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April 25, 2013

New Charges Added In Los Angeles County Assessor Case

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:00 pm

LOS ANGELES – District Attorney Jackie Lacey today announced that the embezzlement and bribery case against County Assessor John Noguez, his chief appraiser and Arizona tax consultant Ramin Salari was amended to add 41 new counts alleging an additional loss of $9.8 million in taxpayer money.

The amended complaint filed today is part of a continuing investigation into public corruption at the Assessor’s Office. Deputy District Attorneys Craig Hum, Susan Schwartz and Michele Gilmer are prosecuting the case.

Noguez, Salari and Mark McNeil, a principal assessor promoted by Noguez to head the Major Appraisal Division, all pleaded not guilty to charges contained in the amended complaint.

In addition to filing an amended complaint, prosecutors announced that they moved to seize more than $9 million in assets and property belonging to defendant Salari, 50, a tax consultant and campaign contributor to Noguez.

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April 24, 2013

Glendale Man Who Played Role in Kickback Scheme that Bilked San Francisco Food Company Sentenced to Federal Prison

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:23 pm

LOS ANGELES – A Glendale man who pleaded guilty in a scheme that led to his San Francisco employer suffering losses of more than $2 million – a plot that has connections to a kickback scheme that defrauded Huntington Hospital in Pasadena – has been sentenced to 20 months in federal prison.

Tony Hamedany, 58, who formerly resided in Hillsborough, California, was sentenced yesterday by United States District Judge Percy Anderson, who also ordered the defendant to pay $1.54 million in restitution to his former employer, Columbus Manufacturing, Inc., the San Francisco-based manufacturer of salame and other deli products.

Tony Hamedany pleaded guilty in October 2011 to two counts of mail fraud in relation to a kickback scheme he orchestrated during his tenure as director of engineering for Columbus. Tony Hamedany’s position at Columbus enabled him to negotiate construction contracts that he agreed to award in exchange for kickback payments from vendors. The construction contracts – for construction projects related to the salame company’s production facilities in South San Francisco – were adjusted so that vendors would pay Tony Hamedany kickbacks from payments they received from the contracts with Columbus.

Among the people who paid kickbacks to Tony Hamedany was Alexander Svidler, 55, of San Francisco, who pleaded guilty to mail fraud stemming from his participation in the kickback schemes pertaining to both Huntington Hospital and Columbus and was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison (see: http://www.justice.gov/usao/cac/Pressroom/2012/152.html).

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California Woman Pleads Guilty to Feeding Whales in Marine Sanctuary

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

A California woman pleaded guilty to illegally feeding killer whales in the wild this Tuesday in federal court in San Jose, Calif., the Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of California announced.

Nancy Black of Monterey, Calif. pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), specifically the MMPA’s feeding prohibition.  The MMPA regulations make it a crime to feed marine mammals in the wild.   The prohibition applies to commercial and recreational boaters, and applies to all species of marine mammals.

Killer whales (orcas) prey on gray whales in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.  On the occasions when orcas manage to kill a gray whale, the pod of orcas does not always eat all of the gray whale at once.  Often, portions of the carcass, including strips and chunks of blubber (some over six feet in length and weighing over a hundred pounds), remain floating or semi-submerged after a kill.  Orcas and sea birds feed on these chunks of blubber while they are still available in the area.

According to the factual basis of the plea agreement, on or about April 25, 2004, Black was on her boat in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, when she and her assistants encountered a place where orcas had killed a gray whale calf.  She was observing the orcas as they fed on pieces of gray whale blubber that were floating in the water.  In an effort to facilitate their viewing, she or her crew grabbed the blubber, cut a hole through the corner of the blubber chunk, and ran a rope through the piece of the blubber. Shortly thereafter, they returned the blubber to the water and monitored the feeding behavior of the orcas as they ate the blubber off of the rope.  Black and her crew repeated the process with the rope and other pieces of the blubber. In court papers, Black admitted that she did not have a permit that would have allowed her to engage in this conduct.  She also admitted that on or about April 11, 2005, she was involved in a similar incident involving the collection of floating blubber and offering it to orcas utilizing the same rope method.
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April 23, 2013

Two Northern California Men in ‘Sextortion’ Plot Targeting Professional Poker Players Receive Federal Prison Sentences

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:55 am

 LOS ANGELES – Two Silicon Valley men were sentenced today to federal prison terms of 3½ years and two years for their roles in a scheme that used naked photographs and other private information stolen from email accounts in an attempt to extort hundreds of thousands of dollars from professional players on the World Poker Tour.

Tyler Schrier, 23, of Menlo Park, was sentenced to 42 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy, extortion and unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information.

In addition to the “sextortion” plot, Schrier admitted that he had previously extorted and received more than $26,000 from professional poker players in another plot. He further admitted that while free on bond after being charged in the “sextortion” case, he illegally accessed two email accounts that allowed him to steal approximately $4,000 from online poker accounts.

