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April 20, 2017

Truck Driver Pleads to Gross Vehicular Manslaughter in Fatal Collision With LAPD Officer

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:42 am

The driver of a truck that crashed into a Los Angeles police cruiser, killing the officer, pleaded no contest today to gross vehicular manslaughter, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Robert Maldonado, 48, entered his plea before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Hilleri Merritt.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 19, 2018. If Maldonado complies with the terms and conditions of the plea agreement, he will be eligible to have the felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor.

On March 7, 2014, Maldonado was driving his truck on Loma Vista Drive in Beverly Hills when the brakes failed. His vehicle struck a police car driven by Officer Nicholas Lee, who suffered fatal injuries.

A California Highway Patrol investigation found the truck’s brakes failed because Maldonado did not properly maintain and inspect the vehicle as required by law.

Los Angeles County District Attorney / April 19, 2017

Long Beach Man Sentenced to Prison for Killing Friend

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 7:40 am

A 53-year-old man was sentenced today to 14 years in state prison for fatally stabbing his friend in 2015, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

On March 23, a jury found Phillip Lester Vargas of Long Beach guilty of voluntary manslaughter in case NA101954.

Jurors also found true a special allegation that the defendant personally used a deadly and dangerous weapon, a knife, during the commission of the crime.

Additionally, the defendant admitted that he was previously convicted of second-degree commercial burglary and forgery in 2005 and using tear gas in 2011.

Deputy District Attorney Karen Brako, who prosecuted the case, said on May 30, 2015, Vargas and his friend, Kustanya Buckhalter, 36, got into an argument in the 100 block of Pacific Avenue in Long Beach.


April 19, 2017

Man Who Illegally Imported Chinese Cigarettes Sentenced to Prison

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

LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles man who pleaded guilty to illegally engaging in the business of importing tobacco products was sentenced today to eight months in federal prison.

Zhi Xiong Chen, 56, of Chinatown, was sentenced by United States District Judge George H. Wu. In addition to the prison term, Judge Wu ordered the defendant to pay $152,278 to United States Custom and Border Protection.

From early 2011 until mid-2016, Chen illegally imported thousands of cartons of Chinese-made cigarettes without the necessary permits and without paying excise taxes.

Chen pleaded guilty in January to the felony offense of illegally engaging in the business of importing tobacco products and admitted that for nearly five years, despite not holding a permit to import tobacco products, he used several addresses to receive 15,128 cartons of Chinese-brand cigarettes. During this time, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers also stopped approximately 9,824 cartons of Chinese-brand cigarettes at international mail facilities in California and New York intended for Chen.


Los Angeles Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Fraud Charges Related to Lottery Scheme that Targeted Elderly Victims

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

LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles man was sentenced today to 18 months in federal prison for his role in a lottery scam that targeted elderly victims with false promises of large cash prizes and cars that would be delivered when victims paid taxes, fees and insurance.

Carl Dean Bullock, 65, of South Los Angeles, pled guilty in February to mail and wire fraud offenses for defrauding victims who were falsely told they had won the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes or other lottery prizes, but they needed to pay fees or taxes to collect the purported winnings. In addition to the prison term, Bullock was sentenced to three years’ supervised release with specific conditions regarding bank accounts and use of the mail and was ordered to pay restitution to the victims in the total amount of $227,675.21

According to court documents, Bullock admitted that he and his co-schemers collected money from the victims of his scheme via Western Union and MoneyGram wire transfers, money orders sent through the U.S. Mail and direct cash payments. Bullock personally received at least $45,000, some of which he shared with his co-schemers, most of whom were in Jamaica.

The investigation in this case was conducted by the United States Postal Inspection Service, which received substantial assistance from the Glendale Police Department. The prosecution was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Michael G. Freedman of the General Crimes section.


Northern California Real Estate Investor Convicted of Rigging Bids at Public Foreclosure Auctions

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

A federal jury convicted real estate investor Glenn Guillory for his role in a conspiracy to rig bids at public foreclosure auctions held in Contra Costa County, California, the Department of Justice announced today.

After a week-long trial before the Honorable Chief Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton in Oakland, California, the jury convicted Guillory yesterday of conspiring to rig bids at foreclosure auctions in a conspiracy that operated from as early as June 2008 until about January 2011. Guillory was charged in an indictment returned by a federal grand jury in the Northern District of California on Dec. 3, 2014.

The evidence at trial showed that Guillory and his co-conspirators agreed not to compete for real estate sold at foreclosure auctions in Contra Costa County. The conspirators negotiated payoffs for agreeing not to compete and held second, private auctions known as “rounds” to determine the amounts of the payoffs for the individuals who had participated in the bid suppression.

Including Guillory’s conviction, 65 individuals have either pleaded guilty or been convicted after trial as a result of the department’s ongoing antitrust investigations into bid-rigging at public foreclosure auctions in Northern California (Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco and San Mateo counties). Indictments are pending against several other real estate investors who participated in the conspiracy.


