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February 13, 2017

Man Who Took $875,000 From Distressed Homeowners in Bogus Loan Modification Scheme Sentenced to Nearly Six Years in Prison

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

SANTA ANA, California – An Orange County man who deceived distressed homeowners with false promises that he could help them avoid foreclosure by obtaining modifications to their mortgages – or even completely eliminating their loans – was sentenced today to 57 months in federal prison.

Antonio Marquette, who went by “Alan Le” and “Anthony Le,” 56, of Midway City, was sentenced and ordered to repay $875,000 to victims today in United States District Court in Santa Ana following his conviction last September of nine counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud, and one count of money laundering. Marquette was taken into custody at the time of his conviction.

According to evidence at trial, Marquette operated Bolsa Marketing Group in Garden Grove in 2010 and 2011 and charged homeowners up to $100,000 in cash for services that the homeowners did not receive. Through Bolsa Marketing, Marquette ran a scheme that targeted distressed homeowners, most of whom were members of Vietnamese communities in Southern California, the Bay Area and Houston, and induced them to pay large up-front fees to obtain mortgage relief services.

“This defendant preyed upon vulnerable homeowners desperately trying to avoid foreclosure of their homes,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “He used false promises to extract significant fees from his victims, but he provided nothing in return.”

The evidence showed that Marquette operated the scheme by “falsely promising homeowners mortgage loan modifications that would substantially reduce their mortgage payments, avoid foreclosure, or eliminate their mortgage loans entirely.” The government contended at sentencing that Marquette took in more than $1.5 million from victim-homeowners.

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February 10, 2017

Owner of Schools that Illegally Allowed Foreign Nationals to Remain in U.S. as Foreign ‘Students’ Pleads Guilty to Federal Fraud Charges

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:49 am

LOS ANGELES – The owner of four schools that enrolled hundreds foreign nationals who fraudulently obtained immigration documents allowing them to remain in the United States as “students” – even though they rarely, if ever, attended classes – pleaded guilty today to federal immigration fraud charges.

Hee Sun Shim (also known as Leonard Shim and Leo Shim), 53, of Beverly Hills, the owner and manager of the schools, pleaded guilty this morning to conspiracy and immigration document fraud.

Shim, along with two co-defendants – ran a “pay-to-stay” scheme through three schools in Koreatown – Prodee University/Neo-America Language School; Walter Jay M.D. Institute, an Educational Center (WJMD); and the American College of Forensic Studies (ACFS). A fourth school in Alhambra – Likie Fashion and Technology College – was also involved in the scheme, which ran for at least six years.

Prodee and the other schools issued immigration documents to foreign nationals who were not bona fide students, had no intention of attending the schools, and sometimes lived outside of California. As part of the conspiracy, Shim created bogus student records, including transcripts, for some of the students for the purpose of deceiving immigration authorities. In exchange for the immigration documents that allowed them to remain in the United States, the purported “students” made “tuition” payments to Shim and his co-conspirators to “enroll” and remain enrolled at the schools.

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Correctional Officer at Federal Prison in Victorville Agrees to Plead Guilty to Taking Bribe to Smuggle Contraband to Prisoner

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:47 am

RIVERSIDE, California – A federal correctional officer who worked at the United States Penitentiary in Victorville has agreed to plead guilty to a federal bribery charge for taking a $1,000 bribe to smuggle contraband to a prisoner inside the facility.

Ignacio Adrian Sobers Jr., 31, of San Bernardino, entered into a plea agreement that was filed today in United States District Court. Sobers agreed to plead guilty to one count of acceptance of a bribe by a public official.

Sobers was arrested by federal authorities on January 21 after receiving a $1,000 payment and a gift-wrapped package filled with contraband in a parking lot of a fast food restaurant in San Bernardino.

The contraband that Sobers received for the purpose of smuggling to the inmate included MP3 players, pornographic magazines, pornographic movies, all of which were objects prohibited from delivery to an inmate at USP Victorville and which defendant knew to be prohibited objects according to the plea agreement.

“With the full knowledge that his conduct was illegal and posed a threat to the security of the prison, this defendant betrayed his oath to the United States by accepting a bribe in exchange for smuggling contraband to a prisoner,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Law enforcement officers have a special duty to uphold the law and to act in the public’s interest, and this defendant’s failure to act in the public’s interest both presented an immediate threat of harm to the security of the prison and undermines public confidence in law enforcement in general.”

