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January 30, 2013

Former Mayor of Cudahy Sentenced to Federal Prison for Taking Bribes from ‘Medical Marijuana’ Businessman

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 6:41 am

LOS ANGELES – The former mayor of the City of Cudahy was sentenced this afternoon to one year in federal prison for taking cash bribes in exchange for supporting the opening of a “medical marijuana” store in the city.

David Silva, 62, the then-mayor of Cudahy and an elected member of the city council, was sentenced to 12 months in federal prison by United States District Judge Manuel Real.

“Mr. Silva sold the integrity and authority of the mayor’s office for his own personal gain,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. “Elected officials are expected to obey the law. When they don’t, those officials should expect to go to prison.”

Bill Lewis, the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Office, stated: “Today’s sentencing serves as evidence that corrupt practices by public officials who use their power to get rich quick and abuse the trust of their constituents will not be tolerated. The FBI will continue to investigate alleged corrupt offenders and work toward restoring reliable services to the citizens they’re expected to serve.”

Angel Perales, 44, who ran the Code Enforcement Division of the Cudahy Community Services Department and who was involved in the bribery scheme, was sentenced by Judge Real two weeks ago to probation.

A third person who took bribes from an FBI informant – Osvaldo Conde, 51, who was a member of the Cudahy City Council, and who accepted two separate bribe payments – is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Real on February 25.

According to an affidavit filed in this case: “On the afternoon of February 28, 2012, following weeks of bribe solicitations and related discussions, made during recorded meetings and telephone calls, Conde, Silva and Perales met an FBI confidential informant at the El Potrero nightclub in Cudahy, California. The three Cudahy city officials accepted a total of $15,000 cash as bribe payments. Later that evening, Conde met the confidential informant to receive an additional $2,000 cash as a bribe.”

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December 12, 2012

Orange County Man Sentenced to 2½ Years in Prison for Illegally Importing Counterfeit, Name-Brand Exercise Equipment

LOS ANGELES – An Irvine man was sentenced this morning to 30 months in federal prison for trafficking in counterfeit goods, including counterfeit exercise equipment purporting to be Malibu Pilates, Bowflex, and Ab Circle Pro.

Stanley Kuo Jua Yang, 36, was sentenced by United States District Court Judge R. Gary Klausner, who remanded Yang into custody at the conclusion of today’s sentencing hearing.

In the summer of 2009, Yang imported 40-foot containers with the counterfeit exercise equipment. On September 22, 2010, federal agents served a search warrant at Yang’s Fountain Valley business and discovered additional counterfeit exercise equipment. The agents found complete machines, parts, manuals and stickers, as well as thousands of counterfeit Zumba and Core Rhythm exercise DVDs, more than 10,000 counterfeit Silhouette slim pants, and hundreds of counterfeit BMW navigation DVDs.

The value of the counterfeit goods was approximately $900,000.

The case against Yang is one of a series of criminal prosecutions in this district addressing the piracy of intellectual property and, specifically, counterfeit exercise equipment. In 2010, a Chino woman was sentenced to 41 months in prison for importing nearly $600,000 worth of counterfeit exercise equipment and paying a cash bribe to a person she thought was a United States Customs official (see: http://www.justice.gov/usao/cac/Pressroom/pr2010/155.html).

In 2011, a Los Angeles man was sentenced to 30 months imprisonment, also for importation of approximately a quarter million dollars worth of counterfeit exercise equipment

November 8, 2012

Ex-Member of Santa Fe Springs City Council Sentenced to Two Years in Prison for Taking $10K in Bribes from Pot Store Operator

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 6:29 am

LOS ANGELES – A man who was a member of the Santa Fe Springs City Council was sentenced today to two years in federal prison for taking $10,000 in bribes from the operator of a marijuana store who wanted to influence the city to allow his store to stay open.

Joseph Serrano Sr., 62, who from the end of 2010 through October 2011 served as the mayor of Santa Fe Springs, was sentenced by United States District Judge Stephen V. Wilson. In addition to the prison term, which Serrano was ordered to begin serving by December 4, Judge Wilson ordered him to pay $10,000 in restitution in the FBI – which is the total amount of bribes paid by an informant while he was working with the FBI.

During the sentencing hearing, Judge Wilson rejected a defense plea for a probationary sentence, saying, “This was pure greed. The defendant sold himself out.”

