Best Defender Bytes:

March 14, 2013


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:22 am

SANTA ANA - A foster mother will be arraigned tomorrow for being an accessory to her husband’s rape of a child under their care. Maria Esther Hernandez, 59, Santa Ana, is charged with one felony count of accessory after the fact. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of three years in state prison. She is being held on $20,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, Thursday, at 10:00 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

Co-defendant Felipe Hernandez, 66, Santa Ana, is charged with one felony count of aggravated sexual assault, one felony count of forcible lewd act on a child under 14 years old, three felony counts of lewd act upon a child under 14 years old, two felony counts of lewd act upon a child, one felony count of unlawful sexual intercourse, one felony count of oral copulation of a minor, one felony count of sexual penetration by foreign object of minor, one felony count of possession and control of child pornography, and one misdemeanor count of sexual battery with sentencing enhancement allegations for multiple victims and substantial sexual conduct with a child. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 65 years to life in state prison and mandatory lifetime sex offender registration. He is being held on $1,000,000 bail and is scheduled for pre-trial, April 22, 2013, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-55, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Circumstances of the Crime
At the time of the crimes, the victims were living in the defendants’ home as foster children. Felipe Hernandez and Maria Hernandez are accused of violating their position of trust.

On one occasion between Feb. 1, 2006, and March 31, 2006, Felipe Hernandez is accused of molesting and raping 9-year-old Jane Doe #1 by force.

Between Jan. 1, 2009, and Aug. 21, 2012, Felipe Hernandez is accused of conducting lewd acts on 15-year-old Jane Doe #2. On multiple occasions, Felipe Hernandez is accused of touching Jane Doe #2’s breasts and buttocks over and underneath the victim’s clothes. On one occasion, Felipe Hernandez is accused of orally copulating Jane Doe #2.



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

SANTA ANA – A child molester will be re-committed to a state mental hospital as a Sexually Violent Predator (SVP) after a unanimous jury found today that the offender is a continued threat to children and the community. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) filed a petition to have Richard Scott Kindred, 50, committed as an SVP based on his prior convictions of sexual assaults against three young boys.

Under the law, potential SVPs are subject to mental health reviews by the Department of Mental Health (DMH) prior to completion of their criminal sentence.  If the People are able to prove that the defendant meets SVP criteria, a petition is filed to have the defendant civilly committed.  There are three criteria that must be met in order to designate a person as SVP. First, the defendant must have committed at least one sexually violent offense.  Second, he/she must be diagnosed with a mental disorder.  Finally, it must be found that he/she is likely to re-offend unless he/she is held in custody and treated.

If a unanimous jury finds beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant meets the SVP criteria, the defendant is committed to a secure mental care facility for treatment until he is safe for release. 

1982 Criminal Case (Case # C-50355)

In 1982, Kindred met 10-year-old John Doe #1 and his mother through a mutual friend. On several occasions, Kindred babysat John Doe #1 while the victim’s mother was away. During the time Kindred was responsible for supervising John Doe #1, Kindred sodomized and received oral copulation from the victim, orally copulated the victim, and fondled the victim’s penis. The case was reported and Kindred was arrested but released on his own recognizance. While he was out of custody, Kindred fled to Arkansas, but was arrested sometime between 1983 and 1984 when he returned to Orange County. On Feb. 22, 1985, Kindred pleaded guilty to seven felony counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child under the age of 14 and was sentenced to three years in state prison.


March 13, 2013


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:08 pm

SANTA ANA – A man faces trial tomorrow for murdering his father by shooting him after a dispute over keeping a firearm in their Huntington Beach home. Jeremy Dwayne Martin, 37, is charged with one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death.  If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 50 years to life in state prison. Opening statements are expected to begin tomorrow, Wednesday, March 13, 2013, at 9:30 a.m. in Department C-42, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

In May 2011, Jeremy Martin was living in Huntington Beach with his 62-year-old father Frederick Martin. Early in the morning on May 20, 2011, Jeremy Martin is accused of getting into a verbal and physical argument with his father because the victim was unhappy that Jeremy Martin was keeping a firearm in the home.

Frederick Martin called 911 and asked the Huntington Beach Police Department (HBPD) to come to the home to “evaluate” his son. The victim made no mention of the firearm or physical altercation to the officers. HBPD officers responded to the home, but left after Jeremy Martin refused to speak with them.

After the officers left, Jeremy Martin is accused of then murdering the victim by shooting him one time. Frederick Martin died at the scene.

Jeremy Martin is accused of calling 911 and reporting that he had shot his father. He was arrested at the scene by HBPD.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Sonia Balleste of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 11CF1354 / March 12, 2013


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:05 am

SANTA ANA – A man was convicted and sentenced today for exposing himself to young girls in public on multiple occasions near two high schools. Alfredo Landaverde, 48, Costa Mesa, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of indecent exposure and five misdemeanor counts of child annoyance. Landaverde was sentenced to one year in jail, five years formal probation, and mandatory lifetime sex offender registration.

