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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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January 25, 2013

MAN CHARGED WITH ARSONS FOR LIGHTING FIRES TO DISTRACT RESIDENTS IN ORDER TO BURGLARIZE HOMES

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 5:35 am

*Defendant is accused of causing over $1 million in fire damage to multiple homes

SANTA ANA - A man was charged today with a series of arsons, which caused over $1 million in damage, for setting fires as a distraction in order to burglarize homes. Jose Jesus Baca Jr., 36, Santa Ana, is charged with four felony counts of first degree residential burglary, three felony counts of arson of another’s property, two felony counts of arson of an inhabited property, one felony count each of grand theft, possession for sale of a controlled substance, and receiving stolen property, with a sentencing enhancement for arson burning multiple structures. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 18 years in state prison. The People will be requesting Baca be held on $1 million bail at his arraignment today, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.

Between Dec. 18, 2012, and Jan. 20, 2013, Baca is accused of lighting fires in residential areas, primarily apartment complexes in Irvine and Fullerton, as a diversion to distract residents in order to break into their homes. After lighting fires, the defendant is accused of running through the residential areas yelling that there was a fire to encourage the residents to flee. He is accused of then entering three homes/apartments and stealing personal items from the victims including wallets and jewelry.

On Jan. 20, 2013, Baca is accused of lighting a fire in the carport of an apartment complex in Fullerton on North Associated Road. He is accused of burglarizing at least one home during this incident. Baca is accused of causing over $1 million in damage because of his arson, as the fire spread to multiple housing units.

The arsons and burglaries were investigated by the Irvine and Fullerton Police Departments. Baca was arrested Jan. 22, 2013, in a hotel room in Fullerton. At the time of his arrest, Baca is accused of being in possession of stolen property taken from his victims’ homes and over 10 grams of methamphetamine.

January 7, 2013

Rancho Cucamonga Man Who Operated Large-Scale Marijuana Grow and Commercial Pot Store Sentenced to 10 Years in Federal Prison

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 11:04 pm

LOS ANGELES – The former president of G3 Holistics, Inc., a marijuana business operating in the Inland Empire, was sentenced this morning to 10 years in prison for his conviction last fall on federal narcotics charges for distributing hundreds of pounds of marijuana.

Aaron Sandusky, 42, of Rancho Cucamonga, was sentenced by United States District Judge Percy Anderson, who presided over Sandusky’s trial last fall.

A federal jury that heard two days of evidence convicted Sandusky of two counts – conspiracy and possession with the intent to distribute marijuana. In relation to each of the two counts, the jury determined that the crimes involved at least 1,000 marijuana plants. As a result of the convictions, federal law called for a mandatory sentence of at least 10 years.

Sandusky “is an unrepentant manipulator who used the perceived ambiguity surrounding ‘medical’ marijuana to exploit a business opportunity for himself,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memo filed with the court.

Sandusky “used G3 as a means to replace the vast income he lost from the collapse of his real estate business. Defendant built a veneer of legitimacy around his criminal enterprise using his customers’ good-faith search for pain relief. There is absolutely no altruistic component to defendant’s continued and sustained criminality,” according to the sentencing memo.

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November 12, 2012

FAKE DENTIST SENTENCED FOR PRACTICING WITHOUT LICENSE, POSSESSING DANGEROUS DRUGS, AND ENGAGING IN WELFARE FRAUD

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 10:50 pm

FULLERTON - A man found with a large cache of dental narcotics was convicted and sentenced yesterday for performing unlicensed dental work on patients, possessing controlled substances, and fraudulently claiming and receiving food stamp benefits by not reporting the money he made in his illicit dental practice. Esteban Campos, 47, Buena Park, pleaded guilty Nov. 7, 2012 to one felony count of the possession for distribution of a controlled substance, one felony count of obtaining public benefit aid by misrepresentation over $400, and one misdemeanor count of practicing dentistry without a valid license. Campos was sentenced to five years formal probation, 30 days in jail, restitution, $500 in fines, and is prohibited from offering dental treatments, consultations, or otherwise practicing dentistry for patients for the duration of his probation.

