Best Defender Bytes:

May 25, 2017

Foster Care Executives Sentenced For Embezzling Public Funds

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

A couple were sentenced today for misappropriating public funds for a group of foster homes they ran, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

CSJ Kidogo, 76, was sentenced to 180 days in county jail and placed on five years of formal probation. His wife, Hitaji Kidogo, 65, was sentenced to three years of summary probation.

Both were ordered to no longer operate foster homes. They also paid $109,093 in restitution.

Deputy District Attorney Susan Ser of the Public Integrity Division prosecuted the case.

CSJ Kidogo, the former executive director of Little People’s World Inc., pleaded guilty to one felony count of misappropriation of public money in September 2015. Hitaji Kidogo, the company’s former assistant executive director, pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count of embezzlement.

Little People’s World operated four group homes that provided foster care to more than two dozen children in the county. An audit by the county’s Auditor-Controller discovered that CSJ Kidogo borrowed money tabbed for foster care to purchase real estate for himself and pay mortgages on properties not used for the foster care program.


May 24, 2017

California Man Sentenced to Prison for Stealing IDs and U.S. Treasury Checks

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:09 am

An El Cerrito, California, man was sentenced to serve 54 months in prison today for aggravated identity theft and conspiring to steal government funds, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Brian J. Stretch for the Northern District of California.

According to documents filed with the court, from about August 2013 through April 2015, Brandon Robinson, 35, and his co-conspirators, stole names of deceased individuals and used them to file federal tax returns seeking refunds. Robinson paid cashiers at stores in the Richmond-area to cash the fraudulently obtained refund checks. Robinson also cashed stolen tax refund and social security benefit checks that were intended for other individuals. Robinson admitted that he and his co-conspirators attempted to cash more than $500,000 in fraudulently obtained and stolen checks.

In addition to the term of prison imposed, Robinson was also ordered to serve 36 months of supervised release and to pay $30,119 in restitution to the Internal Revenue Service.  Robinson previously pled guilty in February to aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit theft of public money.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg and U.S. Attorney Stretch commended special agents of IRS–Criminal Investigation, who conducted the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Newman and Jose A. Olivera, and Trial Attorney Gregory Bernstein of the Justice Department Tax Division, who prosecuted the case.


Attorney General Becerra: Target Settles Record $18.5 Million Credit Card Data Breach Case

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:09 am

SACRAMENTO – Attorney General Xavier Becerra today announced a record $18.5 million multi-state settlement with Target, in response to allegations that over 40 million customers had their payment card information compromised during the 2013 holiday season after the company failed to provide reasonable data security. California will be receiving more than $1.4 million from the settlement, the largest share of any state. Today’s settlement reflects the commitment of the California Department of Justice to defending Californians from cybersecurity threats and holding accountable companies that fail to fulfill their responsibility to protect customer information.

“Families should be able to shop without worrying that their financial information is going to get stolen, and Target failed to provide this security,” said Attorney General Becerra. “This should send a strong message to other companies: you are responsible for protecting your customers’ personal information. Not just sometimes – always. As our state’s chief law enforcer, it’s my job to give Californians the confidence to know that I’ve got their back.”

As part of the settlement, Target is required to adopt advanced measures to secure customers’ information. The settlement requires Target to employ an executive to oversee a comprehensive information security program and advise its CEO and Board, encrypt or otherwise protect payment card information to make it useless if stolen, and adopt other technological measures. In addition, today’s settlement in part requires Target to integrate business practices recommended in the Attorney General’s Data Breach Reports previously published by the California Department of Justice.

Attorney General Becerra is committed to protecting consumers. Since taking office in January 2017, he has announced a $586 million multi-state settlement with Western Union for wire fraud scams; a $9.8 million settlement with Walgreens for failing to adhere fully to requirements imposed by California law for the dispensing of certain prescriptions drugs under Medi‑Cal; a five-year prison sentence for Oswaldo Cabrera of Coalición Latinoamericana Internacional for defrauding immigrants; opposed actions by the Trump administration to roll back important protections for student loan borrowers and working families saving for retirement; and joined a federal antitrust lawsuit with 39 other states charging six generic drug-makers with an illegal conspiracy to divide customers and markets and increase prices for two generic drugs.


Pomona Woman Arrested on Federal Charges that Allege Scheme to Smuggle Restricted Space Communications Technology to China

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

LOS ANGELES – A Pomona woman was arrested this morning on federal charges that accuse her of conspiring to procure and illegally export sensitive space communications technology to her native China.

Si Chen, also known as Cathy Chen, 32, is expected to be arraigned this afternoon in United States District Court on charges contained in an indictment that was returned by a federal grand jury on April 27 and was unsealed today after her arrest.

