Sacto 9-1-1
November 8, 2013
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: What was outcome of investigation targeting Sacramento tax attorney?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: A couple of years ago, a Sacramento tax attorney named Roni Deutch was the target of an investigation by the California Department of Justice. She was accused of bilking clients out of millions and defying a court order by shredding documents that were ordered to be turned over to the court. What was the outcome?
Submitted by: Just Wondering, Sacramento

ANSWER: A civil lawsuit filed against former Sacramento tax attorney Roni Lynn Deutch in August 2010 by the California Attorney General's Office has not been resolved, according to Sacramento Superior Court online records.

The lawsuit alleges that Deutch swindled clients, charging individual clients up to $4,700 for tax help but delivering little or no results. As part of the lawsuit, she was ordered to pay $435,000 in refunds to dissatisfied clients, according to stories in The Bee.

While maintaining that she is innocent, Deutch closed her offices and surrendered her law license in May 2011, saying she was broke and unable to continue operate her business.

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November 8, 2013
Former Dixon High coach pleads no contest to sex with teen

Troy Anthony Hensley.PNGA former Dixon High School coach has pleaded no-contest to three felony counts involving his unlawful sexual relationship with a minor.

Troy Anthony Hensley (pictured), 38, pleaded to charges including unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. The charges represent his conduct during the length of the relationship, and conduct that occurred in Yolo and Solano counties, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's office news release. Based on the plea, all other counts against Hensley will be dismissed and he will be placed on a grant of felony probation.

Hensley began the relationship with the victim while she was still in high school, authorities said. She was an employee under Hensley's supervision at Bud's Pub and Grill in Dixon. She was 17 and Hensley was 37 when the relationship began, and it continued until after the victim was 18 years old.

November 8, 2013
Elk Grove man sentenced for debit card, student loan fraud

An Elk Grove man has been sentenced to 63 months in prison for schemes involving debit card and student loan fraud.

Mordechay Altit, 34, pleaded guilty in August to two counts of mail fraud and one count of money laundering, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. He was sentenced today in federal court Sacramento by U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell.

According to court documents, Altit applied for debit cards issued by banks or other providers using his name or the names and Social Security numbers of other people. He then used merchant and terminal identification numbers issued to merchants and businesses nationwide to cause fraudulent refunds and credits to be placed on the debit cards he controlled. Before the businesses could rescind these transactions, Altit used the cards to spend and transfer the money. Authorities said Altit attempted to have at least $450,000 in fraudulent merchant returns credited to his debit cards.

November 8, 2013
Cameron Park man pleads guilty to bank embezzlement

A Cameron Park man today pleaded guilty in federal court in Sacramento to one count of bank embezzlement.

Ethan George Banaszak, 35, embezzled thousands of dollars from his employer, a federally insured bank, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

Court documents show that Banaszak made more than $660,000 in unauthorized withdrawals from bank customers' accounts and took $16,000 in cash from the bank's vault.

November 7, 2013
Roseville financial adviser pleads guilty defrauding clients

A Roseville financial adviser has pleaded guilty to stealing clients' funds.

Michelle Lee Kern, 35, pleaded guilty to financial adviser fraud, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to court documents, between December 2009 and December 2012, Kern, a registered investment adviser, defrauded her clients by transferring money from client accounts into her own bank accounts or credit card accounts, or to accounts of her relatives.

November 7, 2013
Woman sentenced for role in Sacramento-area healthcare scam

A Glendale woman has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for her role in a Sacramento-area healthcare fraud.

Shushanik Martirosyan, 47, was sentenced today by Chief U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. for conspiring to commit healthcare fraud, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. She pleaded guilty on March 31, 2011, and testified in the May 2011 trial of three doctors involved in the scam. Judge England also ordered Martirosyan to pay $1,558,620 in restitution.

According to testimony presented at the trial of Martirosyan's codefendants, Doctors Ramanathan Prakash, Alexander Popov and Lana Le Chabrier, and Vardges Egiazarian owned and controlled three healthcare clinics in Sacramento, Richmond and Carmichael from February 2006 through August 2008. Egiazarian and others recruited doctors to submit applications to Medicare for billing numbers.

November 6, 2013
Man convicted of murder in 2012 shooting at Arden Way motel

A Sacramento County jury today convicted Michael Nunally of first-degree murder in the shooting of 29-year-old Kaster Tezino behind an Arden Way motel.

The shooting occurred Sept. 25, 2012, behind the Motel 6 at 2030 Arden Way. According to evidence presented at trial, Nunally believed Tezino had assaulted a prostitute who worked for him.

With the aid of the prostitute, Nunally lured Tezino to a room at the back of the motel by leading him to believe that he was going to meet the woman there for a date, according to a Sacramento County District Attoney's Office news release. Instead, Nunally and his accomplice waited for Tezino and shot him in the back.

November 6, 2013
Foothill Farms man convicted of murder in wife's death

A Foothill Farms man has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the 2011 death of his wife during an argument at their home in which his daughter also was shot.

In addition, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Patrick Marlette convicted 39-year-old John Murdock Pierce of personal use of a firearm as well as felony assault with a firearm and inflicting great bodily injury. Pierce also was found to be sane at the time of the crime, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release.

On Feb. 13, 2011, Pierce summoned his wife, 37-year-old Tiffany Marie O'Hanlon, along with their 11-year-old daughter and two young sons, to the living room of the home in the 5200 block of Valparaiso Circle, authorities said. Pierce and his wife began to argue, and he attempted to tie her up. As she resisted, Pierce struck her in the head with a pistol and accused her of plotting to kill him.

November 6, 2013
Oroville man pleads guilty to trying to entice minor for sex

A 23-year-old Oroville man pleaded guilty today in federal court in Sacramento to enticement of a minor.

According to court documents, Michael Adam Cruz posted an advertisement on Craigslist in May 2012 seeking a young-looking female. After communicating with an undercover detective that he believed to be a minor female, Cruz agreed to meet June 12, 2012, in Oroville to have sex with her.

Cruz was arrested following his arrival at the designated meeting spot and has been detained in Sacramento County Jail since then, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

November 5, 2013
Former owner of Lincoln firm convicted of fraudulent aircraft repairs

A federal jury has found a Granite Bay man guilty of a conspiracy to commit fraud in a case involving aircraft parts repairs.

The conviction Monday of William Hugh Weygandt, 64, followed a three-week trial before U.S. District Court Judge John A. Mendez in Sacramento, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to evidence presented during the trial, Weygandt is the former owner and president of WECO Aerospace Systems Inc., a Federal Aviation Administration-certified air repair station with facilities in Lincoln and Burbank. WECO was founded by Weygandt's father in 1974 in Burbank. Weygandt eventually became president and sole owner of the firm.

November 1, 2013
El Dorado County jury convicts man in 1980s slayings of three teens

A man who previously served prison time for a murder in Washington state has been convicted by an El Dorado County jury of the 1980s slayings of three teenage girls, including 15-year-old Kathy Graves of South Lake Tahoe.

Joseph Michael Nissensohn was found guilty Thursday of three first-degree murders in the 1989 death of Graves, and the 1981 slayings of Tammy Jarschke, 13, and Tanya Jones, 14, in Monterey County, according to an El Dorado County District Attorney's Office news release. The jury also found true additional special circumstances allegations, including the 1989 Washington murder of Sally Jo Tsaggaris, 46.

The guilt phase of the trial began May 14 with jury selection. Nissensohn faces the death penalty, with the penalty phase of the trial to begin Nov. 12 in South Lake Tahoe, authorities said.

November 1, 2013
Sacramento man sentenced for making fake documents

A Mexican national living in Sacramento is headed to prison for operating a fake-document mill.

Silverio Raymundo Izehuatl-Sarmiento, 37, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. to 15 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for producing false identification documents and possessing document-making equipment, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. Burrell also ordered Izehuatl-Sarmiento to forfeit more than 30 pieces of equipment that were used to produce the false documents.

According to court documents, Izehuatl-Sarmiento was making and selling false documents that were often sold as sets consisting of one forged Social Security card and one forged alien registration card. Between January and May of this year, federal agents conducted undercover purchases of these sets of documents from Izehuatl-Sarmiento.

November 1, 2013
Two juries report guilty verdicts in fatal shooting of Wilton man

Two men have been convicted of the 2012 shooting death of a Wilton man in a case involving marijuana theft.

Kailan James, 23, and Daniel Valine, 45, were convicted by separate juries in the death of 60-year-old Kelly McClurg. James today was found guilty of first-degree murder with a felony murder special circumstance and first-degree robbery, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's office news release. Valine was convicted Wednesday of second-degree murder with arming enhancements.

McClurg, a mechanic and electrician, was shot and killed Oct. 26, 2012, at his Dillard Road home in rural Wilton, where he lived as a caretaker. Family members said he had a medical marijuana certificate due to a muscular medical issue in his arms.

October 31, 2013
Six area residents indicted in federal drug trafficking case

A federal grand jury in Sacramento today returned an indictment charging six residents of Sutter, Yuba and Sacramento counties with trafficking methamphetamine.

Charged in the multicount indictment are Hector Castaneda, 37, and Jose Amador, 26, of Yuba City; Javier Castro, 26, Refugio Montoya, 41, and Hemant Solanki, 46, of Sacramento; and Stacy Miller, 46, of Marysville, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to court documents, between October 2012 and Oct. 17, 2013, Drug Enforcement Administration and Yuba Sutter Narcotics Enforcement Task Force officers investigated alleged large-scale methamphetamine trafficking by Hector Castaneda in the Yuba City area. The Drug Enforcement Administration obtained multiple court-authorized wiretaps and learned that Castaneda's organization included suppliers in the Sacramento area, as well as a network of distributors in Yuba City and the Sacramento area.

October 30, 2013
Man admits stealing dead child's identity to seek U.S. passport

A Mexican national previously deported from the United States pleaded guilty today in federal court in Sacramento to one count of aggravated identity theft after stealing the identity of a deceased child to fraudulently seek a U.S. passport.

Rafael Ortega Zarate, 69, was living in Sacramento and committed the crime while making a false statement in his passport application, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to court documents, Zarate was illegally living in the United States and was previously deported in 1962 and 1963. In October 2012, he presented an application for a U.S. passport to a passport acceptance officer in Sacramento, falsely representing, among other things, that his name was "Ernesto Zarate Ortega" and that he was a United States citizen by birth.

October 15, 2013
Man pleads no contest to burglary, sexual battery

A man accused of sexually assaulting one woman and attempting to assault another after forcing his way into their apartments has pleaded no contest to charges.

William Russell, 22, today entered the no contest plea to two counts of first-degree burglary, one count of sexual battery and one count of attempted sexual battery, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release. The burglary offenses are strikes under California law, officials said.

Russell, who did not know the victims, complimented both on their toes and feet and asked if he could touch them. Both women declined and tried to ignore him. Russell, however, followed them to their apartments and forced his way inside. He sexually assaulted one of the women and tried to sexually assault the other, but she was able to push him out of her apartment, officials said.

Under the plea agreement, Russell will be sentenced to a stipulated six years and 10 months in prison, according to the District Attorney's Office. Once he is released on parole, he will be required to register as a convicted sex offender. His sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 12. in Sacramento Superior Court.

October 8, 2013
Ex-Sacramento police officer faces trial in alleged sexual attacks

By Andy Furillo
afurillo@sacbee.com

A former Sacramento police officer was ordered today to stand trial for rape and other charges in three alleged sexual attacks on a stroke-impaired woman in her 70s.

Gary Dale Baker will be arraigned Oct. 17 as a result of the holding order issued by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Patrick Marlette following a preliminary hearing that took eight court days.

Baker, 50, who is free on $1 million bail, is charged on two counts of rape, two counts of forced oral sex, two counts of sexual battery and one count of attempted sexual assault during a first-degree burglary. He will also stand trial on other counts of sexual assault during the commission of a first-degree burglary. The burglary-related offenses could bring Baker a life term if he is convicted on them.

October 7, 2013
West Sacramento man convicted in wire theft that halted trains

A West Sacramento man has been convicted in a wire theft incident that halted train traffic between California and Nebraska.

A Yolo County jury last week found 31-year-old Jason Stark guilty of felony vandalism, felony petty theft with prior convictions and possession of narcotics paraphernalia, according to a District Attorney's Office news release.

Authorities said that on June 25, the Union Pacific Railroad controller in Omaha, Neb., received a signal alert to a problem on the tracks in West Sacramento. The controller immediately dispatched a signalman, who arrived at the location within 20 minutes. The signalman saw Stark shove railroad signal cables that he had cut up into his backpack, then ride off on his bicycle down Sacramento Avenue.

