August 2011 Archives

DMV Worker Charged With Fraud in Fullerton Over Cash-For-License Scheme

A Fullerton DMV worker was arrested recently and charged with 19 counts of altering public documents and 19 counts of fraud for allegedly issuing driver's licenses after falsifying computer records, The Orange County Register reports.

Charges of fraud in Fullerton and throughout Orange County can range in meaning and possible penalty. Falsifying documents for profit, billing for medical services not provided and other examples of lying for profit.
For anyone charged with fraud, hiring an experienced Santa Ana Criminal Defense Attorney is necessary because the state is likely to utilize as many resources as necessary in order to secure a conviction. Especially at a time when our economy is in big trouble, allegations of money being stolen is a big deal. The loss of money can hurt private businesses as well as public entities, and therefore law enforcement and prosecutors are likely to seek big penalties if a person is convicted.

In this case, the 37-year-old woman is accused of taking $23,000 from 12 people to alter their driver's license records between June 10, 2009 and April 27, 2010. She allegedly changed records to show they each passed the written and driving tests to obtain commercial drivers licenses and issued them permits.

According to prosecutors, none of the dozen drivers passed the tests, some which were safety-related, including proper techniques for driving semi-trucks, using specialized brakes and puling double trailers. Officials have revoked the 12 licenses.

The state says the drivers were referred to the woman through other people, who have yet to be identified. It's unclear how the money was allegedly split between the woman and the people who made referrals. The state is using the drivers as potential witnesses against the woman.

Therein lies a big issue with the case. The prosecution has decided not to file charges against the drivers in this case, who allegedly paid money for licenses, which is against the law. This brings up a big issue with the credibility of these potential witnesses.

In any case where there are co-defendants or co-conspirators who make an agreement with the state to testify against another person, their credibility must be questioned by an aggressive Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney. They have something at stake if they don't say exactly what the state wants them to say.

If a co-defendant who was once charged makes a deal with the state to prove specific details, even varying slightly from the testimony they agree with the state to give can ruin their deal. Usually, a plea deal severely lessens the amount of time they can serve in prison, if they were otherwise convicted.

The stakes may be even higher for those who aren't charged. These people face no charges, but if they don't cooperate or tell a story contradictory to what others who are cooperating with the state say, they could all of a sudden be stuck with a jail mug shot and arrest rap sheet.

All of these details must be presented to a jury by an experienced Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney. The weaknesses of the state's witnesses must be revealed in order to make sure a defendant's rights are upheld.

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UC-Irvine Bike Thefts Lead to Five Arrests

Five people have been charged with allegedly stealing bicycles on the University of California-Irvine campus, The Orange County Register reports.

Bicycles are essential for many college students, especially with tuition costs and gas costs skyrocketing recently, so having them stolen can be a major burden. Those caught for what some may consider a prank may face surprisingly tough penalties. Many forms of theft in Los Angeles, from shoplifting to grand theft, can carry life-altering penalties for those convicted. But mistaken identities or lack of proof can cause many innocent people to suffer. That's why hiring a Santa Ana Criminal Defense Attorney, who has years of experience defending clients must be mandatory.
In this case, five people -- ranging in age from a juvenile to a 36-year-old man, were arrested by UCI police officers recently. None of those who were arrested attend the university, however. They are charged with suspicion of bicycle thefts.

Police say that about 135 bicycles have been reported stolen from campus since the beginning of the calendar year and investigators believe repeat offenders may be responsible.

The 36-year-old suspect, the article states, has has previous run-ins with campus police. The man was arrested for stealing a bike in September and was convicted of grand theft and sentenced to 90 days in jail. In April, he was arrested again and was convicted of petty theft with a prior.

The most recent arrest happened on August 9, when he allegedly was caught removing a $950 bike from a rack outside a building. He has pleaded not guilty to felony grand theft and misdemeanor possession of burglary tools and contempt of court.

If the article is correct about the suspect's criminal history record, he may face a tough time in court. While a person's criminal history can't be held against them at trial for an unrelated charge, it can be used against them at sentencing. In fact, it is factored into the types of charges they may face in the future and how much time they could possibly serve in prison for the current charge.

And as charges pile up for defendants, the current charge must be aggressively defended. In cases of theft, which range in penalties typically based on the value of the alleged stolen goods, mistaken identity is common as an eye witness picks a person out of a photo display or police lineup, when they had nothing to do with the crime.

Many people charged with theft crimes in Orange County are arrested riding in a vehicle that has stolen goods or are otherwise accused of receiving stolen property. But proving the person stole the goods if no one saw them take the property can be an obstacle for the state and an advantage for the defense.