April 18, 2017

Attorney General Xavier Becerra Sues Charities For Falsely Claiming to Help Veterans

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

OAKLAND – Attorney General Xavier Becerra today filed a civil lawsuit seeking to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars from two California charities claiming to support veterans. The lawsuit alleges that the operators of Wounded Warriors Support Group (WWSG) and Central Coast Equine Rescue and Retirement (CCERR) run raffles purportedly to support veterans, but instead spend the donated proceeds for personal use, including shopping at Victoria’s Secret, paying off personal credit card debt, and traveling, dining, traffic school, dressage equipment, and other personal expenses.

The lawsuit seeks general damages, civil penalties, involuntary dissolution of both charities, appointment of a receiver to oversee dissolution and distribution of recoverable assets, and an order preventing Matthew G. Gregory, his wife Danella J. Gregory, and their adult children Matthew J. Gregory and Gina D. Gregory  — all of whom run WWSG and CCERR — from operating a charity in California.

“Veterans and their families sacrifice immensely for our country. There is no place for sham charities that claim to support our veterans when in reality they’re lining their own pockets,” said Attorney General Becerra. “It’s a breach of the public trust to deceive and exploit the goodwill of generous Americans. It’s worse when you do so at the expense of our veterans. I will vigorously investigate and prosecute any charity falsely claiming to help our veterans.”

The Attorney General urges all donors to be cautious in purchasing raffle tickets or making donations to charities that use the term “veterans” in their name as this does not necessarily mean that veterans or their families will benefit from the donated funds.


Katt Williams Pleads in Robbery Case

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

Comedian Micah “Katt” Williams pleaded no contest today to one felony count of second-degree robbery, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Ronald Coen immediately sentenced Williams to three years of formal probation and ordered him to complete 54 weeks of anger management classes. Deputy District Attorney Keri Modder prosecuted the case.

The charge stems from an incident on Sept. 5, 2014 during which Williams stole a camera from a female celebrity photographer in Beverly Hills. Marion “Suge” Knight also was charged and his case is still pending.

The Beverly Hills Police Department investigated case SA089020.

Los Angeles County District Attorney / case SA089020 / April 17, 2017

April 17, 2017


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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A Deputy District Attorney with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office was charged on Tuesday, April 11, 2017, with filing false tax returns and failing to report capital gains over $328,000 from the sale of a rental property.

Defendant Charges Maximum Sentence Court Date
Nicole Lai Nhu Vo, 39, Tustin
  • Four felony counts of filing a false tax return
  • One felony count of willful failure to file a required return
Five years and eight months in state prison To be determined

Vo is accused of the following:

  • Filing false tax returns by claiming a property she owned in Redondo Beach was her personal residence in 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2014, under penalty of perjury
  • Willfully failing to report rental income on her tax return for the year 2012
  • Not residing in the Redondo Beach property and renting it to tenants between 2010 and 2014, then failing to report the annual rental income on her tax returns
  • Failing to report capital gains of more than $328,000 from the sale of the rental property
  • Having an unpaid tax liability of over $25,000 due to the fraudulent tax returns



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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was sentenced today to 50 years to life in state prison for the shooting-murder of his sister’s boyfriend.

Defendant Charges Sentence
Adan Rodriguez Leon, 34, Santa Ana Found guilty by a jury on Feb. 9, 2017:

  • One felony count of murder
  • Sentencing enhancement for personal discharge of a firearm causing death was also found true
50 years to life in state prison

Circumstances of the Case

Leon was convicted and sentenced for the following:

  • At approximately 2:30 p.m. on April 8, 2015, Leon went to the home of his sister’s boyfriend, 39-year-old Paul Guzman, in Santa Ana.
  • Defendant contacted Guzman and walked down the sidewalk with him.
  • Leon pulled out a loaded firearm, shot the victim multiple times, and ran away.
  • The defendant then fled to Mexico.
  • Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) was investigated this case.
  • On April 10, 2015, authorities in Mexico detained the defendant on a warrant.
  • SAPD took custody of the defendant on April 12, 2015.


Pair Sentenced For 2012 Christmas Day Slaying of Sheriff’s Department Employee

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

Two men were sentenced today to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of a civilian Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department employee five years ago, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Larry Darnell Bishop, 24, and Jerron Donald Harris, 29, were sentenced for the Dec. 25, 2012 killing of Victor McClinton by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Curtis Rappe.

Deputy District Attorney Amy Ashvanian of the Hardcore Gang Division prosecuted the case.

In April 2016, jurors found Bishop and Harris guilty of first-degree murder and attempted murder as well as the special circumstance allegation of murder during a drive-by shooting. Gang and gun allegations also were found to be true.

Harris also was convicted of two counts of shooting at an inhabited dwelling and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.


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