The second man sentenced today – Keith James Hudson, 39, of San Jose – received a two-year prison term after pleading guilty to unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information for purposes of private financial gain. Hudson admitted that he hacked into a poker player’s email account, stole naked photographs from the illegally accessed account, and plotted with Schrier to extort poker players with those naked images.

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Former Owner of Los Angeles Medical Equipment Supply Company Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Defraud Medicare

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:50 am

A former owner of a Los Angeles-area medical equipment supply company pleaded guilty today to conspiring with others to defraud Medicare, announced 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; Glenn R. Ferry, Special Agent in Charge for the Los Angeles Region of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG); and Bill L. Lewis, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office.

Tigran Aklyan, 37, of Van Nuys, Calif., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald in the Central District of California to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

According to court documents, Aklyan was the owner and president of Las Tunas Medical Equipment Inc., a durable medical equipment (DME) supply company located in San Gabriel, Calif.  Aklyan admitted that from approximately October 2007 through May 2009, he conspired with others to commit health care fraud through the operation of Las Tunas by providing medically unnecessary power wheelchairs and other DME to Medicare beneficiaries and submitting false and fraudulent claims to Medicare.  Aklyan admitted that he paid the owners and operators of fraudulent medical clinics to provide him with prescriptions and supporting medical documentation for the power wheelchairs and DME that he billed to Medicare.  Aklyan admitted knowing that the prescriptions and medical documents that the clinics produced were fraudulent, yet he certified to Medicare with the submission of each claim that the DME was medically necessary.  Aklyan also admitted that he knew it was illegal for him to pay for prescriptions, but he did so anyway.

From approximately Dec. 17, 2007, through Feb. 20, 2009, Aklyan, through Las Tunas, submitted approximately $910,377 in fraudulent claims to Medicare for power wheelchairs and related services, and Medicare paid Las Tunas approximately $653,461 on those claims.

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April 22, 2013

REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER SENTENCED TO SIX YEARS IN PRISON FOR SEXUALLY ASSAULTING UNDERAGE BOY AFTER MEETING HIM ON FACEBOOK

Filed under: Los Angeles sexual assault attorney — fayarfa @ 12:19 am

SANTA ANA - A registered sex offender was convicted and sentenced to six years in state prison today for sexually assaulting an underage boy after meeting him on Facebook. Chris Glen Phernambucq, 31, Anaheim, pleaded guilty to a court offer of one felony count of contacting a child with the intent to commit oral copulation, one felony count of possession and control of child pornography with prior convictions for possession of child pornography and using a minor to create pornography, one felony count of using a minor for distribution of obscene matter with prior convictions for possession of child pornography and using a minor to create pornography, one felony count of using a minor for commercial sex acts, and one misdemeanor count of oral copulation of a minor.

Phernambucq has prison prior convictions for using a minor to create pornography in 2006 and unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor three years younger than the defendant in 2003 and became a lifetime registered sex offender based on those prior convictions.

In December 2012, Phernambucq met 17-year-old John Doe on Facebook. Prior to the sexual assault, Phernambucq told the victim he was a pornography director and wanted to hire him to be in his pornographic film.

On or about Jan. 23, 2013, Phernambucq met John Doe at an abandoned house in Anaheim. Phernambucq ordered the victim to undress and created child pornography by videotaping sexual acts and orally copulating John Doe. The victim became uncomfortable and left.                                                                             (more…)

MALE HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER POSING AS A TEENAGE GIRL TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR ENCOURAGING SEX ACTS AND OBTAINING NUDE PHOTOS OF OVER 100 UNDERAGE BOYS THROUGH FACEBOOK

Filed under: California Chid Pornography Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:14 am

NEWPORT BEACH - An Anaheim high school teacher will be arraigned tomorrow for encouraging sex acts and soliciting and possessing nude photos and videos of over 100 underage boys by posing as a teenage girl on Facebook. Zachary Joshua Reeder, 30, Orange, will be arraigned on charges of 22 felony counts of using a minor for sex acts, 15 felony counts of distributing pornography to a minor, 13 felony counts of contacting a child with the intent to commit a lewd act, six felony counts of lewd acts upon a child, two felony counts of lewd acts upon a child under 14, one felony count of possession and control of child pornography, and one felony count of distribution of child pornography. Reeder faces a maximum sentence of 44 years in state prison and mandatory lifetime sex offender registration if convicted. He is out of custody on $1 million bail and is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, Friday, April 19, 2013, at 8:30 a.m. in Department H-1, Harbor Justice Center, Newport Beach.

At the time of the crimes, Reeder was a history teacher at Servite High School, an all-boys college preparatory high school in Anaheim. Reeder previously worked as a history teacher and a walk-on assistant baseball coach for four seasons at Arnold O. Beckman High School in Irvine.

