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May 20, 2016

Lancaster Man Sentenced for Planning to Use IED on Ex-Girlfriend

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 1:35 am

A 52-year-old man was sentenced today to 16 years in state prison for having an improvised explosive device that he planned to detonate at his ex-girlfriend’s home, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Steven Mac said Vernon Russell Smith (dob 7/11/63) of Lancaster pleaded no contest on April 14 to one felony count of attempt to explode a destructive device with intent to injure.

Smith was pulled over by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy on Oct. 15, 2015, after making an illegal U-turn in the residential area of 10th Street West and Avenue H-12, the prosecutor said. The deputy discovered an explosive device made from a petroleum liquid, gun powder and laced with staples, the prosecutor added.

Further investigation determined the defendant planned to use the homemade bomb on his exgirlfriend and her husband.

Case MA067299 was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Lancaster Station.

Los Angeles County District Attorney / case MA067299 / May 19, 2016

May 19, 2016

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Indictment of Plains All-American Pipeline on Criminal Charges Resulting From May 2015 Santa Barbara County Oil Spill

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

SANTA BARBARA - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley today announced that Plains All-American Pipeline has been indicted by a grand jury on 46 criminal charges related to the May 2015 oil spill in Santa Barbara County.  A Plains All-American Pipeline employee was also indicted on 3 criminal charges.

On May 19, 2015, a pipeline operated by Plains All-American Pipeline ruptured, releasing into the environment approximately 140,000 gallons of heavy crude oil onto land, beaches, and the Pacific Ocean near Refugio State Beach.  Federal, state and local governments have spent millions of dollars to clean up the spill, which resulted in substantial damage to natural habitats and wildlife over a large area.

Attorney General Harris partnered with local and state law enforcement agencies to conduct a criminal investigation and jointly prosecute the criminal case with Santa Barbara County District Attorney Dudley.

“Crimes against our environment must be met with swift action and accountability,” said Attorney General Harris. “The carelessness of Plains All-American harmed hundreds of species and marine life off Refugio Beach. This conduct is criminal and today’s charges serve as a powerful reminder of the consequences that flow from jeopardizing the well-being of our ecosystems and public health.”



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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was convicted yesterday, May 17, 2016, of human trafficking, pimping, and pandering woman, and attempting to pimp another woman by threatening the victims. Johnny Lee Guyton Jr., 46, Henderson, Nevada, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of human trafficking, one felony count of pimping, two felony counts of pandering, and one felony count of attempted pimping. Guyton faces a maximum sentence of 21 years and four months in state prison at his sentencing on June 9, 2016, at 1:30 p.m. in Department C-37, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

On April 21, 2015, Guyton was charged in case 15NF1059 with two felony counts of human trafficking, two felony counts of pimping, two felony counts of pandering. This case was subsequently consolidated with case 15NF2346.

Circumstances of the Case

Guytonis a human trafficker/pimp who exploits women for financial gain. With the rise in popularity of social media and ease of meeting people on the Internet, many pimps and human traffickers utilize a variety of social media to locate potential victims. The victims are 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/or emotional abuse.

In August 2014, Guyton pandered Jane Doe 1 by persuading her to perform commercial sex acts for his benefit in Santa Ana. The defendant forced the victim to solicit commercial sex and verbally threatened her with violence if she did not give him all of the money she received from sex purchasers.

During that time, Guyton filmed himself attempting to pimp and verbally threatening Jane Doe 1 in Orange County, and sent the videos to associates to brag about pimping the victim.


Man Convicted of Murder for Fatal Stabbing in Front of Child

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

A 30-year-old man was convicted yesterday of killing the boyfriend of his estranged wife in 2014, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

The jury deliberated for two days before finding Guillermo Hector Diaz of Carson guilty of six felony counts in case TA136133: one count each of first-degree murder and first-degree residential burglary and two counts each of resisting executive officer and dissuading a witness from reporting a crime.

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

Diaz is scheduled to be sentenced June 27 in Department K of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Compton Branch. The defendant faces a maximum possible sentence of 34 years to life in state prison.

Deputy District Attorneys Adrian Roxas and Marlene Martinez of the Victim Impact Program, who coprosecuted the case, said on Dec. 22, 2014, Diaz broke into his estranged wife’s South Los Angeles apartment.