Serrano pleaded guilty in United States District Court on July 30 to one felony count of bribery. Speaking of the crime today, Judge Wilson said it was “a serious offense that attacks the integrity of government.”

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October 26, 2012

U.S. Customs Officer Arrested on Federal Bribery Charges Related to Scheme to Avoid Import Taxes on Goods Coming from China

Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 2:03 pm

LOS ANGELES – Federal authorities early this morning arrested a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) supervisory officer on charges of accepting bribes to allow others, including his ex-wife, to smuggle goods into the United States so they could avoid paying duties and taxes.

Sam Herbert Allen, 51, of Diamond Bar, was arrested after being indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury on charges of conspiracy, bribery and making false statements to investigating agents with the Department of Homeland Security.

According to the five-count indictment, Allen served as a supervisory officer assigned to oversee the examination and release of cargo entering the United States. After he was transferred to other duties within CBP, Allen convinced his ex-wife to operate an importing business that would avoid paying duties on shipments coming from the People’s Republic of China. The importing business – technically a “foreign trade zone” – would falsely claim that the shipments from China were not imported, but were instead immediately sent to Mexico. The indictment alleges that Allen promised to make the shipments appear to CBP as if they had been exported to Mexico, this in exchange for bribe payments of $2,000 per shipment.

During the course the scheme, which operated from at least September 2009 until March 2010, Allen allegedly received more than $100,000 in bribe payments.
The indictment alleges that the scheme caused the United States to suffer a loss of at least $781,632.59 in unpaid customs duties and taxes.

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October 17, 2012

Los Angeles County Assessor, Two Others Arrested on Conspiracy, Bribery and Other Charges

Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 4:28 pm

LOS ANGELES – District Attorney Steve Cooley announced today the arrest of Assessor John Noguez, his chief appraiser and Arizona tax consultant Ramin Salari on charges they engaged in an elaborate and complex conspiracy to slash property values and save millions in property taxes to help Salari’s clients.

Cooley said the arrests and charges are part of a continuing investigation into public corruption at the Assessor’s Office. Noguez, who announced he would take a leave of absence in June, returned to work briefly before going out on an indefinite medical leave.

“Los Angeles County voters and taxpayers deserve honest, hardworking elected and appointed officials who will serve the best interests of the people,” Dist. Atty. Cooley said during a press conference Wednesday. “Residents must have confidence that their government is not for sale to the highest bidder or the highest briber.”

Noguez, whose real name is Juan Renaldo Rodriguez, was arrested at his Huntington Park home by District Attorney’s investigators with the Bureau of Investigation. The 47-year-old is being held on $1.385 million bail.

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September 7, 2012

Ex-California Employee Sentenced to Over Six Years in Prison for Taking Bribes to Issue More Than $500,000 in Unemployment Checks

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 3:16 pm

SANTA ANA, California – A former employee at California’s employment agency was sentenced today to 76 months in federal prison for taking more than $40,000 in kickbacks in exchange for causing his agency to issue over a half-million dollars in unemployment insurance checks to people who were not eligible.

David Paul Holden, 31, of Corona, who at the time of the offense worked at the Anaheim office of the California Employment Development Department (EDD), was sentenced this morning by United States District Judge David O. Carter. In addition to the prison term, Judge Carter ordered the defendant to pay $510,454 in restitution to the EDD.

Holden pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of bribery in May, admitting that he was personally responsible for obtaining more than $500,000 in unemployment benefits for more than 50 ineligible persons. Holden collected more than $40,000 in cash kickbacks from the ineligible workers he had contacted through a network of recruiters.

“Corrupt public officials such as Mr. Holden undermine confidence in taxpayer-funded programs, especially those designed to help people in need,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. “This sentence sends a message that neither the Department of Justice nor the community will tolerate the abuse of our public institutions.”

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August 11, 2012

Former Upland Mayor Sentenced to Two Years in Federal Prison for Accepting Bribe from Businessman Seeking Permit from City

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 2:44 pm

RIVERSIDE, California – The former mayor of the City of Upland was sentenced today to 24 months in federal prison for his conviction on a federal bribery charge stemming from a $5,000 payment he accepted in exchange for helping a business obtain a conditional use permit from the city.

John Victor Pomierski, 58, who resigned as mayor last year after he was named in a grand jury indictment, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips.

Pomierski is among four people who have been convicted in relation to a corruption investigation in the City of Upland, and he is the first to be sentenced.

