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September 12, 2013

Eight Defendants Plead Guilty in Armenian Power RICO Case

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:02 am

LOS ANGELES – Four members and associates of the Armenian Power gang, as well as four others, pleaded guilty late Monday to charges related to the activities of the Armenian Power criminal enterprise, including racketeering conspiracy, bank fraud, aggravated identity theft, drug-trafficking and illegal possession of firearms.

The eight who pleaded guilty yesterday are among 70 people who were charged two years ago in a 140-count indictment that outlined the criminal activities of the Armenian Power gang. The indictment accused 29 defendants, including four of those who pleaded guilty yesterday, of participation in the Armenian Power racketeering conspiracy. The RICO count in the indictment alleges a host of illegal activities, including sophisticated fraud schemes involving identity theft, bank fraud, credit card skimming, counterfeit checks and money laundering. The indictment also alleged a variety of violent crimes, such as extortion, kidnapping and firearms offenses.

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Van Nuys doctor sentenced in sexual battery case

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

A Van Nuys gynecologist who pleaded to sexually assaulting a patient while examining her at a Northridge hospital was ordered today to register for life as a sex offender and to undergo a year of counseling, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Dr. Kevin Pezeshki, 43, was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Gregory Dohi after he earlier pleaded no contest to one count of felony sexual battery by fraud. Similar charges involving a second patient were dismissed as a result of his plea.

Deputy District Attorney Rena Durrrant said Pezeshki admitted inappropriately touching a female patient during an exam in 2008 at Northridge Hospital Medical Center. The victim said that when she turned around she said she saw the doctor pulling up the zipper of his pants.

Pezeshki has a hearing later this year on the status of his suspended medical license before the state Medical Board.

Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office / Sept. 11, 2013

September 11, 2013

MEDICAL SUPPLY COMPANY OFFICER AND SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA PHYSICIAN SENTENCED FOR $1.5 MILLION MEDICARE FRAUD

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:03 am

WASHINGTON – A former officer of Fendih Medical Supply Inc. was sentenced to serve 51 months in prison yesterday in Los Angeles for his role in a fraud scheme that resulted in $1.5 million in fraudulent claims to Medicare.  In addition, a physician was sentenced to 27 months in prison for his role in the scheme.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Mythili Raman of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. of the Central District of California, Special Agent in Charge Glenn R. Ferry of the Los Angeles Region of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) and Assistant Director in Charge Bill L. Lewis of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office made the announcement.

Godwin Onyeabor, 49, of San Bernandino, Calif., was sentenced on Sept. 9, 2013, by U.S. District Judge Manuel L. Real in the Central District of California to 51 months in prison.  In addition to his prison term, Onyeabor was sentenced to three years of supervised release. Restitution will be determined at a later date.  Dr. Sri J. Wijegunaratne, 58, of Anaheim, Calif., was sentenced to 27 months in prison by Judge Real.  In addition to his prison term, Wijegunaratne was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $87,846.

On April 24, 2013, a jury in Los Angeles federal court found Wijegunaratne, Onyeabor and Heidi Morishita, 48, guilty of one count of conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks.  In addition, Wijegunaratne and Onyeabor were found guilty of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.  Wijegunaratne was found guilty of seven counts of health care fraud, and Onyeabor was found guilty of eleven counts of health care fraud.

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Man Previously Convicted of Transporting Minors to Work as Prostitutes Faces New Charges of Sex Trafficking Women

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:01 am

SANTA ANA, California – A Seattle man with a long history of forcing women into the sex trade was arraigned this morning on new charges that accuse him of sex trafficking and could send him to prison for at least another 15 years.

William Earl Flavors, who is sometimes known as “Andre,” 40, pleaded not guilty this morning after a federal grand jury indicted him on one count of sex trafficking by force, fraud or coercion, and two counts of transportation into prostitution. Flavors allegedly brought two victims from Long Beach to Las Vegas where they were forced or coerced to work as prostitutes.

The sex trafficking count carries a mandatory minimum of 15 years in federal prison.

Flavors was previously prosecuted by the United States Attorney’s Office in a case that brought him a 14-year prison sentence in May 2000. In that case, Flavors admitted transporting two teen-age girls from Washington and forcing them to work as prostitutes in Orange County.

