Best Defender Bytes: Crime after Crime

November 30, 2016


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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A Laguna Niguel man is scheduled to be arraigned today for the stabbing-murder of his acquaintance after they argued in the victim’s home. Steve Richard Gilbert, 59, Laguna Niguel, is charged with one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a knife. If convicted, Gilbert faces a maximum sentence of 26 years to life in state prison. He is scheduled to be arraigned today, Nov. 29, 2016, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

Before 9:50 p.m. on Nov. 27, 2016, Gilbert is accused of getting into an argument with 53-year-old Thomas Marston at the victim’s home in Laguna Niguel. The defendant is accused of stabbing Marston in the chest with a knife and fleeing the scene. A witness called 911 about an unconscious man in the residence.

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) and emergency medical personnel responded to the home and located Marston on the floor inside. The victim was transported to a local hospital and pronounced dead as the result of a fatal stab wound.

Later that night, OCSD, who investigated this case, identified Gilbert as a suspect. Deputies located Gilbert at a gas station in Mission Viejo shortly after 10:00 p.m. and later arrested him.


Los Angeles Sheriff’s Custody Assistant Charged in Inmate Assault Case

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

A Los Angeles County sheriff’s custody assistant has been charged with assault for his role in the attack of a jail inmate two years ago, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today.

Jonathan Grijalva (dob 12/6/88) was charged in case BA451349 with one count of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury. He is expected to be arraigned today in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

The case is being prosecuted by the Justice System Integrity Division.

On Feb. 15, 2014, Grijalva was working at the North County Correctional Facility and assigned to supervise inmates in several dormitories. Grijalva was allegedly approached by an inmate who asked the defendant to leave the area so another inmate could be beaten.

Grijalva is accused of walking away and then refusing access to medical attention to the inmate who was assaulted. The inmate suffered a fractured jaw and nose.


Darren Sharper Sentenced in Rape Case

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

Former pro football player Darren Sharper was sentenced today to 20 years in state prison and ordered to register for life as a sex offender after earlier admitting to drugging and raping two women, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Sharper, 41, pleaded no contest almost two years ago to two counts of rape by use of drugs and four counts of furnishing a controlled substance in case BA421442. His sentence was delayed pending completion of federal and state cases in Louisiana where he was held until his return this month to Los Angeles.

Deputy District Attorneys Alison Foster and Michele Hanisee prosecuted the case.

On Oct. 30, 2013, Sharper met two women at a West Hollywood nightclub and invited them to another party. On the way, he told them he had to stop at his Los Angeles hotel room and invited them up to his room. While there, he gave each woman a drink and they both passed out. Jane Doe #1 woke up naked hours later with Sharper sexually assaulting her. The second woman awoke and “interrupted his actions.”

The two women then left the hotel.


November 29, 2016

Two Former L.A. Sheriff’s Deputies Sentenced to Federal Prison for Violating Civil Rights of Jail Inmate who was Beaten

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

LOS ANGELES – Two former deputies with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department were ordered today to serve time in federal prison for violating the civil rights of a mentally ill jail inmate who was beaten, kicked and pepper sprayed after showing disrespect to a jail employee at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility.

Bryan Brunsting, 32, and Jason Branum (also known as Jason Johnson), 36, were sentenced this morning by United States District Judge George W. Wu. Brunsting received a 21-month prison term, while Branum was sentenced to five months in custody.

Brunsting and Branum each were found guilty in May of three felony counts related to the unprovoked attack on the inmate on March 22, 2010, and subsequent cover-up. Following the trial, federal prosecutors reached an agreement with Brunsting in which he admitted his role in another use-of-force incident on August 20, 2009 at Twin Towers.

Writing about Brunsting in a sentencing memorandum filed with the court, prosecutors said, “Both incidents show that defendant’s need for ‘respect’ from inmates was above anyone’s need for justice.”


Long Beach Man Sentenced to 4 Years in Federal Prison for Misusing Bankruptcy Courts to Operate a Foreclosure Rescue Scheme

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

LOS ANGELES – A Long Beach man was sentenced today to four years in federal prison in relation to a mortgage rescue scheme that brought in nearly $3 million from fees from distressed homeowners.

Karl Robinson, 52, was sentenced today by United States District Judge Manuel L. Real, who also ordered the defendant to pay a $10,000 fine.

Robinson pleaded guilty in August to one count of bankruptcy fraud in connection with a five-year scheme he operated under his own name and companies with names such as “Stay In Your Home Today,” “21st Century Development” and “Genesis Ventures Corporation.”

Robinson solicited clients who were facing foreclosure with false promises that he could save their homes. Instead of providing legitimate services to his clients, Robinson filed hundreds of fraudulent bankruptcy petitions that delayed foreclosure and eviction proceedings.

As part of the scheme, Robinson filed falsified grant deeds with county recorders and other fake documents in state court eviction proceedings to make it appear that fictional debtors held interests in the distressed properties. In a plea agreement filed in federal court, Robinson admitted that he misused notary stamps of other individuals in order to fake signatures on legal documents and that he charged distressed homeowners additional fees if they wanted to unwind fake filings.


Former Santa Clarita Engineer Pleads in Embezzlement Case, Sentenced

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:06 am

A former assistant engineer for the City of Santa Clarita pleaded no contest today to embezzling more than $533,000 and was sentenced to four years in state prison, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

David Rubira, 41, pleaded no contest to one felony count of misappropriation of public funds and was immediately sentenced by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge David Walgren in case PA086999.

