Best Defender Bytes: Crime after Crime

September 30, 2016

British Man Who Came to U.S. to Have Sex with Pre-Teen Boys Pleads Guilty and Agrees to 13-Year Sentence

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

LOS ANGELES – A British man who traveled to the Coachella Valley to have sex with pre-teen boys pleaded guilty today to transportation of child pornography and agreed to a 13-year prison sentence.

Paul Charles Wilkins, 70, of Littleport in East Cambridgeshire, England, a dual United States-United Kingdom citizen, was charged earlier this year in a four-count indictment for traveling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, attempted sex trafficking of children, transportation of child pornography, and possession of child pornography.

During the guilty plea hearing, Wilkins admitted that he traveled to the United States from the United Kingdom in January 2016 for the purpose of having sex with two brothers, 10 and 12 years old. Wilkins also admitted that in February 2016 he attempted to solicit a 9-year-old boy for anal intercourse in exchange for $250 at an apartment he had rented. In addition, Wilkins admitted he possessed child pornography on his computer and brought child pornography from the United Kingdom into the United States, including graphic sexual images of boys between the ages of 5 and 8 years old.  Under the plea agreement filed in advance of Wilkins’s guilty plea hearing, Wilkins agreed to a sentence of 13 years’ imprisonment and a lifetime of supervised release.

“This defendant’s conduct was extremely dangerous,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “He sought to have sex with another boy immediately after his original arrangements to have sex with the two pre-teen boys fell apart. It is critical, therefore, that today’s guilty plea will keep defendant in prison for well-over a decade.”


Federal Jury Convicts Man Who Took Over $1.5 Million From Distressed Homeowners in Bogus Loan Modification Scheme

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:06 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 convicted today on federal fraud charges.

Antonio Marquette, who went by “Alan Le” and “Anthony Le,” 56, of Midway City, was convicted this afternoon in United States District Court in Santa Ana of nine counts of mail fraud, one count of wire fraud, and one count of money laundering. Marquette was taken into custody after the verdicts were taken, and United States District Judge Andrew J. Guilford set the sentencing hearing for January 30, 2017, at which time Marquette will face a statutory maximum sentence of 220 years.

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 was convicted today of victimizing vulnerable homeowners who were desperate to avoid foreclosure of their homes,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “While the defendant convinced his victims to pay exorbitant fees with lofty, false promises, he in fact did nothing to help them, and many victims subsequently lost their homes.”



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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A private investigator working for a law firm retained by the Costa Mesa Police Officers’ Association (CMPOA) was convicted today of committing crimes against two Costa Mesa council members and a competitor attorney. Christopher Joseph Lanzillo, 46, Lake Arrowhead, pleaded guilty to the court to two felony counts of conspiracy to commit a crime of unlawful use of electronic tracking device, one felony count of false imprisonment by deceit, and one felony count of conspiracy to commit a crime of falsely reporting crime to agency. Lanzillo faces a maximum sentence of four years and four months in jail, as well as revocation of his private investigators’ license, at his sentencing on Jan. 13, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-29, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Co-defendant Scott Alan Impola, 48, Canyon Lake, is facing the same charges and is scheduled for jury trial on March 15, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-5, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Lanzillo was convicted of and Impola is accused of committing the following crimes:

At the time of the crimes, Lanzillo and Impola worked as private investigators for the former Upland-based law firm Lackie, Dammeier, McGill, and Ethir (LDME). CMPOA retained LDME to conduct “candidate research,” including surveillance on Costa Mesa city council members, in the months leading up to the November 2012 election.

On June 19, 2012, Lanzillo purchased a GPS monitoring device using the alias Robert Teller with Teller Investigations.


September 29, 2016


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:15 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was arraigned today for posing as a fire marshal and charging small businesses across Orange County for fraudulent inspections. Brian Lee Carsten, 36, Newport Beach, is charged with four felony counts of second degree burglary, four felony counts of extortion by force or threat, four felony counts of forgery of an official seal, four misdemeanor counts of fraudulently personating fire personnel, and two misdemeanor counts of possession of a firearm in violation of a protective order. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 11 years and eight months in state prison. Carsten is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on Sept. 30, 2016, at 8:30 a.m. in Department N-12, North Justice Center, Fullerton.

On Aug. 31, 2016, Carsten is accused of entering Beach Auto Sound in Huntington Beach while wearing a uniform and identifying himself as a fire marshal. The defendant is accused of charging the victim $209 for his fraudulent inspection of the business and providing a bill and receipt on Cal-Fire letterhead.

On Sept. 12, 2016, Carsten is accused of entering State College Distributors in Anaheim, representing himself as a fire marshal, and performing a fraudulent inspection of the business. The defendant is accused of threatening the victim with a citation if he did not pay for the inspection. Carsten is accused of returning to the business the following day with forged invoices and receipts and collecting two payments of $209 for each lot from the victim. The victim reported the suspicious circumstances to the Anaheim Police Department (APD) later that week.