October 7, 2013
Man with 8 DUIs convicted in death of Tahoe pedestrian

A man with eight prior convictions for driving under the influence has been convicted of vehicular manslaughter involving gross negligence in the 2011 death of a pedestrian in South Lake Tahoe.

An El Dorado County jury last week found Larry Lee Halverson guilty of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit-and-run causing injury. The jury heard testimony that on Sept. 4, 2011, Halverson's driver's license was suspended for DUI and he was under the influence driving a Nissan Pathfinder on Ski Run Boulevard in South Lake Tahoe when he struck Patrick Purcell, 51, a pedestrian who was crossing the boulevard, according to an El Dorado County District Attorney's Office news release. Purcell, a South Lake Tahoe resident, was flown to Renown Hospital in Reno, where he died of his injuries 31 days later.

According to the District Attorney's Office, Halverson had convictions for driving under the influence starting in 1990 in Santa Clara County through 2008 in Nevada. He was indicted by an El Dorado County grand jury in April 2012 in Purcell's death.

Halverson faces sentencing under Courtney's Law, a 1996 amendment to the state law pertaining to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, according to the District Attorney's Office. This law provides for a 15-year-to-life sentence for habitual offenders with qualifying DUI convictions. Halverson, who is being held in El Dorado County Jail without bail, is scheduled for sentencing Nov. 1.

September 30, 2013
Sutter man convicted of exceeding limit of migratory ducks, geese

A Sutter resident has been found guilty in federal court in Sacramento of illegal possession of migratory game birds.

Jeffrey A. Catlett, 35, was found guilty on Monday following a one-day bench trial before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kendall J. Newman. He was convicted of one count of possession of migratory game birds belonging to another that were untagged, one count of exceeding the possession limit of ducks, one count of exceeding the possession limit of pintail ducks and one count of exceeding the limit of dark geese, Department of Justice news release states.

Evidence produced during the trial showed that on Jan. 16 game wardens began investigating a group of hunters who were reportedly shooting into a group of geese, killing and wounding a large number of them in a field off of South Butte House Road in Sutter County. Later that day, Catlett was found in possession of a large number of waterfowl, well beyond the possession limits, authorities said. Court documents show that Catlett claimed to have shot three geese himself but was found in possession of 175 ducks, 41 pintail ducks and 39 dark geese.

September 20, 2013
Yolo County jury convicts man in crash that killed wife, son

A Yolo County jury has convicted a Redwood City man of two counts of second-degree murder in the September 2012 crash that killed his wife and son.

The jury on Thursday also found Reyes Barajas, 47, guilty of two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release.

On Sept. 3, 2012, Barajas was driving with his wife, Ann Marie, 39, and his son, Marco, 14, from Clearlake Oaks to Redwood City. Witnesses testified during the trial that Barajas was driving in excess of 75 mph on Highway 16 when he lost control of his car. An accident-reconstructionist with the California Highway Patrol's Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team testified that Barajas allowed his truck to drift off the right side of the road, and when he attempted to turn left, it caused the vehicle to roll, then fall down an embankment before coming to rest 20 feet below. Barajas' wife and son died as a result of the crash.

September 19, 2013
Auburn man pleads guilty to workers' compensation fraud

A 78-year-old Auburn man pleaded guilty today in federal court in Sacramento to making false statements to obtain federal workers' compensation benefits.

According to the plea agreement, Bruce Lee Cearlock has been receiving workers' compensation benefits under the Federal Employees' Compensation Act for an injury that he suffered as a civilian employee for the U.S. Navy on Aug. 26, 1987. When filing the periodic reports required by the Office of Workers' Compensation Program to justify continued payments, between 2006 and 2008, Cearlock stated under penalty of perjury that he was neither self-employed nor involved in "any business enterprise," according to a Department of Justice news release.

Court documents, however, state that from at least 1999 until 2011, Cearlock was involved in operating Fuse, a bar in San Francisco. Cearlock hired and fired employees, made decisions on capital expenditures and dealt with private citizens and public officials as the owner of Fuse.

September 18, 2013
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: What happened to former sheriff's deputies accused of illegally selling firearms?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: What happened to former Sacramento County Sheriff's deputies Thomas Lu and Ryan McGowan, who were charged with illegally selling firearms?
Submitted by: NJepsen, Sacramento

ANSWER: Sheriff's deputies Thomas Lu and Ryan McGowan were among four people indicted by a federal grand jury in May 2012 in a case involving what officials said was the illegal purchase and sale of dozens of high-powered pistols.

September 17, 2013
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: Has Roseville man been sentenced after pleading guilty to possessing child porn?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: Back in March, a story was posted on SacBee regarding Daniel McGrath, who pleaded guilty to child porn charges. His sentencing was supposed to occur by now. Is there any update to the story?
Submitted by: dnagrl, Sacramento

ANSWER: Daniel Harrison McGrath of Roseville pleaded guilty in federal court in Saramaento in March to posessing child pornography.

September 12, 2013
Four Sacramentans indicted in federal sex-trafficking cases

A federal grand jury today returned indictments in two cases, charging four Sacramento residents with sex trafficking.

In the first case, Percy Love III, 31, is charged with knowingly harboring, transporting, providing and maintaining a person, knowing means such as force, threats of force, fraud and coercion would be used to cause the person to engage in a commercial sex act, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

The criminal complaint states that on July 22, Sacramento police officers responded to a report of domestic violence and found Love asleep in the front seat of a car with the victim, whose sister had called in the report, sitting in the back seat. She claimed that Love had beaten her many times, and authorities said she had bruises and cigarette burns on her hand, arm and stomach. Love was arrested that night on suspicion of domestic violence and possession of Ecstasy.

September 10, 2013
Man convicted of 1990s sex assaults to be committed to state hospital

A Sacramento County jury today determined that a man convicted of sexually assaulting two Sacramento-area women in the 1990s is a sexually violent predator and should not be released into the community.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Gerrit Wood subsequently ordered Laurence Harris committed to the custody of the California Department of State Hospitals for an indeterminate period of time in confinement and treatment, according to a District Attorney's Office news release.

In 1972 in Los Angeles County, Harris sexually assaulted and viciously attacked a woman in her apartment with an ice pick. As a result, he was convicted of residential burglary and personally inflicting great bodily injury. He served five years in a state hospital and was released in 1978.

September 4, 2013
Federal jury convicts man in Nevada County crime spree

A resident of Rough and Ready has been found guilty of a 2011 crime spree in Nevada County that involved mail and identity theft.

A federal jury in Sacramento on Tuesday convicted Jasen Lynn Dushane, 38, of one count of possession of stolen United States mail, one count of possession of unauthorized access devices with intent to defraud, and aggravated identity theft, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. The guilty verdicts were returned after a five-day trial before U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley.

According to information presented at trial, about 2:25 a.m. June 5, 2011, a Nevada County sheriff's deputy observed a silver Lexus sedan southwest of Nevada City. He checked the license plate number of the vehicle and confirmed that it had been reported stolen.

September 3, 2013
Former Citrus Heights man draws 300-year prison term for child molestation

A man found guilty of molesting boys after luring them to his Citrus Heights home with video games has been sentenced to 300 years to life in prison.

Ryan Matthew Haley, 32, was convicted by a jury in July of 20 counts of lewd and lascivious acts against a minor younger than 14. Haley also pleaded no contest to possessing child pornography and was sentenced to an additional consecutive term of two years in prison, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release. He was sentenced Friday by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny.

Between 1999 and 2005, Haley molested several neighborhood boys after luring them to his home to play video games. Three of the victims, who were approximately 6 to 8 years old when the molestation began, were continuously victimized over a period of seven years, authorities said.

At the time of his arrest in June 2011, he was living in Rancho Cordova.

August 30, 2013
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: Has man who pleaded guilty in Ponzi scheme been sentenced?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: Defendant Garry Bradford pleaded guilty to a Ponzi scheme charge. Sentencing was scheduled to take place in April 2013. It was postponed. What is the status of this case?
Submitted by: George, Truckee

ANSWER: More than two years after pleading guilty in U.S. District Court in Sacramento to four counts of federal wire fraud, Garry Bradford has yet to be sentenced.

August 29, 2013
Antelope man pleads to sexually assaulting children in 2009

An Antelope man arrested in August 2009 in connection with a series of sexual assaults on minors in Sacramento and Placer counties has pleaded to sex assault charges in Sacramento Superior Court.

Anthony Eugene Martin, 43, pleaded today to charges including lewd and lascivious acts by force, sex acts involving a child younger than 10 years old and false imprisonment, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release.

In July 2009, Martin sexually assaulted several children and a woman, none of whom were acquainted with him. Authorities said he grabbed the victims from behind.

August 29, 2013
Former El Dorado Hills man sentenced in investment fraud case

A former El Dorado Hills resident was sentenced today in federal court in Sacramento to four years and nine months in prison for his role a multimillion investment fraud scheme.

Daniel Chartraw, 40, was also ordered by U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. to pay $2.8 million in restitution.

Chartraw pleaded guilty to wire fraud in January.

August 28, 2013
Man sentenced to life in prison for murdering former boss

Dupree Pierre Barber, the laid-off Cordova Recreation and Parks District maintenance employee convicted of murdering his former boss, was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday afternoon.

Barber, 49, gunned down Steve Ebert, 59, around 6 a.m. on Jan. 23, 2012 at Hagan Community Park. Barber had been laid off 12 days before the killing at an emotional meeting where witnesses said he engaged in an angry exchange with Ebert.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Patrick Marlette read the sentence to an emotionless Barber.

"You are going to die in prison, Mr. Barber," the judge said. "At the very least, any further pain you inflict will not be in free society."

Barber looked up at the judge, blinked slowly, but did not say a word. He declined to make a statement during the proceeding.

Carol Ebert, the victim's wife, spoke out for the first time in a prepared statement read by the family's advocate.

"His soul is evil. For the sake of society, Mr. Barber should never be free again," the statement said.

August 23, 2013
Man sentenced to prison for drug offenses, child endangerment

A man who pleaded no contest to drug, weapons and child endangerment charges was sentenced today to 19 years in state prison.

Corey Anderson, 32, pleaded to charges of transporting cocaine, cocaine sales, being a felon in possession of a firearm and child endangerment, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's office news release. He also admitted to a prior drug sales conviction, a prior strike and an out-on-bail enhancement. He was sentenced by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Kevin McCormick.

On Aug. 24, 2012, Corey Anderson and his brother, Cushi Anderson, were pulled over in a vehicle stop. A search of the car revealed more than 27 grams of cocaine, 2 pounds of marijuana, $2,000 in cash and narcotics sales paraphernalia, officials said.

August 22, 2013
Redding woman accused of falsifying drivers' drug test results

A federal grand jury in Sacramento has returned a 25-count indictment, accusing a Redding woman of falsifying commercial drivers' drug test results.

Demetri Dearth, 56, is charged with mail fraud and false statements to a government agency, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to the indictment, Dearth was the owner and operator of Advanced Substance Abuse Programs based in Redding. Dearth purported to assist employers of commercial drivers in complying with federal Department of Transportation regulations requiring pre-employment and random drug test of commercial drivers.

August 21, 2013
Rancho Cordova man indicted for bank fraud

A Rancho Cordova man has been indicted by a federal grand jury for his alleged role in a scheme to obtain $141,000 worth of gold coins.

Garik Voskanyan, 30, of Rancho Cordova and Karapet Damaryan, 63, of Glendale, are charged with bank fraud and identity theft, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

A federal grand jury returned the two-count indictment Aug. 15. The indictment alleges that Damaryan and Voskanyan were part of a scheme to take control of another person's bank account and wire money to a gold bullion dealer in Placerville in exchange for 96 gold coins worth approximately $141,000. According to court documents, the defendants were caught by Placer County sheriff's deputies when they arrived to take possession of the gold coins.

August 20, 2013
Placerville couple accused of filing false liens against IRS employees

A Placerville couple has been indicted in a tax fraud case that resulted in charges earlier this year against the owner and employees of a Placerville tax preparation business.

Charles and Victoria Tingler were arrested today on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud the United States and filing multimillion-dollar liens against government officials.

The superseding indictment, unsealed today in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, adds the Tinglers and also adds charges for Teresa Marie Marty. Marty, who owned and operated a tax preparation business called Advanced Financial Services, is also charged with filing liens against the property of three IRS employees and filing liens of at least $84 million against the property of two U.S. Justice Department attorneys.

August 15, 2013
Elk Grove woman headed to prison for mortgage fraud scheme

Hoda Samuel, an Elk Grove real estate broker, was sentenced today to 10 years in prison for her role in a mortgage fraud scheme that caused more than $5.5 million in loss.