The 14-count indictment accuses Chen of violating the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), which controls and restricts the export of certain goods and technology from the United States to foreign nations. Chen is also charged with conspiracy, money laundering, making false statements on an immigration application, and using a forged passport.

According to the indictment, from March 2013 to December 2015, Chen purchased and smuggled sensitive items to China without obtaining licenses from the U.S. Department of Commerce that are required under IEEPA. Those items allegedly included components commonly used in military communications “jammers” from which Chen removed the export-control warning stickers prior to shipping. Additionally, Chen is suspected of smuggling communications devices worth more than $100,000 that are commonly used in space communications applications. On the shipping paperwork Chen falsely valued the items at $500. The indictment further describes how Chen received payments for the illegally exported products through an account held at a bank in China by a family member.

“Federal export laws are designed to protect American interests by preventing the proliferation of technology that may fall into the wrong hands,” said Acting United States Attorney Sandra R. Brown. “We will vigorously pursue those who traffic items that could harm our national security if they land in the wrong hands.”


May 23, 2017

Defense Contractor Employee Pleads Guilty to Selling Satellite Secrets to Undercover Agent Posing as Russian Spy

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:09 am

LOS ANGELES – An engineer who worked for a cleared defense contractor pleaded guilty today to federal charges of economic espionage and violating of the Arms Export Control Act for selling sensitive satellite information to a person he believed to be an agent of a Russian intelligence service.

Gregory Allen Justice, 49, of Culver City, who worked as an engineer on military and commercial satellite programs, pleaded guilty to two felony offenses that could send him to federal prison for as long as 35 years.

According to a plea agreement filed in this case, Justice stole proprietary trade secrets from his employer and provided them to a person he believed to be a Russian agent – but who in fact was an undercover FBI employee.

In addition to their proprietary nature, the documents contained technical data covered by the United States Munitions List and therefore were subject to controls restricting export from the United States under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

In exchange for providing these materials during a series of meeting between February and July of 2016, Justice sought and received thousands of dollars in cash payments. During one meeting, Justice and the undercover agent discussed developing a relationship like one depicted on the television show “The Americans,” and during their final meeting, Justice offered to take the undercover agent on a tour of his employer’s production facilities where Justice said all military spacecraft were built, according to the plea agreement.


Banamex USA Agrees to Forfeit $97 Million in Connection with Bank Secrecy Act Violations

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

Today Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division announced that Banamex USA (BUSA), a financial institution based in Los Angeles, California, and a subsidiary of Citigroup Inc., agreed to forfeit $97.44 million and entered into a non-prosecution agreement (NPA) to resolve an investigation into BUSA’s Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) violations. In its agreement with the Justice Department, BUSA admitted to criminal violations by willfully failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering (AML) compliance program with appropriate policies, procedures, and controls to guard against money laundering and willfully failing to file Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs).

According to admissions contained in the NPA and the accompanying statement of facts, from at least 2007 until at least 2012, BUSA processed more than 30 million remittance transactions to Mexico with a total value of more than $8.8 billion. During the same period, BUSA’s monitoring system issued more than 18,000 alerts involving more than $142 million in potentially suspicious remittance transactions. BUSA, however, conducted fewer than 10 investigations and filed only nine SARs in connection with these 18,000-plus alerts, filing no SARs on remittance transactions between 2010 and 2012.

BUSA also admitted that, for several years, BUSA recognized that it should have improved its monitoring of MSB remittances but failed to do so. BUSA employed a limited and manual transaction monitoring system, running only two scenarios to identify suspicious activity on the millions of remittance transactions it processed. These two scenarios produced paper reports that were intended to be reviewed by hand by the two employees assigned to perform the BSA functions of the bank, in addition to time-consuming non-BSA responsibilities. As BUSA began to expand its remittance processing business in 2006, BUSA understood the need to enhance its anti-money laundering efforts, yet failed to make necessary improvements to its transaction monitoring controls or to add staffing resources.

In July 2015, in a related matter, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and California Department of Business Oversight ordered BUSA to pay a $140 million civil money penalty to resolve separate BSA regulatory investigations. Thus, the combined penalties paid by BUSA associated with the criminal and regulatory investigations of its BSA compliance violations amount to approximately $237.44 million. In March 2017, the FDIC also announced related enforcement actions against four former senior BUSA executives relating to BUSA’s violations of the BSA. As part of those actions, two executives were fined and prohibited from working at financial institutions in the future, one was fined, and one was prohibited from working at financial institutions in the future.


Art Dealer Sentenced for Theft of Paintings Worth More than $1 Million

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

A former art dealer was sentenced today for stealing over $1 million owed to the owners of paintings sold through his gallery, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Marisa Zarate of the White Collar Crime Division said Perry Rubenstein, 63, will serve six months of actual time in jail and three years of formal probation. If the defendant is found in violation of probation, he could be sentenced to 16 months in state prison.