On Sept. 16, 2016, Carsten is accused of conducting similar fraudulent inspections at Newport Awning and Imperial Auto Service, which are neighboring businesses in Santa Ana. The defendant is accused of extorting $209 from each business and providing receipts with forged Cal-Fire logos.


New Indictment Charges West L.A. Pharmacy and its Owners with Drug Trafficking and Using Stolen Identities to Conceal the Offense

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

LOS ANGELES – A federal grand jury has issued a superseding indictment that charges a West Los Angeles pharmacy and its owners with operating a years-long narcotic drug trafficking, money laundering, and tax fraud conspiracy.

Under the new indictment, Brentwood residents Berry Kabov, 45, and his brother Dalibor Kabov (also known as “Dabo”), 33, are charged with operating Global Compounding Pharmacy for the purpose “of concealing and growing” their conspiracy to profit from black market sales of narcotics including oxycodone (best known by the brand name OxyContin), hydromorphone (also known as Dilaudid), and hydrocodone (commonly known as Vicodin or Norco).

The prior indictment, as further detailed in a search warrant unsealed on October 1, 2015, charged the Kabov brothers with using Los Angeles as a base to sell bulk shipments of prescription drugs – including oxycodone, which is commonly sold under the brand name OxyContin – to black market customers across the country.  Investigators seized parcels containing thousands of hidden oxycodone pills that the Kabov brothers attempted to ship to black market customers in and around Columbus, Ohio, according to the search warrant affidavit, which states that the customers in turn made cash deposits into Kabov-controlled bank accounts or simply shipped bulk cash to the brothers in Southern California.

The new indictment charges that, to conceal those black market drug sales, the Kabovs would use the pharmacy to “generate records” falsely showing that prescriptions “had been filled in the names of identity theft victims, that is, persons who did not in fact receive or fill” the prescriptions.  Similarly, the new indictment charges that, from June 2012 through December 2014, the pharmacy ordered nearly 100,000 pills of oxycodone, yet its reported prescription records only account for half of those pills, resulting in a shortfall of more than 45,000 pills of unaccounted oxycodone, along with parallel disparities for the pharmacy’s orders of other narcotic drugs.


Illinois Man Pleads Guilty to Hacking Apple iCloud and Gmail Accounts Belonging to More Than 300 People, including Many Celebrities

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

CHICAGO – An Illinois man pled guilty yesterday to felony computer hacking related to a phishing scheme that gave him illegal access to over 300 Apple iCloud and Gmail accounts, including those belonging to members of the entertainment industry in Los Angeles.

Edward Majerczyk, 28, who resides in Chicago and Orland Park, Illinois, was charged on July 1 in a criminal information filed in United States District Court in Los Angeles. Pursuant to a plea agreement, Majerczyk pled guilty yesterday in United States District Court in Chicago to a felony violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, specifically, one count of unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information.

The court set Majerczyk’s sentencing hearing for January 10, 2017. At the time of sentencing, Majerczyk will face a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison.

“This defendant invaded the privacy of hundreds of victims, stealing extremely personal data,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Defendant’s violation of federal law harmed both his individual victims, whose private matters were unknowingly exposed to the defendant, and the Internet Service Providers, which were entrusted with the victims’ personal data and forced to remediate defendant’s intrusions.”


Lancaster Man Sentenced and Ordered to Pay More Than $1 Million for Illegally Uploading Screeners of ‘The Revenant’ and ‘The Peanuts Movie’

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

LOS ANGELES – A Lancaster man was sentenced yesterday in federal court for criminal copyright infringement for illegally posting screener versions of two movies – “The Revenant” and “The Peanuts Movie” – to a publicly accessible website. As a result of the illegal upload, “The Revenant” was available for download six days before its limited release in theaters and more than 1 million people were able to download the film within a six-week period, which caused Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation to suffer losses of well over $1 million.

William Kyle Morarity, 31, who used the screen name “clutchit,” pled guilty earlier this year to felony copyright infringement and was sentenced this week by United States District Court Judge Stephen V. Wilson to eight months’ home detention and 24 months’ probation. He was also ordered to pay $1.12 million in restitution to Twentieth Century Fox.

Morarity agreed to assist the FBI in the production of a public service announcement to assist the government in educating the public about the harms of copyright infringement and the illegal uploading of movies that are the legal property of the movie studio.

Morarity obtained the screeners without authorization while at work on a studio lot. He copied the screeners onto a portable drive and uploaded the movies from his home computer on December 17 and 19, 2015, to a BitTorrent website called “Pass the Popcorn,” which allowed downloading via a peer-to-peer network.

“The film industry creates thousands of jobs in Southern California,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “The defendant’s illegal conduct caused significant harm to the victim movie studio. The fact that the defendant stole these films while working on the lot of a movie studio makes his crime more egregious.”