Samuel, 62, owned and operated the real estate agency Liberty Real Estate & Investment Co. and Liberty Mortgage Co., according to evidence presented during her trial in U.S. District Court in Sacramento. The government presented evidence of 30 fraudulent sales transactions between April 5, 2006, and Feb. 26, 2007. She was the real estate agent for the buyer in 29 of the home sales, and in at least 15, she also represented the seller.

Each transaction involved false statements on loan applications in order for unqualified buyers to qualify for the loans, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. These included false statements about income, employment and rental history.

August 14, 2013
Two accused of sweepstakes scams targeting seniors

Two Washington state residents were indicted today by a federal grand jury in Sacramento for running a sweepstakes scam targeting senior citizens in Woodland, Stockton, Bakersfield and other communities.

Joseph Nkunzi, 30, and Safia Ahmed, 37, were arrested in Washington on July 30. A magistrate judge detained them as flight risks and ordered them transported to Sacramento, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. They were charged today with eight counts of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, mail fraud and aggravated identity theft.The indictment also alleges that the scheme involved telemarketing conduct that victimized individuals older than 55, which carries enhanced penalties, officials said.

According to court documents, on April 26, the Sacramento FBI received a referral from the Woodland Police Department regarding a 78-year-old victim of a telemarketing lottery scam. She had been called by a company, "North American Prize Pool," and told that she had won $8.8 million, but to receive the prize, she had to send $182,000 to various accounts. An investigation into those accounts led to Nkunzi,Ahmed and others involved in the scheme.

August 14, 2013
Yolo bus driver convicted of sex crimes against mentally disabled client

A bus driver for Yolo Employment Services has been convicted of sex crimes against a mentally disabled woman.

A Yolo County jury on Aug. 8 convicted 74-year-old Thomas Vukodinovich of numerous sex crimes, including one count of rape and one count of attempted rape. The adult victim was legally unable to give consent to the sexual acts due to her mental disability, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release.

Vukodinovich had been employed by Yolo Employment Services as a bus driver since 2005. His primary responsibility was to provide transportation to mentally disabled clients, including the victim, who is moderately mentally disabled, officials said.

August 12, 2013
Man convicted of murder in shooting outside Gold River business

A Sacramento County jury today convicted Anthony Michael Vigil of first-degree murder in 2011 shooting of a man outside his Gold River business.

The jury also found the allegation was true that Vigil used a firearm in killing Michael Paul Gonzales Jr., according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release.

Vigil, 48, was arrested following the shooting, which occurred shortly after 10 p.m. Oct. 6, 2011.

August 9, 2013
Former fugitive sentenced in 12-year-old sex crime case

A man was sentenced today in El Dorado County Superior Court to 138 years to life in prison for acts of sexual misconduct committed more than a decade ago.

An El Dorado County jury in July convicted Patrick Senatore, 45, of 10 felony counts of sexual misconduct.

In October 2001, two children reported incidents of sexual misconduct and forcible rape to the El Dorado County Sheriff's Department. In May 2002, while the investigation was under way, Senatore fled the state, according to a District Attorney's Office news release. In March 2010, the District Attorney's Office initiated a fugitive apprehension investigation.

August 9, 2013
Cameron Park man indicted for possessing machine gun, meth lab equipment

A Cameron Park man was indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury in Sacramento for possessing a machine gun, and the equipment and chemicals needed to operate a meth lab.

Joshua Bonn McGee, 31, was also charged with possession of methamphetamine with the intent to distribute it, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to court documents, El Dorado County sheriff's deputies went to McGee's residence May 12 in the 3400 block of Santos Circle to investigate reports that he had made threats against his estranged wife. As deputies approached the house, they noticed a machine gun in the bed of a pickup truck.

August 8, 2013
Three convicted of kidnapping, assaulting teenager

Three people have been found guilty of kidnapping a teenage girl with the intent of forcing her into prostitution.

A Sacramento County jury found David Mosqueda Savala, 25, and Pebbles Laura Savala, 23, guilty of aggravated kidnapping for the purpose of financial gain and felony assault. They also convicted Omar Mosqueda, 19, of kidnapping and felony assault, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release.

On July 4, 2012, the three reportedly lured a 14-year-old girl to Pebbles Savala's home for a party. Once there, the three defendants and others at the house beat the girl, then threw her out of the house.

August 7, 2013
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: Any update on convicted sex offender accused of receiving child porn?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: I'm wondering if there is any follow-up information on the outcome of the trial for the case of Travis Marshall Grey, who was charged with receiving child pornography?
Submitted by: missjenny, Sacramento

ANSWER: Travis Marshall Grey, 29, is in Sacramento County Jail awaiting trial in federal court.

August 2, 2013
Man convicted of 2007 bank robbery sentenced to prison

A man arrested for armed robbery of a North Sacramento bank in January 2007 was sentenced today to 20 years plus 50 years to life in prison.

A Sacramento County jury in May convicted Elvertis June Johnson, 51, of two counts of armed robbery and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He was also found sane during the sanity phase of the trial, and two prior strikes were found true, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release.

Johnson and James Henry Flourney were arrested Jan.13, 2007, after leading law enforcement officers on a high-speed chase through two counties. The incident began about 10 a.m. when a man walked into a Bank of America in the 2800 block of Del Paso Road with a sawed-off shotgun, according to stories in The Bee. The man pointed the gun at a teller, who turned over a sum of money. The man hastily stashed the some of the cash in his pockets before leaving.

August 1, 2013
Sacramento brothers sentenced for bank fraud, ID theft

Two Sacramento brothers were sentenced today to four years in prison for stealing the identity of U.S. Postal Service and department store customers to commit bank fraud.

Glen Patrick Shoults, 27, and Jackie Lester Shoults III, 31, were assisted by co-defendant Kathleen S. Wade, who worked at a department store between February and mid-December 2012, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. The Shoults brothers, at times using Wade's sales clerk position, made fraudulent transactions on bank and credit card accounts of numerous victims.

The brothers obtained stolen mail largely from Sacramento and Elk Grove postal customers to further their scheme, which involved using victims' identities and credit card accounts to purchase and later return high-value items for cash, credit and exchange.

July 29, 2013
Two men plead guilty to Sacramento armored car robbery

Two men accused of attempting to rob an armored car outside a Florin Road Walmart store pleaded guilty today in federal court in Sacramento.

Raymell Lamar Eason, 43, and Keith Lamont Smith, 36, both of Sacramento, pleaded guilty to conspiring to rob an armored car and attempted robbery of an armored car, according to a Department of Justice news release.

According to court documents, on April 17, 2012, Eason and Smith planned to rob an armored car in the Walmart parking lot on Florin Road. They had scouted the location on previous occasions and planned to use a Taser gun on a Garda Logistics Services armored car guard.

July 24, 2013
Windshield repair technician sentenced for insurance fraud

A 22-year-old man was sentenced today to two years in state prison after pleading no contest last month to felony insurance fraud in his role as a windshield repair technician.

An investigation by the California Department of Insurance's Urban Auto Task Force determined that Jacob Dufur and an accomplice were employed by a franchise that specialized in repairing small windshield cracks. Between May 7, 2011, and March 19, 2012, Dufur and an accomplice submitted 121 fraudulent work orders to the parent company, Chipio Inc., for payment on windshield repairs that neither of them had made, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release.

After paying Dufur and his accomplice for the alleged cost of the windshield repairs, the parent company submitted the work orders to the customer's automobile insurance company for payment. The franchise, the parent company and the insurance companies ended up paying $7,373 on the fraudulent work orders.

Authorities said an arrest warrant for insurance fraud has been issued for Dufur's accomplice.

July 24, 2013
Former Citrus Heights man convicted of molesting children

A man accused of molesting boys after luring them to his Citrus Heights home with video games was convicted today by a Sacramento County jury.

Ryan Matthew Haley, 32, was found guilty of 19 counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14 as well as one count of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14 with force. On July 15, Haley pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography in the case, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release.

Between 1999 and 2005, Haley molested several neighborhood boys after luring them to his Citrus Heights home. Three of the victims, who were approximately 6 to 8 years old when the molestation began, were continuously victimized over a period of seven years, authorities said.

July 23, 2013
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: What happened to law students accused of beheading exotic bird in Las Vegas?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: Several months ago, The Bee printed a story about three Berkeley law students who reportedly chased a pet parrot down an alley and beheaded it. Whatever happened as a result of the court case?
Submitted by: Helen Dadmehr, Sacramento

ANSWER: Justin Teixeira, a law student at the University of California, Berkeley, and a Placerville resident, was accused of killing and torturing an exotic bird at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas on Oct. 12, 2012.

July 23, 2013
Man sentenced to prison in shooting death outside bar

A man has been sentenced to 50 years to life in prison for a fatal shooting outside a bar on Fruitridge Road in 2011.

A Sacramento County jury last month convicted Oscar Gaspar, 23, of first-degree murder in the death of 26-year-old Jesus Garcia. He was sentenced Monday by Superior Court Judge Ernest Sawtelle.

On Sept. 4, 2011, while at the Idle Hour bar, Gaspar's girlfriend falsely accused Garcia of being one of a group of men who raped her almost two years earlier, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release. Gaspar left, contacted a friend who gave him a gun, then returned to the bar.

Later, as the bar was about to close, Gaspar went outside and hid behind a car until Garcia walked out of the bar. He waited until Garcia walked past him, then stepped out and fired six shots, hitting Garcia five times in the back.

July 23, 2013
Man convicted of sexually assaulting disabled teenager

A Sacramento County jury has convicted a 28-year-old man of sexually assaulting a teenage girl who has severe mental and physical handicaps.

Carlos Mesinas on Monday was found guilty of forcible sexual intercourse, rape of a disabled female and commission of a lewd and lascivious act upon a 14-year-old child, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release. The jury also found true the allegation that the victim was 14 years old at the time of the sexual assault.

On June 14, 2012, Mesinas forcibly raped the girl. The victim has cerebral palsy, has severe mental and physical handicaps, and does not move or speak, officials said. Mesinas made a video recording of a portion of the rape using the camera on his cell phone.

July 19, 2013
Woodland man convicted of 2012 robbery, assault

A man accused of robbing a Woodland store and a Sacramento bank has been convicted by a Yolo County jury.

Jurors today found 34-year-old Joey Alfredo Lopez guilty of robbery while personally using a firearm, assault with a firearm, being a felon in possession of a firearm and burglary, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release.

On June 20, 2012, the owner of the Cigarette Stop in Woodland was talking with an acquaintance inside the store when Lopez, entered, pointed a shotgun at the victims, racked the shotgun and demanded money, officials said. After ordering one of the victims to the ground, Lopez forced the store owner to hand over the contents of the cash register. Before leaving the store, Lopez also grabbed several shirts from a display on the wall.

July 17, 2013
Gold River businessman convicted of fraud, money laundering

A Gold River businessman and a Southern California attorney have been convicted for their roles in a multimillion-dollar bankruptcy fraud and money laundering scheme.

Steven Zinnel, 49, of Gold River was convicted of 15 counts of bankruptcy fraud and money laundering, and attorney Derian Eidson, 49, of Yorba Linda was convicted of one count of conspiring and one count of attempting to commit money laundering, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. A federal jury in Sacramento returned the verdicts after an 11-day trial before U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley.

Nunley ordered Zinnel immediately remanded to custody. Zinnel and Eidson are to be sentenced Oct. 3.

July 12, 2013
Man sentenced to prison for 2011 murder attempt

A 23-year-old man has drawn a lengthy prison sentence as a result of a 2011 shooting in the Foothill Farms area.

A Sacramento County jury in May convicted Jacory Brown for the premeditated attempted murder of Nehemiah Johashen and Garvin Johashen as well as discharging a firearm at an occupied motor vehicle. He was sentenced today by Superior Court Judge Sharon Lueras to seven years plus 89 years to life in prison, according to a District Attorney's Office news release.

In November 2011, the Johashens and two other people went to the Carl's Jr. restaurant at Elkhorn and Andrea boulevards. There they encountered Brown, who was in a vehicle with two other people. As the Johashens' car left the parking lot and was getting on the freeway, the car Brown was riding in pursued them.

Once on the freeway, Brown's car pulled to the side the victims' car. Officials said Brown opened fire with a handgun, striking the victims and causing serious injury.

July 11, 2013
Man pleads guilty in mother's 2011 stabbing death

Angelo Wright.jpgA 22-year-old man pleaded guilty today to second-degree murder in the 2011 stabbing death of his mother, Lisa Marie Barber, in her Foothill Farms apartment.

Angelo Dunya Wright (pictured) also admitted to the allegation of personal use of a knife, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release.