Rubenstein also was ordered to pay $1,142,500 to his victims, Michael Ovitz and Michael Salke.

On March 30, the defendant pleaded no contest to two counts of grand theft by embezzlement.

Beginning in 2012, Rubenstein sold a Takashi Murakami painting on behalf of Salke but failed to turn over the full amount to him.

The following year, the former art dealer sold two Richard Prince paintings on behalf of Ovitz but never paid his client and kept the proceeds.

Case BA444929 was investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Bunco-Forgery Division.

Los Angeles County District Attorney / Case BA444929 / May 22, 2017

May 22, 2017


Filed under: California Chid Pornography Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:09 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was sentenced today to 120 years to life in state prison for sexually assaulting his infant relative and possessing over 220,000 pornographic photos and videos of prepubescent children.

Defendant Charges Sentence
Ryan Michael Booth, 32, Long Beach Found guilty by a jury on March 8, 2017, of the following felony counts:

  • (8) Oral copulation or sexual penetration with a minor 10 years or younger
  • (5) Using a minor for sex acts

Misdemeanor counts:

  • Sexual exploitation of a child

Sentencing Enhancement:

  • Possessing over 600 images of child pornography with 10 or more involving a prepubescent minor
  • 120 years to life in state prison
  • Mandatory lifetime sex offender registration pursuant to PC 290

Circumstances of the Case

  • Between 2013 and August 2014, Booth sexually assaulted his relative, Jane Doe, from the time she was under one year old until Jane Doe was two years old.
  • Booth also possessed over 600 pornographic videos and images of prepubescent children and traded the images and videos online for additional child pornography.
  • On Aug. 29, 2014, a Constable with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police was conducting a child pornography investigation when he discovered images of a female approximately two to three years of age.
  • The officer determined that the Internet Protocol (IP) address for the user who posted the images originated in Long Beach, and he referred the case to U.S. Homeland Security Cybercrimes Center.
  • On Sept. 5, 2014, the Los Angeles Regional Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) and Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) investigators discovered over 220,000 images and 2,000 videos of child sexual exploitation content, including photos and videos of the defendant engaging in sexual conduct with his two-year-old relative, Jane Doe, in Booth’s residence. LAPD officers arrested Booth later that day.
  • During the investigation, LAPD officers discovered that the defendant sexually assaulted Jane Doe in her home in Costa Mesa and submitted the case to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.



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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was sentenced today to 60 years to life in state prison for sexually assaulting three girls under the age of 14 he met through church.

Defendant Charges Sentence
Jose Luis Aguilera, 42, Santa Ana Found guilty by a jury on April 28, 2017, of:

  • Four felony counts of committing lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14

Sentencing Enhancement:

  • Multiple victims
60 years to life in state prison

Circumstances of the Case

  • At the time of the crime, Aguilera was a member of the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Santa Ana.
  • The defendant befriended the victims’ families, who attended the church, and gained their trust.
  • Between Oct. 12, 2012, and Sept. 8, 2015, Aguilera sexually assaulted three victims under the age of 14.
  • The defendant committed lewd acts on the victims, including touching victims’ genitals and kissing the victims.
  • One of the victims reported the crime to a relative, who contacted SAPD.
  • SAPD investigated this case and arrested the defendant on Sept. 4, 2015.



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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man is scheduled to be arraigned today for the special circumstances stabbing-murders of two homeless men in Anaheim three months apart.



Minimum Sentence

Court Date

Marvin Magallanes, 25, Anaheim

  • Two felony counts of murder

Sentencing Enhancements

  • Special circumstances - Multiple murders
  • Personal use of a knife

Life in state prison without the possibility of parole


May 19, 2017, time to be determined

Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana

Circumstances of the Case

  • On Oct. 27, 2016, Magallanes is accused of stabbing 52-year-old Onosai Tavita, a homeless man, on Euclid Street in Anaheim.
  • The victim was found dead as a result of multiple stab wounds in the early morning, and a suspect was not immediately identified or located during the Anaheim Police Department (APD) investigation.
  • On Jan. 25, 2017, the defendant is accused of stabbing 49-year-old Sabah Alsaad, also a homeless man, to death on South Magnolia Avenue in the early morning.
  • APD investigated and collected forensic evidence, but the case remained unsolved.
  • On May 12, 2017, Magallanes is accused of speaking with APD officers at the front counter, who connected the defendant with Alsaad’s murder and arrested him at the station.
  • APD used forensic evidence from both crime scenes to link the defendant to both murders.


« Newer PostsOlder Posts »

Powered by WordPress