Campos was previously a Registered Dental Assistant in California, but his accreditation expired in 2007. Campos operated Steven’s Dental Lab on Western Avenue in Buena Park and illegally represented himself as a dentist and practiced dentistry without a valid license.

In December 2011, the Department of Consumer Affairs Dental Board of California received a complaint regarding Campos and the unlicensed practice of dentistry.

On two occasions in February and March 2012, undercover investigators went to Steven’s Dental Lab under the pretense of being patients in need of dental work. Campos fraudulently represented himself as a dentist to the investigators. He performed dental exams, rendered diagnoses, recommended oral surgery and braces, and made a return dental appointment. He quoted prices ranging from $65 to $2,000, depending on the procedure.

Law enforcement conducted a subsequent search of the defendant’s fraudulent dental office. In the office, Campos possessed a large inventory of controlled substances and narcotics which included Morphine Sulfer, Roxicet, Vicodin, and Soma, as well as boxes of dangerous drugs without prescriptions which included omeprazole, naproxen, theramine, glucotrol, warfarin, sertraline, cyclobenzaprine, tramadol, ketogel cream, and lidocaine. He possessed these drugs and administered them to patients without a license or a prescription in his illegal practice of dentistry.

Investigators also discovered Campos had fraudulently claimed and received over $6,600 in food stamp benefits by not reporting the money he received from patients for his illicit dental practice in 2010

October 30, 2012

MAN SENTENCED TO LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE FOR ROBBERY-MURDER OF SUSPECTED DRUG DEALER ON SUPER BOWL SUNDAY

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 5:29 pm

*Two co-defendants have been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole

SANTA ANA - A man was sentenced today to life in state prison without the possibility of parole for the robbery-murder of a suspected Irvine drug dealer on Super Bowl Sunday. Bernard Smith, 48, Vista, San Diego, was found guilty by a jury July 6, 2012, of one felony count of special circumstances murder during the commission of a robbery and one felony count of second degree robbery.

This was a re-trial, as Smith was previously sentenced Jan. 16, 2009, to life in prison without the possibility of parole in this case. On June 28, 2011, the California Court of Appeals, Fourth Appellate District, Division Three, overturned the conviction based on their decision that the defendant should not have been jointly tried with his co-defendant, Stephen Bennett.

Bennett, 41, Vista, San Diego County, was convicted Oct. 2, 2008, of one felony count each of special circumstances murder during the commission of a robbery, second degree robbery, and the transportation of a controlled substance, and his two 1992 prior robbery strike convictions were found true. Bennett was sentenced Dec. 12, 2008, to life in state prison without the possibility of parole.

Co-defendant Brandon Turner, 26, Oceanside, was found guilty by a jury April 14, 2008, of one felony count each of special circumstances murder during the commission of a robbery, second degree robbery, and the transportation of a controlled substance, with a true finding on the sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death. Turner was sentenced Sept. 19, 2008, to life in state prison without the possibility of parole.

On Feb. 5, 2006, Smith, Bennett, and Turner devised a plan to steal money and drugs from a drug dealer. Bennett called suspected drug dealer Brian Gray to set up a meeting under the pretense of purchasing drugs. The defendants drove from Vista to the victim’s Irvine home with the intention of stealing drugs from Gray. Smith and Turner murdered the victim by shooting him several times. The defendants stole cocaine from the victim’s home and fled the scene.