The plea comes after a mistrial was declared last month, when a Sacramento Superior Court jury voted 11-1 for conviction. The District Attorney's Office had announced that it planned to retry the case.

July 8, 2013
Woman pleads guilty to role in foreclosure rescue scheme

A Los Angeles woman pleaded guilty today in federal court in Sacramento to bankruptcy fraud in connection with a foreclosure rescue scheme that she ran.

Jewel Hinkles, also known as Cydney Sanchez, 63, was the founder and general manager of Horizon Property Holdings LLC in Beverly Hills. She was indicted by a federal grand jury on Dec. 1, 2011, along with Jesse Wheeler, 36, of Roseville, Cynthia Corn, 60, of Oakland and Brent Medearis, 46, of Modesto.

According to court documents, Hinkles was the founder and general manager of Horizon Property Holdings LLC in Beverly Hills. From 2008 through 2010, she offered a service called the "Save My Home" or "Homesaver" that promised to rescue financially distressed homeowners from foreclosure and reduce the principal on homeowner' mortgages. Horizon offered its program directly to clients and also through several layers of "affiliates", who promoted and sold the program to clients, mostly in Northern California.

July 5, 2013
Convicted bank robber sentenced under 'three strikes' law

A 62-year-old man convicted of bank robbery was sentenced today in Sacramento to 30 years plus 75 years to life in prison under California's "three strikes" law.

A Sacramento County jury convicted Ralph Edward Stewart of three bank robberies at U.S. Bank locations in Citrus Heights and Rancho Cordova during June and July of 2011. The jury also found true that Stewart had a previous robbery conviction and four previous bank robbery convictions, all occurring in the Bay Area between 1993 and 2003, according to a District Attorney's Office news release.

In each instance, officials said, Stewart entered the bank, waited in line, demanded money from the tellers and left on foot. He was recognized and apprehended by law enforcement officers, who contacted him regarding an unrelated matter weeks later.

July 3, 2013
Man who robbed Roseville bank headed to prison

An Arizona man who admitted to robbing a Roseville bank in April 2012 has been sentenced to 51 months in prison for a string of bank robberies in Contra Costa and Alameda counties.

Raymond David Lopez, 30, of Tucson, pleaded guilty in April to six counts of bank robbery, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. He was sentenced today in federal court in Oakland by U.S. District Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton, who also ordered him to pay a total of $28,037 in restitution to the victim banks. He will be subject to three years of supervised release following his time in prison.

According to the plea agreement, Lopez admitted robbing six banks -- in Pleasanton, Pleasant Hill, Lafayette, Dublin and two in Alameda -- in May and June of 2012.

He also admitted to robbing three other banks -- including a River City Bank branch in Roseville on April 26, 2012 -- in a similar manner.

June 28, 2013
Man involved in 2011 chase sentenced for drug trafficking

A Fairfield man was sentenced today in federal court in Sacramento to 19 years and seven months in prison for drug trafficking and firearms offenses.

After a court trial, Jaymar Dwaune Jamerson was found guilty in June 2012 of possession with intent to distribute crack cocaine, possession with intent to distribute cocaine powder and being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr.

According to evidence presented at trial, Jamerson led police officers on a high-speed chase through Solano County on Feb. 1, 2011, during which he dumped four baseball-size amounts of crack cocaine out of his car. During the chase, Jamerson used his cell phone to call his criminal associates to stage a burglary of his apartment to remove drug evidence, officials said. Following the car chase, officers walked the pursuit route and recovered fragments of crack cocaine thrown from Jamerson's car.

June 26, 2013
Windshield repairman pleads guilty to insurance fraud

A man who was employed as a windshield repair technician has pleaded guilty to a felony charge of insurance fraud.

An investigation by the California Department of Insurance's Urban Auto Task Force determined that Jacob Dufur, 22, and an accomplice were employed as windshield repair technicians for a franchise that specialized in repairing small windshield cracks. Between May 7, 2011, and March 19, 2012, Dufur and an accomplice submitted 121 fraudulent work orders to the parent company, Chipio Inc., for payment of windshield repairs that neither of them had performed, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release.

After paying Dufur and his accomplice for the alleged cost of the windshield repairs, the parent company submitted the work orders to the customer's automobile insurance company for payment. The franchise, the parent company and the insurance companies ended up paying $7,373 on the fraudulent work orders, officials said.

June 25, 2013
Carmichael man sentenced to prison for distributing child porn

A Carmichael man was sentenced today to 11 years and three months in prison for distributing child pornography.

Ray Laurence Howes, 34, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge John A. Mendez and will be subject to 20 years of supervised release following his time in prison, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. He also will be required to register as a sex offender under the Sex offender Registration and Notification Act.

According to court documents, in September 2012, the Sacramento Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force received a tip that Howes had uploaded child pornography to his cloud storage service. A search warrant was obtained, and multiple images of child pornography were found.

June 24, 2013
Roseville, Modesto men plead guilty to foreclosure rescue scheme

Two men have pleaded guilty to bankruptcy fraud in connection with a foreclosure rescue scheme.

Jesse Wheeler, 36, of Roseville and Brent Medearis, 46, of Modesto entered guilty pleas today in U.S. District Court in Sacramento, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

On Dec. 1, 2011, a federal grand jury indicted Wheeler and Medearis along with Jewel L. Hinkles, also known as Cydney Sanchez, 63, of Los Angeles, and Cynthia Corn, 60, of Oakland, for a scheme allegedly run by Hinkles. According to court documents, Wheeler operated JW Financial Solutions in Roseville, and Medearis worked out of a Modesto office, both as affiliates of programs that Hinkles created.

June 18, 2013
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: What happened to man arrested in 2011 Rancho Cordova home invasion?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: Whatever happened to the suspects involved in the alleged home invasion on Palm Grove Drive in Rancho Cordova on June 16, 2011?
Submitted by: Rick, Folsom

ANSWER: A Sacramento County jury in January convicted 22-year-old parolee Lawrence Lamar Jackio of multiple charges, including attempted murder, attempted robbery and use of a gun in the June 16, 2011, home invasion robbery that turned into a gun battle.

June 18, 2013
Gang member convicted in fatal West Sacramento stabbing

A member of the Broderick Boys/Northern Ryders gangs has been convicted in the 2011 stabbing death of 29-year-old Bobby Jamar Brittenum of Sacramento.

A Yolo County jury on Friday convicted Billy Thomas Wolfington Jr, 29, of second-degree murder, criminal street gang activity and personal use of a deadly weapon, according to a District Attorney's Office news release. The jury acquitted Shannon Lashaun Silva, 32, of Sacramento of related charges.

The fatal stabbing occurred at a party in a West Sacramento hotel room where Wolfington and Silva confronted Brittenum. Wolfington and Silva reportedly entered the room and told partygoers to leave. When those attending the party protested, an argument ensued.

June 18, 2013
Three men plead no contest to jewelry store robbery

Three men have pleaded to felony armed robbery charges in the 2012 robbery of a Franklin Boulevard jewelry store.

Pleading no contest to armed robbery are Juan Basped, 20, Mark Oats, 23 and Leonard Ramirez, 19, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release. Two other people, Damian Moye, 23, and Vanessa Ramirez, whose age was not available, entered no contest pleas to felony accessory to robbery.

On Aug. 8, 2012, Basped entered the jewelry store on Franklin Boulevard and held store employees at gunpoint while Oats and Ramirez broke the jewelry display cases and stole jewelry, officials said. All three hid their faces with masks or hoodies. After taking the jewelry, they left the store and fled in a vehicle.

June 17, 2013
Three-striker convicted of attempted murder, domestic violence

A three-strike offender has been convicted in a case involving domestic violence.

A Sacramento County jury on Friday convicted Richard Helton, 61, of attempted murder, domestic violence with great bodily injury, and criminal threats. Helton is a three-striker with prior convictions for burglary, sodomy and rape with a weapon, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release.

Authorities said Helton threatened to kill the victim before attacking her and choking her until she lost consciousness.

The next morning, the victim was able to call police and was treated at a hospital. Her injuries included a cut at the top of her head, burst blood vessels in the whites of her eyes, bruising around her eyes and lips, swelling and bruising on the side of her face, and burst blood vessels around her neck, authorities said.

Helton is to be sentenced July 15.

June 12, 2013
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: Has court date been set in suit against attorney who targets businesses for ADA violations?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: I am wondering when Scott Johnson, the attorney who sues small businesses for people with disabilities, will be going to court?
Submitted by: Marilyn, El Dorado Hills

ANSWER: Scott Johnson, a Carmichael attorney who is quadriplegic and sues small businesses for disability access violations, is the defendant in a civil suit brought by former employees who allege wrongful termination, sexual harassment and a hostile work environment.

June 12, 2013
Lawsuit against Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District settled after two days of trial

By Denny Walsh
dwalsh@sacbee.com

Just before the third day of trial was to commence Wednesday, opposing attorneys announced to a federal judge that they have settled a fire captain's civil rights lawsuit against the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District.

After the eight jurors listened on Monday and Tuesday to a total of approximately six hours of testimony by Capt. Mark Thomsen, and then, just before they went home Tuesday, heard a recording of a graphic interview of a woman at the center of a sex scandal in the district, the attorneys told U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller they have worked out a resolution.

Mueller ordered the attorneys to finalize the agreement within seven days and file final papers within 15 days.

June 6, 2013
Man convicted for 2011 Good Friday robbery at church

A man accused of two robberies in April 2011, including one on Good Friday at a downtown Sacramento church, has been convicted by a Sacramento County jury.

William Martin Castro, 30, was convicted of two counts of robbery and multiple firearm charges, and found to be sane, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release.

In the first incident, on April 21, 2011, Castro asked the victim if he could use his cell phone, then punched the victim in the face and left with the phone.

June 6, 2013
Five indicted for alleged roles in drug trafficking ring

A federal grand jury in Sacramento has returned an indictment charging four Sacramento residents and an Oakland resident in a drug trafficking operation.

Charged with trafficking heroin, methamphetamine, MDMA and Oxycodone are Israel "Puck" Washington, 39, Tyrone Westhersby, 44, Anthony Sanchez, 28, and Myron Meadows, 42, all of Sacramento, and Deyonte Spears, 25, of Oakland. The grand jury returned a second indictment against Washington charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to court documents, beginning in approximately 2010, the Drug Enforcement Administration learned that Washington was a large distributor of cocaine base, cocaine and heroin in the Sacramento area. Washington allegedly used various businesses as a front to conceal and disguise his drug trafficking and operated a large "crew" of gang members as his drug distribution operation. During the DEA investigation in 2010 and 2011, one of Washington's businesses, Wet Ways Auto Body and Paint Shop, was identified as the place where Washington and his associates allegedly conducted drug deals.

June 6, 2013
Man sentenced for Alkali Flat home invasion sexual assault

suggs.jpgA 29-year-old man has been sentenced to 145 years to life in prison for a home invasion sexual assault committed in January 2012 in Sacramento's Akali Flat neighborhood.

A jury on May 9 convicted Aaron Suggs (pictured) of multiple one-strike sex crimes, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release. He was sentenced today by Sacramento Superior Court Judge David W. Abbott.

The victim in the 2012 assault told police at the time that she had gotten out of the shower and found that the back door of her home was open. When she went to close the door, a man grabbed her, then sexually assaulted her and ransacked her home before leaving with several of her possessions.

Suggs was arrested later that day. Police said he had recently been released from prison of the Post Release Community Supervision Program and his supervision assigned to Sacramento County Probation because he was considered not to have committed a serious of violent offense. He never reported to the program, according to the District Attorney's Office.

May 31, 2013
Stockton man pleads guilty to operating marijuana businesses in Sacramento

A Stockton man pleaded guilty today to operating multiple marijuana businesses and cultivation sites, including four in Sacramento.

Matthew Davies, 35, entered the plea in federal court in Sacramento before U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. Davies pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to manufacture and distribute marijuana, two counts of manufacturing marijuana in connection with two separate indoor marijuana grow operations and seven counts of distribution of marijuana, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to the plea agreement filed today, Davies, along with co-defendant Lynn Farrell Smith, 62, of Stockton, owned and operated various marijuana businesses. One of the two marijuana manufacturing operations was a sophisticated indoor growing facility involving thousands of plants in a warehouse on Vickie Lane in Stockton. Stockton Police officers responded to a report of a burglary in progress at warehouse and found more than a dozen workers inside trimming plants. The discovery led to a federal investigation, and a search warrant was executed at the location.

May 31, 2013
Woman draws 192-year prison sentence for child molestation

A woman with a record of child molestation has been sentenced to 192 years in prison.