Deputy District Attorney Sean Hassett with the Public Integrity Division said Rubira also was ordered to pay $533,570 in restitution. His vehicles were seized by prosecutors along with his home, Hassett said.

Between November 2012 and April 2015, the Newhall resident fraudulently routed cash in lieu of bond refunds to fictitious companies that he created.

The case was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Los Angeles County District Attorney / case PA086999 / November 28, 2016

November 25, 2016

Member of South L.A. Street Gang Pleads Guilty in Federal Racketeering Case, Admitting Drug Dealing and Armed Robberies

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:30 pm

LOS ANGELES – A longtime member of the Five Deuce Broadway Gangster Crips (BGC) street gang has pleaded guilty to federal charges and admitted to trafficking in narcotics and participating in a series of armed robberies that targeted bank customers and small businesses.

Akia Pete, also known as “Studda Box,” 35, of Gardena, pleaded guilty on Friday, November 18 to conspiring to violate the federal RICO statute and conspiring to traffic in narcotics.

Pete pleaded guilty before United States District Judge S. James Otero, who is scheduled to sentence the defendant on March 13.

Pete was an active participant in the BGC’s drug trafficking activities and worked to help the gang maintain its “territorial monopoly,” according to a plea agreement filed in federal court. Pete also participated in robbery crews that, “armed with firearms, tasers and zip ties, would follow victims home from banks and rob them of their cash,” in one case taking $10,000 in cash from a victim business owner.

Pete also admitted to being a member of the “Baby Gremlins,” a violent enforcement clique within the gang that would “encourage younger members of the BGC to engage in violence against rivals and insubordinate members.”


United States Settles Lawsuit Against Energy Department Contractors for Knowingly Mischarging Costs on Contract at Nuclear Waste Treatment Plant

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 5:28 pm

The Justice Department announced today that Bechtel National Inc., Bechtel Corp., URS Corp. (predecessor in interest to AECOM Global II LLC) and URS Energy and Construction Inc. (now known as AECOM Energy and Construction Inc.) have agreed to pay $125 million to resolve allegations under the False Claims Act that they made false statements and claims to the Department of Energy (DOE) by charging DOE for deficient nuclear quality materials, services, and testing that was provided at the Waste Treatment Plant (WTP) at DOE’s Hanford Site near Richland, Washington.  The settlement also resolves allegations that Bechtel National Inc. and Bechtel Corp. improperly used federal contract funds to pay for a comprehensive, multi-year lobbying campaign of Congress and other federal officials for continued funding at the WTP.  Bechtel Corp. and Bechtel National Inc. are Nevada corporations.  URS Corp. is headquartered in California, and URS Energy & Construction Inc. is headquartered in Colorado.

“The money allocated by Congress for the Waste Treatment Plant is intended to fund the Department of Energy’s important mission to clean up the contaminated Hanford nuclear site, and this mission is undermined if funds are wasted on goods or services that are not nuclear compliant or to further lobbying activities,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “This settlement demonstrates that the Justice Department will work to ensure that public funds are used for the important purposes for which they are intended.”

“The environmental clean-up and restoration of the land that comprises the Hanford Nuclear Reservation is one of the single most important projects in this region,” said U.S. Attorney Michael C. Ormsby of the Eastern District of Washington. “It is imperative that funds allocated for this project be used appropriately and judiciously – the public expects nothing less.  This office and our DOJ and DOE counterparts take allegations of contractor abuse seriously and place a priority on investigating and pursuing enforcement when those allegations could impact the safety and security of our citizens.”

“The DOE Office of Inspector General is committed to ensuring the integrity of Departmental contracts and financial expenditures,” said Acting Inspector General Rickey R. Hass. “We will continue to steadfastly investigate allegations of fraudulent diversion of tax dollars throughout DOE programs and appreciate the support of DOJ attorneys in these matters.”


November 23, 2016

Man Charged with Breaking Into Maywood Apartment, Sexually Assaulting Woman

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 1:28 am

A 28-year-old man was charged today with raping a Maywood woman after breaking into her apartment, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Salvador Martinez (dob 3/27/88) of Los Angeles faces three counts of forcible rape and one count each of forcible oral copulation, first-degree residential burglary and dissuading a witness from reporting a crime.

Case VA143387 includes the allegation that the forcible sex crimes were committed in the course of a residential burglary.

Arraignment is scheduled this afternoon in Department 66 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Metro Branch.

Martinez is charged with breaking into the apartment of a 36-year-old woman in the early morning hours of Nov. 13, and sexually assaulting her, prosecutors said. The defendant fled the area and was found and arrested in Fresno on Nov. 18.


Long Beach Man Charged with Kidnapping, Sexually Assaulting Two Girls

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 1:26 am

A Long Beach man was charged today with kidnapping two teenage girls and sexually assaulting them, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Samuel Alexander Vasquez (dob 1/22/87) is scheduled to be arraigned after 1:30 p.m. today in Department 30 at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center in case BA451934. Prosecutors will ask bail be set at $5.03 million.

Deputy District Attorney Emily Spear with the Sex Crimes Division is prosecuting the case.

Vasquez is charged with two counts each of kidnapping to commit rape and forcible rape, and one count each of forcible oral copulation and assault with a deadly weapon. He allegedly kidnapped a 16- year-old girl at knifepoint as she was walking in the South Los Angeles area on Sept. 27. He allegedly forced a 14-year-old girl into his car on Oct. 28 as she was walking in the same vicinity.

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


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