Best Defender Bytes:

June 4, 2014

Former Riverside County Deputy Public Defender Gets Year in Prison for Collecting Her Dead Grandmother’s Social Security Benefits

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 1:44 am

RIVERSIDE, California – An Upland attorney was sentenced today to one year and one day in federal prison for stealing $129,795 from the Social Security Administration (SSA) after her grandmother died in 2000.

Audrey Owens, 61, who until she retired in September was a deputy public defender for Riverside County, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips.

Owens pleaded guilty on March 3 to two counts of theft of government property, admitting that she bilked the government for 12 years.

According to court documents, from June 2000 through August 2012, Owens fraudulently obtained social security benefits intended for her grandmother, who died in May 2000. After her grandmother’s death, Owens changed the address of a joint account she shared with her grandmother and continued to receive the dead woman’s social security payments.

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June 3, 2014

Man who traded on insider info provided by KPMG partner sentenced to five months in federal prison

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 1:37 am

Bryan Shaw, the owner of an Encino jewelry store who made about $1.6 million trading on inside information obtained from a then-senior partner at KPMG, was sentenced today to federal prison. United States District Judge George H. Wu sentenced Shaw to five months in federal prison. Judge Wu did not impose a fine in this case in light of the fact that Shaw previously paid $1.27 million in disgorgement to the SEC, as well as an additional penalty of $635,893.

This office is not issuing a press release on Shaw’s sentencing. We previously issued a release on the sentencing of Scott London, the former KPMG partner, which can be read here: http://www.justice.gov/usao/cac/Pressroom/2014/049.html

THIRD-STRIKER SENTENCED TO 51 YEARS TO LIFE FOR STABBING-MURDER OF MAN AFTER ARGUMENT OVER RIDE

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

SANTA ANA – A third-striker was sentenced yesterday to 51 years to life in state prison for stabbing and murdering a man after an argument over a ride. Joseph Robert Suess, 39, Anaheim, was found guilty by a jury March 20 2014, to one felony count of first degree murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon. The defendant has prior strike convictions for kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon, and attempted robbery in 1994, and assault with a deadly weapon in 2002.

Co-defendant Heriberto Erick Vergara Calvillo, 28, Anaheim, pleaded guilty April 25, 2014, to one felony count of voluntary manslaughter. He is expected to be sentenced to 22 years in state prison at his sentencing June 27, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center.

At approximately midnight on Aug. 30, 2012, Suess, Calvillo, and 53-year-old Mikel Williams were drinking alcohol and socializing in an alley near Zeyn Street in Anaheim. Suess asked Williams for a ride out of the area but the victim refused.

Suess began arguing with Williams, which escalated into a physical altercation. Suess began to beat Williams by punching and kicking him. Calvillo is accused of participating in beating the victim. While the victim was laying on the ground unconscious, Suess robbed the victim of $200, grabbed a knife from Williams, and murdered the victim by stabbing him three times in the thigh.

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DRUNKEN DRIVER SENTENCED FOR KILLING WOMAN AND INJURING HER FIANCÉ IN MOTORCYCLE CRASH

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

WESTMINSTER – A drunken driver was sentenced today for killing a 25-year-old woman and severely injuring her 24-year-old fiancé by hitting their motorcycle while under the influence of alcohol. Tadashi Mizutani, 69, Huntington Beach, pleaded guilty May 9, 2014, to one felony count of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated without gross negligence, one felony count of driving under the influence causing bodily injury, one felony count of driving with blood alcohol .08 percent or more causing bodily injury, and a sentencing enhancement for inflicting great bodily injury. He was sentenced today to serve one year in jail and five years in state prison stayed pending completion of three years formal probation.

At approximately 8:30 p.m. on June 1, 2013, Mizutani was driving his sports car northbound on Goldenwest Street in Huntington Beach. While turning left at the intersection of Goldenwest Street and Rio Vista Drive, Mizutani failed to yield for Taylor R. and Kelly Morehouse as they legally passed through the intersection on their motorcycle. Mizutani cut off the motorcycle and, despite Taylor R.’s efforts, the vehicles collided, causing both Taylor R. and Morehouse to be thrown from the motorcycle.

Mizutani caused the crash that killed Kelly Morehouse and resulted in Taylor R. breaking both of his legs.

Shortly after the crash, Huntington Beach Police Department officers arrived at the scene. Mizutani had a blood alcohol content of .13 percent.

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June 2, 2014

Justice Department to Monitor Elections in California and New Mexico

Filed under: Uncategorized — fayarfa @ 8:09 pm

The Justice Department announced today that it will monitor elections on June 3, 2014, in Alameda and Napa Counties, California, and Cibola County, N.M., to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act and other federal voting rights statutes.  The Voting Rights Act prohibits discrimination in the election process on the basis of race, color or membership in a minority language group.

In Alameda County, the department will assign federal observers from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to monitor polling place activities based on a court order.  The observers will watch and record activities during voting hours at polling locations in this jurisdiction, and Civil Rights Division attorneys will coordinate the federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials.

In addition, department personnel will monitor polling place activities in Napa and Cibola Counties.  Civil Rights Division attorneys will coordinate federal activities and maintain contact with local election officials.

Each year, the department deploys federal observers from OPM and departmental staff to monitor elections across the country.  To file complaints about discriminatory voting practices, including acts of harassment or intimidation, voters may call the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division at 1-800-253-3931.

Visit this website for more information about the Voting Rights Act and other federal voting laws.

