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April 18, 2013

SIX PARENTS ARRESTED ON CRIMINAL CHARGES FOR PUTTING SCHOOL AGED CHILDREN AT RISK BY ALLOWING CHRONIC TRUANCY DESPITE SCHOOL AND LAW ENFORCEMENT WARNINGS

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:18 pm

SANTA ANA – Law enforcement arrested six parents today for allowing their children to be chronically truantdespite repeated warnings from the schools and police. California law requires school-aged children to be enrolle in and attend school and failure to comply with the law can result in juvenile court proceedings for the child orcriminal prosecution of the parent(s). The defendants in this case are each charged with one misdemeanor count ofcontributing to the delinquency of a minor and one misdemeanor count of failure to reasonably supervise or encourage school attendance. If convicted, each defendant faces a sentence ranging from probation up to one yearin jail and $2,500 in fines. The defendants’ arraignment dates are to be determined.

These parent truancy arrests were conducted by the Orange County Gang Reduction Intervention Partnership (OCGRIP) teams from the Buena Park Police Department, Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Orange County  Probation Department, Orange Police Department, Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD), and Santa Ana Unified School District Police Department. OC GRIP is a law enforcement partnership that identifies at-risk youth and aims to increase school attendance and decrease gang activity.All arrests were made in the morning after the defendants’ children had been taken to school. The defendants were booked into the Orange County Jail and released on their own recognizance prior to the end of the school day toensure that no child would be left without proper childcare.Defendant Toya Latrice Daniels  Daniels, 38, has an elementary school student at James A. Whitaker Elementary School in Buena Park. As ofMarch 2013, the student had accumulated 17 unexcused absences. The school principal referred the student to OCGRIP because of a history of unexcused absences, dating back to kindergarten, and lack of parent involvement inrequiring and encouraging school attendance.

A number of resources were made available to Daniels and her student including parenting classes, parentcounseling and support services through the OC GRIP case manager, a mentor through Big Brothers Big Sisters ofOrange County, a teacher mentor, monthly meeting with a law enforcement officer, OC GRIP meetings to addressthe attendance issues, an after school homework and care program, and support services and follow-up throughthe OC GRIP case manager. The school district provided notice of the truancy issue and opportunities to helpresolve the problem.  The defendant is accused of failing to attend any of the meetings or utilize any of the manyresources made available to her and her student.

Defendants Gustavo Martinez and Maria de la Luz Martinez
Gustavo Martinez, 48, and Maria Martinez, 37, have an elementary student at Kennedy Elementary School in SantaAna and another minor teenage child. As of January 2013, the elementary student had 12 unexcused absences andthe minor teenager had yet to be enrolled in school, more than five months into the school year. The elementaryschool principal referred the elementary student to OC GRIP because of a history of unexcused absences. An OCGRIP case manager was assigned to follow up with the family and provide services as needed. The case managerattempted to contact the defendants, leaving phone messages, but Martinez and Martinez are accused of failing toreturn any calls.

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PAROLE DENIED SEVEN YEARS FOR INMATE CONVICTED FOR HIS ROLE IN 1990 ROBBERY-MURDER

Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — fayarfa @ 7:56 pm

SANTA ANA – The Board of Parole Hearings (Board), California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, denied the parole today for a man convicted of a 1990 murder during a robbery. Luis Cervantes-Tomayo, 39, is currently being held at Kern Valley State Prison in Delano, CA. Cervantes-Tomayo was sentenced Jan. 28, 1993, to 15 years to life in state prison after being convicted of second degree murder, residential robbery, residential burglary, and a sentencing enhancement of being armed with a firearm in the commission of a robbery. This case was originally prosecuted by Senior Deputy District Attorney Randy Pawloski.

Orange County Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Odwald appeared at the hearing to oppose Cervantes-Tomayo’s parole. Before denying his parole, the Board took into the inmate’s lack of credibility and inconsistent versions of his role in the murder, his lack of rehabilitation or educational upgrade and vocational programming, and his repeat offenses, which make him a threat to public safety. Cervantes-Tomayo will be eligible for his next parole hearing in 2020.

