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December 14, 2016

San Bernardino Man Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Prison for Producing Child Pornography involving 5-Year-Old

Filed under: California Chid Pornography Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:06 am

LOS ANGELES – A San Bernardino man has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison for production of child pornography, including a sexually explicit pictures of a 5-year-old girl.

Jeremy Matthew Meyerett, 41, was sentenced yesterday by United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips to spend the 240 months in prison. Following his release from custody, Meyerett will be on supervised release for 20 years.

Meyerett pleaded guilty in June to the production of child pornography in a case that arose from an undercover investigation by the Queensland (Australia) Police Service. According to court documents, Meyerett discussed sexually molesting a 5-year-old girl, and a subsequent search of an online account by federal law enforcement yielded child pornography depicting the young victim.

“Child exploitation offenses such as those prosecuted in these cases are a scourge on our community,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “My office will continue to protect vulnerable child victims of these heinous crimes by seeking lengthy sentences, such as the one imposed this week, for these criminals.”

This case against Meyerett was the result of a joint investigation by the Riverside Police Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

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Flight Attendant Who Tried to Bring nearly 60 Pounds of Cocaine through Security at LAX Pleads Guilty to Federal Drug Charge

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

LOS ANGELES – A former JetBlue flight attendant who tried to bring nearly 60 pounds of cocaine through a security checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport by using her “known crewmember” credentials has pleaded guilty to conspiring to traffic narcotics.

Marsha Gay Reynolds, 32, of Jamaica, New York, pleaded guilty yesterday afternoon to one count of conspiracy to possess and to distribute cocaine.

Reynolds pleaded guilty before United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips. Reynolds is scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge Christina A. Snyder on March 13. Because of the quantity of narcotics involved in this case, Reynolds faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison. The statutory maximum sentence is life.

On March 18, Reynolds had just under 27 kilograms of cocaine in her luggage as she attempted to board a JetBlue flight in Terminal 4 at LAX, according to court documents. After showing her official badge and identification to the Transport Security Administration officer on duty at the known crewmember checkpoint, Reynolds was randomly selected for additional screening. Reynolds was then escorted to a secondary screening area. Upon arriving at this checkpoint, Reynolds dropped her luggage, removed her shoes, and fled the area, running down an upward-traveling escalator and away from TSA officers.

Reynolds pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge filed Friday in United States District Court. According to the “First Superseding Information,” Reynolds was working with an unindicted co-conspirator who supplied her with the narcotics seized at LAX. The co-conspirator supplied Reynolds with narcotics and the proceeds of drug sales so she could transport them between Los Angeles and New York. Reynolds admitted these allegations when she pleaded guilty.

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December 13, 2016

GANG MEMBER EXTRADITED FROM MEXICO TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR 2011 MURDER OF 16-YEAR-OLD RIVAL IN SANTA ANA

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A gang member who was extradited from Mexico last week is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow for the 2011 murder of a 16-year-old rival in Santa Ana. Jesus Canales, 23, Santa Ana, was charged on July 25, 2011, with one felony count of special circumstances first degree murder committed for a criminal street gang purpose and one felony count of street terrorism, with sentencing enhancements for criminal street gang activity and discharge of a firearm causing death. If convicted, he faces a minimum sentence of life in state prison. He is being held without bail and is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, Dec. 13, 2016, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

Co-defendant Juan Manuel Galvan, 25, Santa Ana, was charged on July 25, 2011, with one felony count of murder and one felony count of street terrorism, with sentencing enhancements for criminal street gang activity and vicarious discharge of a firearm causing death. He is being held without bail and is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on Feb. 2, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-35, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

On July 22, 2016, Canales and Galvan are accused of being members of a criminal street gang and riding their bicycles into a rival street gang’s territory. The defendants are accused of approaching rival gang member Alberto Miller on the 300 block of East Washington Avenue in Santa Ana and instigating a brief verbal altercation. Canales is accused of taking out a firearm and shooting Miller multiple times. Both defendants are accused of fleeing the scene. Witnesses called 911 and the victim was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead as a result of gunshot wounds.

On July 24, 2016, Galvan was identified and arrested by Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD), who investigated this case. Despite diligent efforts, Canales was not located until mid-2016.