Department of Justice / 14-586 - Civil Rights Division / June 2, 2014

BUENA PARK CITY COUNCIL MEMBER CONVICTED OF PERJURY ON DMV DOCUMENTS TO AVOID CHILD SUPPORT PAYMENTS

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:06 am

WESTMINSTER – A Buena Park city council member was convicted today of repeatedly committing perjury on California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) documents to avoid paying child support to his ex-wife. Sangjin Miller Oh, 50, was found guilty by a jury of five felony counts of perjury by declaration and faces a maximum sentence of six years and four months in state prison at his sentencing Aug. 22, 2014, in Department W-8, West Justice Center, Westminster.

Between Sept. 23, 2004, and July 20, 2009, Oh committed perjury on five occasions by signing official DMV documents using fraudulent information. The defendant committed this crime with the intention of avoiding child support payments to his ex-wife by hiding his assets under his false name.

On one occasion, Oh applied for a driver’s license under the name Robert Oh and fraudulently failed to disclose that he had previously applied for a license under a different name, as required by law. On another occasion, Oh fraudulently failed to disclose that his license had previously been suspended. On four other occasions, Oh used his fraudulently obtained license to register vehicles.

This case was investigated by the DMV, Orange County District Attorney’s Office, and Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General.

Senior Deputy District Attorney John Christl of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 12CF1632 / May 30, 2014

THIRD-STRIKER SENTENCED TO 75 YEARS TO LIFE PLUS 15 YEARS IN PRISON FOR COMMITTING ROBBERIES IN ORANGE COUNTY BANKS

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:03 am

SANTA ANA – A third-striker was sentenced today to 75 years to life in state prison plus an additional 15 years for committing robberies in Orange County banks. David Dennis Hill, 54, Garden Grove, was found guilty by a jury April 16, 2014, of three felony counts of second degree commercial burglary, two felony counts of second degree robbery, and one felony count of attempted second degree robbery. The sentencing enhancements for six prior strike convictions were found true and include: two strike convictions for committing two residential burglaries in Los Angeles County in 1984, committing three bank robberies in Los Angeles County in 1990, and committing a bank robbery in Los Angeles County in 2001. The sentencing enhancements for serving five separate prison terms and not remaining free for five years were found true and include: committing a vehicle theft in Los Angeles County in 1982, committing a residential burglary in Los Angeles County in 1984, committing a residential burglary in Orange County in 1985 and 1988, and committing a petty theft with a prior conviction in 1987 in Los Angeles County.

Circumstances of the Case

Between July 7, 2012, and July 19, 2012, Hill entered three different banks in Anaheim and Huntington Beach and robbed or attempted to rob a bank teller by hiding his hand in his pocket to appear as if he had a gun, demanding money, and threatening to kill people inside the bank.

On July 19, 2012, Hill entered a Union Bank in Huntington Beach and robbed a bank teller. Hill then fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of money. Shortly after the robbery, the bank manager saw the defendant in a nearby shopping center and contacted Huntington Beach Police Department (HBPD). HBPD officers arrived and found Hill with the stolen money on his person and arrested him.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Lynda Fernandez of the Felony Panel prosecuted this case.

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 12WF1939 / May 30, 2014

May 30, 2014

FORMER TEACHER CONVICTED OF UNLAWFUL SEX ACTS WITH 14-YEAR-OLD HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT AFTER SNEAKING HER PAST ROOMMATES

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:26 am

SANTA ANA – A former JSerra Catholic High School (JSerra) teacher was convicted by a jury today of engaging in unlawful sex acts with a 14-year-old girl he met at the school. Ricardo Aldana, 40, was found guilty by a jury of three felony counts of lewd acts on a child. He faces a maximum sentence of four years and four months in state prison and mandatory lifetime sex offender registration at his sentencing on July 11, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-34, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

At the time of the crime, Aldana was a Spanish teacher and boys’ soccer coach at JSerra in San Juan Capistrano. He met 13-year-old Jane Doe while she was a student at the school. He befriended the victim and gained her trust.

In June 2011, after Jane Doe had turned 14 years old, Aldana inappropriately massaged Jane Doe’s shoulders over her clothes while they were alone in his classroom. He continued to groom the victim by frequently exchanging text messages and speaking with her on the phone.

In September 2011, Aldana picked up Jane Doe in his vehicle near her home while the victim’s mother was out of town. He drove the victim to his Dana Point residence and snuck her into his bedroom to avoid being seen by his roommates. Aldana engaged in substantial unlawful sex acts with Jane Doe. At approximately 4:00 a.m., Aldana dropped Jane Doe off at her home.

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MAN LINKED THROUGH DNA TO 2001 COLD-CASE SEXUAL ASSAULT OF WOMAN HE KIDNAPPED FROM BUS STOP CONVICTED

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:21 am

SANTA ANA – A man was convicted today 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 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. He faces a maximum sentence of 34 years to life in state prison and mandatory lifetime sex offender registration at his sentencing June 18, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-36, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

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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Burbank Day Care Owner Sentenced for Infant Death

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:17 am

The owner of an in-home day care center was sentenced today to six years in state prison for her role in the 2012 death of an 11-month-old boy left in her care, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Tamu Usher said Milena Nikodijevic, 52, pleaded no contest on May 7 to one count of child endangerment causing death.

One of Nikodijevic’s employees, Wendy Roxana Oropeza, 22, pleaded no contest to one count of involuntary manslaughter on Jan. 13.

At that time, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Elaine Lu of the Pasadena Branch sentenced Oropeza to one year in county jail, five years probation and 32 hours of community service.

They are both barred from working as child care providers.

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