Facts of the Case
On July 10, 1990, Cervantes-Tomayo, then 16 years old, and four others arrived at an apartment in Anaheim with the intention of committing a robbery. They were armed with a .357 handgun and a shotgun.  Cervantes-Tomayo and three others went inside while the fifth perpetrator waited outside in a getaway car. When they entered the apartment, there were four people inside. While Cervantes-Tomayo and two other co-defendants were tying up the victims, another co-defendant killed Cirilio Gutierrez, who was unarmed, by shooting him execution-style. The four co-defendants stole some property and fled the scene.

Cervantes-Tomayo was charged as an adult in this case, and he pleaded guilty to the charges.

Lack of Rehabilitation, Remorse, and Risk to Public Safety
Cervantes-Tomayo has failed to take full responsibility or show remorse for his crime and has expressed to the Board in previous proceedings that he has served a sufficient amount of his sentence. Additionally, Cervantes-Tomayo has exhibited violent tendencies while imprisoned, compiling 18 major prison rules violations including possession and manufacturing of a deadly weapon in 2002, indecent exposure in 2006, and battery on an inmate with a weapon in 2007.

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Commercial Marijuana Businesses in City of Santa Ana Targeted with Justice Department Warning Letters and Asset Forfeiture Lawsuits

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:49 pm

LOS ANGELES – In the latest of a series of federal enforcement actions against the commercial marijuana industry in California, federal authorities today moved against 63 illegal marijuana stores in the City of Santa Ana.

In federal court this morning, prosecutors filed three asset forfeiture lawsuits against properties in Santa Ana where a total of seven marijuana stores are currently operating. Authorities also executed federal search warrants at two of the stores involved in the asset forfeiture actions. Additionally, prosecutors sent warning letters to people associated with 56 other stores not involved in the forfeiture actions. The federal actions involve all known marijuana stores in the City of Santa Ana.

The federal actions in Santa Ana were done in cooperation with the Santa Ana Police Department and the Santa Ana City Attorney’s Office.

The three civil asset forfeiture complaints filed this morning in United States District Court target three properties in Santa Ana where seven marijuana stores are currently operating. The civil lawsuits state: “Under federal law, the distribution of marijuana (a Schedule I controlled substance under Title 21) is prohibited except under very limited circumstances not applicable here. The government is informed and believes that at all times relevant to this complaint, the operation of the [marijuana stores] on the defendant property was not (and is not) permitted under California law.”

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April 17, 2013

OCDA TO OPPOSE PAROLE OF INMATE CONVICTED FOR HIS ROLE IN 1990 ROBBERY-MURDER

Filed under: Uncategorized — fayarfa @ 10:24 pm

SANTA ANA – Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) Tony Rackauckas is opposing the parole of a man convicted of a 1990 murder during a robbery. Luis Cervantes-Tomayo, 39, is currently being held at Kern Valley State Prison in Delano, CA. Cervantes-Tomayo was sentenced Jan. 28, 1993, to 15 years to life in state prison after being convicted of second degree murder, residential robbery, residential burglary, and a sentencing enhancement of being armed with a firearm in the commission of a robbery. This case was originally prosecuted by Senior Deputy District Attorney Randy Pawloski. Cervantes-Tomayo is scheduled for a parole hearing tomorrow, April 18, 2013, at 8:30 a.m., at the prison before the Board of Parole Hearings (Board), California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Orange County Senior Deputy District Attorney Paul Odwald will appear at the hearing to oppose Cervantes-Tomayo’s parole.

Facts of the Case
On July 10, 1990, Cervantes-Tomayo, then 16 years old, and four others arrived at an apartment in Anaheim with the intention of committing a robbery. They were armed with a .357 handgun and a shotgun.  Cervantes-Tomayo and three others went inside while the fifth perpetrator waited outside in a getaway car. When they entered the apartment, there were four people inside. While Cervantes-Tomayo and two other co-defendants were tying up the victims, another co-defendant killed Cirilio Gutierrez, who was unarmed, by shooting him execution-style. The four co-defendants stole some property and fled the scene.

Cervantes-Tomayo was charged as an adult in this case, and he pleaded guilty to the charges.

