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December 15, 2016

NEWPORT COAST WOMAN CHARGED WITH ANIMAL NEGLECT AND ABANDONMENT OF GOLDEN RETRIEVER WITH 42-POUND MALIGNANT TUMOR

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:09 am

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – A Newport Coast woman was charged today with animal neglect for failing to provide care for her 7-year-old golden retriever, resulting in the dog’s cancerous tumor growing to 42 pounds. Sherri Haughton, 52, Newport Coast, is charged with one misdemeanor count of animal endangerment, one misdemeanor count of failure to care for an animal, one misdemeanor count of animal abandonment, and one misdemeanor count of providing false information to an animal control officer. If convicted, the defendant faces two years in county jail. She is scheduled to be arraigned on Jan. 13, 2017, in Department H-8, Harbor Justice Center, Newport Beach. The time is to be determined.

On May 12, 2016, Haughton is accused of bringing a golden retriever named Henry to an animal hospital in Huntington Beach claiming that she found the dog abandoned on the sand in Newport Beach. Animal hospital staff located a tumor on Henry’s right side that was approximately the size of a basketball, affecting the dog’s mobility and other basic functions. The staff contacted Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) Animal Control staff and told Haughton that the dog should be dropped off at the City of Newport Beach animal shelter. The defendant is accused of refusing to transport the dog and abandoning him at the animal hospital.

NBPD Animal Control took custody of Henry and provided a veterinary assessment. The tumor on his right side was 42 pounds and malignant, severely impacting his ability to walk and function. NBPD Animal Control determined that Henry’s veterinary situation required immediate treatment.

In June 2016, NBPD Animal Control coordinated surgery through donations. Since the surgery, Henry has lived with a local foster family.

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DRUNKEN DRIVER CHARGED WITH CRASHING INTO POLICE OFFICER WHO WAS STANDING BEHIND PATROL VEHICLE

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:07 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A drunken driver was charged today with crashing into a police officer who was standing behind his patrol vehicle on a residential street. Ashley Victoria Bertolino, 27, Tustin, is charged with one felony count of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs causing bodily injury, one felony count of driving under the influence of alcohol causing bodily injury, and one felony count of driving with a blood alcohol level of .08% or more causing bodily injury, with sentencing enhancements for inflicting great bodily injury. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of six years in state prison. The defendant is scheduled for a continued arraignment on Jan. 6, 2017, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

At approximately 3:00 a.m. on Dec. 10, 2016, three officers from the Orange Police Department (OPD) responded to a call for service on a residential street. While at the scene, Officer Doe stood near the back of his patrol vehicle, which was parked alongside the curb, to gather paperwork. Bertolino is accused of having a blood alcohol level of .13 percent and being under the influence of drugs while driving 40 mph in a 25 mph zone. The defendant is accused of drifting towards the curb and crashing into Officer Doe and the back of his patrol vehicle. The other officers at the scene ran to assist Officer Doe, who was underneath Bertolino’s vehicle, and the defendant is accused of exiting her vehicle. Bertolino was detained by OPD officers until officers from the California Highway Patrol (CHP), who investigated this case, arrived on scene.

Officer Doe was transported to a local hospital and remains hospitalized with major injuries. Bertolino was evaluated at a local hospital and arrested the following morning by CHP.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Jess Rodriguez of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 16CF3123 / December 13, 2016

Man Sentenced to Prison for Fatal Car Crash Near High School in Whittier

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:04 am

A 19-year-old man was sentenced yesterday to 11 years in state prison for driving under the influence of alcohol and crashing his car, killing one teenager and severely injuring another, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

On Oct. 25, Daniel Vasquez pleaded open to the court to two felony counts in case VA142422: gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage causing injury.

The defendant also admitted special allegations that he personally inflicted great bodily injury on one victim and caused a second victim to become comatose due to brain injury and to suffer paralysis.

Deputy District Attorney Garie Lynn Oehler, who prosecuted the case, said on the morning of April 26 Vasquez consumed alcohol before driving five teenagers to La Serna High School in Whittier.

During the drive, the defendant drove at excessive speeds, lost control of the vehicle and overturned his car, according to the prosecutor.

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December 14, 2016

O.C. Man Charged with Selling Pet Meds Without a Prescription, Some of Which Were Not Approved for Distribution in the United States

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

LOS ANGELES – A Laguna Hills man was arrested this morning on charges that he used the internet to sell misbranded veterinary medications without a prescription.

Sean Gerson, 48, the owner of a business called Vaccination Services in Lake Forest, was taken into custody this morning by special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Gerson is scheduled to make his initial appearance this afternoon in United States District Court in Los Angeles.

Gerson was arrested pursuant to a two-count criminal complaint filed on December 6. The complaint alleges that Gerson delivered into interstate commerce two misbranded drugs: Comfortis, an anti-flea medication, and ciprofloxacin, a powerful antibiotic commonly called “Cipro” that can be used in dogs and cats to treat skin, respiratory and urinary tract infections. The complaint, which contains one felony count and one misdemeanor count, alleges that the drugs were knowingly dispensed without a prescription.

The affidavit in support of the complaint alleges that Gerson sold Comfortis that was designed for the South African market and was not approved for distribution in the United States.

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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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