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May 25, 2016

Pennsylvania Man Charged with Hacking Apple and Google E-Mail Accounts Belonging to More Than 100 People, Mostly Celebrities

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:27 am

Update:

A Pennsylvania man charged in relation to the ongoing “Celebgate” investigation pleaded guilty this morning in United States District Court in Harrisburg, Penn. The case against Ryan Collins was investigated by FBI agents based in Los Angeles, and the plea agreement was negotiated by prosecutors in the United States Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles. The case was transferred to the Middle District of Pennsylvania for the entry of the guilty plea because the defendant lives in that area.

Collins pleaded guilty before Senior U.S. District Court Judge William W. Caldwell, who has not yet scheduled a date for sentencing. As indicated in the original press release (included below), Collins faces a statutory maximum penalty of five years in federal prison.

Original Release, which was issued on March 15:

Pennsylvania Man Charged with Hacking Apple and Google E-Mail Accounts Belonging to More Than 100 People, Mostly Celebrities

LOS ANGELES – A Pennsylvania man was charged today with felony computer hacking related to a phishing scheme that gave him illegal access to over 100 Apple and Google e-mail accounts, including those belonging to members of the entertainment industry in Los Angeles.

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Man Charged with Attempted Murder of Two People at Homeless Camp

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:22 am

A transient suspected of lighting two people on fire was charged today with two counts of attempted murder and other crimes, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Phillip Darryl Cole (dob 7/4/61) is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon in Department 30 at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center in case BA446927. Prosecutors will ask that his bail be set at $2.3 million.

Deputy District Attorney Sean Carney with the Arson and Explosives Unit is prosecuting the case.

Cole allegedly approached a homeless encampment in South Los Angeles on May 19 and set two people on fire. He also is suspected of attacking two other people with a hammer while robbing them on the same day.

Cole is charged with two counts of attempted willful, deliberate and premeditated murder along with one count each of mayhem, arson causing great bodily injury and arson of an inhabited structure or property.

In addition, he is charged with one count each of first-degree residential robbery and second-degree robbery and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, a hammer. The complaint alleges Cole has prior convictions for robbery.

If convicted, Cole faces up to life in state prison.

The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department.

Los Angeles County District Attorney / case BA446927 / May 24, 2016

May 24, 2016

El Monte Flores Gang Member Sentenced to 210 months in Federal Prison on Multiple Racketeering Charges

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:14 am

LOS ANGELES – An El Monte man who pled guilty to four separate crimes related to gang activity has been sentenced to serve 210 months in federal prison.

Christian “Bossy” Lafargo, 30, was sentenced Thursday by United States District Judge John A. Kronstadt after pleading guilty to multiple charges, including Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (“RICO”) Conspiracy, Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering -– Attempted Murder, Violent Crime in Aid of Racketeering – Conspiracy to Commit Murder, and Discharging a Firearm During and in Relation to a Crime of Violence.

The case was based on Lafargo’s activities in the El Monte Flores (“EMF”) gang, one of the oldest street gangs in Los Angeles County. According to the government’s sentencing papers, EMF has hundreds of Mexican Mafia affiliated gang members, spanning several generations. The Mexican Mafia is a powerful and violent prison gang that controls drug distribution and other illegal activities within the California penal system and on the streets of Southern California by organizing Latino street gang members for the purpose of establishing a larger network for the Mexican Mafia’s illegal activities. If a street gang does not comply with the demands of the Mexican Mafia, the prison gang will order the assault or murder the offending gang’s members, whether they are in custody or on the streets.

According to the indictment, the EMF gang seeks to control parts of the San Gabriel Valley through violence and intimidation, while deriving profits from its drug-trafficking operations and the scheme of “taxing” persons within the community. The crimes of EMF include drug-trafficking, extortion, theft, robbery, assault, hate crimes against African-Americans, and murder.

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NFL Hall of Famer, Practicing California Attorney Pleads Guilty to Filing a False Tax Return

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:11 am

A San Diego, California, workers’ compensation attorney pleaded guilty today in the Western District of Missouri to one count of filing a false tax return, Acting Assistant Attorney General Caroline D. Ciraolo of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson of the Western District of Missouri announced.

According to court documents, Ron Mix, 78, entered into an arrangement where he received professional athlete referrals from a non-attorney so Mix and his law firm, the Law Offices of Ron Mix, could file workers’ compensation claims in California on the former athletes’ behalf.  After receiving these referrals, Mix agreed to make donations to Project Contact Africa (PCA), as directed by the non-attorney.  Mix admitted that between 2010 and 2013, he made approximately $155,000 in donations to PCA and that these payments represented illegal referral payments that he falsely claimed on his personal income tax return as charitable deductions.

