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February 2011 Archives

Men facing White-Collar Criminal Charges alleging Investment Fraud in Santa Ana

An attorney facing charges of felony grand theft in Santa Ana is accused of stealing nearly $1 million by using his credentials to legitimize fraud schemes, the Orange County Register reported.

Veteran Santa Ana criminal defense attorneys have seen an increase in these types of cases since the beginning of the economic downturn. Federal and state white-collar criminal defense requires a law firm with the knowledge, experience and resources to mount an aggressive defense. Particularly when a professional license, such as a law license, medical license or financial professionals' license is involved, the consequences of a criminal conviction can lead to professional and financial ruin.
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In this case, the 68-year-old Irvine defendant faces 16 felony counts of using untrue statements in the sale or purchase of securities and 11 felony counts of grand theft. He also faces a sentencing enhancement for aggravated white-collar crime of more than $500,000, theft exceeding $150,000 and property loss of more than $200,000.

A 66-year-old co-defendant from Laguna Woods will face the same charges in Orange County Superior Court. A third defendant, who lived in Lake Forest, has died.

The men allegedly accepted fees ranging from $25,000 to $177,000 as part of investment schemes. If convicted, each faces nearly 30 years in state prison. They are being held on $2 million bail.

According to the Orange County District Attorney's Office, the men approached victims who needed financing for various projects and charged them large fees under the pretence of securing funding. The first victim was allegedly promised $6 million in financing to build a luxury resort in Baja in exchange for a $25,000 fee. After 19 months without financing, he made a theft complaint with the Los Angeles Sheriff's Office. Ten other alleged victims have since been identified. Some took out home equity lines of credit and additional mortgages on their homes in order to pay fees to the defendants, according to authorities.

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Bookkeeper facing a Century in Prison on Forgery and Theft Charges in Santa Ana

A 37-year-old bookkeeper is facing white-collar theft charges in Santa Ana for allegedly using her position at a local church to write 154 checks to herself, totaling nearly $130,000, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

A Santa Ana Criminal Defense Lawyer will likely succeed in reducing the number of charges and the potential penalty faced by this defendant. As it stands, she is facing 154 counts of forgery and more than a century in prison. This is classic and often typical when such cases are filed by the Orange County District Attorney's Office. Often, investigators threatened novice defendants with such mind-boggling time behind bars. In reality, she will never face conviction of that many charges. And even if she did, a judge would never order maximum consecutive sentencing -- if he did it would become an appeal issue.
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Unfortunately, those who are least familiar with the criminal justice system are often the most vulnerable. In many cases, they will attempt to explain themselves to authorities with the hopes of helping themselves. This is rarely the result. It is an investigator's job to gather evidence of your guilt. Speaking with an experienced criminal defense lawyer is usually the best course of action when it comes to protecting your rights once such an investigation is under way.

Authorities allege she used her position at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, where she worked as bookkeeper from 2007 to 2009, to write checks to herself from church accounts without the knowledge of church officials. At the time she was hired at the church, she had already been convicted of grand theft, the Times reported.

A prior conviction will certainly make negotiating a plea more difficult and could open a defendant up to tougher sentencing. Hiring an aggressive and experienced criminal defense lawyer in Santa Ana will be all the more critical.

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Organized Crime Indictment Accuses Defendants of Bank Fraud in Santa Ana

Numerous Santa Ana defendants face criminal charges as part of a massive raid charging more than 100 individuals with operating an organized criminal enterprise, according to The Cypress Times.

An experienced Santa Ana criminal defense lawyers should always be called to represent clients facing criminal charges as part of such large raids. Frequently, authorities make a big splash while the media's cameras are present. But it is not unusual for the cases against many of the defendants to be weak. An experienced attorney should be called as early as possible to protect your rights and ensure maximum leverage and bargaining power. Indictments against 102 individuals were unsealed in Los Angeles, Santa Ana, Miami and Denver; federal, state and local authorities arrested 80 and additional arrests are expected.
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"Today's indictments allege literally hundreds of criminal acts in three states - from extortion and kidnapping to firearms trafficking and health care fraud," said Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Criminal Division. "The common denominator among these defendants and their criminal enterprises is the use of violence and intimidation to commit crimes for profit. But we are determined to fight back. In less than one month, the Justice Department has announced the largest one-day takedown against La Cosa Nostra, coordinated a nationwide gang takedown and, today, arrested more than 80 Armenian Power members, associates and others with ties to organized crime. These groups bring fear into our communities, defraud innocent victims, and put the safety and security of our neighborhoods at risk. We are taking an aggressive stand against these organized criminal groups and will continue our efforts to put them out of business."

The federal indictment in Santa Ana charged 20 defendants. Allegations include a bank-fraud scheme that targeted the elderly and other vulnerable victims. Conspirators allegedly paid insiders for confidential bank account information, including Social Security numbers and passwords. They are accused of stealing at least $10 million from hundreds of accounts.

"We have seen organized crime spread from shakedowns on street corners to complex cyber schemes, human trafficking and other crimes perpetrated across international borders," said Executive Assistant Director Shawn Henry of the FBI. "Transnational enterprises are siphoning hundreds of millions of dollars from our economy to perpetuate their cycle of greed."

The two-year investigation, known as Operation Power Outage, included the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Secret Service and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as state and local authorities.

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Laguna Niguel Woman Facing 59 Fraud Charges for Alleged Theft from the Elderly

A 51-year-old Laguna Niguel woman is facing fraud charges in Santa Ana in connection with the alleged theft of more than $600,000 from an elderly woman, the Orange County Register reported.

An experienced Santa Ana criminal defense lawyer should always be called to defend clients facing charges of fraud or embezzlement. In this case, prosecutors have charged the defendant with nearly 60 felonies. Such crimes can be extremely complex and defending yourself from wrongdoing requires a law firm with the resources and ability to handle financial crimes defense.
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In this case authorities contend that the defendant was hired through LivHOME caregivers to provide around-the-clock care for an 85-year-old Laguna Woods woman. Instead, she is accused of stealing more than $600,000 over a period of 28 months. She allegedly also rang up debt on the elderly woman's credit cards and spent money to pay her rent, for orthodontic work and for a "dog whisperer."

She was fired after LivHOME reportedly learned she was not caring for the woman during her assigned shift. A subsequent review of the alleged victim's bank accounts found her savings had fallen from $700,000 in June 2008 to less than $5,000 by April 2009.

The defendant is facing 59 felony counts of fraud, as well as sentencing enhancements for excessive theft of more than $100,000, property loss of more than $200,000 and white-collar crime of more than $500,000.

She faces nearly 50 years in prison if convicted of all charges and remains in jail on more than $600,000 bail.

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