Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog
     


Los Angeles White Collar Crimes: Ponzi Schemer Gets 150 Years

Posted on: June 30, 2009 at 11:05 a.m.

Bernie Madoff, possibly the most famous criminal in America right now, was sentenced to 150 years for his role in a ponzi scheme. Madoff pleaded guilty to stealing billions of dollars from investors, may of whom were completely wiped out after his ponzi scheme was discovered.

A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to separate investors from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors rather than from any actual profit earned. The Ponzi scheme usually offers returns that other investments cannot guarantee in order to entice new investors, in the form of short-term returns that are either abnormally high or unusually consistent.

Los Angeles White Collar Crime

White collar crimes are varied; they include embezzlement, bribery, ponzi schemes and more. A qualified Los Angeles white collar crime defense attorney must have a thorough knowledge of accounting laws, financial laws, SEC statutes and more. People in all walks of life are accused of Los Angeles white collar crimes, including school administrators, politicians, accountants, CEOs and others.

Los Angeles white collar crimes have serious consequences, especially now that the economy is so bad. People often blame executives for their roll in damaging an economy, especially if their roll was an illegal one. Throughout the news, people are being sentenced to decades in prison for their involvement in investment fraud, securities fraud and other Los Angeles white collar crimes.

The FBI even has a strategic white collar crime team that investigates all manner of fraud, including white collar crimes> that involve some form of fraud, including health care fraud, bank fraud and more. Some state laws govern white collar crime, but usually on a smaller scale. The larger crimes are prosecuted by federal law and carry with it much harsher penalties.

If you have been charged with a white collar crime, do not hesitate to call Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP at (877) 781-1570. Our knowledgeable legal team can evaluate your case and advise you of your legal options.

Tagged as: theft, white collar crime fraud theft laws




Los Angeles Gang Violence

Posted on: June 26, 2009 at 1:04 p.m.

The Los Angeles Police Department is closing in on members of both the 18th Street gang and Mexican Mafia gang after a 2007 attack left a seven-week-old infant dead. According to police, members of the 18th Street gang were attempting to attack a street vendor who had refused to pay them rent to operate his small business in the gangs territory. The street vendor survived multiple gunshot wounds to the chest while a single stray bullet pierced the infants heart as he sat sleeping in a nearby stroller, killing him instantly. Even other gang members were appalled, with members of the notorious Mexican Mafia allegedly demanding that those responsible for the infants death be punished.
According to Los Angeles police documents, 18th Street gang members tried to take matters into their own hands by luring the shooter to Mexico on the pretense of protecting him from Los Angeles investigators. Once across the border, the shooter (whose identity is being kept secret as he is aiding investigators in the case) was allegedly strangled and left for dead. When he regained consciousness, he called family members in the area and was eventually arrested by Los Angeles investigators. He is now cooperating with both Los Angeles and federal law enforcement as they pursue his former gang.
Gang violence has long been a problem in Los Angeles, and law enforcement investigates and prosecutes gang-related crimes heavily. Criminal charges such as weapons possession, drug charges and murder take on a whole new level of scrutiny when Los Angeles police label them as gang-related, leading to much more severe punishments. Longer jail sentences are handed down in the case of a conviction and those convicted of gang-related crimes are also forced to register with Los Angeles authorities as a gang member. Whether or not that affiliation is true or continues after a conviction, it is extremely difficult to make that association go away.

If you have been charged with a gang-related crime, call the attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP today. Their combined 50 years of courtroom experience in criminal defense will fight for you.

Tagged as: gang allegations, jury trial defense




Los Angeles Assault and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog

Posted on: June 22, 2009 at 7 a.m.

A Los Angeles assault case has left the voice behind Conan O'Brien's Triumph the Insult Comic Dog in an embarassing situation.


In assault is serious and is considered a violent crime. It is defined as committing (or threatening to commit) harm, force, or unwanted or offensive contact against another person. According to Los Angeles laws, you can assault someone without actually physically harming them. If the person is reasonably afraid that you were going to harm them, or if you are guilty of intending to physically harm them, you can be charged with a assault.


The verdict in an assault case depends on the prosecuting attorney being able to prove your ability to commit the assault as well as the intention to harm. Assault can range from inappropriate touching or intruding on another persons space to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys are in court on a regular basis, defending people of assault charges stemming from various situations: domestic disputes; arguments at a sporting event; a fight at school and more.


