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May 2, 2018

Justice Department Announces First Criminal Illegal Entry Prosecutions of Suspected Caravan Members

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:11 am

The Department of Justice today filed criminal charges against eleven different suspected members of the so-called “caravan” in the United States District Court for the Southern District of California, announced Attorney General Jeff Sessions and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California Adam Braverman. All defendants are alleged to have illegally entered the country in violation of 8 U.S.C § 1325, and one defendant is also alleged to have been previously deported and was charged with 8 U.S.C § 1326 (illegal reentry).

“When respect for the rule of law diminishes, so too does our ability to protect our great nation, its borders, and its citizens,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “The United States will not stand by as our immigration laws are ignored and our nation’s safety is jeopardized. U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman and his team should be commended for quickly filing illegal entry charges for individuals apprehended along the southwestern border. We will continue to work with our partners in each U.S. Attorney’s Offices to aggressively pursue prosecutions of criminal illegal entry.”

“The American Dream has beckoned immigrants from across the globe because of the promise that prosperity and success are within reach for all,” said United States Attorney for the Southern District of California Adam L. Braverman. “Those immigrants have contributed their voices and perspectives to make up our uniquely American experience. But the foundation for the American Dream, and what allows our democracy to flourish, is commitment to the rule of law.  These eleven defendants face charges now because they believed themselves to be above the law. Those seeking entry into the United States must pledge fidelity to the law, not break them, or else face criminal prosecution.”

According to the complaints, defendants were apprehended by Border Patrol in the following areas known as: Goat Canyon, 35 Draw, Eucci Grove, and W-8. Goat Canyon, 35 Draw, and Eucci Grove are approximately four miles west of the San Ysidro, California Port of Entry, and W-8 is approximately two miles west of San Ysidro. (more…)

Teacher Charged with Child Molestation Elementary School

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:07 am

A 46-year-old man pleaded not guilty today to inappropriately touching young girls for nearly three years, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Carlos Munguia (dob 11/25/71) has been charged with five misdemeanor counts of child molesting in case 8WC02322.

Deputy District Attorney Sunita Popal is assigned to the case.

Prosecutors said at the time of the alleged crimes, Munguia was a teacher at Hurley Elementary School in La Puente.

From September 2015 to February 2018, the defendant allegedly engaged in improper touching with five female students, according to prosecutors.

Munguia is scheduled to return to court on June 5 for a pretrial hearing in Department 5 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, West Covina Branch. (more…)

May 1, 2018

Avionics Corporation Agrees to Pay $137 Million to Panasonic Resolve Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Charges

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:47 am

Panasonic Avionics Corporation (PAC), a subsidiary of multinational electronics company Panasonic Corporation (Panasonic), has agreed to pay a $137.4 million criminal penalty to resolve charges arising out of a scheme to retain consultants for improper purposes and conceal payments to third-party sales agents, in violation of the accounting provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Acting Assistant Director Christopher Hacker of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division made the announcement.

“When Panasonic Avionics Corporation caused its publicly-traded parent company to falsify its books and records, it distorted the information available to legitimate investors,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan.  “The Criminal Division will take all appropriate action to ensure that the investing public is able to trust the accuracy of the financial statements of companies that avail themselves of American securities exchanges.”

“Enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is critical in maintaining a fair and competitive international market to which all businesses are entitled,” said Acting Assistant Director Hacker.  “Along with our federal partners and the Department of Justice, the FBI will continue to aggressively investigate violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.”