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Sister-in-Law of Shooter in San Bernardino Attack Pleads Guilty to Federal Conspiracy Charge in Immigration Fraud Case

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:44 am

RIVERSIDE, California – Tatiana Farook, who is the sister-in-law of the male shooter in the San Bernardino attack, pleaded guilty today to federal immigration fraud charges related to a sham marriage discovered during the investigation into the December 2, 2015 shooting spree that took the lives of 14 people.

Tatiana Farook, 32, of Corona, pleaded guilty this morning before United States District Judge Jesus Bernal to one count of conspiracy to commit immigration fraud.

As a result of today’s guilty plea, Tatiana Farook faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison. She is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Bernal on November 13.

The bogus marriage was between Mariya Chernykh, who is Tatiana Farook’s sister, and Enrique Marquez Jr., who is facing charges of conspiring with San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook and planning other attacks in 2011 and 2012.

Chernykh, 26, of Ontario, pleaded guilty on January 26 charges of conspiracy, perjury and making false statements.

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February 9, 2017

Corporation and Its Executive Agree to Plead Guilty to Participating in Capacitors Price-Fixing Conspiracy

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

Matsuo Electric Co. Limited and one of its executives, Satoshi Okubo, have agreed to plead guilty for their roles in a conspiracy to fix prices and rig bids for electrolytic capacitors sold to customers in the United States and elsewhere, the Department of Justice announced today.

In charges filed today in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California, Matsuo and Okubo were charged in a conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition of electrolytic capacitors by fixing prices and rigging bids.  The charges allege that Matsuo participated in the conspiracy from at least as early as November 2001 until about January 2014 and that Okubo participated in the conspiracy from at least as early as August 2002 until about January 2014.

In addition to pleading guilty, Matsuo has agreed to pay a criminal fine and Okubo has agreed to serve a prison term of one year and a day.  Both have agreed to cooperate with the Antitrust Division’s ongoing investigation.  The plea agreements are subject to court approval.

“The simultaneous acceptance of responsibility by a company and the executive who supervised its involvement in the cartel demonstrates in a concrete way their future commitment to lawful conduct and an improved business culture,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brent Snyder of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.  “The division continues to investigate this industry and will take the steps necessary to ensure that the executives involved in the conspiracy are held accountable, and that the companies that participated undertake changes to instill a culture of compliance and remediation.”

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California Man Sentenced to Prison for Filing Tax Returns in the Name of Deceased Individuals and Stealing Social Security and Refund Checks

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

Hugh Robinson, a San Pablo, California resident, was sentenced yesterday to serve ­­144 months in prison for filing tax returns using the identities of deceased individuals and stealing social security and refund checks destined for other individuals, 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.

In October 2016, Robinson, 46, was convicted of conspiring to steal public money, stealing public money, and aggravated identity theft. According to the evidence presented at his trial, from at least August 2013 through April 2015, Robinson and his co-conspirators took names and personal identification information of deceased individuals from California death records and used them to file income tax returns seeking refunds. Robinson and his co-conspirators directed the refunds to addresses and bank accounts that they controlled. Robinson also bought and cashed legitimate refund and social security benefits checks that he knew had been stolen. Robinson and his co-conspirators obtained fraudulent California IDs and used them to cash the refund and social security checks at various stores, including in the Richmond-area. total, Robinson intended to cause a loss of more than $1.5 million.

In addition to the term of prison imposed, Robinson was ordered to serve three years of supervised release and to pay restitution in the amount of $900,402 to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg and U.S. Attorney Stretch commended special agents of IRS–Criminal Investigation who conducted the investigation, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Newman and Jose A. Olivera, and Trial Attorney Gregory Bernstein of the Tax Division, who prosecuted the case.

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TRUSTEE’S ASSISTANT CHARGED WITH FINANCIAL ELDER ABUSE AND FORGERY FOR STEALING OVER $500,000 FROM 95-YEAR-OLD WOMAN WITH DEMENTIA

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A trustee’s assistant was charged yesterday with financial elder abuse and forgery for stealing over $500,000 from a 95-year-old woman with dementia. Thomas Chapman Hood, 69, Newport Coast, was charged yesterday, Feb. 7, 2017, with 19 felony counts of forgery, one felony count of first degree residential burglary to commit larceny and financial elder abuse, and one felony count of theft from an elder, with sentencing enhancement allegations for non-accomplices being present during residential burglary, aggravated white collar crime over $500,000, and property loss of over $200,000. Hood is being held on $534,850 bail and must prove the money is from a legal and legitimate source before posting bond. His arraignment date is to be determined.