Comedian Robert Schimmel was arrested in April of this year in his Los Angeles area home for suspicion of beating his wife. Schimmel was booked for investigation of spousal assault. However, his wife did not pressed charges against him and without her cooperation, there was not enough evidence to continue with the case. As a result, the assault charges against him were dropped. In the past, Schimmel has been a guest on Howard Sterns radio show as well as Conan OBriens late-night television show.


A assault is broken into two categories: simple assault or aggravated assault. Simple assault is the attempt and ability to injure another person. Simple assault usually results in fines up to $1,000 and jail time up to six months.


Aggravated assault is an illegal attack on someone with the intention of inflicting serious injury. This type of assault often involves a dangerous or deadly weapon, but need not necessarily result in actual bodily harm, only the intent of committing serious injury, the presence of a weapon, and the possibility of serious injury occurring if the attack were completed.


The results of a assault conviction can include jail, fines and restitution, parole, counseling, and a lasting mark on your criminal record. Assault can be a felony charge, which is oftentimes the case when assault is committed against a law enforcement officer. It can also be a misdemeanor charge.


If you have been charged with a serious criminal offense, do not hesitate to call Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP at (877) 781-1570. Our knowledgeable legal team can evaluate your case and advise you of your legal options.



Tagged as: jury trial defense




Los Angeles Murder and the Statute of Limitations

Posted on: June 15, 2009 at 10:20 a.m.

Los Angeles violent crimes can often be a bit of a spectacle, in part because the city has a flair for the dramatic. Los Angeles violent crime defense attorneys can often find their name in newspapers as a result of their clients' alleged actions. Take for example a recent "cold case" involving the LAPD's finest.
Veteran Los Angeles Police Department detective Stephanie Lazarus found out the hard way that there is no statute of limitations on certain violent crimes, such as murder cases. For many Los Angeles violent crimes, a statute of limitations exists that places time constraints on sending a case to trial, meaning that from the time a crime happens, detectives and prosecutors have only a specified amount of time before they can bring a suspect to trial. Medical malpractice cases, for example have a statute of limitations of just three years. But murder, as well as the embezzlement of public funds, have no time limits and charges can be brought against a suspect at any time that investigators feel they have enough evidence.
Detective Stephanie Lazarus had made a name for herself in Los Angeles by tracking stolen artwork and hunting down art forgeries. In 1986, two years after Lazarus had joined the Los Angeles Police Department, Sherri Rasmussen, the wife of one of Lazarus former boyfriends, was found beaten and shot to death in her Van Nuys apartment. Investigators at the time noted that Lazarus had been involved with Rasmussens husband, but believed a string of robberies in the neighborhood had actually led to her death. Rasmussens husband, John Ruetten, had allegedly broken off his relationship with Lazarus and soon after started dating Rasmussen. Rasmussens family publicly offered a $10,000 reward for whoever could bring her killers to justice, but the thieves Los Angeles investigators believed had committed the murder were never found.
More than two decades later, Los Angeles Police investigators began reviewing Rasmussens case and noted that DNA evidence from the violent crime scene revealed that a woman besides Rasmussen had been present at the time of her killing. Just last week, an undercover investigator began trailing Lazarus, waiting for her to leave anything that might leave a saliva sample behind. He found it when she discarded a plastic utensil after eating. The DNA collected from the fork conclusively linked Lazarus to the scene of Rasmussens murder. Lazarus was arrested by homicide detectives in early June and is being held without bail. Her arraignment has not yet been scheduled. Los Angeles Police department officials do not know whether Lazarus was deliberately or accidentally overlooked by investigators back in 1986.
While many violent crimes still go unsolved, many more do eventually get resolved. New evidence may continually resurface in cases that, like Lazaruss, are decades old. New scientific developments also enables investigators to re-evaluate evidence that was previously collected and make connections they would not have been able to just a few years ago. And since more serious crimes such as murder have no statute of limitations, if investigators can gather enough evidence, they will pursue leads in cases that have long been neglected.

If you have been charged with a If you have been charged with a serious criminal offense, do not hesitate to call Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin at (877) 781-1570. Our knowledgeable legal team can evaluate your case and advise you of your legal options.

Tagged as: jury trial defense




Los Angeles White Collar Crimes

Posted on: June 9, 2009 at 11:33 a.m.

