Best Defender Bytes: Crime after Crime

April 28, 2017

Attorney General Xavier Becerra Sues U.S. Interior Department to Ensure California Receives Its Fair Share from Oil, Gas, and Coal Extraction on Federal Lands

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

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, together with New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas, filed a lawsuit yesterday against the U.S. Department of the Interior for delaying the implementation of one of its own rules promulgated to ensure that taxpayers receive their fair share of royalties from companies that extract oil, gas, and coal from federal lands.

The rule, known as the Valuation Rule, was finalized by the Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR) in the Department of the Interior on July 1, 2016, and went into effect on January 1, 2017. The product of five years of public engagement, the Valuation Rule replaced outdated regulations that no longer ensured that taxpayers received adequate compensation from the extraction of federally-owned natural resources. It also addressed a loophole that allowed the coal industry to sell coal at artificially low prices.

On February 27, nearly two months after the Valuation Rule had gone into effect, ONRR – under the direction of the Trump Administration – issued a notice “postponing” the rule until pending litigation is resolved. To justify the delay, ONRR invoked Section 705 of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), which allows an agency to “postpone the effective date of action taken by it, pending judicial review.” However, ONRR’s action is unlawful, as Section 705 does not apply to rules that have already gone into effect.

“The Trump Administration has once again displayed its disdain for playing by the rules,” declared Attorney General Becerra. “The winners here are the private mining interests that profit from paying less for our natural resources. The losers are — surprise, surprise — the American taxpayers. Attorney General Balderas and I won’t let this blatant violation of the law by the Trump Administration go unchallenged.”


Tax Preparation Business Owner Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

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

A Pollock Pines, California woman who owned a tax return preparation business was sentenced to serve 120 months in prison today for conspiring to file more than 250 false refund claims, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert for the Eastern District of California.

According to documents filed with the court, Teresa Marty, 57, was the owner of Advanced Financial Services (AFS), a Placerville, California tax return preparation business. Marty conspired with her office manager, Pamela Harris and Rebecca Bandera-Marty to file fraudulent federal tax returns claiming more than $60 million in refunds. Marty and Harris recruited clients by falsely representing that the clients could legally receive large refunds by filing tax returns using Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Forms 1099-OID. AFS prepared false Forms 1099-OID that reported the clients’ debts as income and the same amount as income tax withheld, resulting in significant claims for refund to which the clients were not entitled. The scheme included clients from 26 states and caused the IRS to pay out over 40 tax refunds, totaling more than $9 million. The IRS listed the use of false Forms 1099-OID on its website as one of the “dirty dozen” tax schemes for the years 2009 through 2014.

Marty, Harris and Bandera-Marty were indicted in June 2013 along with two clients, Charles and Victoria Tingler. Thereafter, Marty and the Tinglers, with the help of Harris, filed fraudulent multi-million dollar liens against government officials, including three IRS employees involved in the collection of taxes the Tinglers owed the IRS as a result of the scheme. Marty filed $84 million liens against the then Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California and a former Department of Justice Tax Division attorney involved in filing suit to permanently enjoin Marty and AFS from preparing tax returns. The liens filed with the California Secretary of State unlawfully disclosed personal identification information of the government employees. Harris and Marty also hired a collection agency to enforce a $500,000 false lien that Charles Tingler filed against an IRS revenue officer.



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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow for murdering his childhood best friend.

Defendant Charges Maximum Sentence Court Date
Augustine Brady Godoy, 30, Salinas
  • One felony count of murder

Sentencing Enhancement:

  • Personal use of a deadly weapon
26 years to life in state prison Arraignment

  • April 28, 2017, 10:00 a.m.
  • CJ-1, Central Jail,

Santa Ana

Bail: $1 million

Circumstances of the Case

  • At the time of the crime, Godoy was living with Kamal Malouf and Malouf’s parents in their Anaheim home.
  • On July 14, 2015, the defendant is accused of having a verbal disagreement over the phone with the victim, who was at work.
  • When Malouf returned home, Godoy is accused of beating him to death and stabbing him in the head with a knife, then calling 911.
  • When Anaheim Police Department (APD) officers arrived at the scene, the victim was found dead as a result of blunt force trauma to the head.
  • Godoy is accused of being found in a nearby bedroom in the home.