Between June 1, 2010, and Jan. 14, 2013, Reeder is accused of creating and using a Facebook account to pose as a female high school student by using the image of a blond-haired girl with the intent to befriend underage boys. Reeder is accused of establishing inappropriate online relationships with at least 106 underage boys between the ages of 13 and 17 from Servite, Beckman, Northwood, and Canyon High Schools. The defendant is accused of targeting victims whom he knew through teaching or coaching. Reeder is accused of engaging in lewd acts with the victims by using the online account of the fake female high school student he created to convince and direct the victims to send sexually explicit photos and videos of themselves to the defendant.

California Penal Code section 288(c)(1) states that lewd and lascivious acts upon a child is charged when a defendant willfully, lewdly, and unlawfully interacts with a child with the intent of arousing, appealing to, and gratifying the lust, passions, and sexual desires of the defendant and the child.                                                                                             (more…)

Member of LulzSec Hacking Group Sentenced to Over Year in Federal Prison for 2011 Intrusion into Sony Pictures Computer Systems

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:08 am

LOS ANGELES – A member of the LulzSec hacking group was sentenced today to one year and one day in federal prison for his conviction on federal computer hacking charges related to an extensive computer attack that compromised the computer systems of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Cody Andrew Kretsinger, who used the online moniker “recursion,” 25, who formerly lived in Phoenix, Arizona, and currently resides in Decatur, Illinois, was sentenced this morning by United States District Judge John A. Kronstadt.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Kronstadt ordered Kretsinger to serve one year of home detention following the completion of his prison sentence, to perform 1,000 hours of community service, and to pay $605,663 in restitution.

Kretsinger pleaded guilty in April 2012 to conspiracy and the unauthorized impairment of a protected computer. According to court documents, during a one-week period in late May and early June of 2011, the computer systems of Sony Pictures were compromised by a computer hacking group known as “LulzSec” or “Lulz Security,” whose members anonymously took responsibility for the attack.

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April 19, 2013

INMATE TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR 2004 MURDER OF WOMAN AFTER BEING SOLICITED BY VICTIM’S HUSBAND

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:46 am

WESTMINSTER – An inmate will be arraigned tomorrow for the 2004 solicitation-murder of a former respiratory the rapist’s wife. Anthony Edward Bridget, 39, is charged with one felony count of special circumstances murder, one felony count of conspiracy to commit murder, one felony count of aggravated assault, one felony count of false imprisonment by violence, and sentencing enhancements for murder for financial gain and murder by lying in wait. If convicted, he faces a minimum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole and is eligible for the death penalty.

Bridget is currently being held at Correctional Training Facility in Soledad, CA, on an unrelated conviction. The inmate is expected to be transported today, April 18, 2013, to Orange County. Bridget is scheduled for arraignment tomorrow, Friday, April 19, 2013, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-57, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Case #13CF0340
Co-defendant Magdi Girgis, 60, Westminster, is charged with one felony count of special circumstances murder, one felony count of conspiracy to commit murder, and one felony count of false imprisonment by violence, and sentencing enhancements for murder for financial gain and murder to prevent testimony. If convicted, he faces a minimum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole and is eligible for the death penalty. Girgis is being held without bail and is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing, May 31, 2013, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-55.

Westminster Police Department (WPD) investigated this case. Senior Deputy District Attorney Sonia Balleste of the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) Homicide Unit is prosecuting both cases.

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DRUNKEN TEEN DRIVER CONVICTED OF MURDERING FATHER AND SON IN HIGH-SPEED EARLY-MORNING CRASH

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:35 am

SANTA ANA – A drunken teenage driver was convicted today of murdering a father and son in an early-morning high-speed crash. Rafael Lopez, 20, Anaheim, was found guilty by a jury of two felony counts of murder and faces a maximum sentence of 30 years to life in state prison at his sentencing June 7, 2013, in Department C-35, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.

At approximately 5:30 a.m. on Dec. 18, 2010, then-18-year-old Lopez was driving at a high rate of speed while under the influence of alcohol on Crescent Avenue in Buena Park. He was driving his Mitsubishi sedan at approximately 80 miles per hour in a 45 mile per hour zone, accelerated through a red light at the intersection of Knott Avenue and Crescent Avenue, and failed to brake before crashing into a Buick sedan driven by 44-year-old Steven Uselton. Steven Uselton’s 17-year-old son Douglas Uselton was riding in the passenger seat, as his father was driving him to an early-morning high school debate tournament.

Lopez caused the victims’ car to travel over 130 feet before coming to a stop. Steven and Douglas Uselton were both pronounced dead at the scene. Lopez murdered Douglas Uselton by causing blunt force trauma to the head and internal injuries. Lopez murdered Steven Uselton by causing multiple blunt force injuries and internal bleeding.

Lopez had a .13 blood alcohol level after the crash. He was transported from the scene to the hospital to be treated for minor injuries and was arrested by the Buena Park Police Department (BPPD) upon his hospital discharge.

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