PAC, based in Lake Forest, California, designs and distributes in-flight entertainment systems and global communications services for airlines and airplane manufacturers.  According to admissions and court documents, PAC knowingly and willfully caused Panasonic to falsify its books and records with respect to PAC’s retention of consultants for improper purposes.  The consultants, which did little or no actual consulting work for PAC, were retained through a third-party service provider and were paid for out of a budget over which a senior PAC executive had complete control and discretion, without meaningful oversight by anyone at PAC or Panasonic.  One such individual was offered the consulting position by PAC at the time that he was employed by a state-owned airline and involved in negotiating a lucrative contract amendment on behalf of the airline with PAC.  According to court documents, that consultant was subsequently paid $875,000 by PAC over a six-year period and PAC earned over $92 million in profits from portions of the contract over which the consultant had some involvement or influence while employed with the airline.  PAC admitted that it mischaracterized these payments as “consultant payments” on its general ledger, which it knew caused Panasonic to incorrectly designate those payments as “selling and general administrative expenses” on Panasonic’s books, records, and accounts. (more…)


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:44 am

WESTMINSTER, Calif. – A former church assistant was sentenced to 45 years to life in state prison on Friday for molesting two girls under the age of 14 after befriending their families through the church.

Defendant Charges Sentence
Branden Edward Shumate, 39, Koloa, Hawaii Found guilty by a jury on Feb. 8, 2016 of:

  • (3) Felony accounts of lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14

Sentencing Enhancement Allegation

  • Lewd acts upon multiple victims
  • 45 years to life in state prison
  • Mandatory sex offender registration pursuant to penal code 290

Circumstances of the Case

  • Between Sept. 13, 1997, and Sept. 12, 1998, the defendant, then 18 years old, worked as an assistant in a church where his father was a pastor and leader of the church in Lake Forest. During that time the defendant organized a trip to an Irvine water park for members of the church.
  • During the summer of 1997, a family member of 6-year-old Jane Doe 1, who was a member of the defendant’s father’s church, dropped her daughter off at the church to be taken to the water park. (more…)

Woman Charged with Sister’s Murder

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:40 am

A former television producer is scheduled in court today to face charges for the killing of her sister three years ago, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Gretchen Ford said Jill Blackstone (dob 6/26/62) faces one felony count of murder and three felony counts of cruelty to an animal.

Arraignment is scheduled today in Department S of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, San Fernando Branch. Case PA090585 was filed for warrant on March 22.

Wendy Blackstone, 49, was allegedly killed in a garage by her sister on or about March 13 and March 14, 2015, according to the criminal complaint. First responders found a deceased dog next to the victim and two other dogs who were trapped inside the garage ran outside when the door was opened, the prosecutor said.

The prosecutor will be requesting bail be set at more than $2 million. If convicted as charged, Jill Blackstone faces a possible maximum sentence of life in state prison. (more…)

April 30, 2018

Colorado Man Faces Federal Charges after Allegedly Driving 15-Year-Old Girl Through Multiple States and Producing Child Pornography

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 2:51 am

SANTA ANA, California – A previously convicted sex offender from Colorado has been indicted by a federal grand jury on a series of child exploitation charges after allegedly meeting a 15-year-old girl in Colorado, taking her on a 3½-month road trip that ended in Southern California, and producing child pornography that depicted sexual acts with the victim.

Kenneth Wayne Fisher, 42, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, was named in an eight-count indictment filed late Wednesday.

Fisher allegedly took the victim through multiple states on a trip that ended on November 16, 2015 after a high-speed police chase that concluded when Fisher ran out of gas on the 405 freeway near Seal Beach.

The indictment charges Fisher with:

· enticement to travel in interstate commerce to engage in criminal sexual activity;

· transportation of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity;

· production of child pornography; (more…)


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 2:47 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A felon was sentenced to 11 years in state prison today for sexually assaulting an 8-year-old girl, who was waiting on a curb in line for Christmas presents at her elementary school.