These charges, like all criminal cases, must be met with skepticism. Because, like everyone else, police officers make mistakes. This can be particularly true of university police departments. They get pressured from the top to make arrests, especially if a crime spree is happening in a neighborhood that's getting news media attention. While they sometimes act with good intentions, they also sometimes go over-the-top in their pursuit of criminals and can arrest the wrong person. Make sure experience is on your side if this happens to you.

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Irvine Man Charged In Connection With 3 Sex Offenses

Irvine police have arrested a man they believe to be a serial rape suspect, ABC News is reporting.

According to the news report, an investigated spearheaded by the Irvine police and Newport Beach police departments has led to an arrest in three cases spanning six years.
Sex crimes in Irvine and throughout Orange County are among the toughest to defend in the eye of the public. Many consider an arrest a conviction, though there have been many not guilty verdicts on behalf of these defendants. And that's why hiring an experienced Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney is so important. An aggressive defense ensures the rights that all Americans have to a fair trial.

In this case, a 29-year-old man faces multiple counts of rape and other felonies and he is being held without bail. The investigations go back to 2005 and include cases he is suspected in up to 2010.

According to the news report, the victims in rapes in both cities between May 2005 and July 2010 couldn't provide a description of their attacker because he covered his face. The first case was in May 2005 and the second in November 2006. The second rape was at the same apartment complex as the crime committed on July 7, 2010.

The news report states police set up surveillance in the area following the second rape at that complex last year. This June, police say they received reports of a suspicious person in the area and they stepped up patrols.

The man who was arrested was one of the people seen in the area and he was contacted by police. The article states that police had no DNA or fingerprint matches from the crimes in state or federal databases.

But after "further investigation" forensic experts were able to match fingerprints in the Newport Beach rape case to the man. That print also matched the two Irvine investigations.

The article, however, doesn't make clear how police could have had no matching fingerprints or DNA in the latter cases and all of a sudden they were able to match this man to the crimes. It's possible police overstepped their bounds in the investigation.

And it's also possible that police telling the media they have a fingerprint match could be a partial match. They may not have had probable cause in the first place to consider the man a "suspect" simply for being near an apartment complex. He may have lived there or had friends who lived there.

All of these areas must be scrutinized before trial and it may be possible that evidence could be excluded if it was obtained improperly. That's why hiring an experienced and aggressive Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney is so important. Analyzing all evidence while using years of experience is the only way to get to the bottom of the facts.

It is especially important in sex cases. In California, these charges can lead to years or decades in prison, along with probation, fines and fees and even the possibility of having to register as a sexual offender or sexual predator for life. This means having a person's photo, address and other information in a database for anyone in the world to search. It also means neighbors will be notified when the person moves nearby because they must tell law enforcement when and where they move. Failure to do so can mean more prison time.

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Santa Ana Couple Accused of Faking Death in Order to Defraud Social Security

The Orange County District Attorney's Office alleges that a Santa Ana couple faked the husband's death in order to steal more than $400,000 in Social Security and other pension benefits over seven years, The Orange County Register reports.

The 51-year-old husband and his 52-year-old wife are each charged with two counts of grand theft with sentencing enhancements for aggravated white collar crime over $100,000 and property loss over $200,000, the newspaper reports.
Fraud in Santa Ana and other white collar crimes designed to obtain money are some of the most complex in the legal system. They typically require intense analysis and scrutiny of financial records, bank statements and other information. This must be entrusted to an experienced Santa Ana Criminal Defense Attorney.

If convicted, the newspaper reports, each spouse faces up to seven years and eight months in prison. They are being held in lieu of $500,000 bail. According to authorities, the man lived for about two decades under a false name. In 2004, after plotting with his wife to fake a death under that name, he traveled to Mexico to obtained a death certificate for a fake heart attack after bribing authorities.

He then returned to the United States and began living under his real name with his wife. Later that year, the wife began receiving death benefits until the couple was arrested recently. Authorities received a tip, which led to the arrests, the newspaper says.

This case, and others like it, require a lot of digging by prosecutors and law enforcement officers, who must sift through many records in order to prove a case. And sometimes even doing that isn't enough. In this case, it appears prosecutors will require cooperation from Mexican authorities, which is no easy task.

Many times, fraud can be explained as simple mistakes in business deals or for individuals, incorrect paperwork that was filed on either end of a transaction. But along with possible prison time, these charges can require defendants to pay back money that is proven to be stolen.

This is called restitution and can be a heavy burden on a defendant. While the amount must be proven by the prosecution, a defendant may be required to pay back hundreds to hundreds of thousands of dollars in theft cases. And this must be done even after being sent to prison, making paying the money back even more difficult.

That's why Santa Ana Criminal Defense Attorneys take these charges so seriously. On top of the punishment of prison, there are other sanctions that must be taken into consideration and defended against. The first step if you are being investigated is to contact a firm for a free consultation to discuss the case and come up with possible defense options.

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