April 27, 2017

Orange County Pilot Who Operated Private Jets with Passengers Onboard without Proper License Sentenced to Federal Prison

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

LOS ANGELES – An Irvine man who admitted that he illegally piloted private jet airplanes with passengers onboard without having a valid pilot’s license was sentenced today to 10 months in federal prison.

Arnold Gerald Leto III, 37, was sentenced by United States District Judge Dale S. Fischer, who also ordered the defendant to pay a $5,500 fine.

Leto pleaded guilty in October to two counts of operating an aircraft without a valid airman’s certificate.

According to court documents, Leto operated aircraft with passengers on a number of occasions without the proper authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration. In January 2015, Leto piloted a Cessna Citation turbojet-powered aircraft, with paying passengers, from Santa Monica to Phoenix prior to receiving any type of airman’s certificate for turbojet-powered aircraft.

The following month, Leto obtained an airman’s certificate that authorized him to be a second-in-command pilot on a Cessna Citation turbojet-powered aircraft, but he continued to operate the Cessna citation as a sole pilot with passengers. For example, in April 2015, he piloted a Cessna Citation from Burbank to Bermuda Dunes and from Santa Monica to Bentonville, Arkansas.


Fontana Company, Owner and 3 Employees Charged with Violating Clean Water Act by Illegally Discharging Industrial Waste into Sewers

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

LOS ANGELES – A federal grand jury has issued a 12-count superseding indictment that accuses a Fontana company, its owner and three employees with violating the Clean Water Act by regularly engaging in illegal discharges of acidic industrial wastewater into a sewer system, as well as tampering with monitoring devices designed to prevent those violations.

The indictment, which was returned by the grand jury last Wednesday afternoon, charges:

· Starlite Reclamation Environmental Services, Inc.;

· Christopher Jaramillo, 47, of Victorville, the owner and president of Starlite;

· Robert Conn, 74, of Torrance, a former Starlite Vice President who was responsible for overseeing wastewater treatment;

· Andrew Hucks, 29, formerly of Riverside and now residing in another state, a former Starlite employee who acted as a plant operator; and

· Fernando Torres, 40, formerly of San Bernardino and now believed to be residing in the Central Valley, another former plant operator at Starlite.



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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A former volunteer treasurer for Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s re-election committee was sentenced to one year in county jail today for embezzling over $300,000 from campaign funds and his place of employment at the time.

Defendant Charges Sentence
Jack Wenpo Wu, 46, Newport Beach Pleaded guilty on Jan. 17, 2017, to:

  • 21 felony counts of forgery
  • Three felony counts of grand theft by embezzlement

Sentencing Enhancements

  • Theft exceeding $100,000
  • Aggravated white collar crime over $100,000
  • Property loss over $200,000
  • One year in county jail
  • Five years of formal probation
  • Restitution

Circumstances of the Case

  • In 2004, Wu worked as a volunteer, non-paid treasurer for the Committee to Re-elect Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (Committee). Wu paid taxes owed by the Committee, filed Federal Election Committee reports, was the custodian of records, and ran the Committee’s bank accounts.


April 26, 2017

Southern California Residents Sentenced to Prison for Hiding Millions of Dollars in Secret Foreign Bank Accounts

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

Three Orange County, California residents were sentenced to prison today for willfully failing to report their foreign bank accounts in Switzerland and Israel, announced Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stuart M. Goldberg of the Justice Department’s Tax Division.

Dan Farhad Kalili, 55, a resident of Irvine, California, was sentenced to serve 12 months and one day in prison; his brother, David Ramin Kalili, 52, a resident of Newport Coast, was sentenced to serve eight months in prison; and his brother-in-law, David Shahrokh Azarian, 67, also a resident of Newport Coast, was sentenced to serve eight months in prison.