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September 10, 2013

Oxnard Man Who Kidnapped Former Girlfriend and Threatened to KillHer in Mexico is Sentenced to over 24 Years in Federal Prison

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:39 am

LOS ANGELES – A Ventura County man who kidnapped his former girlfriend and drove her to Mexico while threatening to kill her and dump her body was sentenced this morning to 293 years in federal prison.

Rudy Soto, 26, of Oxnard, was sentenced by United States District Judge Otis D. Wright II.

Soto was convicted following a week-long jury trial in July 2012 of conspiring to kidnap and kidnapping. The evidence at trial showed that after a heated exchange between Soto and the victim on September 14, 2010, Soto traveled from Oxnard to the victim’s residence near downtown Los Angeles. When the victim refused to accompany him, Soto carried and dragged the victim, who was screaming and kicking him, to a waiting truck that was being driven by co-defendant Erin Nicole Fisher, 22. Soto, using the weight of his body, pinned the victim to the front passenger seat while Fisher drove the vehicle to Mexico.

During this drive, Soto told the victim he was taking her to Mexico, where she was going to die. Soto also contacted the victim’s family and advised her brother-in-law that he was taking the victim to Tijuana and would dump her there. When the victim tried to fight or escape, Soto held a knife to her throat and threatened to kill her.  Eventually, the victim accepted that she was going to be killed, and gave up trying to fight Soto and escape. During her testimony, she told the jury: “I was tired, and I just resigned myself. And I said if he is going to kill me, let him kill me.”

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District Attorney Jackie Lacey Responds to Report on State’s Three Strikes Resentencing Law

Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — fayarfa @ 12:20 am

District Attorney Jackie Lacey said today that her office has completed evaluations of approximately 40 percent of the 1,078 cases filed in Los Angeles County under Proposition 36, California’s recently revised Three Strikes Law.

The office’s Third Strike Resentencing Unit has taken the lead in resentencing 260 inmates, as of Aug. 29, 2013. Forty (40) more inmates are awaiting resentencing in Los Angeles County. In addition, the District Attorney’s office has opposed resentencing in 170 cases.

“Proposition 36 did not open the prison doors to every inmate eligible for resentencing under California’s revised Three Strikes Law,” Lacey said. “Voters intentionally placed a high burden on prosecutors to protect public safety by conducting exhaustive reviews of each inmate’s criminal record to determine if he or she is, in fact, suitable for release back into our communities. These are difficult decisions that have lasting effect on the quality of life in Los Angeles County.”

Lacey asked the public to measure her office’s commitment to Proposition 36 by the total number of cases evaluated – not the number of inmates resentenced. “The law is very clear: It does not require resentencing,” the District Attorney said. “It requires a thorough evaluation of the inmate’s criminal history and incarceration record to determine if he or she poses an unreasonable risk of danger to public safety.”

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TWO SEX PURCHASERS CONVICTED FOR SOLICITING SEX FROM WOMAN WHOM THEY BELIEVED TO BE PROSTITUTE

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:10 am

SANTA ANA – Two sex purchasers were convicted and sentenced Friday, Sept. 6, 2013, for soliciting sex from a woman whom they believed to be a prostitute. Baltazar Fernandez, 60, Riverside, and Francisco Cortez Santiago, 30, Santa Ana, each pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of agreeing to engage in prostitution. Both defendants were sentenced to three years of informal probation, 10 days in jail with the possibility of CalTrans in lieu of jail, donations to the Victim/Witness Emergency Fund, and must submit to AIDS testing and education.

At approximately 4:40 a.m. on May 8, 2013, Santiago pulled up in his car alongside a woman whom he believed to be a prostitute on Harbor Boulevard and Washington Avenue in Santa Ana. Santiago spoke with the woman briefly before she entered his vehicle and drove off. A Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) officer witnessed the interaction and arrested the defendant for soliciting sex in exchange for money.

At approximately 2:00 p.m. on May 28, 2013, Fernandez was arrested by officers from SAPD for soliciting sex or sex acts from an undercover female officer, whom he believed to be a prostitute. Fernandez drove up to the undercover officer in the area of 1400 East First Street in Santa Ana and solicited sex in exchange for money.

The areas of 1400 East First Street and Harbor Boulevard and Washington Avenue in Santa Ana, an area 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.