Bradley L. Ruderman, 46, of Los Angeles recently surrendered himself to federal agents after it was discovered he had defrauded roughly $44 million from investors in yet another white collar crime case. Ruderman allegedly persuaded several family members and friends to invest in two separate hedge funds that he founded and managed, promising returns as high as 60%. This white collar crime was performed by Ruderman apparently been sending false statements to his 22 investors since form his hedge funds in 2002.

Ruderman claimed through his account statements that his hedge funds had managed $206 million while the funds' actual net value at the beginning of 2009 was just $588, 246. Evidence compiled by federal investigators claims Ruderman spent over $8.7 million of investor money on personal expenses, including a summer vacation home in Malibu and two Porsches. Ruderman also admitted to losing as much as $5.2 million more of his investors' money in private poker games held at a Los Angeles-area hotel. Ruderman has officially been charged in a Los Angeles court with wire fraud.

Fraud is one of the most common examples of white collar crime, but still carries potential prison time if you are convicted of it. As in Ruderman's white collar case, fraud involves taking other people's money under false pretenses and through non-violent means. Both an individual and a business can be charged with fraud. In the case of a conviction, an individual can likely go to jail while a business would most likely be hit with substantial fines. In both cases, credibility would be ruined, making a return to business as usual near impossible.

Because fraud and white collar crimes in general deal with such large quantities of money, penalties for a conviction can land you in a state or federal prison for several years. With your reputation and your freedom on the line, you need an experience white collar crime defense attorney at your side if you have been charged with fraud. Call the attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin today to find out what your options are and being preparing your defense.

Tagged as: theft, white collar crime fraud theft laws




Los Angeles Violent Crimes

Posted on: May 23, 2009 at 5:58 a.m.

In Los Angeles, violent crimes sometimes garner quite a bit of local and national attention. In one such story that was literally made into a movie, Jesse James Hollywood is currently awaiting trial for the kidnapping and murder of 15 year-old Nicholas Markowitz in 2000. Prosecutors say Hollywood was immersed in drug trafficking for years, supplying marijuana to dealers in Los Angeles San Fernando Valley. Markowitzs half-brother, Ben Markowitz, reportedly owed Hollywood $1,200, so Hollywood and several associates kidnapped Nicholas Markowitz just down the street from his home to pressure his brother into paying his debts. When Hollywood was advised by a lawyer that being convicted of kidnapping could send him to jail on a possible life sentence, Hollywood allegedly enlisted one of his dealers, Ryan Hoyt to kill Nicholas Markowitz. Markowitzs remains were found by hikers several days later and Hollywood fled from California shortly after. Hollywood was eventually captured on a beach in Brazil before being brought back to Los Angeles to await trial.

A 2007 movie detailing the case, "Alpha Dog," further stalled Hollywoods trial because film director Nick Cassavetes had been given sensitive information by prosecutors on the case to make his film. Defense attorneys attempted to block the release of the film, citing fears that it would unfairly prejudice potential jurors against Hollywood in his violent crime trial. Nine years after the violent crime, jury selection began this May.


Conviction of violent crimes such as kidnapping and murder can, indeed, land Hollywood in jail for the rest of his life. Both are classified as felony criminal offenses and both count as "strikes" under Californias "Three Strikes" laws, which can lead to enhanced prison sentences for repeat criminal offenders. The punishment for kidnapping may vary anywhere from three to eight years in a state prison if the victim is over the age of 14, and is not physically harmed during the process. If, as in Hollywoods case, the victim dies as a result of the kidnapping, then the offense is charged as First-Degree Murder, which is punished by 25 years to life in a state prison. The fact that Hollywood was not even present at the time of the murder bodes well for him, as does the nature of Markowitzs kidnapping. Investigators in the case report that Markowitz partied with his captors in the days shortly before his murder. He was even left unsupervised at one point and made no attempt to get away or call for help.



An experienced violent crimes defense attorney also knows that proving Hoyt acted on orders from Hollywood may also be difficult to prove and is one defense for Hollywood. If you are being charged with a violent criminal offense, call the attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP today. Their combined 50 years of courtroom experience in defending against criminal charges is an asset you need when you are staring at a lifetime jail sentence.

Tagged as: violent crimes defense




Los Angeles Police Misconduct and Drug Crimes

Posted on: May 13, 2009 at 6:47 a.m.

People facing charges in Los Angeles have a difficult enough time dealing with juries, judges and prosecutors without having to struggle with crooked Los Angeles Police Officers. Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys representing people in court understand that Los Angeles police may have to be investigated if their actions are unethical, such as committing drug crimes.