According to documents and information provided to the court, Dan Kalili, David Kalili and Azarian willfully failed to file with the Department of Treasury Reports of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBARs) regarding secret bank accounts in Switzerland and Israel that each maintained and controlled, many for well over a decade. These secret accounts held assets that reached into the millions of dollars.

“For more than a decade, Dan Kalili, David Kalili and David Azarian hid millions in secret offshore accounts,” said Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General Goldberg. “They moved their funds from bank to bank and country to country in an effort to escape scrutiny. Today, each was sentenced to prison. The clear message is: the days when a U.S. citizen can safely stash money in an undeclared foreign account are over.”


Oxygen Equipment Provider Pays $11.4 Million to Resolve False Claims Act Allegations

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

The Department of Justice announced today that Braden Partners, L.P., doing business as Pacific Pulmonary Services, has agreed to pay $11.4 million to resolve allegations against it and its general partner, Teijin Pharma USA LLC, for violating the False Claims Act by submitting claims for reimbursement to Medicare and other federal healthcare programs for oxygen and related equipment supplied in violation of program rules, and for sleep therapy equipment supplied as part of a cross-referral kickback scheme with sleep clinics.

“This settlement demonstrates our continued pursuit of health care providers who take advantage of federal healthcare programs,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “We will investigate and take action against providers who cut corners and pay kickbacks.”

California-based Pacific Pulmonary Services furnishes stationary and portable oxygen tanks and related supplies, and sleep therapy equipment, such as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure, Bi-level Positive Airway Pressure masks and related supplies, to patients’ homes in California and other states. The government alleged that, beginning in about 2004, Pacific Pulmonary Services began submitting claims to the Medicare, TRICARE and Federal Employee Health Benefits programs for home oxygen and oxygen equipment without obtaining a physician authorization, as required by program rules

Beginning in 2006, certain of the company’s patient care coordinators also allegedly agreed to make patient referrals to sleep testing clinics in exchange for those clinics’ agreement to refer patients to Pacific Pulmonary Services for sleep therapy equipment. The government alleged that this conduct violated the Anti-Kickback Act, which prohibits offering, paying, soliciting or receiving remuneration to induce referrals of items or services covered by Medicare, Medicaid and/or other federally funded programs.



Filed under: California Chid Pornography Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:03 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – The president of the Buena Park School Board is scheduled to be arraigned for possessing and distributing over 600 photos and videos of child pornography, including prepubescent minors and infants.

Defendant Charges Maximum Sentence Court Date
Dennis Brian Chambers, 50, Buena Park Charged on April 21, 2017, with:

  • One felony count of Possession of Child Pornography
  • One felony count of Distribution of Child Pornography

Sentencing Enhancement Allegation:

  • Possessing over 600 images
  • Five years and eight months in state prison
  • Mandatory lifetime sex offender registration pursuant to PC290
Continued arraignment

May 5, 2017, 10:00 a.m.

Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana

Circumstances of the Case

The defendant is accused of the following:

  • Possessing and distributing over 15 separate cloud storage links, which contained over 600 videos depicting pre-pubescent children and infants engaging in or simulating sexual conduct


April 25, 2017

Federal Correctional Officer Pleads Guilty to Federal Civil Rights Offense for Kicking Inmate in Head and Lying about Incident

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

RIVERSIDE, California – A correctional officer with the U.S. Bureau of Prisons at the Victorville Federal Correctional Complex pleaded guilty today to two counts relating to an incident in which she kicked a restrained female inmate in the head.

Cynthia Flores, 34, of Victorville, pleaded guilty to one count of deprivation of rights under color of law and one count of falsification of records.

Flores assaulted the victim at the women’s prison camp in Victorville on June 2, 2013. During the evening count, when correctional officers ensure that all inmates are present, Flores initiated a physical altercation with the victim. According to a plea agreement filed in this case, Flores “kicked [the victim]’s head after another BOP correctional officer had handcuffed [the victim] and was restraining [her] with [the victim]’s chest pressed to the hallway floor.”


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