Defendant Charges Sentence
Raul Adolfo   Marin Martin, 59, Santa Ana Found guilty by a jury on March 16, 2018, of:

  • One felony count of committing a lewd act upon a child under the age of 14

Sentencing Enhancement

  • Prior strike conviction for a sex offense, committing a serious and violent felony while on probation, and committing a lewd act on a child by a stranger in Orange County
11 years in state prison

Circumstances of the Case

  • On Sept. 13, 2014, Martin digitally penetrated and fondled the breasts of an unconscious 29-year-old woman near Garden Grove Boulevard and Fairview Street in the city of Garden Grove. Witnesses contacted the Garden Grove Police Department, who investigated this case (#14WF3488) and arrested the defendant. On Nov. 12, 2015, Martin pleaded guilty to one felony count each of sexual penetration by a foreign object of an unconscious victim and assault with the intent to commit a sexual offense, and one misdemeanor count of sexual battery. He was sentenced to five years of formal probation and one year in jail, but had credit for time served and was released from custody.
  • On Dec. 12, 2015, 8-year-old Jane Doe and her sibling were dropped off by their mother at the curb of the David Elementary School in Santa Ana to attend a toy giveaway. (more…)

Long Beach Man Sentenced For Kidnapping, Sexually Assaulting Two Girls, Woman

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 2:44 am

A 31-year-old Long Beach man has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for kidnapping two teenage girls and raping a 20-year-old woman in assaults spanning a one-month period, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today.

Samuel Alexander Vasquez was sentenced yesterday by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mildred Escobedo. The defendant was found guilty in February of two counts of kidnapping, three counts of forcible rape and one count each of forcible oral copulation and assault with a deadly weapon.

Deputy District Attorney Emily Spear of the Sex Crimes Division prosecuted the case.

Vasquez kidnapped a 16-year-old girl at knifepoint as she walked in South Los Angeles on Sept. 27, 2016. He then raped her in his car, the prosecutor said.

On Oct. 19, 2016, a 20-year-old woman accepted a ride from Vasquez in South Los Angeles and then she also was raped in his car. (more…)

April 27, 2018

Owner, 2 Employees of Trucking Companies Charged in Illegal Repair of Gasoline Cargo Tanks, One of Which Exploded and Killed Welder

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 2:14 am

LOS ANGELES – A federal grand jury has returned an indictment that charges three individuals and two Inland Empire trucking companies in a scheme to defeat federal transportation laws that included an illegal repair of a gasoline tanker that resulted in a fatal explosion.

The four-count indictment filed late Wednesday afternoon outlines two years of illegal and unauthorized tanker repairs, culminating with a May 6, 2014 explosion that killed a company welder and severely injured a second worker. Members of the conspiracy also allegedly helped rename the company after federal regulators ordered it to take its cargo tanks off the road.

The indictment charges three individuals:

· Carl Bradley Johansson, who also used variations on his name, such as “Brad Johnson,” 59, of Corona, the owner of the trucking companies;

· Enrique “Henry” Garcia, 43, of Pomona, Johansson’s shop manager, who supervised the welders who illegally repaired cargo tankers; and (more…)

‘Discount Bitcoin Bandits’ Charged with Robbing Would-Be Buyers

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 2:13 am

A man and woman dubbed the “Discount Bitcoin Bandits” have been charged with stealing thousands of dollars from people who sought to buy the cryptocurrency, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today.

Precious Lanay Fitzgerald (dob 6/29/90) was initially charged with four counts of second-degree robbery, two counts of child abuse and one count of grand theft, all felonies, on March 19. Two new charges, one felony count each of grand theft and child abuse, were filed yesterday against her, according to the amended complaint in case BA466388.

Lawillie Joshua Hall (dob 4/2/96) was charged March 19 with two counts of second-degree robbery. Both defendants also face gun allegations, and the charges include prior conviction allegations against Fitzgerald

The pair is scheduled for a preliminary hearing setting on Wednesday, when they are expected to be rearraigned on the amended complaint, in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center. Prosecutors are recommending bail be set at $570,000 for Fitzgerald and $200,000 for Hall.

According to prosecutors, the defendants allegedly stole $87,125 from six people from October to February by using online notices and communications advertising the sale of discount Bitcoins then stealing the victims’ payments. (more…)

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