October 29, 2012

HUSBAND AND WIFE INDICTED FOR CONSPIRACY TO HAVE SCHOOL VOLUNTEER FALSELY IMPRISONED BY PLANTING DRUGS IN HER CAR

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 4:12 pm

SANTA ANA - A husband and wife, both attorneys, have been indicted by the Orange County Grand Jury for conspiring to have an elementary school parent volunteer arrested and imprisoned by planting drugs in her car. Kent Wycliffe Easter, 38, and Jill Bjorkholm Easter, 39, both of Irvine, were indicted yesterday, Oct. 25, 2012, on one felony count each of conspiracy to procure the false arrest and charging of Jane Doe, false imprisonment, and conspiracy to falsely report a crime. If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of three years in state prison. Both defendants are out of custody on $20,000 bail and are scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment Nov. 9, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-5, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

On June 19, 2012, the Orange County District Attorney’s office released a press release with the following information on this case:

In 2010, Jane Doe was a parent volunteer at an elementary school in Irvine, where Jill and Kent Easter’s son was a student. Jill Easter is accused of becoming angry with the victim because the defendants believed Jane Doe was not properly supervising their son.

In February 2011, Jill and Kent Easter are accused of conspiring to have victim Jane Doe arrested in retaliation.

At approximately 12:30 a.m. on Feb. 16, 2011, Kent Easter is accused of driving to the home of Jane Doe and placing a bag of Vicodin, Percocet, marijuana, and a used marijuana pipe behind the driver’s seat of her unlocked vehicle. He is accused of intentionally leaving the drugs in plain sight in a conspicuous location, where it would be easily visible from outside the vehicle. Jill and Kent Easter are accused of being in constant cell phone and text message contact as Kent Easter drove to and from the victim’s home.

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October 23, 2012

Nine People Linked to Denver Lane Bloods Criminal Street Gang Indicted on Federal Charges of Distributing Crack Cocaine

Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 1:40 pm

LOS ANGELES – Federal and local law enforcement authorities this morning arrested four members and associates of the Denver Lane Blood criminal street gang on federal narcotics charges.

The four arrested this morning are among nine people named in federal criminal indictments. In addition the four arrested today, two of the nine federal defendants were already in custody, and authorities have contacted one defendant who will be arraigned at a later date. Authorities are continuing to search for two fugitives.

The arrests are the result of five indictments returned last month by a federal grand jury. The indictments all allege sales of crack cocaine and specifically charge the defendants with distributing cocaine base (crack cocaine). Three of the indictments also allege conspiracies to distribute crack cocaine.

“Gang crime and narcotics distribution represent a serious threat to public safety,” said United States Attorney André Birotte Jr. “Today’s operation sends a powerful message that gang activities and drug crimes have serious consequences. Combating gang activity contributes to the well-being and safety of neighborhoods where residents should be able to live their lives free of the scourge of illegal drugs.”

This morning’s arrests are the result of a two-year investigation into the gang’s illegal activity conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Los Angeles Police Department.

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October 22, 2012

Grand Jury Indicts New Defendants and Brings Additional Charges Against L.A.-Based OxyContin Ring that Allegedly Bilked Medicare

Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 5:28 pm

Indictment Alleges that Medicare and Medi-Cal Were Fraudulently Billed for More Than $8.9 Million for the Addictive Painkiller and Unneeded Medical Services

LOS ANGELES – A federal grand jury has returned a superseding indictment that charges 16 defendants with being part of a drug trafficking organization that illegally obtained and distributed more than 900,000 OxyContin pills obtained in part through fraud against public insurance programs such as Medicare.

One of the defendants – Theodore Yoon, 68, of Arcadia – was arraigned on the new indictment this afternoon in United States District Court in Los Angeles. Nine of the defendants were arraigned yesterday. Five other defendants were arraigned October 5. The 15 defendants who have been arraigned have all pleaded not guilty and were ordered to stand trial next month. One defendant is a fugitive.

The first superseding indictment replaces charges filed a year ago, adding new charges of money laundering and structuring of cash transactions. The superseding indictment adds new defendants, including four pharmacists. The indictment alleges a conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, a conspiracy to commit health care fraud, structuring financial transactions and money laundering. The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of proceeds related to the criminal offenses.
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October 15, 2012

Rancho Cucamonga Man Convicted for Operating Large-Scale Marijuana Grow Operation

Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 5:27 pm

Defendant was former President of G3 Holistics, Inc.