U.S. District Court Judge Greg Kays for the Western District of Missouri has not yet scheduled Mix’s sentencing.  Mix faces a statutory maximum sentence of three years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Ciraolo and U.S. Attorney Dickinson commended special agents of Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation and Homeland Security Investigations, who investigated the case and Assistant U.S.  Attorneys Patrick Daly and Curt Bohling of the Western District of Missouri and Trial Attorney Ryan Raybould of the Tax Division, who are prosecuting the case.

Additional information about the Tax Division and its enforcement efforts may be found on the division’s website.

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MAN CONVICTED OF 1995 COLD CASE KIDNAPPING AND STABBING-MURDER OF MAN

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:09 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was convicted today for his role in the 1995 cold case kidnapping and stabbing-murder of a man. Shannon Ray Gries, 45, Santa Ana, pleaded guilty today, May 23, 2016, to one count of felony-murder for murder during the commission of kidnapping.

Co-defendant Diane Tran, 47, Costa Mesa, pleaded guilty on Jan. 24, 2014, to one felony count of voluntary manslaughter with a sentencing enhancement for being armed with a firearm in the commission of a felony.

Co-defendant Norma Patricia Esparza, 38, France, pleaded guilty on Sept. 12, 2014, to one felony count of voluntary manslaughter.

Gries is expected to be sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison. Tran is expected to be sentenced to four years in state prison, and Esparza is expected to be sentenced to six years in state prison at their sentencing on July 15, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-35, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Co-defendant Gianni Anthony Van, 46, Costa Mesa, was found guilty by a jury on May 7, 2015, of one felony count of first degree murder with a special circumstance enhancement for murder during the commission of kidnapping. Van was sentenced on July 10, 2015, to life in state prison without the possibility of parole.

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May 23, 2016

MAN SENTENCED TO SEVEN YEARS IN PRISON FOR ASSAULTING HBPD OFFICER BY KNOCKING HIM TO THE GROUND AND REPEATEDLY HITTING AND KICKING HIM

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:04 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was sentenced today to seven years in state prison for assaulting an on-duty Huntington Beach Police Department (HBPD) officer by knocking the officer to the ground and repeatedly hitting and kicking him. Bryce Headrick, 23, Huntington Beach, pleaded guilty on March 17, 2016, to one felony count of aggravated assault on a peace officer, one misdemeanor count of resisting and obstructing another officer, and a sentencing enhancement for inflicting great bodily injury.

Bryce Headrick’s father, Darryl Headrick, 58, Huntington Beach, was also at the scene and is charged with one felony count of aggravated assault on a peace officer, one misdemeanor count of resisting and obstructing another officer, and a sentencing enhancement for inflicting great bodily injury. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of eight years in state prison and one year in jail. Darryl Headrick is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on June 27, 2016, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-49, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Bryce Headrick is convicted of and Darryl Headrick is accused of the following:

At approximately 11:20 p.m. on Feb. 9, 2016, Bryce Headrick was riding a bicycle near Beach Boulevard and Clay Avenue in Huntington Beach. A HBPD officer conducted a stop on Bryce Headrick for a traffic violation. As the officer was talking to Bryce Headrick, his father, Darryl Headrick, is accused of approaching the officer from behind and assaulting the officer. Both defendants are accused of punching the officer, knocking him to the ground, and continuing to punch and kick the officer in the head and body. At some point during the assault, the officer lost consciousness. Both defendants then fled the scene on their bicycles.

HBPD officers located Darryl Headrick near the crime scene and arrested him. Bryce Headrick was located and arrested several hours later near his home. The officer was transported to University of California, Irvine Medical Center and treated for non-life threatening injuries, including a concussion. HBPD investigated this case.

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Leader of Multi-Million Dollar Bank ‘Bustout’ Scheme that used Counterfeit Checks Sentenced to over 5 Years in Federal Prison

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:01 am

LOS ANGELES – A West Los Angeles man who masterminded a bank account ‘bustout’ scheme that defrauded financial institutions such as Bank of America and Chase Bank and cumulatively caused more than $15 million in losses has been sentenced to serve 63 months in federal prison.

Jae Ho Chung, 46, who resides in Westwood, received the prison sentence on May 12 from United States District Judge John A. Kronstadt, who also ordered the defendant to pay nearly $2.1 million in restitution to a variety of banks.