A Sacramento County jury last month convicted Rosemary Eusted, 40, of 17 counts of lewd and lascivious acts with force against a child under the age of 14. Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny today sentenced her to 72 years plus 120 years to life in prison.

Eusted began continuously molesting two girls in November 1997 at her Rio Linda home, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release. The victims were 6 and 7 years old at the time. They did not report the sexual abuse for several years out of fear of retaliation and further physical abuse, authorities said.

In May 2005, Eusted was convicted of two counts of child molestation in Placer County in a case involving different victims whose ages ranged from 5 to 10 years old. These victims testified in the Sacramento County case.

May 30, 2013
Sacramento man indicted for fraud, identity theft

A Sacramento man is accused of applying for a passport and Social Security benefits under an assumed identity and wrongfully collecting those benefits.

A federal grand jury in Sacramento today returned a five-count indictment charging Rafael Ortega Zarate, 69, with making false statements in an application for a United States passport, making false statements in an application for Social Security benefits, theft of government property and aggravated identity theft, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to the indictment, in October 2012, Zarate falsely applied for a U.S. passport under the assumed identity of Ernesto Ortega. He allegedly applied for Social Security benefits in August 2009, falsely representing that he was Ernesto Ortega and was a United States citizen by birth. The indictment also alleges that between December 2009 and May 2013, Zarate wrongfully collected $33,711 in Supplemental Security Income benefits.

The case resulted from an investigation by the U.S. Department of State's Diplomatic Security Service and the Social Security Administration's Office of the Inspector General.

May 30, 2013
Former Sacramento funeral director sentenced for embezzling

A former Sacramento funeral director has been sentenced in federal court in Sacramento to 15 months in prison for bank fraud related to embezzlement from his former employer.

According to court documents, Trent Mark Davis, 48, of New Iberia, La., was a licensed funeral director at Sacramento Memorial Lawn. He was responsible for meeting with the families of people who had died, arranging funeral services, preparing contracts and collecting payment for services.

Instead of giving the funds to Sacramento Memorial Lawn's general manager for deposit to the company's account, Davis deposited a number of customers' checks into his own account, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. He also embezzled cash payments customers gave him that were intended to pay Sacramento Memorial Lawn for funeral arrangements.

May 29, 2013
Rancho Cordova man sentenced to prison for child exploitation

A Rancho Cordova man was sentenced today to 12 years in prison for sexual exploitation of a minor.

Brandon Marks, 25, was sentenced in federal court in Sacramento by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller. He will be subject to 40 years of supervised release following his time in prison for enticement of a minor to engage in sexual activity, and for receiving and sharing child pornography, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. He also will be required to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

According to court documents, on May 29, 2012, an undercover detective responded to a Craigslist advertisement that Marks had posted in which he sought to acquire children's underwear. After a week of online and cell phone communications, during which Marks sent several images and one video of child pornography, Marks agreed to meet the undercover detective at a Sacramento hotel to have sex with what he thought to be a 12-year-old girl. He was arrested when he arrived at the hotel.

May 24, 2013
Suspect in Woodland kidnap attempt indicted in child porn case

A man arrested in the attempted kidnapping of a woman in Woodland last November was indicted this week for trading in child pornography.

A federal grand jury in Sacramento on Thursday returned a four-count indictment charging Kyle Michael Hall, 24, of Woodland with receipt and distribution of child pornography, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to the indictment, between May 10 and Oct. 30, 2012, Hall distributed and/or received child pornography through the Internet.

May 23, 2013
Man accused of defrauding Granite Bay woman faces new charges

A man previously accused of defrauding a Granite Bay woman of more than $7 million has been indicted in connection with a second scheme, this one involving a Pennsylvania financial manager.

A federal grand jury in Sacramento today returned a 20-count superseding indictment charging Troy Stratos, 47, formerly of Los Angeles, with three counts of mail fraud, 12 counts of wire fraud, four counts of money laundering and one count of obstruction of justice, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

In December 2011, Stratos was indicted for mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice in relation to a scheme to defraud a Granite Bay woman of more than $7 million. The superseding indictment includes all the charges in the original indictment and adds four counts of wire fraud and two counts of money laundering relating to a different scheme to defraud a financial manager of $11.25 million in client funds, officials said.

May 22, 2013
Man draws prison term for trying to board plane with loaded gun

A Montana man arrested last year at Sacramento International Airport when he attempted to board a plane with a concealed firearm has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Harold E. Waller, 46, of Circle, Mont., was sentenced today in federal court in Sacramento by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller. He will be subject to three years of supervised release when he completes his time in prison, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to court documents, in March 2012, Waller drove from Montana to Sacramento. On March 22, he purchased a one-way ticket to Alaska at the US Airways counter for the same day. Waller proceeded to the security checkpoint, placed three bags on the table near the X-ray belt and waited his turn to proceed through individual screening.

May 22, 2013
Gang member convicted in 2001 north side murder

A Sacramento Superior Court jury today convicted Antoine Blesset in the Feb. 10, 2011, shooting death of Christopher Sisoukchaleun at a liquor store on Del Paso Boulevard.

Jurors found that Blessett, 38, murdered the 20-year-old victim for the benefit of the defendant's street gang, the Meadowview Bloods.

Judge Michael W. Sweet scheduled Blessett's sentencing for June 13.

May 21, 2013
Garzon faces trial in alleged Davis hate attack

Clayton Garzon will face trial on assault and hate crime allegations connected to the March 10 beating of a gay Davis man, a Yolo Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday.

"We have evidence of a severe beating - not just a punch, but a significant beating," said Yolo Superior Court Judge David Rosenberg at Garzon's preliminary hearing.

Garzon faces three felony assault charges and hate crime enhancements in the attack outside the I Street home in Davis where Lawrence "Mikey" Partida had just celebrated his 33rd birthday.

Partida was severely beaten and hospitalized in the attack.

May 17, 2013
Couple charged in 2010 arson of Antelope home

A couple were arraigned Thursday in federal court in Sacramento on charges related to the arson of their former home in Antelope.

Alexander Sakhanskiy, 39, and Larisa Sakhanskiy, 43, of Sacramento pleaded not guilty and each was released on a $50,000 bond, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. A status conference is scheduled for June 6 before Chief U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr.

On May 2, a federal grand jury returned a five-count indictment charging the Sakhanskiys with arson to commit another felony, mail fraud, wire fraud and arson affecting interstate commerce. The indictment alleges that on May 22, 2010, a fire destroyed the couple's home, a single-family house at 5745 Hawkeye Lane in Antelope. The home was also being used as the business location of "Alex's Plumbing."

May 16, 2013
Two Sacramento men sentenced in drug trafficking case

Four men, including two from Sacramento, were sentenced today in federal court in Sacramento for trafficking in the drug Ecstasy.

They were charged with conspiring to distribute MDMA, also known as Ecstasy, and possession with the intent to distribute MDMA, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

Judge Morrison C. England Jr. sentenced Robert Ly, 29, of Sacramento to nine years in prison, and Darryl Smith, 31, also of Sacramento, to five years and 10 months in prison. David Chong, 38, of Alameda received a 10-year prison sentence, and Dassany "Daisy" Keohimanh, 30, of Stockton, was sentenced to eight years and one month.

May 14, 2013
Driver guilty of second-degree murder in crash near Woodland

A Yolo County jury has found a Sacramento man guilty of second-degree murder in the death of a passenger in the vehicle he was driving in January 2012.

The jury also convicted 23-year-old Ryan Scott Baird of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated with two prior convictions for driving under the influence, driving under the influence causing injury and driving with blood alcohol at or above .08 causing injury, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release. Killed in the crash was Robert Sunderland III.

In addition, the jury found Baird guilty of enhancements for causing great bodily injury to Oscar Saeed Rodriguez, causing great bodily injury with a coma to James Black and causing injury to multiple victims.

May 14, 2013
Citrus Heights couple sentenced for credit card fraud

A Citrus Heights couple has been sentenced to prison in a case of credit card fraud and mail theft involving more than 300 victims in Sacramento County.

Matthew Ray Ausborn, 33, and Christina Leanne Barrios, 29, were charged with ID theft, credit card fraud and three counts of possession of stolen U.S. mail, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. Ausborn was sentenced to three years and one month in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release, and Barrios was sentenced to two years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. A restitution hearing is scheduled for June 4 before U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez.

According to court documents, on July 2, 2011, Sacramento County sheriff's deputies found Ausborn and Barrios asleep inside an idling car on a residential street in Carmichael. The deputies arrested Barrios on an outstanding warrant, and Ausborn consented to a search of his vehicle. The search turned up a small amount of methamphetamine and approximately 400 pieces of stolen mail involving more than 250 Sacramento County victims. Also found were multiple identification documents for other people, checks, financial documents, handwritten notes containing personal identifying information, a laptop computer, printer and blank-check paper.

May 13, 2013
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: Has former El Dorado Hills resident been sentenced in investment fraud scheme?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: Was Daniel Chartraw sentenced May 2, and if so what was the sentence?
Submitted by: Chris, Los Angeles

ANSWER: According to U.S. District Court online records, Daniel Chartraw's sentencing has been continued to July 18.

May 10, 2013
Woodland man gets life sentence for sex assault on 2-year-old

A Woodland man has been sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole for molesting a 2-year-old boy.

Yolo Superior Court Judge Stephen Mock also sentenced John "Tim" Ganthner, 46, to an additional 11 years and 8 months for physical injuries inflicted on the child in connection with the sexual assault, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release.

On the morning of Aug. 23, 2011, Ganthner was left alone to watch the child while his grandmother performed volunteer work with a local charity. When the grandmother returned home about 12:30 p.m., she noticed that the child had severe injuries to his private areas and chest. A medical exam determined that the child had been beaten and sexually assaulted, officials said.

May 10, 2013
Las Vegas man sentenced for defrauding South Lake Tahoe investor of $2.9 million

A Las Vegas man is headed to prison after being sentenced in federal court in Sacramento for defrauding a South Lake Tahoe investor of $2.9 million.

U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. today sentenced Jed Baron, 55, to five years and three months in prison for wire fraud related to the investment scheme, according to a Department of Justice news release.

According to court documents, Baron made a series of false business proposals to a victim in the Lake Tahoe area, including investment in a venture to sell Irish seafood to restaurants in Las Vegas. Instead of using the victim's money for the intended purpose, Baron diverted the funds for personal use and to pay other investors from previous deals.

May 10, 2013
Sacramento brothers admit to ID theft, bank fraud schemes

Two Sacramento brothers have pleaded guilty in a case involving identity theft and bank fraud.

Glen Patrick Shoults, 27, and Jackie Lester Shoults III, 31, admitted to stealing the identity of U.S. Postal Service and department store customers to commit bank fraud, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

Between Feb. and Dec. 15, 2012, Glen Shoults' girlfriend, co-defendant Kathleen S. Wade, worked at a Sacramento department store, according to court records. The Shoults brothers, at times using Wade's sales clerk position, made fraudulent transactions on bank and credit card accounts of numerous victims.

May 8, 2013
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: What happened to deputies accused of illegally dealing firearms?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: What happened to the two sheriff's deputies were charged in 2011 for selling guns to the ATF?
Submitted by: Sophia, Sacramento

ANSWER: Two Sacramento County sheriff's deputies were among four people indicted by a federal grand jury in May 2012 in a case that officials said involved the illegal purchase and sale of dozens of high-powered pistols.

May 3, 2013
Placerville man sentenced for interstate marijuana distrbution

A Placerville man has been sentenced in federal count in Sacramento to 42 months in prison for his role in an interstate marijuana distribution conspiracy.

U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. also sentenced Robert Edward Mulready to four years of supervised release following his time in prison.

Mulready previously pleaded guilty to conspiring to cultivate and distribute at least 100 marijuana plants, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

May 3, 2013
Inmate sentenced for assault on fellow prisoner

An inmate at California State Prison, Sacramento in Folsom has been sentenced to 28 years to life in prison for assaulting a fellow inmate.

Steven Thompson, 51, was convicted last month by a Sacramento County jury of assault on another inmate, personally inflicting great bodily injury and possession of a weapon, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release.

Thompson is serving time in prison for first-degree murder and attempted murder. In 1981, he shot at two unarmed high school students from his car after an altercation, authorities said. Both victims were hit and one died at the scene. Before he was apprehended, Thompson plotted to kill the other victim so he would not be able to identify Thompson.

While in prison, Thompson stabbed another inmate on the prison yard with an inmate-manufactured knife, authorities said. The victim suffered a punctured lung as a result of the assault.

May 3, 2013
Folsom developer with history of fraud draws 10-year sentence

A Folsom developer who was soliciting investors for a new scheme while still on supervised release for a previous criminal conviction is headed to prison for investment fraud.