At the time of the crime, Hood was employed part-time as an assistant to the trustee of 95-year-old Jane Doe’s bank accounts. The defendant worked from the home office of the trustee’s secretary in Orange.

On March 1, 2015, Hood is accused of stealing Jane Doe’s check books from the home office while the secretary and homeowner were in other rooms. The defendant is accused of taking advantage of his position of trust, knowing Jane Doe had dementia and resided in a senior care facility. The secretary and trustee did not authorize Hood to access any checks for personal or business use.

Between March 17, 2015, and Sept. 30, 2016, Hood is accused of forging the trustee’s signature on dozens of checks for a loss of $534,850 dollars. The defendant is accused of depositing the unauthorized checks into his personal bank account and using the stolen funds to pay for his personal expenses, including credit card bills and a 2-week vacation in Paris, France.

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February 8, 2017

Corona Woman Sentenced to over 2 Years in Federal Prison for Embezzling more than $500,000 from her Employer

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

SANTA ANA, California – A Corona woman who embezzled more than $500,000 from her employer, an Irvine-based property management company, has been sentenced to serve 27 months in federal prison.

Kristina Hosea, 46, of Corona, was sentenced yesterday by United States District Judge Cormac J. Carney, who also ordered the defendant to pay $515,619 restitution.

Hosea pleaded guilty in 2015 to one count of wire fraud and admitted that she stole money from her employer, Advanced Real Estate Services, Inc. (ARES), where she worked as the assistant to the president.

“This defendant stole funds for years to pay for rent, her cars, a retirement account and a quinceanera for her daughter,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Businesses place trust in their employees who handle their finances, and crimes like this defendant’s harm the business and all of the business’ employees.”

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Inland Empire Man Sentenced to 41 Months in Federal Prison in Fraudulent Tax Refund Scheme that Cost IRS nearly $400,000

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

LOS ANGELES – A San Bernardino County man who filed tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service that led to nearly $400,000 in fraudulent tax refunds being issued has been sentenced to 41 months in federal prison.

John Metters, 53, of Fontana, was sentenced yesterday by United States District Judge Otis D. Wright II. In addition to the prison term, Judge Wright ordered Metters to pay restitution of $391,070 to the IRS.

Metters pleaded guilty in September to one count of making false claims to the United States and one count of theft of government money.

“This defendant compounded his brazen tax fraud by attempting to obstruct the ensuing investigation, to no avail,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Today’s sentence reflects not only the size of the fraud, but also the defendant’s willingness to obstruct justice by discouraging witnesses from answering subpoenas to testify before the grand jury.”

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LOS ANGELES FELON SENTENCED TO 16 YEARS IN PRISON FOR PIMPING AND THREATENING VICTIMS THEN LEADING POLICE ON FOOT PURSUIT THROUGH BACK YARDS IN STANTON AFTER CRASHING HIS CAR

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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A Los Angeles felon was sentenced to 16 years in state prison yesterday for pimping and threatening victims, then leading police on a foot pursuit through back yards in Stanton after crashing his car. Delane Williams, 42, Sun Valley, pleaded guilty on Feb. 6, 2017, to one felony count each of pimping, criminal threats, evading while driving recklessly, pandering, and attempted pimping, one misdemeanor count each of resisting and obstructing a police officer, aggravated trespassing, destroying or concealing evidence, and violation of a protective order, and sentencing enhancements for prior felony convictions.

Circumstances of the Case

Williams is a pimp who exploits women for financial gain. Pimps often establish rigid rules that their victims are expected to follow including requiring victims to speak only when spoken to, address the pimp as “Sir” or “Daddy,” and setting daily quotas that the victims are expected to fulfill. The victims are often required to turn over all payment they receive for sex acts from sex purchasers to their pimp. Failure to follow these rules can result in deprivation of food and/or physical and emotional abuse.

On Jan. 6, 2015, Williams met 20-year-old Jane Doe 1 in Los Angeles and said he would drive her to a storage unit that contained her belongings. The defendant instead drove her to areas of Orange County known for human trafficking and prostitution. Williams booked a motel room in Anaheim and demanded the victim pay him for the car rides and food by soliciting commercial sex and giving him all money she received from sex purchasers.

Williams gave the victim condoms and threatened her to get in the car when a man solicited her. Jane Doe 1 fought off the sex purchaser and escaped from his car in Stanton. She immediately called 911 and members of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF) responded to the scene. The man has not yet been identified. Williams was identified, but officers were unable to locate him.

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