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WOMAN FACES TRIAL FOR TORTURING MAN, WITH WHOM SHE HAD A ROMANTIC RELATIONSHIP, BY CUTTING OFF HIS PENIS AFTER TYING HIM TO BED

Filed under: Los Angeles sexual assault attorney — fayarfa @ 10:20 pm

SANTA ANA – A woman faces trial tomorrow for torturing a man, with whom she had a romantic relationship, by cutting off his penis after tying him to his bed following an argument. Catherine Kieu, 50, Garden Grove, is charged with one felony count of torture, one felony count of aggravated mayhem, and a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a knife. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison with the possibility of parole. Opening statements are expected to begin tomorrow, Wednesday, April 17, 2013, at 9:30 a.m. in Department C-30, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

At the time of the crime, Kieu and 60-year-old John Doe had a romantic relationship and lived together in Garden Grove. 

On the night of July 11, 2011, Kieu is accused of engaging John Doe in an argument over the possibility of a friend staying with them at their home at a later date. The defendant is accused of then preparing dinner for the victim and lacing it with Ambien without the victim’s knowledge.

At approximately 9:00 p.m. John Doe became tired as a result of being drugged and went to bed. As he slept in his bed, Kieu is accused of tying the victim’s legs and arms to the four corners of the bed with nylon ropes. When John Doe awoke, the defendant is accused of pulling down his pants, grabbing the victim’s penis, and severing it with a knife. Kieu is accused of taking the penis to the kitchen, throwing it into the garbage disposal, turning it on, and mutilating the organ.

After attacking the victim, Kieu is accused of contacting 911 and reporting that John Doe was bleeding. John Doe then spoke to police dispatch and reported that his penis had been cut off by the defendant.

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April 16, 2013

Amgen to Pay U.S. $24.9 Million to Resolve False Claims Act Allegations

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:20 pm

Amgen Inc., a California-based biotechnology company, has agreed to pay the United States $24.9 million to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act, the Justice Department announced today.   Amgen develops, manufactures, and sells pharmaceutical products, including products sold under the trade name Aranesp.

The settlement resolves allegations that Amgen paid kickbacks to long-term care pharmacy providers Omnicare Inc., PharMerica Corporation and Kindred Healthcare Inc. in return for implementing “therapeutic interchange” programs that were designed to switch Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries from a competitor drug to Aranesp.   The government alleged that the kickbacks took the form of performance-based rebates that were tied to market-share or volume thresholds.   The government further alleged that, as part of the therapeutic interchange program, Amgen distributed materials to consultant pharmacists and nursing home staff encouraging the use of Aranesp for patients who did not have anemia associated with chronic renal failure.

“We will continue to pursue pharmaceutical companies that pay kickbacks to long-term care pharmacy providers to influence drug prescribing decisions,” said Stuart F. Delery, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division.   “Patients in skilled nursing facilities deserve care that is free of improper financial influences.”

“By this agreement we are making important strides in holding drug manufacturers accountable for fraudulent and abusive practices not only in South Carolina but nationwide,” said William Nettles, U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina. “I am proud of the tireless work of this office to investigate this case across the country.”

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Northern California Real Estate Investor Agrees to Plead Guilty to Bid Rigging at Public Foreclosure Auctions Investigation Has Yielded 30 Plea Agreements to Date

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:15 pm

A Northern California real estate investor has agreed to plead guilty for his role in conspiracies to rig bids and commit mail fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Northern California, the Department of Justice announced.

Felony charges were filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco against Mohammed Rezaian, of Novato, Calif. Rezaian is the 30th individual to plead guilty or agree to plead guilty as a result of the department’s ongoing antitrust investigations into bid rigging and fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in Northern California.

According to court documents, Rezaian conspired with others not to bid against one another, but instead to designate a winning bidder to obtain selected properties at public real estate foreclosure auctions in San Francisco and San Mateo counties, Calif . Rezaian was also charged with conspiring to use the mail to carry out schemes to fraudulently acquire title to selected properties sold at public auctions, to make and receive payoffs, and to divert to co-conspirators money that would have otherwise gone to mortgage holders and others.   According to court documents, a forfeiture allegation was also included in the charges against Rezaian.

The department said Rezaian conspired with others to rig bids and commit mail fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in San Francisco and San Mateo counties beginning as early as July 2008 and continuing until about January 2011.