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September 9, 2013

POLICE OFFICER CONVICTED OF FORCIBLY SODOMIZING THREE WOMEN, WHOM HE HAD BRIEFLY DATED

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:45 am

SANTA ANA – A police officer was convicted today of forcibly sodomizing three women, all of whom he knew in a dating capacity. Jesse Andrew Green, 36, Huntington Beach, was found guilty by a jury of three felony counts of forcible sodomy and faces a minimum sentence of nine years in state prison and a maximum sentence of 24 years in state prison and lifetime sex offender registration at his sentencing Nov. 22, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-41, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on one felony count of rape.

At the time of the crime, Green had been a police officer with the Garden Grove Police Department since 2006. The defendant also worked for the Calexico Police Department from 2004 to 2006.

Between April 2006 and November 2009, while working as a police officer, Green dated Jane Doe #1, Jane Doe #2, and Jane Doe #3. On one occasion with each victim, the defendant became suddenly aggressive while having consensual encounters and physically restrained and forcibly sodomized the victim. He made derogatory and intimidating statements to frighten them, including calling them sluts and other derogatory names and telling them that he had herpes or AIDS and that he had transmitted the disease to them.

The Orange County District Attorney filed charges against Green for the sexual assault of Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2 in October 2010. Based on media coverage of the case, Jane Doe #3 came forward and additional charges were filed.

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MAN CONVICTED OF RAPING, TORTURING, STABBING, AND MURDERING 84-YEAR-OLD WIDOW AFTER BREAKING IN THROUGH BROKEN WINDOW

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:42 am

SANTA ANA – A man was convicted today of murdering an 84-year-old woman after breaking into her home and raping, torturing, and stabbing her before stealing her car. Anthony Darnell Wade, 28, Los Angeles, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of special circumstances murder during the commission of rape, robbery, burglary, and murder with torture, and one felony count each of elder abuse, first degree robbery, first degree residential burglary, torture, forcible rape, and the unlawful taking of a vehicle. The sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a deadly weapon and causing great bodily injury to an elder were found true.

As the District Attorney is seeking the death penalty in this case, the trial will now move to the second phase, the penalty phase. In the penalty phase, the same jury who found the defendant guilty of the crime will consider the aggravating and mitigating circumstances of the evidence to determine the defendant’s penalty, death or life without the possibility of parole. Opening statements in the penalty phase are scheduled to begin Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-35, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Circumstances of the Case

At approximately 12:00 a.m. on Jan. 10, 2010, Wade walked through an Anaheim neighborhood on Paradise Road and looked through windows with the intention of finding a vulnerable victim from whom he could steal a car. The defendant broke into the home of 84-year-old widow Bessie Whyman through a broken window.

Wade raped Whyman, tied her up by her hands and feet, and punched and kicked the victim. He tortured and murdered her by repeatedly stabbing her with a kitchen knife and a saw. Wade then took a blanket to cover the victim’s body and left her body in the living room. He ransacked the victim’s home and stole her purse and car before fleeing the scene and driving to San Bernardino.

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September 7, 2013

NEW YORK CITY POLICE OFFICER AND CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION OFFICER ARRESTED FOR INTERNATIONAL ARMS TRAFFICKING; BROTHER IN PHILIPPINES ALSO CHARGED

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:45 pm

Defendants Used Law Enforcement Credentials to Obtain Military-Grade Assault Rifles, Sniper Rifles and Other High-Powered Weapons for Smuggling to the Philippines

Federal agents have arrested REX MARALIT, a New York City Police Officer assigned to police headquarters in Manhattan, and his brother WILFREDO MARALIT, a Customs and Border Protection Officer assigned to Los Angeles International Airport, pursuant to arrest warrants issued in the Eastern District of New York. These two men, along with a third brother, ARIEL MARALIT, are charged with conspiring to violate the Arms Export Control Act by exporting high-powered weapons from the United States to the Philippines without a license from the U.S. State Department, and with conspiring to engage in unlicensed firearms dealing.1 REX MARALIT will make his initial appearance at the United States Courthouse, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, New York at 11:00 a.m. in courtroom 2A. WILFREDO MARALIT will appear at the United States Courthouse, 411 West Fourth Street, Santa Ana, California at 2:00 p.m. in Room 1053, and is expected to be removed to the Eastern District of New York to face the charges. The government is coordinating with foreign authorities regarding the apprehension of ARIEL MARALIT.

1 The charges contained in the complaint are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The arrests were announced by Loretta E. Lynch, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York; James T. Hayes, Jr., Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), New York; Craig W.

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