For example, a former Los Angeles County Sheriffs Deputy and his 21 year-old female accomplice have been charged with conspiracy and six drug-related offenses. Peter Paul Felix, 25, had previously worked as a jailer in the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic. Felix and his accomplice, Monique Ciara Garcia, were caught on October 13, 2008 attempting to smuggle heroin, methamphetamines and marijuana into the correctional facility. Garcia was found with over $5,000 in cash at the time. Both Felix and Garcia pleaded not guilty in court last Wednesday and they each face up to 12 years in a California state prison for these drug crimes.
Los Angeles law enforcement takes all types of drug crimes very seriously and the penalties for a conviction often include prison time. Simple possession of most illegal drugs is considered a felony, with the exception of small amounts of marijuana, which is typically a misdemeanor offense. In Los Angeles it is a felony criminal offense to possess or purchase illegal drugs that you intend to sell.

Prosecutors in such cases do not need to actually prove that you sold the drugs, just that you intended to sell them. They can generally prove this by evidence such as packaging, scales, drug cutting agents or taped conversations with informants or undercover police officers. Sentencing in drug crime cases can be stringent, even for first-time offenders. A defendant convicted for the first time of selling 100 grams to five kilograms of heroin, for example, would be given a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison. Felix and Garcia were found with 161 grams of heroin, 24 grams of methamphetamine and 51 grams of marijuana.

When you are facing potentially years in a state prison, you need a criminal defense attorney experienced in drug crimes. Call the attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP today to fight back.

Tagged as: drug crimes defense




Violent Crime in Canoga Park

Posted on: May 12, 2009 at 12:29 p.m.

One of the most important ways a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can assist you is in keeping you out of prison. Violent crimes in Los Angeles are almost always prosecuted as felonies, and felonies carry automatic jail time upon conviction. Having a qualified Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who knows and understands violent crimes is vital to keeping yourself free from prison.
Canoga Park resident Hossein Shirazi was arrested by members of the Los Angeles Police Department nearly a week ago on suspicion of murdering his brother, Mohammed Reza Shirazi. Mohammed Reza Shirazi, 48, disappeared more than a year ago and while his remains have not be located, Los Angeles Police Department investigators believe Hossein Shirazi murdered him after a long and contentious dispute with his brother. Hossein Shirazi, 34, is currently being held in prison on $1 million bail while Los Angeles police look for more answers. Mohammed Reza Shirazi was last seen on April 24, 2008. Three weeks later, his family reported him missing to Los Angeles police and hired a private investigator 10 months later to further look into his disappearance. During questioning of the Shirazi family and relatives, the private investigator received information that led him to believe Mohammed Reza Shirazi had been the victim of a violent crime. Whatever that critical piece of information was, Los Angeles Police were not aware of it until the private investigator hired by the Shirazi family alerted them. Los Angeles investigators believe Mohammed Reza Shirazi met a violent end at the hands of his brother Hossein Shirazi nearly 13 months ago when he first disappeared and are still searching for the victims remains.
Violent crimes are stringently prosecuted in Los Angeles, and with good reason. Violent crimes are almost always felony criminal offenses and encompass a wide range of crimes including murder, manslaughter, domestic violence, carjacking, assault, robbery, drive by shootings and possession of illegal firearms. In the case of Hossein Shirazi, assuming Los Angeles investigators find enough evidence to charge him, being charged with a violent crime such as murder or manslaughter in Los Angeles will depend on whether or not the prosecution can prove premeditation. A murder charge is contingent upon premeditation while manslaughter is not. In general, manslaughter is a violent crime that typically happens in the heat of passion, while murder is usually planned out beforehand. The punishment in Los Angeles for a violent crime like murder is at 15 years to life in prison, while sentencing for manslaughter typically is between three and 11 years in prison. With such a long potential prison term, the best thing you can do if you find yourself being charged with a violent crime is find an experienced criminal defense attorney right away.

Call the attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP today. Their combined 50 years of experience in defending people charged with violent crimes will fight hard for your freedom.

Tagged as: jury trial defense




Involuntary Manslaughter in Los Angeles

Posted on: May 12, 2009 at 12:23 p.m.