May 18, 2016

Two Former L.A. Sheriff’s Deputies Found Guilty of Violating Civil Rights of Jail Inmate who was Beaten as Punishment

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 2:48 am

LOS ANGELES – Two former deputies with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department were found guilty today of violating the civil rights of a mentally ill jail inmate by beating, kicking and pepper spraying the victim after he showed disrespect to a jail employee.

Bryan Brunsting, 31, and Jason Branum (also known as Jason Johnson), 35, were each found guilty of three felony counts related to the unprovoked attack on March 22, 2010.

The evidence presented during a one-week trial in United States District Court showed that Brunsting and Branum assaulted the victim, who was an inmate at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles. The assault occurred after the inmate mouthed-off to a civilian Sheriff’s Department employee. Brunsting, who was a training officer assigned to a rookie deputy who had just started working at the jail, told his trainee that they were going to “teach [the inmate] him a lesson.”

Brunsting, Branum and the rookie deputy brought the victim out of the visiting area and directed him to a locked hallway without any surveillance cameras. Once in the hallway, the inmate realized he was going to be assaulted and began to run. The victim was tackled. Brunsting and Branum then beat the victim with fists, kicked him in the genitals and sprayed him in the eyes with pepper spray. Once other deputies arrived, they instructed the rookie deputy to handcuff the victim before he was led away for medical treatment.

After the beating, Brunsting, Branum and the rookie deputy met to coordinate and falsify their stories. The rookie deputy testified that he was told what to say and how to write his report. As prosecutors argued at trial, the reports submitted by Brunsting and the rookie were strikingly similar, and were written to justify the use of force by falsely claiming that the victim had attempted to punch the rookie.


Inland Empire Man Sentenced to 9 Years in Prison for Defrauding Investors and Pennsylvania Car Dealership out of $1.3 Million

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 2:45 am

LOS ANGELES – An Inland Empire man who operated a fraudulent foreign currency exchange investment house and who arranged for an unauthorized wire transfer from a Pennsylvania car dealership was sentenced today to 108 months in federal prison, and to pay $1,303,307 in restitution.

Malachai Levy – who was born Ralph Maurice Metters, but recently legally changed his name – 38, of Corona, was sentenced today by United States District Judge John F. Walter.

While imposing the nine-year prison term, Judge Walter said that Levy was “the definition of a classic con man,” and noted that the defendant conspired to commit credit card fraud over jail telephones that he knew were being monitored while he was awaiting sentencing in the wire fraud case.

Levy pleaded guilty in January 2015 to conspiring to commit wire fraud and admitted both the fraudulent wire transfer and defrauding investors who thought their money would be used in connection with foreign currency investments with various companies, including Omni Finance and Mo Betta Advisors.

In relation to the fraudulent wire transfer, an unknown person hijacked the online banking profile of an account belonging to a Lexus dealership in Haverford, Pennsylvania, according to documents filed in this case. An online request was made in 2013 that resulted in a fraudulent wire transfer of $556,375 to Levy’s Omni Finance account in California.



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 2:43 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A Minnesota man was sentenced today to 35 years in state prison and ordered to repay $21 million restitution back to over 55 Orange County victims and pay a fine of $42 million for a $150 million investment fraud Ponzi scheme. This is the largest Ponzi scheme to be prosecuted in Orange County history and the defendant committed the crime without ever entering the State of California. Gerard Frank Cellette, 51, formerly of Anoka County, Minnesota, pleaded guilty to a court offer yesterday, May 16, 2016, to 455 felony counts including 46 counts of selling unregistered securities, 382 counts of money laundering, and 27 counts of using an untrue statement in the purchase and sale of a security, with sentencing enhancements and allegations for property damage over $3.2 million, money laundering transactions in excess of $2.5 million, aggravated white collar crime over $500,000, and causing over $100,000 loss.

At the sentencing today, the People read victim impact statements submitted to the court by Steven Q. and Robert A. Steven Q. stated in part, “I hope you enjoyed your high rolling days being a big shot. I hope you enjoy the next 15 plus years in prison thinking about the lives and relationships you destroyed.”