David Romo, 42, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell Jr. to 10 years and one month in prison for mail fraud related to a real estate investment scheme that defrauded investors of more than $6.9 million, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to court documents, Romo ran a sophisticated scheme involving numerous investments that obtained millions of dollars through a series of clever misrepresentations to homeowners and manipulations of the real estate purchase process. Using his companies Sycamore Ventures LLC, Smarie Investments LLC and Groupo Immobiliare LLC, Romo solicited individuals to fund various real estate developments. But instead of using the investor money for the intended purpose, Romo diverted funds to his personal use and to pay unrelated, prior business expenses.

May 2, 2013
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: What's latest in case of Elk Grove man accused in Ponzi scheme?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: I was wondering if you had any information about the Ponzi scheme case against Chris Jackson?
Submitted by: Conrad, Sacramento

ANSWER:The case of Christopher Jackson, one of five Sacramento-area residents charged in September 2011 in a $26 million real estate fraud scheme, remains in federal court in Sacramento.

May 2, 2013
Elk Grove residents accused of growing marijuana in area homes

Two Elk Grove residents have been charged with indoor marijuana cultivation.

A federal grand jury returned a five-count superseding indictment charging Mitchell Chang, 45, and Kelly Liang, 35, with multiple counts of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana and manufacturing of marijuana, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to court documents, in 2008 and again in 2013, Chang and Liang maintained multiple Elk Grove-area homes where they cultivated, manufactured and processed more than 700 marijuana plants.

The case resulted from a joint investigation by the Elk Grove Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Agency.

May 1, 2013
Jury finds Skinhead gang member guilty of drug offenses

A member of the Skinhead criminal street gang today was convicted by a Sacramento County jury of manufacturing and transporting methamphetamine, and possessing methamphetamine for sale.

The jury also determined that 38-year-old Charles Gilbert Demar III committed the crimes for the benefit or in association with the Sacramento Skinheads street gang and that he had four prior convictions, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release.

Demar was under surveillance by undercover Citrus Heights police officers in March 2011, following the shooting death of white supremacist David Austin Lynch at Lynch's Citrus Heights home. Demar was described by police at the time as a close friend of Lynch and a "person of interest," although he was not identified as a suspect in the Lynch homicide.

April 30, 2013
Third person pleads guilty in scheme to defraud Raley's

The third person charged in a scheme to defraud the Raley's supermarket chain of more than $2.5 million has entered a guilty plea.

Jason Allen Smith, 47, of Foresthill pleaded guilty today in federal court in Sacramento to a conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to court documents, Smith, a former contract employee, conspired with David John Magana, 46, Raley's former director of advertising, and Martin Stewart Cullenward, 60, of Cool, along with others to defraud the West Sacramento-based supermarket chain. Smith took part in two of Magana's fraud schemes. Magana and Cullenward previously pleaded guilty.

April 30, 2013
Man convicted of grand theft in sale of vehicle left for repairs

A Sacramento County jury has convicted a 34-year-old man of felony grand theft auto for conducting a fraudulent lien sale of a vehicle left at his shop for repairs.

On June 9, 2010, the registered owner of a 2000 Toyota Land Cruiser left his vehicle a Alim Hussain's vehicle repair shop for transmission repairs, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release. Soon after, the owner of the vehicle left the country and never paid for the repairs.

On March 17, 2011, Hussain conducted a fraudulent lien sale of the vehicle by failing to first notify the legal owner of the Land Cruiser, Schools Financial Credit Union, about the lien sale, authorities said. As a result, the credit union learned of the lien sale after it had been removed as the legal owner of the vehicle. Hussain then sold the Land Cruiser to an unsuspecting buyer.

April 29, 2013
Yuba City man sentenced to prison for drug trafficking

The second of two Yuba City brothers has been sentenced in federal court in Sacramento to 17.5 years in prison for methamphetamine and cocaine trafficking.

According to testimony presented at his six-day trial in March, Anthony Boykin, 36, and his brother, Patrick Boykin arranged and sold methamphetamine to several police informants in Yuba City between Sept. 13, 2006 and March 39, 2007, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. Anthony Boykin was sentnced by U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb.

Patrick Boykin pleaded guilty and was sentenced in October 2009, also to 17.5 years in prison.

The case resulted from an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Yuba-Sutter County NET-5 Drug Task Force.

April 26, 2013
Two men sentenced in fraud case involving used car dealership

Two men have have been sentenced jail terms for theft and fraud offenses related to their operation of a used car dealership.

Ali Maadarani, owner of M3 Motors, was sentenced to 160 days in county jail, 1,200 hours of community service and five years of formal probation. His brother, Amin Maadarani, was sentenced to one year in county jail and five years of formal probation, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release. The defendants were convicted by a jury in February and sentenced today by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Allen Sumner.

Amin Maadarani worked with his brother at the dealership. In 2010, the defendants had possession of several vehicles, including a Hummer H2, BMW 330i, Mercedes S550 and a Ford F-150. All had been ordered to be repossessed by the legal owners, which were finance companies. When the defendants notified the finance companies that they had possession of these vehicles, they falsely claimed that they were owed money for the cost of storing and towing the vehicles.

When the finance companies inquired about the condition of the vehicles, the defendants indicated that they were stripped, burned, or "down to the chassis," authorities said. Based on the representations that the vehicles were essentially worthless, the finance companies did not contest the defendants using lien sales to obtain clear title to the vehicles and recoup their costs. The Maadaranis then used, sold or attempted to sell the vehicles, all of which were in good condition.

April 24, 2013
West Sacramento man convicted of robbery that led to shooting

A West Sacramento man has been convicted of robbery in a case involving a 2011 marijuana deal in which one person was shot.

A Yolo County jury last week found Wendell Joseph Coleman, 22, guilty of three counts of robbery and three counts of assault with a firearm. The jury also convicted Coleman of six enhancements for personal use of a firearm during the commission of those crimes, according to a District Attorney's Office news release.

On June 14, 2011, Coleman met with the victims Nick Gartiez, Darien Williams and Max Williams to conduct a marijuana deal, authorities said. The victims reported, and phone records confirmed, that the deal was set up through multiple phone calls between Gartiez and Coleman.

April 23, 2013
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: Has defendant been sentenced in real estate Ponzi scheme?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: Is there any info on Garry Bradford's sentencing on April 12?
Submitted by: Bill, Sacramento

ANSWER: Garry Bradford's sentencing in U.S. District Court in Sacramento for his role in a real estate Ponzi scheme has been postponed.

April 19, 2013
Man convicted of 2008 Christmas Day slaying

A man who fled to Mexico in an attempt to avoid prosecution has been convicted of second-degree murder in the 2008 Christmas Day shooting death of 24-year-old Francisco Torres-Fernandez.

A Sacramento County jury on Thursday found Edgar Carrillo, 30, guilty in the slaying of Torres-Fernandez, a North Highlands resident who was found fatally wounded in the 2300 block of North Avenue in Del Paso Heights just after midnight Dec. 25, 2008. The jury also found Carrillo guilty of assault with a deadly weapon for pistol whipping a woman that same day, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release.

Carrillo and Torres-Fernandez were acquaintances and had reportedly gotten into an argument before the shooting.

April 19, 2013
Sacramento jury finds man guilty of sexual assault charges

A Sacramento County jury on Thursday convicted 31-year-old Rico Lyntice Riley of multiple sexual assault charges, including rape and tying up the female victim.

The woman was assaulted by Riley and one of her friends after she refused Riley's sexual advances, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release. The friend eventually left the woman's apartment, but Riley stayed and continued to sexually assault her.

The woman and her son found Riley four days later, and her son was able to detain him until law enforcement officers arrived.

Riley is to be sentenced May 10.

April 16, 2013
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: What happened to woman who embezzled $6 million from employer?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: What happened to Nina Butler, who embezzled from her employer, Normac, in the late '80s or '90s?
Submitted by: Boston, Sacramento

ANSWER: Nina Rae Butler was sentenced to 10 years in prison in 1991 for stealing more than $6 million from her employer.

April 16, 2013
Two men convicted of assaulting fellow prison inmate

Two California prison inmates have been convicted of assaulting a fellow inmate in 2011.

Alexander Rey Dixon and Francisco Javier Nunez were each convicted by a jury of assault on an inmate with a deadly weapon and possession of a weapon by an inmate, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release.

On May 1, 2011, Dixon and Nunez assaulted Lance Melendez while incarcerated at California State Prison, Sacramento, in Folsom. Authorities said Melendez suffered numerous stab wounds to his back and head.

Dixon and Nunez face a possible maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison as a result of the convictions, according to the news release. They are to be sentenced May 13 by Sacramento Superior Court Judge James Long.

April 16, 2013
Sacramento-area brothers plead guilty in mortgage fraud case

Two Sacramento-area brothers pleaded guilty in today to wire fraud related to a mortgage fraud scheme.

The pleas were entered in U.S. District Court in Sacramento by Andrey Andreyev, 37, of Sacramento and Vitaliy Andreyev, 30, of Antelope, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to court documents, the Andreyev brothers were recruited by Vera Kuzmenko, owner of VK Tax Services, a tax preparation business, to purchase properties they could not afford. Andrey Andreyev purchased a property for $850,000 and Vitaliy Andreyev bought a property for $1.2 million.

April 15, 2013
Former Twin Rivers police officer pleads no contest to assault

A former Twin Rivers Police Department officer has pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault under the color of authority.

On Sept. 17, 2010, Branche Smith, 38, grabbed two individuals by the neck in choke holds and lifted them off benches to which they had been secured by handcuffs, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release. He also pointed his Taser at the chest of a third individual handcuffed to a bench and threatened to deploy the device if that individual did not stop shaking, authorities said.

On May 30, 2011, Smith kicked a handcuffed individual in the head while that subject was restrained at the jail.

The District Attorney's Office announced that Smith was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to serve 60 days in the county jail. He can apply to the Sheriff's Department for a work-release program.

April 15, 2013
Fresno man sentenced for role in El Dorado, Placer marijuana grows

A Fresno man who controlled marijuana growing operations in El Dorado, Placer and Tehama counties has been sentenced to more than 17 years in prison.

Uriel Ochoa-Espindola, 44, today received a 17.5-year sentence in Sacramento from U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb for his part in a marijuana trafficking conspiracy, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

Ochoa-Espindola was the leader of a massive marijuana manufacturing operation and an interstate drug distribution ring, according to court documents. His operation was based near Delhi, but he and his partners grew tens of thousands of marijuana plants in three different counties and shipped their product across the country with the aid of commercial truckers.

April 12, 2013
Former NFL player, claims adjuster accused of scheme to defraud Sacramento firm

A former National Football League football player and a former West Sacramento claims adjuster are accused of participating in a $1.5 million scheme to defraud a Sacramento business that managed workers' compensation claims.

A federal grand jury in Sacramento has indicted Marcus Buckley, 42, of Weatherford,Texas, and Kimberly Jones, a former West Sacramento resident now living in Wichita, Kan., in the alleged scheme, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. Both were charged with five counts of wire fraud, and Buckley was charged with six counts of money laundering.

According to the indictment, Buckley was a professional football player with the National Football League between 1993 and 2000, playing seven seasons with the New York Giants. During that period, the Giants had workers' compensation coverage through Pennsylvania Manufacturers' Association Insurance Group.

April 11, 2013
Defendants face new charges in alleged scheme to defraud United Auburn Indian Community

Charges of filing false tax returns have been added in a federal case against three men accused of stealing more than $18 million from the United Auburn Indian Community, which owns the Thunder Valley Casino Resort in Lincoln.

The new charges against Bart Wayne Volen, 53, of San Diego and Hawaii; Greg Scott Baker, 46, of Newcastle; and Darrell Patrick Hinz, 48, of Cameron Park, are included in a superseding indictment brought today by a federal grand jury in Sacramento, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

In August 2012, the three men were charged with conspiring to commit mail and wire fraud, and money laundering as part of a scheme to defraud the United Auburn Indian Community. Today's superseding indictment alleges that in 2006 and 2007, Volen and Hinz filed false tax returns in connection with the fraud, and Baker filed false tax returns from 2006 through 2009.

April 10, 2013
Sacramento, Roseville residents accused of conspiring to sell stolen goods on eBay

Seven people, including three from Sacramento and one from Roseville, have been charged by federal authorities in a case involving an alleged conspiracy to sell millions of dollars worth of stolen goods on eBay.

Arrested and charged in a criminal complaint with participating in a conspiracy to commit mail fraud are Jason Samuel Schroeder, 33, John Judah Young, 32, and Maribel Martinez, 27, all of Sacramento; Joshua Roy Payne 27, of Vacaville; Kirk Arthell Sanderson, 34, of Walnut Creek; and David Reed, 26, of Santa Barbara.