Involuntary manslaughter is a crime in Los Angeles that people don't quite understand. Los Angeles criminal defense attorney represent countless people who are facing involuntary manslaughter charges.
For example, John Steven Burgess, of Los Angeles, pleaded guilty this past Wednesday to involuntary manslaughter and concealing his victims body in a Los Angeles Court. Burgess, a convicted sex offender, is currently serving a three-year sentence for failing to register with local authorities as a sex offender. Police have been investigating Burgess for nearly two years in relation to the disappearance of 19 year-old college student Donna Jou of Rancho Santa Margarita. Jou was last seen on June 23,2007 and police and Jous family had long believed Burgess was connected to her disappearance, but Burgess refused to speak to investigators about her. While it remains unclear why Burgess suddenly decided to talk to authorities about Jou, he admitted to meeting her through the website Craigslist.org. Witnesses reported having seen Jou enter Burgess rented home in the Palms section of Los Angeles. Burgess admitted to giving Jou cocaine, heroin and alcohol at a party at his home, then waking up the next morning to find her dead. Burgess told police he panicked and used his sailboat to dump her body in the ocean. While Burgess told police where he had dumped the victims remains, several searches conducted by authorities have failed to find any traces of her. Burgess is to be sentenced May 18th in Los Angeles Superior Court.
From a legal standpoint, there are several types of murder, with the differences between them usually hinging on the defendants intent. >Involuntary manslaughter is especially tricky because it involves the death of someone that is unintentional and is usually the result of reckless, negligent behavior, or the byproduct of some other action. Being convicted of involuntary manslaughter can land you in prison for a minimum or two years and a maximum of four. In Burgess case, his best defense is that he did not intend for Jou to die from the drugs he gave her. Since he already pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter charges, the prosecution cannot try to charge him with murder, which could have put him in a state prison for 15 years to life. Facing involuntary manslaughter charges is a serious and complicated legal matter that can change your life-do not do it alone.
Call the attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP today to see what your legal options are and begin preparing your defense.

Tagged as: jury trial defense




Drug & Weapon Possession in Los Angeles

Posted on: May 12, 2009 at 12:14 p.m.

Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys represent many individuals who are facing drug possession charges as well as weapons possession charges. This delicate area of the law requires a competent Los Angeles criminal defense attorney who knows and understands the laws involved. High-profile cases involving drug possession in Los Angeles may get a great deal of interest, but for the people involved the consequences are very real.
Tina Fortenberry, receptionist to singer and actress Barbara Streisand, was recently arrested on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu for drug possession of both cocaine and methamphetamines, as well as possession of a weapon. Malibu police initially pulled Fortenberry over for expired license plate tags, then found the weapon and drugs when they approached her car. The weapon reportedly found in Fortenberrys car was a sap, which is similar to nunchakus. Fortenberry was reportedly on her way to the post office with some mail for Streisand when she was stopped. No date for Fortenberrys arraignment has been given.
Drug possession and weapons possession charges may sound relatively harmless, but Los Angeles law enforcement takes them very seriously and a conviction on either charge can land you in jail. Possession of drugs and weapons can, under Los Angeles law, be classified as either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the facts of each case. In general, people tend to think of weapons possession charges as involving an actual firearm, but in reality there are many, many types of weapons where possession would constitute a criminal offense. Illegal weapons in Los Angeles include knives, daggers, brass knuckles, nunchakus and many other martial arts weapons. Technically, even everyday items such as a box cutter or car keys can become deadly weapons if you use them to harm someone. As is the case with actual firearms, possession in the proper context and with the proper documentation is legal and allowable.
Depending on Fortenberrys criminal record, her weapons possession charge will most likely be considered a misdemeanor offense. If she is convicted, she will most likely face a fine and potentially up to one year in a county jail. In this case, the drug possession charges are more likely to land her in jail if she is convicted. In Los Angeles, drug possession of most illegal drugs is considered a felony, with the exception of smaller amounts of marijuana, which is often a misdemeanor criminal offense. Assuming Fortenberry was driving in her own car and not one provided by her employers, the prosecution will have to prove that she knew the drugs were in the car, which is not always as easy as it may seem. If convicted of drug possession, Fortenberry may be able to take advantage of Los Angeles Proposition 36, which allows first or second time non-violent drug offenders to complete a specified drug treatment program instead of serving time in a county jail.
Dealing with drug and weapons possession charges can be complex and stressful, given the potential consequences.

If you have been charged with either drug or weapons possession, call the attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP today to begin preparing your defense.

Tagged as: counterfeit goods pc 350, drug crimes defense




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