Best Defender Bytes:

August 29, 2016


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

FULLERTON, Calif. – A former high school teacher and coach was sentenced to jail for engaging in unlawful sex acts with an underage student. Rebecca Eileen Diebolt, 37, of Brea, pleaded guilty on Jan. 15, 2016, to one felony count of oral copulation with a minor under 16 and one felony count of sexual penetration with a foreign object of a minor. She was sentenced today to 3 years, 8 months in state prison stayed pending successful completion of 5 years formal, supervised probation, completion of 180 days in county jail, and completion of all sex offender terms. Diebolt was also sentenced to mandatory lifetime sex offender registration.

At the time of the crime, Diebolt was employed as a language arts teacher and a coach for girl’s swimming and water polo at Valencia High School in Placentia. Diebolt had been teaching at the school since 2003.

In 2004, Diebolt established an illegal sexual relationship with then 15-year-old Jane Doe. On multiple occasions between 2004 and 2008, Diebolt engaged in sexual acts with the victim in the defendant’s classroom at the high school and at the defendant’s home after school and on weekends. She continued the sexual relationship after Jane Doe graduated from high school and began attending college.

On June 4, 2014, the victim reported the sex acts to the Placentia Police Department, who investigated this case and arrested Diebolt one week later.


August 26, 2016

Long Beach Man Pleads Guilty in $3 Million Foreclosure Rescue Scam

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

LOS ANGELES – A Long Beach man has pleaded guilty to a federal fraud charge related to a long-running mortgage rescue scheme that involved nearly $3 million in illegal fees charged to distressed homeowners and about 200 fraudulent bankruptcy petitions.

Karl Robinson, 52, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of bankruptcy fraud before United States District Judge Manuel Real.

Robinson operated the foreclosure rescue scheme from 2008 until 2013 under his own name and other names, including “Stay In Your Home Today,” “21st Century Development” and “Genesis Ventures Corporation.” The businesses provided illegal foreclosure- and eviction-delay services to homeowners who had defaulted on their mortgages. The purpose of the scheme was to obtain money from distressed homeowners, and in exchange Robinson was able to hinder, delay and obstruct lawful foreclosure and eviction actions against property owners who had defaulted on their mortgages.

As part of the scheme, Robinson filed bogus grant deeds in county records offices and other fake documents in formal eviction proceedings to make it appear that fictional people held interests in distressed properties. He then fraudulently filed bankruptcy petitions in the names of the fictional people to trigger an “automatic stay” in the bankruptcy cases. The filing of a bankruptcy petition has the effect of suspending all creditor actions, including foreclosure proceedings commenced by mortgage lenders and eviction actions commenced by purchasers of foreclosed properties.


Man Sentenced to LWOP for Killing Ex-Boyfriend

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

A 37-year-old man was sentenced today to life in state prison without the possibility of parole for killing a Glendale man in a scheme to collect on his $2.5 million life insurance policy, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

On June 24, a jury found Hovanes “John” Maskovian, guilty of the first-degree murder and attempted kidnapping of his ex-boyfriend, Joshua West, 33.

Jurors also found true the special circumstances of lying in wait, murder for financial gain and murder during an attempted kidnapping.

A separate jury found Hovanes Maskovian’s younger brother, Hachik “Kriss” Maskovian, 31, guilty of the same charges in case PA076771 on June 23.

Deputy District Attorneys Geoffrey Lewin and Richard Dooley prosecuted the case.


Mother Charged with Murder of Son Found Dead in Closet

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

A 39-year-old woman was charged today with killing her 11-year-old son, whose body was found in a closet in their home, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Verónica Aguilar (dob 3/31/77) of Los Angeles faces one count each of murder and child abuse resulting in death in case BA449570.

Arraignment is scheduled this afternoon in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

The child’s body was discovered on Aug. 22 after the victim’s stepfather called police, prosecutors said. The boy, identified on the criminal complaint as Yonatan A., allegedly died due to neglect and showed signs of severe malnutrition, prosecutors added.

The case is assigned to Deputy District Attorney Scott McPheron of the Family Violence Division.