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April 15, 2013

HAWAII MAN FACES TRIAL FOR 1987 COLD-CASE MURDER OF STRIP CLUB OWNER

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:28 am

SANTA ANA - A Hawaii man faces trial Monday for murdering a strip club owner in 1987. Richard Curtis Morris, Jr., 59, formerly of Pearl City, HI, is charged with one felony count of special circumstances murder in the commission of robbery, murder in the commission of rape, and murder for financial gain.  If convicted on all counts, the defendant faces a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Opening statements are expected to begin Monday, April 15, 2013, at 9:30 a.m. in Department C-45, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

At approximately 11:00 p.m. on Jan. 2, 1987, Morris and an unidentified second man are accused of entering the Buena Park home of strip club owner James Stockwell. Morris and his accomplice are accused of binding and raping a female friend of Stockwell, who was in the home and did not know either of her attackers. The defendant is accused of murdering Stockwell, who was shot in the head. Morris and his accomplice are accused of stealing the victims’ personal items, including jewelry and credit cards.

The Buena Park Police Department collected evidence at the scene, but DNA technology was not available at that time and the case went cold. In early 2008, Morris’ DNA was linked to the 1987 rape through the national DNA database, where his DNA had been submitted stemming from an unrelated case in Hawaii. The Orange County District Attorney filed murder charges on May 27, 2008. Due to the statute of limitations, rape charges could not be filed.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Michael Murray of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.

Orange County DA Office / Case #08CF1591 / Fri, April 12, 2013 4:27:25 PM

DRIVER SENTENCED TO FIVE YEARS IN PRISON FOR CRASHING INTO AND KILLING BICYCLIST BEFORE FLEEING THE SCENE

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:23 am

SANTA ANA – A driver was convicted and sentenced today to five years in state prison for killing a bicyclist after crashing into her and fleeing the scene. Michael Jason Lopez, 40, Anaheim, pleaded guilty to a court offer to one felony count of hit and run causing death and one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence with a sentencing enhancement for a prior strike conviction for residential burglary in 1993.

At approximately 9:45 a.m. on Sept. 15, 2012, 57-year-old Catherine Campion-Ritz was riding her bicycle with her husband on Newport Coast Drive in Newport Beach. Lopez was driving his Toyota pickup truck on the same road and crashed into the back of the victim’s bike, causing her to be thrown on to the street.

Instead of stopping to assist the victim or calling 911, Lopez failed to remain at the scene or render any aid and fled the scene. Lopez sustained damage to his truck consistent with colliding with a person riding a bicycle.

Ritz was transported to Mission Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 1:40 p.m.

The Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD), who investigated this case, identified Lopez’s truck through surveillance video, obtained his license plate number, and determined he was the driver. NBPD arrested Lopez on Sept. 18, 2012.

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April 12, 2013

California Businesswoman Agrees to Plead Guilty to Conspiracy to Conceal Israeli Bank Accounts

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:39 pm

Los Angeles Resident is Second Individual Charged with Conspiring with Bankers to Hide Secret Israeli Bank Accounts

Guity Kashfi of Los Angeles, was charged today in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California with conspiracy to defraud the United States, the Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) announced. A signed plea agreement was filed along with the charging document.

According to court documents, Kashfi, a U.S. citizen, maintained undeclared bank accounts at an international bank headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel. The accounts were held in the names of nominees in order to keep them secret from the United States government. Kashfi used the accounts to obtain “back-to-back” loans from a branch of the bank in Los Angeles. Although the loans were secured or collateralized with certificates of deposit held in Kashfi’s undeclared offshore accounts, that fact was concealed to keep Kashfi’s offshore accounts secret.

According to the plea agreement, in 2008, Kashfi was told by a banker in Los Angeles that the bank was going to use the funds in her account in Israel to pay off her back-to-back loans in Los Angeles.   Rather than pay off the loans, Kashfi transferred approximately $2 million to an account located in Luxembourg at a branch of a second Israeli bank. Kashfi did this to avoid repatriating funds from her first Israeli account back to the United States to pay back her loans in Los Angeles.   Kashfi eventually used the funds in Luxembourg to obtain a new back-to-back loan from a branch of the second Israeli bank located in Los Angeles. In 2009, Kashfi went to Luxembourg to close her account. While there, two foreign bankers advised Kashfi that her money was safe in Luxembourg because the bank was a private bank and no one could get information relating to bank accounts located in Luxembourg. In 2011, Kashfi closed all her accounts in Luxembourg by signing paperwork in Los Angeles. She then transferred the funds to banks in the United States.                                                                                                       (more…)

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