“While he’s serving his sentence in federal prison, Mr. Pomierski will have time to reflect on the principle that public service is a sacred trust that should not be abused for personal enrichment,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. “The United States Attorney’s Office is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to ensure that the public receives honest services from the persons they elect to public office – and that those officials who break the law are prosecuted and punished.”

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July 23, 2012

Third Cudahy city office agrees to plead guilty to federal corruption charges

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 1:19 pm

A former member of the Cudahy City Council – Osvaldo Conde – has agreed to plead guilty to federal extortion and bribery charges, becoming the third official with the City of Cudahy to admit that he took bribes in exchange for supporting a permit to open a marijuana store in the city. Conde, 50, who resigned from the City Council last Friday, has agreed to plead guilty to extortion and bribery.  Conde will appear in Untied States District Court – along with the two others who have agreed to plead guilty – tomorrow (Thursday, July 19) at 1:00 p.m. for arraignment. A charging document called an “information” and Conde’s plea agreement are attached to this email. These documents were filed a few minutes ago in federal court in Los Angeles.

The other two officials — David Silva and Angel Perales – will join Conde in arraignment court tomorrow. They will be appearing in Courtroom 341 of the Roybal Federal Building at 255 E. Temple Street. A press release about the Silva and Perales plea agreements can be viewed at:  http://www.justice.gov/usao/cac/Pressroom/2012/091.html.

At tomorrow’s arraignments, all three cases will be assigned to a United States District Judge who will formally take their respective guilty pleas at some point in the future (i.e., they will not formally enter their guilty pleas on Thursday).

June 23, 2012

Three Officials with City of Cudahy–Mayor, City Councilman, and Department Chief–Arrested on Federal Bribery Charges

Filed under: Federal Crimes Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 2:31 pm

LOS ANGELES—Special agents with the FBI this morning arrested the mayor of the city of Cudahy, a member of the Cudahy City Council, and the head of the city’s Code Enforcement Division on federal bribery charges.

A criminal complaint filed in United States District Court alleges that the three officials from the city in southeastern Los Angeles County accepted a total of $17,000 in cash bribes earlier this year. According to the affidavit in support of the complaint, the three officials requested and accepted cash payments in exchange for supporting the opening of a “medical marijuana” store in the city.

The three officials arrested this morning are:

Osvaldo Conde, 50, a member of the Cudahy City Council, who allegedly accepted two separate bribe payments;

David Silva, 61, the current mayor of Cudahy; and

Angel Perales, 43, who runs the Code Enforcement Division of the Cudahy Community Services Department (and is also the head of the Cudahy Parks and Recreation Department).

Conde, Silva, and Perales are expected to make their initial court appearances this afternoon in United States District Court in downtown Los Angeles.

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May 31, 2012

FORMER HEAD OF WORLDWIDE SALES AT CALIFORNIA VALVE COMPANY PLEADS GUILTY TO FOREIGN BRIBERY OFFENSE

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 4:16 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – The former head of worldwide sales at a Rancho Santa Margarita-based valve company pleaded guilty today to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), announced the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

Paul Cosgrove, 65, of Laguna Niguel, who was an executive vice president at Control Components Inc. (CCI), pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge James V. Selna. Cosgrove pleaded guilty to a one-count superseding information charging him with making a corrupt payment to a foreign government official in China in violation of the FCPA.

Judge Selna is scheduled to sentence Cosgrove on August 27, at which time the defendant faces 15 months in federal prison.

According to court documents, CCI designed and manufactured service control valves for use in the nuclear, oil and gas, and power generation industries worldwide.

On Apr. 8, 2009, Cosgrove and five other former executives of CCI were charged in a 16-count indictment for their roles in the foreign bribery scheme.  The five other former CCI executives charged were Stuart Carson, CCI’s former president; Hong “Rose” Carson, CCI’s former director of sales for China and Taiwan; David Edmonds, CCI’s former vice president of worldwide customer service; Flavio Ricotti, the former CCI vice president of sales for Europe, Africa and the Middle East; and Han Yong Kim, the former president of CCI’s Korean office.  On Apr. 28, 2011, Ricotti pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to violate the FCPA.  On Apr. 17, 2012, Stuart Carson and Hong “Rose” Carson each pleaded guilty to one count of making a corrupt payment to a foreign government official in violation of the FCPA.  The trial of Edmonds is scheduled for Jun. 26, 2012.  The charges against Kim are pending.  An indictment merely contains allegations and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

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