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April 10, 2018

Attorney General Becerra Announces Shutdown of World’s Largest Online Sex Trafficking Website, Backpage.com

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:36 am

SACRAMENTO – Today, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced that the world’s largest online brothel, Backpage.com, and affiliated websites have been seized and shut down. The website’s closure follows a joint law enforcement effort involving the California Department of Justice (CA DOJ), United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona, United States Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California and the office of the Texas Attorney General.

In August 2017, the CA DOJ commenced a criminal prosecution against the operators of Backpage.com in People of the State of California v. Carl Ferrer, Michael Lacey, & James Larkin. This case is being prosecuted in Sacramento County Superior Court.

“Last Friday, the world’s largest online brothel was taken down,” said Attorney General Becerra. “We welcome and salute the action of our federal partners to ensure that those who traffic young women and men online are held accountable, not just for their crimes in California but throughout the world. Our office will continue to work in partnership with federal and state law enforcement agencies to protect those who are exploited and sold for sex.

”For additional background information on People of the State of California v. Carl Ferrer, Michael Lacey, & James Larkin visit: https://oag.ca.gov/news/press-releases/attorney-general-becerra-court-allows-prosecution-sex-trafficking-backpagecom.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra  Monday, April 9, 2018

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT LEADS EFFORT TO SEIZE BACKPAGE.COM, THE INTERNET’S LEADING FORUM FOR PROSTITUTION ADS, AND OBTAINS 93-COUNT FEDERAL INDICTMENT

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:33 am

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department today announced the seizure of Backpage.com(link is external), the Internet’s leading forum for prostitution ads, including ads depicting the prostitution of children. Additionally, seven individuals have been charged in a 93-count federal indictment with the crimes of conspiracy to facilitate prostitution using a facility in interstate or foreign commerce, facilitating prostitution using a facility in interstate or foreign commerce, conspiracy to commit money laundering, concealment money laundering, international promotional money laundering, and transactional money laundering.

The seven defendants charged in the indictment are Michael Lacey, 69, of Paradise Valley, Arizona; James Larkin, 68, of Paradise Valley, Arizona; Scott Spear, 67, of Scottsdale, Arizona; John E. “Jed” Brunst, 66, of Phoenix, Arizona; Daniel Hyer, 49, of Dallas, Texas; Andrew Padilla, 45, of Plano, Texas and Jaala Joye Vaught, 37, of Addison, Texas.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, First Assistant U.S. Attorney Elizabeth A. Strange for the District of Arizona, U.S. Attorney Nicola T. Hanna of the Central District of California, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray, U.S. Postal Inspection Service Chief Postal Inspector Guy Cottrell and Chief Don Fort of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) made the announcement.

“For far too long, Backpage.com(link is external) existed as the dominant marketplace for illicit commercial sex, a place where sex traffickers frequently advertised children and adults alike,” said Attorney General Sessions. “But this illegality stops right now. Last Friday, the Department of Justice seized Backpage, and it can no longer be used by criminals to promote and facilitate human trafficking. I want to thank everyone who made this important seizure possible: all of our dedicated and committed professionals in the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section and our U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Arizona, the FBI, our partners with the IRS Criminal Investigation, our Postal Inspectors, and the Texas and California Attorney Generals’ offices. With their help, we have put an end to the violence, abuse, and heartache that has been perpetrated using this site, and we have taken a major step toward keeping women and children across America safe.” (more…)

April 9, 2018

MAN WHO SODOMIZED TODDLER SENTENCED 25 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON AFTER COURT OF APPEAL REVERSED TRIAL JUDGE’S ILLEGAL SENTENCE

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:16 am

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – A man who sodomized a toddler was sentenced today to 25 years to life in state prison after the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division One reversed a trial judge’s illegal 10-year sentence.

“Sodomizing a 4 year old is obviously a heinous crime. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office rightfully pursued the life sentence to make sure this defendant received the mandatory 25 years to life,” stated District Attorney Tony Rackauckas.

