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September 18, 2017


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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was sentenced today to one year and four months in state prison for planting weapons and methamphetamine inside the bed of a woman’s truck and making false reports to law enforcement.

Defendant Charges Sentence
Kevin Brown, 44, Laguna Hills Pleaded guilty on Aug. 30, 2017, to:


  • Conspiracy to commit a crime
  • False imprisonment by menace, violence, fraud, or deceit


  • False report of emergency
  • Altering evidence

Sentencing Enhancement

  • Prior prison for second degree burglary in Los Angeles in 2010
One year and four months in state prison

Co-defendant Jennifer Michele Beale, 38, Laguna Hills, pleaded guilty to the same felony and misdemeanor charges on Aug. 3, 2016, and was sentenced to one year and four months in county jail.

Circumstances of the Case

  • On March 23, 2016, Beale and Brown conspired to plant a replica Sig Sauer BB gun, a 12-inch hunting knife, methamphetamine, a scale, small plastic bags, a note with names and dollar amounts, and a glass pipe in 40-year-old Jane Doe’s vehicle in order to get the victim arrested. (more…)


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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison for having sexual intercourse and committing lewd acts on his 4-year-old female relative.

Defendant Charges Sentence
Ricardo Interiano-Rivas, 50, Costa Mesa Found guilty by a jury on June 29, 2017, of the following felony counts:

  • Sexual intercourse with a child younger than 10 years old
  • (2) Lewd act upon a child under 14

Sentencing Enhancement Allegation

  • Substantial sexual contact with a child
  • 25 years to life in state prison
  • Mandatory lifetime sex offender registration

Circumstances of the Case

  • On July 20, 2015, Interiano-Rivas had sexual intercourse with and committed lewd acts on 4-year-old Jane Doe.
  • The defendant was caught by Jane Doe’s teenage relative, who immediately contacted the Costa Mesa Police Department.
  • DNA and medical evidence linked Interiano-Rivas to the assault.
  • Jane Doe, then 6 years old, testified during the trial.

Prosecutor: Deputy District Attorney Bobby Taghavi, Sexual Assault Unit

Orange County District Attorney / September 15, 2017

September 15, 2017


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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) Tony Rackauckas is opposing the parole of a man who stole the life savings of numerous seniors in an elaborate Ponzi scheme and failed to pay $530,000 in taxes on his ill-gotten profits.Jeffrey Gordon Butler, 59, San Juan Capistrano, is currently being held at Correctional Training Facility prison in Soledad, California. Butler was sentenced on Jan. 4, 2010, to 90 years and eight months in state prison. He is currently scheduled for a parole hearing tomorrow, Sept. 15, 2017, at the prison before the Board of Parole Hearings, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations.

Butler is being considered for early parole due to the passage of Proposition 57, voted in by Californians last November. The legislation, which focused on reducing prison overcrowding through the early release of “non-violent” offenders was lax on language as to who would be considered and which crimes were deemed violent, one of several reasons the OCDA vehemently opposed the measure. Moreover, early release decisions will be made without a public hearing, with prosecutors and victims only receiving 30 days, when properly notified, to provide written objections. Prosecutors and victims are not allowed to attend the hearing.

“We believe the short notice for this proceeding violates the victim’s right to due process,” said District Attorney Tony Rackauckas. “The victims in this case were elderly when the crimes took place,” he continued. “We requested additional time to locate them and believe many have passed on, but we would still like the opportunity to seek out their families or representatives and give them the option of being heard; unfortunately our request was denied.”

“Butler ruthlessly destroyed people’s lives and dreams after gaining their trust,” said Rackauckas. “If released, Butler will no doubt return to what he knows best — preying on the vulnerable. He is certainly not who voters had in mind when addressing prison overcrowding, but that doesn’t make him any less dangerous to the public. It also sends the wrong message to fraudsters who are thinking about committing these crimes,” concluded Rackauckas. (more…)

Lakewood High School Teacher Charged with Lewd Acts with Student

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

A 52-year-old woman has been charged with having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a teen over the span of three years, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Mary Jahn (dob 9/10/65) of Lakewood has been charged with nine felony counts in case NA107331 four counts of sexual penetration by foreign object, three counts of lewd act upon a child and two counts of oral copulation of a person under 18.

The defendant is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in Department S01 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Long Beach Branch. Prosecutors are asking that bail be set at $750,000.

Deputy District Attorney Troy Davis of the Victim Impact Program, who is assigned to the case, said at the time of the reported crimes Jahn was a teacher at Lakewood High School.

In July 2008, the defendant allegedly began having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old female student, the prosecutor said. The sexual molestation reportedly continued until July 2011, the prosecutor added. (more…)

Man Charged with Killing Girlfriend in Whittier

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

A 56-year-old man was charged today with fatally shooting his girlfriend in their home on Monday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Rafael Ayala Castillo (dob 2/21/61) has been charged with one count of murder in case VA145805. The felony complaint includes a special allegation that the defendant personally and intentionally discharged a firearm, which caused great bodily injury and death to the victim.

Castillo is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in Department 6 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Bellflower Branch. Prosecutors are asking that bail be set at $3 million.

Prosecutors said Castillo and his girlfriend, Sandra Rodriguez Polanco, 54, had been in a relationship for nearly 10 years and shared an apartment together in the 11700 block of Floral Drive in Whittier.

On Sept. 12, a family member of Polanco’s went to her home and found the victim with a fatal gunshot wound to the head, according to prosecutors. (more…)

September 14, 2017

Former Prison Transport Officer Indicted for Sexual Assault and Possessing a Firearm in Furtherance of His Sexual Assault

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

A federal grand jury in Little Rock, Arkansas, returned a two-count indictment against Eric Scott Kindley, 49, a former prison transport officer, for crimes related to his sexual assault of a woman in his custody, and using his firearm in furtherance of the assault.