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California Man Pleads Guilty to Perpetrating Trademark Scam and Money Laundering

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

A Southern California man who masterminded a $1.66 million mass-mailing scam targeting trademark applicants pleaded guilty today to charges of mail fraud and money laundering and his associate pleaded guilty to helping launder the scam’s proceeds.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Eileen M. Decker of the Central District of California, Inspector in Charge Robert Wemyss of the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Los Angeles Division and Acting Special Agent in Charge Anthony J. Orlando of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Los Angeles Field Office made the announcement.

Artashes Darbinyan, 37, of Glendale, pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments before U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson of the Central District of California.  Orbel Hakobyan, 42, also of Glendale, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to launder monetary instruments before Judge Wilson.  Sentencing for both has been set for June 19, 2017.

As part of his guilty plea, Darbinyan admitted that he ran a mass-mailing scam through companies called Trademark Compliance Center (TCC) and Trademark Compliance Office (TCO).  The scam involved fraudulent offers  of a service in which TCC and TCO promised to monitor an applicant’s trademark for infringing marks and to register the trademark with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which offers a real service that screens imports for possibly infringing trademarks.  The offers were made via mail solicitations to applicants for U.S. trademarks for $385.  Darbinyan never registered, nor ever intended to register, any of the trademarks with CBP for the customers who paid the fee.

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Mexican National Sentenced to 135 Months in Prison for Conspiring to Launder $20 Million in Drug Trafficking Proceeds

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

A Culiacan, Mexico, man was sentenced today to 135 months in prison for conspiring to launder $20 million worth of drug trafficking proceeds.

Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy of the Southern District of California and Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael Carney of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) made the announcement.

Joel Acedo-Ojeda, 32, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Roger T. Benitez of the Southern District of California, who also ordered Acedo-Ojeda to forfeit $20 million and to pay a fine of $20,000.  Acedo-Ojeda pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit international money laundering on June 23, 2015.

According to admissions made in connection with his guilty plea, between approximately April 2013 and April 2015, Acedo-Ojeda and his co-conspirators coordinated the smuggling of $20 million in bulk U.S. currency, which he knew to be the proceeds of drug trafficking, from the United States to Mexico.  Upon arrival in Mexico, the bulk currency was transferred to the drug smugglers who were supplying the narcotics either directly or by being smuggled back into the United States, placed into the financial system and then wired back into Mexico.

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December 12, 2016

FORMER PASTOR SENTENCED TO TWO YEARS IN PRISON FOR SEXUAL BATTERY OF FOUR FEMALE CHURCH MEMBERS

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:51 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A former pastor was sentenced today to two years in state prison and mandatory lifetime sex offender registration for sexual battery of four female church members. Sean Patrick Aday, 39, Lake Forest, pleaded guilty on Nov. 4, 2016, to two felony counts of sexual battery by restraint and two misdemeanor counts of sexual battery.

At the time of the crime, Aday was working as a youth pastor at Grace Community Church in Lake Forest. The defendant sexually assaulted four adult female church members on church property or during church trips overseas.

Between Nov. 30, 2014, and Aug. 1, 2015, Aday sexually touched Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 against their will for the purpose of the defendant’s sexual arousal, gratification, and abuse.

Between Jan. 1, 2008, and Nov. 6, 2015, Aday sexually touched Jane Doe 3 and Jane Doe 4 against their will while the victims were restrained for the purpose of the defendant’s sexual arousal, gratification, and abuse.

In October 2015, Jane Doe 1 reported the crime to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, who investigated this case and arrested the defendant on Nov. 6, 2015.

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Teacher’s Assistant Charged with Lewd Acts on a Minor

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:49 am

A 24-year-old teacher’s assistant has been charged with sexually abusing a middle school student, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Joshua Jacob Estrada (dob 2/24/92) of Los Angeles was charged today with six counts of lewd act upon a child in case BA452408.

The defendant is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center. Prosecutors are asking that bail be set at $600,000.

Deputy District Attorney Lisa Coen of the Sex Crimes Division is assigned to the case.

Prosecutors said Estrada is a teacher’s assistant at David Wark Griffith Middle School in Los Angeles.

It is alleged that the defendant sexually molested a student between November and December of this year.