Defendant Charges Sentence
Kevin Jonas Rojano-Nieto, 23 Found guilty by a jury on Dec. 3, 2014 of the following felony counts:

  • Sexual intercourse or sodomy with a child 10 years or younger
  • Lewd acts upon a child under 14
  • 25 years to life in state prison
  • Mandatory sex offender registration pursuant to 290

Circumstances of the Case

  • On June 4, 2014, Rojano-Nieto was in a garage detached from a Santa Ana house playing video games when 3-year-old Jane Doe walked in.
  • Rojano-Nieto became sexually aroused upon seeing her, locked the garage door, then sexually assaulted Jane Doe by sodomizing her.
  • When Jane Doe’s mother went to look for the victim and approached the garage door, the defendant covered Jane Doe’s mouth. (more…)

SETTING SIX FIRES IN SERIAL ARSONIST CHARGED WITH MISSION VIEJO

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:15 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A serial arsonist was charged today with setting six fires in Mission Viejo.

Defendant Charges Maximum Sentence Court Date
Jack Frye, 19, Lake Forest Charged on April 6, 2018, with the following felony counts:

  • (6) Arson
  • (2) Attempted arson
  • Attempted second degree burglary
11 years and eight months in state prison Arraignment

April 6, 2018, time to be determined

Department CJ-1, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana

Circumstances of the Case

  • At the time of the crime, the defendant was a former student of Mission Viejo High School (MVHS).
  • Between March 28, 2018, and April 4, 2018, Frye is accused of lighting multiple fires at MVHS and one fire at the Kaleidoscope shopping center in Mission Viejo.
  • On March 30, 2018, the defendant is accused of unlawfully attempting to enter MVHS and attempting to set fire to a structure on campus. (more…)

MAN CONVICTED OF TRAFFICKING, PIMPING, AND PANDERING 16-YEAR-OLD GIRL IN SANTA ANA MAN CONVICTED OF TRAFFICKING, PIMPING, AND PANDERING 16-YEAR-OLD GIRL IN SANTA ANA

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:15 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was convicted today of trafficking, pimping, and pandering a 16-year-old girl in Santa Ana.

Defendant

Charges

Maximum Sentence

Court Date

Isaiah Rene Harris, 27, Hawthorne

Pleaded guilty today to the following felony counts:

  • Human trafficking of a minor
  • Pimping a minor
  • Pandering a minor over 16 years old by procuring
  • Conspiring to dissuade a witness

Prior serious and violent felony convictions

  • Robbery in 2009 in Los Angeles
  • First degree burglary in 2009 in Los Angeles

26 years in state prison

Sentencing

May 11, 2018, 8:30 A.M.

Department C-44, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana

Circumstances of the Case

  • Harris a being human trafficker/pimp who exploits women and/or children for financial gain. The victims are required to turn over all payment they receive for sex acts from sex purchasers to their pimp. (more…)

April 6, 2018

POLICE OFFICER CONVICTED OF STEALING MONEY FROM FELLOW OFFICERS OUT OF DONATIONS INTENDED FOR RETIRING COLLEAGUE’S GIFT

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 9:08 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A police officer pleaded guilty today to stealing money from fellow officers out of a collection of donations intended to purchase a gift for a retiring colleague.

Defendant Charges Sentence
Mario Ricci, 49, Los Angeles Pleaded guilty today to the following:

  • One misdemeanor count of petty theft
  • 240 hours of community service
  • One year informal probation
  • Restitution

Circumstances of the Case

  • At the time of the crime, Ricci was a detective with the Huntington Beach Police Department (HBPD).
  • Between Dec. 8, 2016, and Dec. 15, 2016, Ricci stole donations from other HBPD employees intended to go toward a gift for a retiring colleague from an envelope at HBPD headquarters. (more…)

Three Gang Members Agree to Plead Guilty to Federal Hate Crime Charges Related to Firebombing of African-American Residences

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 9:06 am

The Justice Department today announced that three East Los Angeles men have agreed to plead guilty to federal civil rights and racketeering charges for participating in the 2014 firebombing of African-American residences inside the Ramona Gardens Housing Development.