On four occasions between Oct. 3, 2012, and Dec. 6, 2012, Landaverde was driving in a white minivan in Santa Ana near Valley High School and Godinez Fundamental High School. Between 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m., Landaverde approached 10 girls in his vehicle between the ages of 14 and 17, opened the driver side door and exposed his penis while he remained inside his minivan. In some cases, Landaverde smiled and masturbated to the victims.

The victims reported the incidents to school officials, who contacted the police. The Santa Ana Police Department and the Santa Ana Unified School District Police Department investigated this case.

Landaverde’s lifetime sex offender registration bars him from entering County recreational areas and City parks which have passed the Sex Offender Ordinance. Visit to read the prior press releases on the County’s Sex Offender Ordinance as well as the 14 other cities that have enacted the Child Safety Zone Ordinance.

Deputy District Attorney Courtney Thom prosecuted this case.

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 13CM00344 / March 11, 2013


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

SANTA ANA – A woman faces a jury trial tomorrow for the robbery and murder of a Santa Ana man with her brother by gaining entry into his home by pretending to be fruit salesmen. Gladys Romero, 35, both of Santa Ana, is charged with one felony count of special circumstances murder during the commission of robbery, kidnapping, and burglary with an additional sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury and death. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole. Opening statements are expected to begin tomorrow, Tuesday, March 12, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-30, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. 

Co-defendant Alejandro Romero, 33, faces the same charges and maximum sentence as his sister Gladys Romero and is scheduled for jury trial March 22, 2013, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-30, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
On June 5, 2000, Gladys Romero is accused of posing as a door-to-door fruit saleswoman and gaining entry into Juan Gomez’s home by asking for a glass of water. Once inside, Gladys Romero is accused of opening the door to allow her brother, Alejandro Romero, to enter the victim’s home. Both defendants are accused of being armed with firearms.

The defendants are accused of tying up Gomez and his family in the living room of the home. Gomez struggled and was able to break free from his ties. Alejandro Romero is accused of struggling with Gomez and shooting the victim. Gladys Romero is accused of then shooting Gomez when he was on his knees. The defendants are accused of taking a purse and fleeing the scene. Gladys Romero is accused of leaving her own purse at the scene. The purse left at the scene did not contain any name or photo identification.

Gomez died at the scene. His family freed themselves and called the Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD), who investigated this case. SAPD Crime Scene Investigators collected DNA evidence at the scene.


March 12, 2013

Brothers Who Led Mexican Mafia-Backed Puente-13 Street Gang Sentenced to Life in Prison as Result of Federal Racketeering Case

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:05 am

LOS ANGELES – A member of the Mexican Mafia prison gang and longtime leader of the Puente-13 criminal street gang was sentenced today to life in federal prison after being convicted last year on federal racketeering charges that included a brutal stabbing designed to deter victims from cooperating with law enforcement and plotting to murder members of a rival gang.
The Mexican Mafia carnal, Rafael “Cisco” Munoz-Gonzalez, 42, of La Puente, who long controlled Puente-13 as part of his Mexican Mafia membership, was sentenced this morning by United States District Judge A. Howard Matz.
The brother of the Mexican Mafia member, Cesar “Blanco” Munoz-Gonzalez, 38, of Rowland Heights, was sentenced late yesterday afternoon to life in prison by Judge Matz.
There is no parole in the federal prison system.
The Gonzalez brothers were convicted in December by a federal jury that found them guilty of violating the Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, as well as committing violent crimes in aid of racketeering, engaging in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, illegally possessing firearms and other offenses. The evidence presented at the trial proved, among other criminal offenses, that Rafael Munoz-Gonzalez ordered an attack on a witness who was cooperating with federal investigators in this case – a man who was attacked at the federal jail in downtown Los Angeles, where he was stabbed 22 times and beat over the head, suffering a punctured lung and fractured skull.


Orange County Doctor Convicted of Six Counts of Health Care Fraud in Multi-Million Dollar Scam involving Durable Medical Equipment

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

LOS ANGELES – A federal jury has convicted a Buena Park doctor for participating in a health care fraud scheme involving unnecessary procedures and prescriptions that led to Medicare paying out nearly $3 million on fraudulent claims for durable medical equipment and nutritional supplies.

Following a five-day trial, Dr. Augustus Ohemeng, 62, was found guilty yesterday afternoon of six counts health care fraud.
While serving as medical director at Pacific Clinic in Long Beach, Ohemeng and others recruited Medicare patients and billed the national healthcare program for office visits that typically included unnecessary tests and procedures. The evidence presented at trial showed that Ohemeng also generated fraudulent prescriptions for medical equipment, power wheel chairs and enteral nutritional supplies, prescriptions that were sold to medical supply companies that used the fraudulent documents to bill Medicare for millions of dollars of unnecessary and undelivered medical supplies. “Nearly all, if not all, of the wheelchair prescriptions Ohemeng and [George Tarryk, another doctor who worked at Pacific Clinic] signed were written for people who could walk,” according to court documents.
Over the course of four years, Ohemeng signed hundreds of these fraudulent prescriptions, many of which were blank so his office manager could fill in the details.