Count One of the indictment charges Kindley with committing civil rights offenses that resulted in bodily injury and includes the use of a dangerous weapon, kidnapping, and aggravated sexual abuse. Count Two charges Kindley with knowingly possessing a firearm in furtherance of these crimes of violence.

Kindley was indicted on June 29, 2017, in Phoenix, Arizona, for committing similar offenses related to sexual assaults he committed on a different woman in his custody, and as in this indictment, possessing his firearm in furtherance of those assaults.

These indictments stem from Kindley’s arrest in Stockton, California, on June 1, 2017, in connection with a criminal complaint filed in the District of Arizona. According to arrest paperwork, Kindley operated Group 6, LLC doing business as Special Operations Group, a company that local jails throughout the country hire to transport individuals who have been arrested on out-of-state warrants. The probable cause affidavit associated with the criminal complaint alleged that from January through May of this year, Kindley engaged in sexual misconduct in his Dodge Caravan with three different female prisoners during three different transports. The transports were from California to Arizona, Alabama to Arizona, and Mississippi to New Mexico. In each instance, the victim was handcuffed and restrained, and taken to secluded locations where Kindley sexually assaulted her. All the while, Kindley threatened each victim with his firearm and warned her that he will get away with his conduct because no one will believe her. (more…)

Man Sentenced for Murder of Victim Found in Plastic Storage Box

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

A 29-year-old man was sentenced today to 16 years to life in state prison for fatally stabbing an acquaintance whose body was found in a plastic storage box, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Deann Rivard said a jury found Kenneth Mullen Watkins guilty on Aug. 8 of one count of second-degree murder with the special allegation that he used a knife.

On Jan. 12, 2016, 52-year-old Terry Nigale Benjamin’s sister reported him missing. Days before, tenants at the apartment complex where the victim lived complained about a foul smell, according to court testimony.

On Jan. 23, 2016, the apartment’s building owner entered the victim’s apartment and discovered Benjamin’s body stuffed into a 45-gallon plastic storage container, the prosecutor said.

According to evidence presented at trial, Watkins stabbed the victim multiple times on Jan. 4, 2016. The defendant then cleaned up the crime scene, bagged the evidence and piled the bags of evidence on top of the victim’s body after stuffing him into the container, the prosecutor added.

Case BA444632 was investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department.

Los Angeles District Attorney / Case BA444632 / September 13, 2017

LAUSD President Charged With Conspiracy, Improperly Identifying Campaign Donors

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

The president of the Los Angeles Unified School District and his cousin were charged today for allegedly reimbursing nearly $25,000 to donors that he claimed in a campaign filing form, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Refugio Rodriguez (dob 7/12/71) and Elizabeth Tinajero Melendrez (dob 9/2/72) were each charged in case BA460879 with one felony count of conspiracy to commit assumed name contribution and 25 misdemeanor counts of assumed name contribution. Rodriguez also faces one felony count each of perjury and procuring and offering a false or forged instrument.

The defendants are scheduled to be arraigned after 1:30 p.m. today in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

The Los Angeles City Ethics Commission received a whistleblower complaint in March 2015 about Rodriguez’s fundraising activities.

Rodriguez, who earlier this summer became LAUSD’s president, announced in November 2014 that he was running for the school board. Despite his late start in the filing period, he raised more than $50,000 during his first campaign reporting that ended Dec. 31, 2014. (more…)

September 13, 2017


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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A drunken driver was sentenced to 13 years and eight months in state prison for vehicular manslaughter after crashing into a light pole, killing his nephew and severely injuring his brother-in-law after refusing the offer of a bartender and police officer to call him a cab.

Defendants Charges Sentence
Tapu Aniceto Sitagata, 33, Santa Ana Pleaded guilty on Sept. 8, 2017, to:


  • Gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated
  • Driving under the influence with BAC .08% or more


  • Driving with a suspended license (DUI)

Sentencing Enhancement

  • Inflicting great bodily injury
  • 13 years and eight months in state prison

Circumstances of the Case

  • On the night of Dec. 20, 2010, Sitagata drank alcohol with several friends and relatives at Newport Five Cocktail Lounge in Tustin.
  • At approximately 1:15 a.m. on Dec. 21, 2010, the defendant and his group were asked to leave the bar by the bartender for becoming too rowdy. (more…)

California Resident Sentenced to Prison for Stolen Identity Refund Fraud

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

A California resident was sentenced to 25 months in prison for filing and conspiring to file fraudulent claims for income tax refunds with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), 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, Trong Nguyen aka John Nguyen, 57, and his codefendant Diep Vo aka Nancy Vo, 74, used the identities of homeless and unemployed individuals in the San Jose, California area to file fraudulent claims for refunds with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Vo went to homeless shelters and homeless encampments and falsely represented to individuals that she could get them money from a government program designed to assist people who had not worked in previous years. Vo convinced people to write down their names and social security numbers and to sign blank income tax returns. Vo and Nguyen then falsified the signed returns including bogus income and income tax amounts withheld and sought more than $1.5 million in refunds from the IRS. Vo and Nguyen directed the IRS to send the refund checks to private mailboxes they controlled.

In addition to the term of prison imposed, U.S. District Court Judge Beth Freeman also ordered Nguyen to serve three years of supervised release and to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $700,816. Nguyen previously pleaded guilty in May. Vo also pleaded guilty and she is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 14.

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg and U.S. Attorney Stretch thanked special agents of IRS Criminal Investigation and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, who conducted the investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Newman and Trial Attorney Gregory Bernstein of the Tax Division. (more…)

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