Robert A. stated in part, “You nearly ruined my life, my wife’s life, and my son’s life and you certainly negatively impacted all of our lives and I am still clawing my way back from debt. However, this emotional toll this took on me and my family and friends and the victims and their families and friends will never be offset and it is irreparable. You nearly ruined countless other good peoples’ lives with your actions in numerous ways and you certainly negatively altered all of the victims’ lives.”

The Ponzi Scheme
At the time of the crime, Cellette lived in Minnesota and owned Minnesota Print Services, Inc., which he operated out of a room in his home. Cellette falsely claimed to have large printing contracts with major corporations and was seeking investors for fake printing projects with the promise of 10 to 15 percent returns on investments. Cellette presented investors with fraudulent copies of contracts, known as “deal sheets,” which contained details including the name of the fictitious corporation/customer, the total contract price, and the time period within which the investment would be returned with interest (generally 60 to 90 days).


May 17, 2016

Irvine Engineer Named in New Indictment Alleging Theft of Trade Secrets from Two Medical Device Companies

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

SANTA ANA, California – A federal grand jury has issued a superseding indictment that charges an Irvine engineer with stealing and possessing trade secrets belonging to two former employers, both of which develop and manufacture medical devices used to treat cardiac and vascular ailments.

Wenfeng Lu, 43, of Irvine, was named in a 12-count superseding indictment returned by a grand jury on Wednesday.

The indictment alleges that Lu stole the confidential and proprietary trade secrets from two different medical device companies with research facilities in Irvine, where Lu worked from January 2009 until he was arrested in 2012.

During this time, Lu travelled to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) multiple times – sometimes soon after allegedly downloading trade secrets from an employer’s computer and emailing information to his personal email account. Lu was arrested as he prepared to board a plane to the PRC in November 2012, according to court documents.  Lu appeared “to be in the process of setting up a company with other individuals in the PRC to manufacture medical devices,” an FBI agent wrote in an affidavit previously filed in this case.

“Intellectual property theft poses a grave threat to businesses and the employees who depend on those businesses for their livelihoods,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Moreover, when the stolen material is destined for foreign entities seeking to compete with American businesses, as it was in this case, IP theft also threatens the security of our nation. This is one of the reasons that my Office now prosecutes IP crimes out of a National Security Division.”



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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A husband is scheduled to be arraigned today for the shooting murder of his estranged wife as she was waiting to pick up their daughter from school. Humberto Servin, 49, Anaheim, is charged with one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death. If convicted, Servin faces a maximum sentence of 50 years to life in state prison. The People will be requesting that Servin be held on $2 million bail at his arraignment today, May 16, 2016, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.

At the time of the crime, Servin was married to 42-year-old Claudia Garcia, but had not lived with his wife since 2008.

On May 12, 2016, Servin and the victim had arranged to meet in a park near their daughter’s school in Anaheim.

At approximately 2:20 p.m. that day, Servin is accused of carrying a loaded firearm and approaching the victim’s vehicle, which was parked in the previously agreed upon area. Servin is accused of opening the passenger side door and shooting the victim. Servin is accused of fleeing the scene in his truck when the victim’s daughter ran toward the vehicle to check on her mother.

The victim was taken to the Western Medical Center in Anaheim, where she was pronounced dead. Servin is accused of subsequently driving to the Anaheim Police Department station (APD) in Anaheim Hills and surrendering to APD officers.


Former Santa Clarita Basketball Coach Pleads in Sexual Assault Case

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

A former basketball coach at the Albert Einstein Academy in Santa Clarita pleaded no contest today to sexually molesting six boys, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Randolph Jackson, 29, entered his plea just as jury selection was about to begin, said Deputy District Attorney Reinhold Mueller with the Sex Crimes Division, who is prosecuting the case.

Jackson pleaded no contest to a total of nine counts, including one felony count each of continuous sexual abuse, oral copulation of a person under 16 and lewd act on a child. In addition, he pleaded to six misdemeanor charges, including four counts of indecent exposure and two counts of child molesting.

He returns to Department 108 on June 1 for sentencing in case BA433664. He is expected to be sentenced to 17 years, eight months in state prison and ordered to register as a sex offender for life.

Jackson admitted molesting six boys between the ages of 13 and 17 at various locations in Los Angeles, the prosecutor said. The incidents occurred between November 2010 and January 2015. He met the victims while working as a basketball coach at two separate schools.


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