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Man Found Guilty of Murdering Girlfriend’s Grandparents in Rosemead

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:47 am

A 27-year-old man was convicted today of murder for the slayings of his then-girlfriend’s grandparents in 2010, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Scott McPheron of the Family Violence Division said jurors deliberated for two days before finding Roldolfo Lopez guilty of two counts of first-degree murder. Jurors also found true a special circumstance allegation of multiple murders.

Lopez is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 24, 2017 and faces a possible maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. Lopez and Sophia Cristo, now 20, fatally stabbed her grandparents, 71-year-old Jack Bezner, and his wife Susan, 64, on Aug. 9, 2010. Lopez and Cristo, who was 14 years old at the time of the murders, then fled to Texas.

In March 2015, Cristo was found guilty of first-degree murder. Special circumstance allegations of lying in wait and multiple murders were found to be true. Jurors also found true that Cristo personally used a knife to stab Susan Bezner.

Cristo faces life in prison when she is sentenced next month. She was ineligible for the death penalty because of her age at the time of the murders.

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December 9, 2016

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, 42 Other Attorneys General, Announce $19.5 Million Settlement with Pharmaceutical Company Bristol-Myers Squibb Over Unlawful Promotion of Abilify Drug

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:11 am

SAN FRANCISCO – California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced that California, along with 42 other states and the District of Columbia, has reached a $19.5 million agreement with biopharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb over allegations that the company illegally marketed the popular atypical antipsychotic drug Abilify. Attorney General Harris secured $1.3 million of the overall settlement for California.

In 2009, California and other states launched a multistate consumer protection investigation of Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, Inc., which manufactures Abilify, and Bristol-Myers Squibb, which is largely responsible for promoting Abilify. The states’ investigation found that Bristol-Myers Squibb engaged in off-label marketing by illegally promoting Abilify for therapeutic uses for which it was not approved, such as certain pediatric uses and to treat dementia. In addition to incentivizing sales representatives to engage in off-label marketing, the investigation found that the company misled doctors and patients about the drug’s risks and side effects and misrepresented the findings of scientific studies concerning the drug in marketing messages.

“These companies endangered and compromised the health and well-being of millions of Americans in order to turn a profit,” said Attorney General Harris. “This settlement makes clear that pharmaceutical companies using deceptive and unlawful tactics to promote drugs will not be tolerated in the United States.”

Abilify is approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and Tourette’s disorder. Abilify, known as a blockbuster drug because of its popularity, generated $5.5 billion in sales in 2014, with Bristol-Myers Squibb receiving approximately $2.02 billion of that amount.

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Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Criminal Charges Against Oswaldo Rafael Cabrera of Coalición Latinoamericana Internacional for Defrauding Immigrants

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:07 am

LOS ANGELES – Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced felony charges against Oswaldo Rafael Cabrera, owner and operator of a Los Angeles-based business known as the Coalicion Latinoamericana Internacional (CLI), for defrauding immigrants.  Cabrera, who is not licensed as an attorney in California, is charged with 22 counts of grand theft, attempted grand theft, attempted perjury, and conspiracy to engage in the unlawful practice of law.  Charges have also been filed against his wife, Maria Marcelina Rodas.

“We must be vigilant against predators, including unscrupulous lawyers and immigration consultants, who take advantage of vulnerable undocumented immigrants, then often use scare tactics to prevent them from reporting these crimes,” said Attorney General Harris. “Mr. Cabrera’s deception cost dozens of immigrants their hard-earned savings and tore families apart. Scam artists who exploit immigrants trying to navigate a complex system must be held accountable.”

The arrest warrant affidavit alleges that Cabrera often posed as an attorney and provided legal consultations and services, charging up to $9,000.  Despite lacking accreditation or a license to practice law, he posed as an immigration lawyer and expert with a proven record of helping immigrants on major media platforms in both mainstream and Spanish-language media. The defendant used his prominent profile to solicit customers who he then duped.

Cabrera repeatedly misled his victims about the status of their cases, misinformed them about their eligibility for immigration relief, and completed immigration forms improperly while continuing to collect victims’ money.  Cabrera also ignored or lied to victims in an attempt to avoid giving refunds, sometimes for thousands of dollars, while denying any wrongdoing.  In some instances, Cabrera’s handling of immigration cases had irreparable consequences, leading to the deportation of victims’ family members. (more…)

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