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Man admits to embezzling $22 million from marketing firm

A 29-year-old man has admitted to embezzling approximately $22 million from a marketing company that represents social media influencers. The man's guilty pleas to wire fraud and aggravated identity theft charges were announced by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California on Nov. 22. The man could be sent to prison for up to 22 years when he is sentenced on March 20.

According to federal prosecutors, the man embezzled the money between October 2015 and March 2019 while he was the comptroller of a Hollywood digital marketing company. The company has since relocated to London. The man admits that he wired company funds to his personal bank account to invest in cryptocurrencies, buy into poker tournaments, make payments to poker players and pay his credit card bills.

2 types of mortgage fraud to look out for

Anyone who is dealing with loans must ensure they are only providing factual information. Any misstatements might be construed as fraud, which is sometimes a federal crime. If you are charged with any form of fraud, including cases related to a mortgage, empower yourself with knowledge of your rights and options.

Many people are shocked to learn that they can face mortgage fraud charges whether they are a borrower or involved in the lending process. The reasons why people commit fraud vary greatly, but there are some points that remain fairly consistent throughout these cases.

Parent sentenced in college admissions case

A California man who admitted to federal prosecutors that he paid a college admissions consultant $400,000 and a university official $50,000 to secure his two children places at the University of Southern California will spend six months behind bars. The former insurance executive learned of his fate during a sentencing hearing held in a Massachusetts district court on Nov. 11. His sentence is the harshest yet handed down to parents connected to a major college admissions scandal.

The man pleaded guilty in June to fraud charges when it became clear that the consultant behind the college admissions scheme was cooperating with authorities. He confessed to paying the consultant $200,000 to create bogus athletic credentials that led USC to believe his daughter was an All American soccer star and his son was a talented basketball player. The man told prosecutors that he also paid a former USC official $50,000 to ensure that the fraudulent credentials were not questioned.

New animal cruelty felony laws coming out of Congress

Many people in California treat their pets like members of the family, and federal lawmakers have taken action to strengthen federal laws against animal cruelty. The passage of the Preventing Animal Cruelty and Torture Act in the U.S. House of Representatives addressed the criminality of interstate commerce when it contributes to acts of animal cruelty. The U.S. Senate has a similar bill in the works, and final legislation could head to the White House for the president's signature.

The bill specifically addressed the role that interstate or foreign commerce could play in the production of animal crushing videos. The new legislation designated some acts as felonies that had not been mentioned in the 2010 Animal Crush Video Prohibition Act.

Don't neglect your federal criminal defense planning

Facing federal charges is a shock to many people. You have specific rights in these cases, so you must ensure that they are being respected. Your criminal defense attorney can help you to find out what these are and how you can work toward them. Just be sure that you have a team you can trust on your side.

There are several stages in a federal criminal trial. You must ensure that you are ready for each one when it arrives.

Anti-gang operation leads to 126 arrests

On Oct. 8, federal authorities announced the arrest of over 120 California residents following a three-month gang enforcement campaign dubbed "Operation Triple Beam". The campaign took place in Fresno County.

According to a news conference led by the U.S. Marshals Service, around 50 or 60 officers from various federal, state and local law enforcement agencies targeted area gangs from July 1 until Sept. 30. During the operation, they arrested 126 people and seized unspecified amounts of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine. They also confiscated over $13,000 in cash and 61 firearms, including a "ghost" gun that had no serial number. "Ghost" guns are typically bought off the internet in pieces and later assembled into a whole weapon. Under federal law, such firearms are only legal if owners acquire and apply a unique serial number.

Federal charge calls for 20-year sentence for political donor

The wealthy political donor known for contributing to high-profile candidates like Barack Obama and Gavin Newsom could face a mandatory minimum 20-year prison sentence if convicted on federal drug charges. A grand jury in a California federal court indicted the 65-year-old man after he was arrested on state charges for allegedly operating a drug house in West Hollywood.

According to the indictment, the man distributed methamphetamine that caused a man to die in January and another previous death in 2017. Prosecutors claim that the man injected men with drugs before having sex with them. Relatives of the alleged victims believe that he targeted gay African American men, some of whom were sex workers, because authorities would not take crimes against them as seriously. Family members believe that the man's reputation as a wealthy political donor shielded him from local law enforcement despite mounting evidence of illegal activity.

What is money laundering and why is it illegal?

People who illegally make money might try to make that money appear as though it was obtained lawfully. The process of doing this is known as money laundering, and it is unlawful. You can face charges on a state level or a federal one if you are accused of this.

A lot of the evidence that comes into the picture in these cases comes from a questionable paper trail. To plan a defense strategy for charges, you need to understand a few points about money laundering.

Felicity Huffman sentenced in college admissions case

California resident Felicity Huffman was sentenced to 14 days in prison on Sept. 13 for the role she played in the largest college admissions scandal in the nation's history. Huffman admitted in May that she paid a college counselor $15,000 to improve her daughter's SAT score. The payment was allegedly concealed as a charitable contribution. The Oscar-nominated star of 'Desperate Housewives" will also serve one year of supervised release, pay a $30,000 fine and perform 250 hours of community service. Huffman will begin serving her sentence on Oct. 25.

U.S. attorneys had asked the judge who sentenced Huffman to send the actress to prison for a month followed by a year of supervised release. Her attorneys wanted no jail time, 250 hours of community service and one year of probation. Huffman is the first parent involved in the scandal to be sentenced. Federal prosecutors have charged 51 people with crimes ranging from money laundering to tax evasion.

California man admits to using Bitcoin kiosk to launder money

Federal prosecutors in California have announced that a 25-year-old Westwood man has admitted to using a Bitcoin kiosk to launder approximately $25 million for a list of clients that included drug dealers who used illicit websites to sell narcotics on the dark web. According to an Aug. 23 press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California, the man has entered guilty pleas to four felony counts including operating a money transmitting business without a license and distributing methamphetamine. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance in September.

Federal agents took the man into custody in June 2017 after gathering evidence during a sting operation. A federal agent posing as a drug dealer asked the man to launder about $400,000. The man is said to have told the federal agent that he routinely performed such transactions. He is also accused of selling the agent about two pounds of methamphetamine for $6,000.

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