LOS ANGELES, CA - Today, a federal jury in Los Angeles convicted Mr. Aaron Sandusky, 41, of Rancho Cucamonga, former president of G3 Holistics, Inc., a marijuana business operating in the Inland Empire, of one count of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana plants, to possess with intent to distribute marijuana plants, and to maintain a drug-involved premises; and one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana plants.  On each count of conviction, the jury made a finding that Mr. Sandusky’s crimes involved at least 1,000 marijuana plants.  As a result of the jury’s verdicts and findings, Mr. Sandusky faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.  Each of the two counts of conviction also carries a maximum possible sentence of life in prison. The jury could not reach unanimous verdicts on the remaining four counts in the indictment, which charged Mr. Sandusky with maintaining drug-involved premises at each of G3’s marijuana stores in Upland, Colton, and Moreno Valley, as well as G3’s marijuana grow operation in Ontario.  The court declared a mistrial on these counts.

Mr. Sandusky’s arrest, indictment, and conviction came after he had received written warnings in October 2011 from the U.S. Attorney’s Office that G3’s marijuana stores were operating in violation of federal law.  While Mr. Sandusky closed G3’s stores in Colton and Moreno Valley, he kept the Upland store open, even after federal authorities executed two separate search warrants at the G3 Upland store, filed an asset forfeiture lawsuit against the property housing the Upland store, and filed a second asset forfeiture lawsuit against nearly $11,500 in cash seized in November 2011 by federal agents during the execution of search warrants at the Upland store and Mr. Sandusky’s home.

Mr. Sandusky was one of six people connected to G3 who were indicted by a federal grand jury in June 2012.  The other defendants, who each pled guilty prior to trial, are:

John Leslie Nuckolls II, 31, of Rialto, who was a founder and owner of G3 and who has called himself the CFO of G3;
Keith Alan Sandusky, 44, of Rancho Cucamonga, who was in charge of the day-to-day marijuana distribution operations of G3;
Paul Neumann Brownbridge, 29, of Upland, who worked at G3’s Ontario marijuana grow operation;
Richard Irwin Kirchnavy, 45, of Rancho Cucamonga, who worked at G3’s Ontario marijuana grow operation; and
Brandon Anton Gustafson, 30, of Yucaipa, who worked at G3’s Ontario marijuana grow operation.

After the verdicts, the court remanded Mr. Sandusky into custody and set a  sentencing hearing for January 7, 2013.

October 4, 2012

Life in Prison in Murder-for-Hire Plot

Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 10:18 pm

LOS ANGELES – The hitman hired in 2009 to kill an alleged rival drug dealer was sentenced today to life in prison without possibility of parole, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Dan Akemon said Richard Luna, 31, received two LWOP terms plus 50 years to life by Superior Court Judge Lance Ito.

Luna was convicted July 3 of two counts of first-degree murder with the special circumstances of financial gain and murders found true. Luna was paid $700 to kill Tommie Hayes, 33. But he also fatally shot Kevin Cohen, 49, an innocent bystander. Hayes and Cohen were gunned down in a Skid Row residence hotel on April 12, 2009 – Easter Sunday.

The man who hired Luna, 43-year-old Lamont Ward, was convicted July 6 by a separate jury of two counts of first-degree murder. The jury also found true the special circumstance of murder for financial gain for each victim and the special circumstance of multiple murders. He has already been sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole.

A third defendant, Shanana Flores, who was enlisted to be the go-between to hire Luna, pleaded no contest to two counts of voluntary manslaughter and testified against Ward and Luna. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 17. If it is determined that she testified truthfully, she faces a 12-year state prison term.

Akemon and District Attorney Scott Marcus prosecuted the case.

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