Payne was also charged with lying to federal agents, and Schroeder was detained as a flight risk, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. Andrea Lynn Turner, 31, of Roseville was also charged but has not been arrested, officials said.

Arraignment is scheduled for April 24.

April 10, 2013
South Lake Tahoe man sentenced to prison for marijuana trafficking

A South Lake Tahoe marijuana dispensary owner has been sentenced to five years in federal prison for marijuana trafficking.

Gennaro DiMatteo, 43, was sentenced today in Sacramento by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller. DiMatteo had entered a guilty plea in January. As part of his plea agreement, DiMatteo will forfeit more than $40,000 to the United States, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

In pleading guilty, DiMatteo admitted that during a search of his South Lake Tahoe residence, law enforcement agents discovered a hidden door that led to several subsurface rooms under the structure. Equipment set up in the rooms was standard for indoor marijuana cultivation gardens.

April 3, 2013
Convicted sex offender indicted for receiving child pornography

A Citrus Heights man previously convicted of sex offenses was arraigned today in federal court in Sacramento on charges of receiving child pornography and failing to register as a sex offender.

Travis Marshall Grey, 29, entered a not guilty plea in proceedings before Magistrate Judge Dale A. Drozd, according to federal court online records.

Between Jan. 25 and Jan. 29, Grey allegedly received images of child pornography through the Internet. In addition, in December 2012 and January 2013, while living in Citrus Heights, Grey failed to register as a sex offender, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

April 3, 2013
Third defendant sentenced in $1.3 million tax fraud scheme

A Sacramento woman has been sentenced to three years and one month in prison for her role in a $1.3 million tax fraud scheme.

Nadiyah Muhammad Woods, 34, is the last of three defendants to be sentenced in the case, which involved a scheme to obtain tax refunds by filing false tax returns, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. She was sentenced in Sacramento by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller and will be subject to three years of supervised release following her time in prison. Woods also was ordered to pay $902,617 in restitution.

According to court documents, Woods and two other defendants -- Nakia Renee Vaughn, 27, and Tomisha Lee McKinnie, 25, both of Sacramento -- filed false tax returns using TurboTax, an online tax preparation software. To operate the scheme, the defendants obtained Green Dot and other debit cards offered through the TurboTax software that were loaded with the tax refunds of taxpayer victims whose identities they used. They had the tax refunds mailed to various addresses under their control in Sacramento County.

April 2, 2013
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: What happened to man who had explosives in garage?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: Last July, neighbors and I were evacuated from our homes because a young man named Marcus Kiplinger had 6 pounds of C4 in his garage. I haven't read anything about it since the initial news reports. Can you please find out if he was charged with anything and, if so, whether he was found guilty, sentenced, etc.?
Submitted by: Chelsea, Sacramento

ANSWER: Marcus Jerome Kiplinger, 28, was arrested July 1, 2012 after plastic explosives were found at his Arden Arcade home.

March 29, 2013
Ask Sacto 911 crime Q&A: What is status of tax preparer accused of mortgage fraud?

Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.

QUESTION: What is the status of Vera Kuzmenko, who was indicted in a mortgage fraud case?
Submitted by: Edward, Sacramento

ANSWER: Vera Kuzmenko, a tax preparer, is one of more than 80 people who have been indicted in 30 cases of alleged mortgage fraud filed in U.S. District Court in Sacramento and involving members of the area's Slavic community, according to stories in The Bee.

March 29, 2013
Woodland man convicted of molesting, beating 2-year-old

A Woodland man has been found guilty of sexually molesting a 2-year-old boy.

After 10 hours of deliberation over two days, a Yolo County jury on Thursday convicted John "Tim" Ganthner, 46, of two felony counts of sexual assault of a child younger than 10 years old, four felony counts of physical abuse of a child and three additional enhancements for inflicting great bodily injury on a child younger than 5, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release.

In the morning of Aug. 23, 2011, Ganthner was left alone to watch the child while the youngster's grandmother performed volunteer work for a local charity, authorities said. When the grandmother returned about 12:30 p.m., she noticed that the child had severe injuries to his private areas and chest.

March 28, 2013
Sacramento man indicted for firearms trafficking

A Sacramento man was indicted today in a federal firearms trafficking case.

Dejon Andrade, 27, is charged with one count of unlawful dealing in firearms, five counts of interstate travel with intent to unlawfully deal in firearms and nine counts of illegal transportation of firearms acquired outside of his state of residence, according to a federal Department of Justice new release.

Court documents allege that Andrade used a Nevada ID to buy guns in Nevada, although he resided in California. He was prohibited from purchasing or possessing guns in California because of parole conditions, officials said, but he was able to buy firearms in Reno by providing false information on his federal firearm purchase paperwork.

March 28, 2013
Nevada County man pleads guilty to role in Sacramento marijuana dispensary

A Nevada County man pleaded guilty today in federal court to maintaining a marijuana dispensary in Sacramento.

John Lester Gross III, 48, of Rough and Ready admitted maintaining a drug-involved premises, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to court documents, Gross helped organize and maintain a marijuana dispensary on P Street in Sacramento. It was supplied with marijuana grown on Gross' property in Rough and Ready, near Grass Valley.

March 28, 2013
Man sentenced in sex-trafficking case involving south Sacramento teen

An Oakland man has been sentenced to seven years in prison in a case involving the sex trafficking of a 14-year-old south Sacramento girl.

Jamir Imari Tatum, 20, was sentenced today in federal court in Sacramento by U.S. District Judge Morrison C.England Jr. Tatum will be subject to 10 years of supervised release following his prison term and will be required to register as a sex offender, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to court documents, in January 2012, Tatum met the 14-year-old victim outside her house. He took her to a motel in Sacramento and took several photographs of her engaged in sexuality explicit conduct. On Feb. 21, 2012, law enforcement agents were notified that the victim had run away with Tatum.

March 27, 2013
Carmichael couple enter no-contest pleas in 2009 homicide

A Carmichael couple have entered no contest pleas in the 2009 death of a parolee whose body was found in a rural area of El Dorado County.

Charles Gaskin, 48, pleaded no contest today to the first-degree murder of Neil Hayes, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release. Gaskin's wife and co-defendant, Sandra Sheaves, pleaded no-contest to a felony charge of being an accessory to murder. Gaskin also admitted an enhancement for the use of a deadly weapon, and his wife admitted an enhancement for misuse of information obtained from the Megan's Law website.

Hayes, 66, was released on parole in June 2009 and contacted Gaskin, whom he had met while both were incarcerated in the same prison, authorities said. Gaskin and Sheaves allowed Hayes to stay in their garage because he had no permanent residence.

March 25, 2013
Prison inmate convicted of assaulting fellow prisoner

A California State Prison, Sacramento inmate has been convicted of a 2010 attack on a fellow inmate.

A Sacramento County jury today found Steven Thompson, 50, guilty of assault on another inmate, personally inflicting great bodily injury and possessing a weapon in prison.

While incarcerated at the prison in Folsom, Thompson stabbed another inmate on the yard with an inmate-manufactured knife, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release. The victim suffered a punctured lung.

Thompson faces up to 53 years to life in prison for the offenses. He is to be sentenced May 3 by Superior Court Judge Maryanne Gilliard.

March 15, 2013
Man sentenced to 90 years to life for 2011 sexual assaults

A man convicted of sexually assaulting three women in the south Sacramento area in 2011 has been sentenced to 90 years to life in prison.

Ladell Lamont Sanders, 42, was convicted last month by a Sacramento County jury of six charges, including rape and forcible oral copulation, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release. Sanders was sentenced today by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Eugene Balonon.

The three women were assaulted in separate incidents, which occurred Nov. 15, Dec. 10 and Dec. 13, 2011. In each case, Sanders threatened the victim by stating he had a gun or by displaying a gun, authorities said. He then drove the women to areas where he sexually assaulted them. After the assaults, Sanders fled, leaving the victims stranded in the remote area.

Sanders was determined to be a suspect after a Sacramento police officer recognized the description of the suspect and the suspect's car from a vehicle stop he made Nov. 1, 2011, in the same area. Sanders also was determined to be a suspect in the Dec. 13, 2011, sexual assault through the use of DNA analysis performed by the Sacramento County District Attorney's Crime Lab.

March 15, 2013
Mother, daughter plead guilty to burglaries targeting seniors

A mother and daughter have pleaded guilty in a series of burglaries committed in the Sacramento area during January.

Helen Costello, 43, and Shirley Costello, 22, pleaded guilty today to five counts of residential burglary as serious and violent felonies, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release. They entered the pleas before Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Sweet. Each is to be sentenced to eight years in prison April 12.

The women engaged in a series of residential burglaries during January. Their targets were elderly victims in the Tahoe Park, Meadowview and Arden Arcade areas, authorities said. They approached victims and claimed to be their former neighbors, or said they were interested in buying a home or used automobile in the area. The women often asked to use the victim's bathroom. Once inside the residence, one of the women distracted the victim while the other searched for valuables.

March 15, 2013
Man draws 65-years-to-life sentence for child molestation

A 21-year-old man has been sentenced to 65 years to life in prison for sexually assaulting children.

Santiago Sanchez was convicted by a Sacramento County jury in February of multiple counts of lewd acts with a minor and sexual assault charges. The jury also found true that Sanchez molested more than one victim in the commission of these offenses, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release.

Sanchez was sentenced today by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Goodman.

On Aug. 2, 2011, Sanchez was babysitting the 8 and 10-year-old victims, along with their four brothers. One of the children walked into a bedroom and discovered Sanchez partially unclothed and on top of his 8-year-old sister, authorities said. In an effort to get help, the boy rode his bike to several neighbors' homes and then to a local gas station, where he called 911. Officers learned soon afterward that Sanchez had engaged in lewd acts with the two sisters over a period of two days before his arrest.

March 14, 2013
UPDATE: Ex-Fox 40 web producer accused of conspiring to hack Internet news site

matthew keys.pngA former web producer for KTXL Fox 40, a Tribune Co.-owned television station in Sacramento, was indicted today in Sacramento for allegedly conspiring with members of the hacker group "Anonymous" to hack into and alter a Tribune Co. website.

Matthew Keys, 26, of Secaucus, N.J., was charged in the Eastern District of California with one count each of conspiracy to transmit information to damage a protected computer, transmitting information to damage a protected computer and attempted transmission of information to damage a protected computer. He was employed by Fox 40 as its web producer but was terminated in October 2010, according to a federal Department of Justices news release.

Keys did not respond to phone and email requests for comment. On Twitter he told followers this afternoon: "Im fine. I found out the way most of you did: From Twitter. Tonight I'm goiing to take a break. Tomorrow, business as ususal."

March 11, 2013
West Sacramento man headed to prison for attacking girlfriend

A West Sacramento man has been sentenced to 21 years in state prison for attacking his girlfriend and then threatening her in an effort to prevent her from testifying against him.

Michael Robert Hernandez III, 33, pleaded no contest to two "strike" felonies and multiple enhancements, including assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury, infliction of great bodily injury due to domestic violence and dissuading a witness, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release. He was sentenced March 7 by Yolo Superior Court Judge Paul Richardson.

On Oct. 11, 2012, West Sacramento police officers were dispatched to a residence on Circle Drive regarding a report of a fight between Hernandez and the victim. A verbal argument became a physical fight when Hernandez pushed the woman to the floor and choked her, causing her to nearly lose consciousness before he released his grip, officials said. Hernandez then reportedly punched and kicked the victim multiple times. While the woman was lying on the floor, Hernandez straddled her and choked her again, this time to the point of unconsciousness.

March 8, 2013
Man draws 22-year sentence in domestic violence case

A man who threatened his girlfriend in an effort to discourage her from pursuing a domestic violence case against him is headed to prison.

The Sacramento County District Attorney's Office announced today that 27-year-old Jorge Cabrales was sentenced by Superior Court Judge Cheryl Meegan to 22 years in state prison. A jury convicted Cabrales of felony domestic violence causing great bodily injury, witness intimidation and criminal threats.

Cabrales assaulted his girlfriend, breaking her nose, according to a District Attorney's Office news release. Aware that she had reported the assault to police, he called her several times the next day in an effort to dissuade her from cooperating with law enforcement.

March 7, 2013
Immigration consultant pleads guilty in marriage fraud scheme

An immigration consultant characterized by authorities as the mastermind of a marriage fraud scheme pleaded guilty today in federal court in Sacramento.

Sergey Potepalov, 57, of Citrus Heights admitted to his role in a scheme that involved sham marriages, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. He is to be sentenced Aug. 15 by U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr.

