce WrkRiot employees to continue working for the company without being paid.

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Former Orange County Income Tax Return Preparer Sentenced to One Year in Federal Prison for Falsifying Deductions on Clients’ Returns

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:02 am

LOS ANGELES – The former owner of a Tustin income tax preparation business called First Quality Tax Services was sentenced today to one year and one day in federal prison for preparing and filing fraudulent federal income tax returns claiming false deductions for his clients.

Thomas P. Butcher, 62, of Rancho Santa Margarita, was sentenced by United States District Court Judge John A. Kronstadt.

In addition to the prison term, which he will begin serving by July 25, Butcher was ordered to pay $197,549 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.

Butcher pleaded guilty in January to two counts of aiding and abetting in the preparation of a false income tax return.

According to court documents Butcher prepared and filed tax returns for tax years 2009 through 2011 that claimed false credits and deductions that his clients were not entitled to receive.

Butcher “inflated or completely fabricated various itemized deductions on his clients’ Schedules A, particularly those involving gifts to charity and alleged job expenses,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed with the court.

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