August 25, 2016

Defunct Cosmetology School’s Insurer Pays $8.6 Million to Resolve Claims that School Improperly Obtained Federal Student Loan Funds

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

LOS ANGELES – The insurance carrier for a defunct, for-profit cosmetology school has paid the United States $8,631,000 to resolve civil allegations that the school obtained federal student loan funds for ineligible students who received bogus high school diplomas.

B&H Education, Inc. (B&H), which operated the Marinello Schools of Beauty in locations across Southern California, was accused in a “whistleblower” lawsuit of improperly assisting adult students who did not have high school diplomas to obtain bogus high school diplomas. B&H allegedly allowed students seeking high school diplomas to take their tests without proctors, to use their phones and workbooks to look up answers during tests, and to repeat the same tests until they passed.

Many of the students who received their high school diplomas through this program then enrolled at B&H, and, with B&H’s assistance, applied for and received federal student loans for which they were not eligible. Under U.S. Department of Education (ED) regulations, a student must have a valid high school diploma or its equivalent in order to receive federal student loans.

“The operator of this school manipulated the system in order to fraudulently secure student aid funds without which the school could not function,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Today’s settlement demonstrates my office’s commitment to ensuring the integrity of federal programs, and the public monies used to support them.”

“Our students depend on higher education institutions to prepare them for careers through a quality education. Unfortunately, some schools violate their trust through deceptive marketing practices and defraud taxpayers by giving out student aid inappropriately. These unscrupulous institutions use questionable business practices or outright lie to both students and the federal government,” said ED Under Secretary Ted Mitchell. “In these cases we are taking aggressive action to protect students and taxpayers from further harm by these institutions.”


Inland Empire Man with Lengthy Record Sentenced to 4 years in Federal Prison for Illegally Possessing Stolen Handgun

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

LOS ANGELES – A Riverside man who pleaded guilty to being a convicted felon in possession of a stolen handgun has been sentenced to four years in federal prison.

Joseph Sanchez, 37, received the 48-month sentence at a hearing yesterday before United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips.

Sanchez pleaded guilty on May 16 to one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

This case stemmed from a September 18, 2015 probation search by the Riverside Police Department. When officers entered the residence, Sanchez was sitting on a couch with a bag on his lap. Inside the bag, officers found a loaded 9mm Glock. Investigators determined that the handgun was reported stolen from a Riverside County Sheriff’s Deputy on July 3, 2015. In addition to the loaded handgun, police also found Sanchez to be in possession of another bag that contained another nine 9mm rounds.

“This defendant has a lengthy and serious criminal record which disqualifies him from possessing a firearm,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “His new prison sentence was warranted because, not only was he in possession of a handgun and ammunition, he knew the gun had been stolen from a police officer and he was under court supervision at the time after being convicted in a narcotics case.”


Van Nuys Man Sentenced to over 12 Years in Federal Prison for Distributing Child Pornography

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

LOS ANGELES – A Salvadoran national from Van Nuys has been sentenced to 145 months in federal prison after being convicted of using the Internet to distribute child pornography.

Denis Aviles Salguero, 31, was sentenced on August 18 by United States District Judge Fernando M. Olguin. Following the completion of his sentence, Salguero will be on supervised release for 15 years.

Following a three-day trial in September 2013, Salguero was found guilty of 17 counts of distributing child pornography, one count of receiving child pornography and one count of possessing child pornography.

The evidence presented at his trial showed that Salguero traded child pornography with others, sharing images in his possession to obtain new pictures and video files.

“This defendant freely shared his child pornography collection for the purpose of obtaining additional images, which resulted in his conviction for distribution of child pornography,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “The demand for child pornography drives a black market industry that relies on the sexual abuse of children and causes the continued victimization of those children as the images as spread around the world via the Internet.”


August 24, 2016

Orange County Man Who Aimed Laser at Orange County Sheriff’s Department Helicopter Sentenced to 15 Months in Federal Prison

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

SANTA ANA, California – A Santa Ana man who intentionally aimed a laser pointer at a law enforcement helicopter investigating a serious traffic accident was sentenced yesterday afternoon to 15 months in federal prison.

Mario Deleon Lopez, 35, was sentenced yesterday by United States District Judge Andrew J. Guilford, who said the offense was a “distraction” to the people in the air and that “people could die.”