Potepalov, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Russian descent, was the leader of a scheme with 13 other defendants who were charged in July 2011 with conspiring to commit marriage fraud, to defraud the United States, to make false statements and to induce foreign nationals to enter and remain in the United States, according to court records.

March 6, 2013
Sentence, guilty plea announced in child pornography cases

An Antelope man has been sentenced and a Sacramento man has pleaded guilty in separate child pornography cases.

Stephen Graeff, 60, of Antelope, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller to 15 years in prison, to be followed by a lifetime of supervised release for distributing child pornography, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

Graeff maintained a collection of approximately 1,020 files of child pornography, according to court records. He shared and posted the child pornography images from his computer to others on the Internet.

March 1, 2013
Rancho Cordova man pleads guilty in child sexual exploitation case

A Rancho Cordova man has pleaded guilty in federal court in Sacramento to engaging in child sexual exploitation.

According to court documents, Brandon Marks, 25, attempted to entice a minor to engage in sexual activity. In addition, between April and June 2012, he received and shared child pornography, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

Marks is to be sentenced May 15 by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller.

March 1, 2013
Roseville man pleads guilty to possessing child porn discovered during investigation of granddaughter's death

A Roseville man whose daughter was arrested last year in connection with the death of his granddaughter has pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography.

Daniel Harrison McGrath, 58, of Roseville pleaded guilty today in federal court in Sacramento to possessing more than 3,000 images and videos of child pornography, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

The pornography was discovered during a police investigation into the death of McGrath's 2-year-old granddaughter. McKinley Wilder's body was found in McGrath's home April 4. Denise Marie McGrath Wilder, the child's mother and McGrath's daughter, has been charged with cruelty to a child and neglect in connection with the youngster's death and awaits trial in Placer Superior Court.

February 27, 2013
West Sacramento man sentenced for 2010 gang assault

A West Sacramento man has been sentenced to 26 years and eight months in prison for a gang assault in which he struck a youth in the head with a hammer.

A Yolo County jury convicted Christopher Lee Castillo, 21, for his role in a March 2010 attack on two black juveniles. He was sentenced Friday by Yolo Superior Court Judge Stephen L. Mock.

The two victims and their family had been harassed by gang members during the two months before the assault, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release. When the two victims went to confront the gang members, they were ambushed by numerous gang members armed with weapons and a pit bull. Castillo struck one of the victims in the head with a hammer, creating a deep gash, authorities said.

February 26, 2013
Man sentenced to prison for embezzling from Davis firm

A Brentwood man has been sentenced to five years in prison for embezzling from his employer, a Davis-based firm.

Benjamin Chaney, 33, was convicted in January of grand theft, embezzlement, one "aggravated white collar crime" enhancement, and two counts of state income tax evasion relating to theft from his employer, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release. He was sentenced Friday by Yolo County Superior Court Judge Stephen Mock.

Chaney had been employed as chief financial officer for Harper Model Home Maintenance, a company owned by his former mother-in-law and father-in-law. Between 2003 and 2007, he embezzled more than $300,000 from his employer by paying his personal expenses with corporate funds and altering the records to cover the fraud, officials said.

February 22, 2013
Man given 14-year sentence for distributing child pornography

A man who spent time at a Rancho Cordova residence has been sentenced in federal court in Sacramento to 14 years and two months in prison for distributing child pornography.

Joseph Cantrelle, 61, who lived most recently in Vacaville, also will be subject to 10 years of supervised release following his prison term, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Garland E. Burrell.

According to court documents, law enforcement agents searched residences where Cantrelle stayed in Napa and Rancho Cordova. They found that Cantrelle maintained on his computer a collection of approximately 561 videos and 4,079 still images depicting minors engaged in various types of sexually explicit conduct. He shared and posted the images from his computer to others on the Internet.

February 21, 2013
Man convicted of three south Sacramento sexual assaults

A 42-year-old man has been convicted of sexually assaulting three women in the south Sacramento area in November and December of 2011.

A Sacramento County jury convicted Ladell Lamont Sanders of six charges, including forcible sexual intercourse and forcible oral copulation, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release.

The assaults occurred Nov. 15, Dec. 10 and Dec. 13 of 2011. Sanders threatened each victim by stating that he had a gun or by displaying a gun, officials said. He then drove the victims to remote areas where he sexually assaulted them. After the assaults, he fled, leaving the victims stranded in the remote area.

February 20, 2013
Citrus Heights man accused of credit card scam

A Citrus Heights man was arrested today, accused of participating in a credit card fraud scheme and money laundering activities.

A federal grand jury in Sacramento on Thursday returned a 36-count indictment against Oganes Serobyan, 40. The indictment was unsealed after his arrest today. He is to be arraigned Friday, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to the indictment, in November 2009, Serobyan established a sham business, Link & Work Holdings LLC, which purported to sell "e-books" online. Between November 2010 and May 2011, the company is alleged to have unlawfully obtained American Express charge card numbers and made tens of thousands of unauthorized charges on them that were ultimately credited to Link & Work Holdings' bank account.

February 15, 2013
Four indicted for growing marijuana in Sacramento, Elk Grove houses

Four people have been indicted for growing marijuana in seven houses in Elk Grove and Sacramento.

A federal grand jury in Sacramento returned a two-count indictment Wednesday, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. Charged with crimes related to cultivating marijuana in the houses are Zhiqiang Liu, 59, of Oakland; Shihong Chen, 47 and Qinghong Li, 44, both of San Francisco; and Jun Mou Peng, 39, whose city of residence was not listed.

According to court documents, on Jan. 30, law enforcement agents conducted searches and seized 2,912 marijuana plants, approximately 100 pounds of processed marijuana and more than $4,000 in cash. Agents found the defendants in grow houses and arrested them.

February 15, 2013
Galt man admits torching problem-prone car to collect insurance money

A Galt man has admitted to destroying his car with intention of collecting the insurance money.

Anthony Arinaga, 34, admitted to a felony charge of vehicular arson with the intent to defraud his auto insurance company, a strike under California's Three Strikes Law, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release.

Arinaga had a vehicle that needed frequent and costly repairs, so he and a friend decided to destroy the car, authorities said. Arinaga planned to file a false stolen vehicle report with police and a false insurance claim.

February 15, 2013
Placerville man pleads guilty in marijuana trafficking conspiracy

A Placerville man pleaded guilty today in federal court in Sacramento to participating in an interstate marijuana distribution conspiracy.

Dylan Hudson, 26, admitted to conspiring to manufacture, distribute and possess with intent to distribute marijuana, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

According to court documents, Hudson was in charge of an interstate marijuana trafficking conspiracy. More than 1,100 pounds of processed marijuana, along with more than $329,000 in cash and eight firearms were seized during the investigation, authorities said.

February 13, 2013
Man sentenced to prison for 2004 Oak Park murder

A man convicted of a 2004 Oak Park murder has been sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, plus one year for use of a deadly weapon.

Ignacio Bulahan, 37, was convicted last month of first-degree in death of Thyotis Jackson, 22.

The murder was unsolved until 2010, when an individual came forward with information that assisted the Sacramento Police Department in linking the murder to Bulahan, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release.

According to testimony at trial, Jackson was a cross-dressing prostitute whom Bulahan had propositioned outside a store on Broadway near First Avenue. A dispute arose when Jackson informed Bulahan that he was a man, and Bulahan slashed Jackson's throat during the fight.

February 13, 2013
Fugitive headed back to prison for hoax bomb threats

A federal fugitive who made hoax bomb threats, claiming that letter bombs were going to be delivered to residences in Rocklin and Auburn, has been sentenced to three years and five months in prison.

Stephen J. Isoczky Jr., 60, of Los Angeles was sentenced today in federal court in Sacramento by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller for making bomb threats and lying to federal agents, according to a federal Department of Justice news release. He will be subject to three years of supervised release following his time in prison. Judge Mueller also ordered Isoczky to pay $6,890 in restitution to the United States Postal Inspection Service for the resources spent in dealing with the bomb threats.

According to court documents, on Sept. 2, 2012, Isoczky contacted the national telephone network of the U.S. Postal Inspection service, claiming to be a concerned citizen alerting authorities of impending letter bombs. He claimed the bombs were going to be delivered shortly to a residence in Rocklin.

February 8, 2013
Yolo County jury convicts man found tending more than 500 marijuana plants

A man arrested last September in a field of marijuana plants has been convicted by a Yolo County jury of cultivation of marijuana and possession of marijuana for sale.

The jury also found that 57-year-old Fidel Alvarez was armed with a firearm during the commission of these crimes, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release.

On Sept. 6, 2012, agents from with the Yolo County Narcotics Enforcement Team and the Mountain and Valley Marijuana Investigations Team discovered a marijuana grow on public lands off Highway 16 in Yolo County. The marijuana grow contained more than 500 plants that would have been ready for harvest within a few days, officials said. Agents found Alvarez walking through the field of plants dressed in camouflage clothing and carrying a .22-caliber rifle and a homemade flash suppressor.

February 7, 2013
South Lake Tahoe police officer indicted for witness tampering

A South Lake Tahoe police officer was indicted today by a federal grand jury in Sacramento for multiple counts of witness tampering and obstruction of an official proceeding.

John Gerald Poland, 44, was arrested Jan. 23 following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, South Lake Tahoe Police Department and the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement.

According to court documents, on June 29, 2011, Poland, interfered with a federal investigation of a South Lake Tahoe gang member. Poland is alleged to have persuaded the gang member's girlfriend to conceal and destroy evidence.

February 7, 2013
Jury finds Esparto man used truck to assualt motorcyclist

An Esparto man has been found guilty of using his truck as a deadly weapon in an assault on a motorcyclist.

A Yolo County jury returned the verdict against 39-year-old Joshua Shawn Bracy on Jan. 30, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release.

On the morning of Aug. 29, 2012, the victim was riding his motorcycle along Beamer Street on his way to work in Woodland. Bracy mistakenly believed the motorcycle had been stolen from him, and he began to chase the victim with his Dodge truck, officials said.

February 6, 2013
Man convicted of robbing woman, pepper spraying pursuers

A 29-year-old man has been convicted of robbing an elderly woman in a West Sacramento parking lot, then pepper spraying bystanders who intervened.

A Yolo County jury on Monday found Thomas Jones IV guilty of robbing the woman, who was disabled, the afternoon of Oct. 27, 2012, as she went to the Little Caesars Pizza restaurant near West Capitol Avenue and Jefferson Boulevard, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release. Jones rode his bicycle up to the woman from behind and grabbed her purse.

The commotion and the woman's screams drew three employees from a nearby business, who chased Jones as he tried to escape with the purse. The employees pursued him across West Capitol Avenue and cornered him in a loading dock. When they attempted to detain Jones, he used a large can of Mace to spray them, officials said.

February 4, 2013
Sacramento man sentenced for possessing child pornogrpahy

A 37-year-old Sacramento man has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison for possessing child pornography.

Oliver P. Kim was sentenced by U.S. District Judge William B. Shubb. Kim also will be subject to 10 years of supervised release following his prison term, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.

Between Feb. 9 and March 23, 2011, agents identified a computer at Kim's address offering files of child pornography through a file-sharing network, according to court documents

January 30, 2013
Man sentenced for 2011 attempted murder, carjacking

A man who pleaded no contest to attempted murder and carjacking has been sentenced to eight years and eight months in state prison.

Jose Camilo, 32, was sentenced today by Sacramento Superior Court Judge John P. Winn.

On March 30, 2011, Camilo intentionally rode his bicycle into the side of a car waiting at a stoplight at Florin and Power Inn roads, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release. He then entered the car through the passenger door, beat the 51-year-old driver, forced her out of the car and sped away.

January 25, 2013
Judge sentences Hirschfield to death

Andy Furillo

afurllo@sacbee.com

Richard Joseph Hirschfield sat impassively today while a Sacramento judge sentenced him to the death penalty for the murders of UC Davis "sweethearts" John Riggins and Sabrina Gonsalves more than three decades ago.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael W. Sweet told Hirschfield that pending the outcome of his appeals, "you shall be put to death by a manner and means prescribed by law" for the Dec. 20, 1980, killings of the two 18-year-olds who were abducted after working as volunteers on a production of the Davis Children's Nutrcracker.

His voice waivering, Sweet told the parents of the two murdered students, "I recognize there is nothing I can say that can adequately convey anything that will console you, that your lives changed permanently in the worst possible way. You have endured so much. The tortured history of this case must have taken away any hope you had that the person responsible for these acts would be discovered and held to answer.

"Hopefully, with the jury's verdicts in this case, they have provided you some measure of closure and comfort, and that justice in some small way has and will be served," Sweet said.