The overall scheme involved approximately $15 million in losses, but Chung was directly involved in criminal conduct that netted him approximately $2 million – money that prosecutors said Chung used to support his lifestyle, which included a home in Bel Air and gambling at casinos.

Chung pleaded guilty in October 2015 to two counts of bank fraud, admitting that he “conspired over a period of more than five years with 14 others to defraud banks by depositing fraudulent checks to inflate account balances so that, in the brief period that credited and reflected those deposits, defendant and others could withdraw provisionally-granted funds for their benefit,” according to a sentencing memorandum recently filed in federal court. “This scheme was defendant’s brain child.”

According to documents filed in the case, beginning in July 2008 and continuing until October 2013, Chung conspired with Michael Yeon Cho and 13 other co-defendants to defraud banks through the bustout scheme that used counterfeit checks to inflate account balances so that withdrawals could promptly be made before the banks learned that the deposited checks were worthless. Chung created and directed others to create counterfeit checks, directed others to arrange the establishment of “shell” corporations make it appear that bank accounts were legitimate; and withdrew funds from bustout accounts and transferred the fraudulent proceeds to himself and others.

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Operator of Costa Mesa Boiler Room at Center of $11 Million Oil and Gas Investment Scam Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 4:58 am

SANTA ANA, California – A former Orange County resident who oversaw a company that claimed to be developing oil and gas wells and bilked investors by, among other things, falsely claiming they would see 50 percent annual returns has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.

Jerry L. Aubrey, 51, who at the time of the fraud lived in Santa Ana, was sentenced Monday for his in role in the scheme that caused investors in the Costa Mesa-based Progressive Energy Partners (PEP) to suffer over $9 million in losses.

United States District Judge James V. Selna imposed the decade-long sentence and ordered Jerry Aubrey to pay $9,408,184 in restitution to nearly 200 victims.

Jerry Aubrey was sentenced after pleading guilty in January to one count of mail fraud. As prosecutors noted in sentencing papers filed with the court, Jerry Aubrey orchestrated the PEP scheme from October 2005 until April 2010 – and after that he served a five-year prison term in Florida for another fraud scheme that he was involved in prior to PEP.

“This defendant orchestrated a classic investment fraud that promised extravagant returns while investors’ money was simply being used to line the pockets of the scammers,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “This is a serial offender who was deserving of a lengthy sentence.”

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May 20, 2016

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Announces Takedown of Stockton Criminal Street Gangs ‘Westside Bloods’ and ‘Taliban’

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 1:42 am

STOCKTON — Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the successful takedown of two criminal street gangs in the Stockton area, following a joint investigation and operation by the California Department of Justice’s Bureau of Investigation Special Operations Unit (SOU) and the Stockton Police Department’s Gang Violence Suppression unit.

The joint operation, named Operation Bloodline, resulted in the seizure of 22 illegal firearms, $12,000 in currency, and 41 pounds of marijuana; as well as the arrests of 52 individuals on felony crimes.

The investigation found that ‘Westside Bloods’ and ‘Taliban’ gangs have been illegally purchasing firearms and are responsible for numerous armed robberies and shootings in the Stockton area, including a recent triple homicide.

Several attempted murders and robberies were solved or circumvented as a result of the investigation.

“Members of these two street gangs have terrorized the Stockton community and escalated violence and the proliferation of illegal guns in the city.  Today, the California Department of Justice, the California Highway Patrol and the Stockton Police Department have made significant strides toward dismantling these groups and increasing safety in Stockton,” said Attorney General Harris. “I want to thank our DOJ Special Agents and the dedicated officers of the Stockton Police Department and the California Highway Patrol for their incredible efforts in this case.”

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OC Pilot Indicted for Flying Planes Without FAA License

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 1:38 am

Update:

Today, a federal grand jury returned an indictment charging Arnold Gerald Leto III with two counts of piloting a plane without a license. Leto was charged for flying a Cessna Citation turbojet aircraft from Santa Monica, California, to Phoenix, Arizona, on or about January 30, 2015, and a Falcon 10 turbojet aircraft from Van Nuys Airport to Las Vegas, Nevada, on or about April 8, 2016.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

Each charge alleged in the indictment carries a statutory maximum penalty of three years federal prison.

Original Release:

Orange County Pilot Charged with Flying Private Jet without Having Proper License Issued by FAA

LOS ANGELES – An Irvine man was arrested this morning on federal charges of illegally flying a twin-engine Falcon 10 turbojet airplane with passengers onboard without having a valid pilot’s license.

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