Lopez pleaded guilty in March to a felony offense of aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft and admitted that he pointed a green laser at a helicopter operated by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD).

On the evening of November 14, 2015, OCSD tactical flight deputies responded to a traffic accident in Santa Ana involving an overturned vehicle. The deputies were searching the area to see whether anyone had been thrown from the vehicle when their helicopter was struck with laser beam. The helicopter was struck multiple times with a green laser that illuminated the helicopter’s cockpit in an attack the tactical flight officer called “relentless.”

Following the laser attacks, the deputies, along with the Santa Ana Police Department, successfully tracked the source of the laser to a suspect located in the backyard of a residence in Santa Ana. Police on the ground responded to the residence and took Lopez into custody on state charges of pointing a laser at an aircraft. Lopez subsequently posted bail and was released from local custody while the federal investigation continued and culminated with the filing of the indictment.


Justice Department Alleges California Loan Modification Service Providers Discriminated Against Hispanic Homeowners

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

The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit alleging that several mortgage loan modification service providers violated the federal Fair Housing Act and Equal Credit Opportunity Act by intentionally discriminating against Hispanic homeowners by targeting them for predatory mortgage loan modification services and interfering with their ability to receive financial assistance to maintain their homes.  The defendants named in the lawsuit are The Home Loan Auditors LLC, Century Law Center LLC, SOE Assistance Center Inc., Spieker Law Office and the principals of these entities: Omar Alcaraz, Araceli Castro, Oralia Gutierrez, Hortencia Leon, Raul Luna, Elena Ramirez and David Spieker.

The complaint, which was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, alleges that the defendants engaged in a pattern or practice of marketing to and encouraging Hispanic homeowners to pay approximately $5,000 for unnecessary and ineffective loan audits.  The defendants told the homeowners that audits were essential for a loan modification, but in fact the audits had no impact on the loan modification process and provided no financial benefit.  As part of their advertised loan modification service, the defendants encouraged their clients to stop making mortgage payments and instructed them to cease contact with their lenders.  This conduct resulted in many homeowners defaulting on their mortgage payments and ultimately losing their homes.

This lawsuit arose as a result of complaints filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by two of the defendants’ former clients.  The complainants elected to have the case heard in federal court and HUD referred the case to the Justice Department.

“Intentionally targeting any community or person with predatory mortgage services because of their ethnicity or national origin violates federal law, harms working families and hurts our entire economy,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division.  “The defendants in this case tried to exploit Hispanic communities and homeowners already suffering from abusive, discriminatory financial practices during the Great Recession that drove the American housing market into crisis and our economy into freefall.  The Justice Department’s lawsuit serves as a stark reminder and sends a clear message that we will work tirelessly to ensure that all homeowners can access mortgage services free from discrimination.”

“Hispanic families struggling to stay in their homes do not need empty promises that make their housing and financial situation worse,” said Gustavo F. Velasquez, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.  “HUD is gratified that the Department of Justice is taking action against individuals and companies that victimize homeowners because of where they come from or because they speak Spanish or other languages.”



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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A drunken driver was charged and is scheduled to be arraigned today for the vehicular manslaughter of two children and their mother by crashing into them as they crossed the street. Nicholas Stephen Munoz, 27, Placentia, is charged with three felony counts of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated with sentencing enhancements for causing great bodily injury. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 16 years in state prison. He is being held on $150,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned this morning, Aug. 23, 2016, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

At approximately 10:20 p.m. on Aug. 20, 2016, Munoz is accused of driving down West La Jolla Street in his Placentia neighborhood under the influence of alcohol, at an unsafe speed while not paying attention. The defendant is accused of crashing into a family as they were walking across the street. The victims, 7-year-old Stephanie L., her sister, 3-year-old Diana L., and their mother, 35-year-old Patricia S., were crossing the residential street walking toward their apartment after attending a friend’s party.

Two nearby Placentia Police Department (PPD) officers heard the impact and arrived at the scene. Paramedics were unable to revive the three victims, and they died at the scene as a result of injuries sustained in the collision. Munoz was arrested by PPD, who investigated this case.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Walker of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 16NF2320 / August 23, 2016

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