March 11, 2013

Fugitive Hedge Fund Manager Arrested in Italy in U.S. Case Alleging Market Manipulation Scam that Led to at least $200 Million in Losses

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:08 am

LOS ANGELES – Florian Wilhelm Jürgen Homm, a German hedge fund manager who was on the run for more than five years, has been arrested in Italy on federal fraud charges that accuse him of orchestrating a market manipulation scheme designed to artificially improve the performance of his funds, a fraud that led to at least $200 million in losses to investors around the world.

Homm, 53, was arrested at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy at approximately 12:30 p.m. on Friday (local time). Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles obtained an arrest warrant on Wednesday, March 6, after filing a criminal complaint that charges Homm with four felony charges: conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud and securities fraud. Homm was arrested by Italian authorities after the United States submitted a request for a provisional arrest with officials in Rome.

Homm was the founder and chief investment officer of Absolute Capital Management Holdings Limited, a Cayman Islands-based investment advisor that managed nine hedge funds from 2004 until September 2007. The criminal complaint filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles alleges that Homm directed the hedge funds to buy billions of shares of thinly traded, United States-based “penny stocks.” Homm caused many of the purchases of penny stocks to be made through Hunter World Markets, Inc., a broker-dealer in Los Angeles that Homm co-owned. Homm also allegedly obtained shares of the penny stock companies through various businesses he controlled.

After the hedge funds invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the illiquid penny stocks, Homm caused the hedge funds to trade the stocks among themselves in “cross-trades” made through the Los Angeles-based broker dealer. As part of the stock manipulation scheme, Homm and others allegedly sold their own shares of the penny stocks to the hedge funds managed by Homm. The cross-trades served to increase the trading prices of the previously illiquid stocks and, in turn, to boost the net asset values and apparent performance of the hedge funds. This apparent performance improvement at the hedge funds generated additional fees for Homm and Absolute Capital, as well as boosting Absolute Capital’s stock price on the London Stock Exchange, Alternative Investment Market.



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:05 am

SANTA ANA - A man was sentenced today to 50 years to life in state prison for the execution-style shooting-murder of his friend using a shotgun. Peter Albert Baltazar, 37, Anaheim, was found guilty by a jury Nov. 1, 2012, of one felony count of first degree murder. The sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death was found true.

At approximately 10:40 p.m. on March 2, 2009, Baltazar rode in the backseat of a van driven by victim James Arrecis. When Arrecis parked the van, Baltazar armed himself with a shotgun and followed the victim out of the vehicle. Baltazar fired one round from the shotgun and shot Arrecis in the face at point-blank range. Arrecis died at the scene as a result of the gunshot wound.

Baltazar fled the scene by driving the van back to his home in Anaheim. He then changed his clothes and hid out at various homes throughout the night to avoid being caught by police.

Brea Police Department (BPD), who investigated this case, identified Baltazar as a person of interest in the murder after finding his name on a phone list that was in the victim’s possession at the time of his death.

On Oct. 7, 2009, BPD arrested Baltazar at Pelican Bay State Prison, where he was serving time in custody as a result of a parole violation for a 2003 robbery.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Susan Price of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.

Orange County DA Office / Case # 09NF2874 / March 8, 2013


Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — fayarfa @ 12:02 am

SANTA ANA - A man was sentenced yesterday to seven years in state prison for impersonating a police officer to rob employees at a movie theatre after being linked to the crime through DNA using the Orange County District Attorney’s (OCDA) local DNA database. Fernando Manuel Ruiz, 40, Los Angeles, pleaded guilty Oct. 24, 2012, to two felony counts each of second degree robbery and false imprisonment by violence or deceit with sentencing enhancements for being armed with a deadly weapon and impersonating a peace officer.

At approximately 12:30 p.m. on Aug. 18, 2008, Ruiz entered the Krikorian Buena Park Metroplex 18 movie theatre with the intention of robbing employees. The defendant was armed with a weapon, which appeared to be a firearm, but it was never determined if the firearm was real or fake.

Ruiz approached the manager, Eric L., and falsely identifying himself as a Buena Park Police Department (BPPD) investigator and claimed to be investigating another robbery. The defendant provided a fake business card and badge to Eric L. and asked to be shown the serial numbers on the money inside theater’s safe. Ruiz entered the manager’s office, viewed the safe money serial numbers, and then made several cell phone calls while standing outside of the office. Minutes later, the defendant re-entered the manager’s office, pointed his weapon at Eric L., ordered him to the ground, and tied his wrists with a telephone cord.

During the robbery Tammy P., an employee of the theatre, entered the office. Ruiz tied her hands behind her back using a computer mouse cord. The collected the surveillance footage and destroyed it. He then stole $7,000 cash from the theatre’s safe and fled the scene. Eric L. called 911.


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