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Backpage CEO pleads guilty

The CEO of the infamous website Backpage.com has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and three counts of money laundering in a California court, according to documents filed in the case. The CEO will face up to five years in prison for his crimes.

According to federal prosecutors, Backpage.com essentially operated as an online brothel. While the CEO has pleaded guilty to these charges, the company itself has entered a guilty plea to a human trafficking charge in Texas. Under the plea agreement, the Backpage CEO will cooperate with authorities as they seek charges against the founders of the website.

Embezzlement charges filed against nonprofit director

Prosecutors in California say that the director of a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping children with special needs embezzled approximately $675,000 from the group between 2013 and 2015. The 57-year-old Santa Cruz woman was taken into custody by investigators from the Monterey County District Attorney's Office on March 19. Media reports suggest that prosecutors began investigating the nonprofit group in 2015 after an accountant hired by the woman reported a number of suspicious transactions to the California Attorney General's Office.

A team of forensic accountants determined that financial records turned over by the woman in January 2016 were incomplete, and these suspicions prompted investigators to obtain warrants to scrutinize her bank accounts, credit card bills and other financial documents. According to prosecutors, this investigation revealed that the woman used the organization's funds to pay for a lavish lifestyle that featured luxury automobiles, designer clothing and accessories and extravagant travel and entertainment.

Committing a crime on an aircraft

When you are on a plane and a crime is committed, it is a fairly unique situation. When you are up in the air, there is a very limited amount of control. Therefore, even very small incidents will be treated extremely seriously in order to keep everyone as safe as possible.

That's why there are many precautions and regulations in place for preventing incidents of unruly passenger behavior. It also becomes a more serious charge when an incident happens in the air than if the same incident happened on a bus, for example.

Firefighter sentenced in toy-drive embezzlement case

A California woman was sentenced to three years of probation on March 12, 2018. The 54-year-old former firefighter from San Bruno, was found guilty of embezzlement for taking money from fire department bank account that was used to host its annual toy drive. San Mateo County prosecutors said that the woman stole $25,583 from the account during a period of time ranging from January 2015 through October 2016. While the woman reportedly claimed that she had done so in anger at mistreatment she faced as a woman in the firehouse, prosecutors said that they did not believe this account of her motivation. They said that no evidence was presented that she was mistreated and that, even if true, it was not a defense to embezzlement charges.

While the woman was initially charged with felony embezzlement, the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor after her defense lawyer showed that she had paid restitution to replace the missing funds. In addition to the probation time, she was also sentenced to 300 hours of community service. She must complete this work with victims of fires in Sonoma County before September 2019.

Man charged in California embezzlement case

On Feb. 28, a 61-year-old man was charged for allegedly embezzling over $100,000 from a California company. The incident took place in Lake County.

According to media accounts, the defendant was working as a bookkeeper for a local couple, and an investigation by the Lake County Sheriff's Department determined that he stole $103,000 from their business and personal bank accounts. The evidence was sent to the Lake County District Attorney's Office in September, and a criminal case was opened on Feb. 7. On Feb. 8, a judge issued a warrant for the defendant's arrest. However, he was already serving a jail sentence in Sacramento County for stealing the identities of his adult daughter and son. With that sentence complete, he was transferred to the Hill Road Correctional Facility in Lakeport to face the embezzlement charges.

Leaving California with legal weed could mean federal charges

California was the first state to create a medical marijuana program, and now they've joined the growing number of states who allow adults to purchase, grow and use marijuana for recreational purposes. There is likely to be an increase in tourists visiting California, at least in part, to enjoy legalized marijuana. However, if you try to take that marijuana home with you, it could cause serious legal issues.

While California has legalized adult use of marijuana and many other states also permit or regulate the drug for medical or recreational purposes, the federal government still considers marijuana to be a Schedule I substance. Even those who comply with state laws inside states with legalization laws could face federal prosecution for anything from possession to sales. Trying to leave a state like California with large amounts of marijuana in your vehicle or in your possession could also cause issues.

California changes sex offender registry rules

In 2017, the California legislature voted to make changes to Megan's Law, which requires that sex offenders register with the state. The primary change was to reduce the amount of time a person must spend on the state sex offender list. The new law will place those on the sex offender list into three categories. Tier I will be used for those who have committed nonviolent felonies and misdemeanors.

They will be required to stay on the list for 10 years. Those who have committed violent felonies will be in Tier II and be required to stay on the list for 20 years. Repeat offenders will be placed in Tier III and be required to remain on the list for 30 years. Minors who are in Tier I will be on the sex offender list for five years. Those who study the concept of sex offender registries have expressed doubts that they are useful.

Women sentenced to prison in embezzlement case

A woman who had been convicted on charges relating to embezzlement was sentenced to two years and eight months in a California women's prison. She was accused of falsification of corporate books and state income tax evasion, as she failed to report the embezzled income on her tax returns.

The 48-year-old woman worked as a bookkeeper for a Stockton company and was arrested in June 2017. She was accused of embezzling nearly $500,000 over the nine years she worked at the corporation. She allegedly took the money from the company in a number of ways. She set up an electronic debit to pay her monthly home mortgage in addition to forging checks for personal expenses and creating electronic debits and drafts that actually covered her personal spending.

3 men accused of embezzlement scheme

Three former executives at California car dealerships were detained on Jan. 12 on federal charges related to what prosecutors say was an embezzlement scheme. According to prosecutors, the activity took place from 2010 to 2016.

The indictment alleges that one of the men initiated the scheme. Shell companies were created that appeared to be advertising agencies. They were run by the man's associates. Then, invoices were created and sent to the company the men worked for. He and one of the other men, the company's controller, approved and paid the invoices according to the indictment. This allegedly amounted to around $6.3 million in fraudulent wire transfers. Once the money was deposited, checks were then written to the man for most of the amount. According to the indictment, two of the men also gave themselves fraudulent bonuses and other payments that they said were funded by the corporate offices of car manufacturers.

Common types of securities fraud

Like many other criminal offenses, securities fraud is a very serious charge. Typically, securities fraud occurs when an individual says something that is not true about a stock or a company that causes investors to react. While this is a general description of securities fraud, it actually comes in several forms. There are various federal laws in place that regulate securities, which means that violating these laws or committing securities fraud often results in federal charges.

One of the most famous instances of securities fraud was the case of Martha Stewart. The court charged and convicted her of insider trading because she acted on confidential information that was not available to other shareholders or the public. If you are facing a securities fraud charge for one of the following acts, keep in mind that you still have rights and options.

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