On the night of May 11, 2014, eight members of the Big Hazard street gang, which claims Ramona Gardens as its territory, assembled, prepared Molotov cocktails, drove outside of Ramona Gardens, then reentered the housing development on foot to avoid its security cameras. Once the gang members located their pre-selected targets, they smashed the windows of four apartments and threw lit Molotov cocktails into the residences, according to the plea agreements. Three of the four targeted apartments were occupied by African-American families, including women and children, who were sleeping at the time of the unprovoked attack.

In plea agreements filed today in the Central District of California, the three defendants – Jose Saucedo, aka “Lil’ Moe,” 24, Edwin Felix, aka “Boogie,” 26, and Jonathan Portillo, aka “Pelon,” 23, all members of the Big Hazard street gang – admitted that they targeted the apartments because of the occupants’ race and color, and with the intent to force the victims to move away from the federally funded housing complex in the Boyle Heights section of Los Angeles.

“The defendants’ racially motivated and unprovoked attack on families sleeping peacefully in their homes caused fear and destruction,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department will continue to vigorously prosecute violent acts of hate.” (more…)

Three O.C. Men Face Federal Narcotics Charges that Allege Distribution of Counterfeit Opioid Pills Containing Fentanyl

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:54 am

SANTA ANA, California – Three Orange County men have been charged in a scheme to use the synthetic opioid fentanyl and a similar drug to manufacture and distribute counterfeit pharmaceutical pills designed to look like brand-name oxycodone pills.

A criminal complaint filed Wednesday in United States District Court alleges that the men obtained fentanyl and an analogue called cyclopropyl fentanyl through internet suppliers, used a pill press to make counterfeit pills, and distributed the narcotics through the mails, often arranging sales through a darknet marketplace.

The complaint alleges one count of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances. The three defendants named in the complaint are:

·         Wyatt Pasek, 21, of Santa Ana;

·         Isaiah Suarez, 22, of Newport Beach; and

·         Duc Cao, 20, of Orange.

All three men were taken into custody Tuesday afternoon in conjunction with the execution of federal search warrants across Orange County. They were charged in federal court on Wednesday and made their initial court appearances on Wednesday afternoon. All three defendants remain in custody at this time. (more…)

April 5, 2018

LAW ENFORCEMENT SEEKING POTENTIAL ADDITIONAL VICTIMS OF WATER POLO COACH ACCUSED OF SEXUALLY ASSAULTING UNDERAGE FEMALE PLAYERS IN LOS ALAMITOS

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 11:00 pm

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Law enforcement is seeking potential additional victims of a water polo coach who was arraigned today for sexually assaulting underage female players during practice sessions in Los Alamitos.

Defendant Charges Maximum Sentence Court Date
Bahram Hojreh, 42, Irvine Charged on April 2, 2018, with the following counts:

Felony

  • (4) Lewd act upon a child
  • (4) Sexual penetration of a minor with foreign object
  • Lewd act upon a child under 14

Misdemeanor

  • (7) Child annoyance
  • (6) Sexual battery
13 years and four months in state prison, plus 10 years county jail Pre-trial hearing

June 14, 2018, 8:30 a.m.

Department W-2, West Justice Center, Westminster

Circumstances of the Case

  • At the time of the crime, Hojreh was employed at the International Water Polo Club in Los Alamitos as a club water polo coach.
  • Between September 2014 and January 2018, the defendant is accused of sexually assaulting seven underage female water polo players during one-on-one coaching sessions, including touching their breasts and genitals, digitally penetrating victims, and coerced them to touch his genital area. Four of the victims were 15 years old or younger. (more…)

Man Convicted of Killing Four Family Members in 1999

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 9:43 am

A man was convicted today of killing his father, stepmother and two half-brothers nearly 20 years ago, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Jurors deliberated for about four days before finding Saulo Alvarado (dob 6/19/82) guilty of four counts of first-degree murder and one count each of forcible lewd act on a child and of lewd act on a child. The special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and lying in wait were found to be true.

He is scheduled to be sentenced on May 1 when he faces a possible maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Deputy District Attorney Victor Avila of the Major Crimes Division prosecuted the case.

On April 26, 1999, the bodies of Rudolfo Alvarado, 51, his wife, Eva, 36, and their two sons, Renzo, 16, and Victor, 4, were discovered inside the family’s Hyde Park apartment. Each family member had been shot with a revolver. (more…)

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