Defendant in Los Angeles-Area Synthetic Drug Ring Sentenced to 16 Months in Federal Prison for Manufacture and Distribution of ‘Spice’

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

LOS ANGELES – A Glendale man has been sentenced to 16 months in federal prison for his role in the large-scale manufacture and distribution of synthetic drugs that are commonly called “spice.”

Yesterday afternoon, Faisal Iqbal, 34, one of 16 defendants arrested in connection with a synthetic drug ring operating out of Los Angeles, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Manuel L. Real. Iqbal and his co-conspirators were charged with conspiring to manufacture and distribute synthetic cannabinoids, which are designed to mimic the effects of THC, the psychoactive agent in marijuana, and with structuring financial transactions. Iqbal pled guilty to conspiracy to distribute synthetic cannabinoids and to structuring a financial transaction to avoid a reporting requirement.

“Although these are called ‘synthetic’ drugs, the dangers they pose are very real,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Without controls on the ingredients and manufacture of these drugs, the defendant’s products could cause severe harm to users, including death.”

Over the past several years, the DEA has identified more than 400 new designer drugs in the United States – most of which are manufactured in rogue labs in China and sold on the Internet or in retail outlets such as smoke shops, gas station convenience stores and bodegas. These substances are generally sold in brightly colored packaging, marketed to young people, and billed as “safe” alternatives to marijuana or dangerous party drugs such as MDMA (ecstasy). The synthetic drugs are commonly marked with the disclaimer “not for human consumption” and/or “DEA compliant” which is an attempt to shield distributors from prosecution. Abuse of these psychoactive substances has resulted in increasing numbers of overdose incidents, emergency room visits and even deaths.


September 28, 2016

Orange County Man Sentenced to 30 Years in Federal Prison for Conspiring to Join ISIL and Engaging in Fraud

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

SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA – An Orange County man who attempted to travel to the Middle East to join the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was sentenced this afternoon to 30 years in federal prison for conspiring and attempting to provide material support to the terrorist organization.

United States District Judge David O. Carter imposed the sentence on defendant Nader Elhuzayel, 25 of Anaheim, following a two-week federal trial that ended in June when a federal jury returned guilty verdicts against Elhuzayel and co-defendant Muhanad Badawi after deliberating for just over an hour. When imposing sentence, Judge Carter said of Elhuzayel, “There’s no remorse, no repudiation of ISIL, only death and destruction.” Judge Carter also commented that the fact that the defendant made repeated calls for martyrdom “makes [him] especially dangerous.” In addition to the 360-month sentence, Judge Carter ordered supervised release for life.

In addition to the terrorism counts, the jury also found Elhuzayel guilty of committing 26 counts of bank fraud and found Badawi guilty of one count of financial aid fraud.

“Today’s sentence reflects the gravity of the defendant’s plan to betray his country and join a terrorist organization dedicated to the murder of innocent individuals,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “As this case shows, the ability of individuals with the desire to support ISIL to use the Internet and social media to conspire with each other poses a grave threat to our national security. So-called ‘foreign fighters’ like this defendant pose a serious danger both overseas and here at home.  There can be no doubt that law enforcement’s disruption of their plans saved lives, both in the United States and abroad.”


American Living in Australia Charged in Securities Fraud Case Involving Scheme to Fraudulently Inflate by Nearly $100 Million the Cost of Santa Monica Software Company Being Purchased by Computer Sciences Corp.

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

LOS ANGELES – A former executive at Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) was charged today in federal court with participating in a scheme to fraudulently generate revenue for a software company that was being purchased by Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), which was misled into paying a $98 million incentive bonus as a result of the scheme.

Keith Hunter, 62, of Surrey Hills, Australia, a United States citizen who was the executive general manager in charge of infrastructure and operations at CBA, was named in a two-count criminal information filed this morning. The information charges Hunter with two counts – conspiracy to commit securities fraud and wire fraud, and wire fraud.

The information alleges a scheme in which Hunter and several co-conspirators in Australia and the United States developed a plan to defraud CSC by inflating revenues for a Santa Monica-based company that CSC was purchasing – ServiceMesh, Inc., which provided cloud computer management software. In the scheme, members of the conspiracy in late 2013 and early 2014 caused CBA to purchase $10 million in goods and services from ServiceMesh. According to the court documents filed today, CBA employees, including Hunter, received undisclosed kickbacks from a senior executive of ServiceMesh in exchange for awarding the $10 million in contracts to ServiceMesh.

“Schemes like the one charged today compromise the integrity of our financial system, and this defendant’s fraud caused significant harm to CSC and its shareholders, all for his own personal profit,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Everyone who invests in American companies, especially American workers investing their hard-earned money directly or through a retirement plan, deserves protection from this kind of fraud.”

Solely as a result of the scheme described in the information, ServiceMesh reached a performance goal that triggered CSC to pay a $98 million “earnout payment” to ServiceMesh shareholders in March 2014. The information alleges that a portion of the “earnout payment” received by the senior executive of ServiceMesh who was involved in the scheme funded the kickbacks paid to CBA employees, including payments to Hunter of approximately $630,000.


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