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California man sentenced to 33 months in fraud case

A San Jose man was sentenced to serve 33 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release after pleading guilty to mail fraud and embezzlement. The man was also ordered to pay $2,618,000 in restitution as a part of his plea agreement.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Attorney's Office, the 41-year-old man embezzled money from the medical device company for which he worked. The man reportedly worked at the company from March 2013 to January 2018. During his employment, he submitted false invoices that were payable to six different entities that were under his control.

Points to remember when preparing for federal prison

People who are facing federal charges will be anxious to know the outcomes of their cases. Some of these individuals might choose to enter into plea deals. Whether this is what is going on with your or if you are going through a trial, you should prepare yourself for entering into the federal prison system if that's one of the possible sentences.

Getting ready to go into federal prison isn't easy, but taking the time to review a few steps now can save you some stress and hassle in the future. Even if you think your defense is strong and that you won't end up in prison, it is still better to think about what you can do to get ready in case you are convicted.

  • Plan for your children: You need to have someone who can care for your children while you are in prison. Making these plans well in advance of your report date can help you to feel less stress.
  • Set up a financial plan: If you have things like a house payment or rent that will be due while you are incarcerated, make plans to get those paid. People with lengthy incarcerations should reduce bills that will be due to the bare minimum so there is less to worry about. Additionally, figure out how you can have money added to your inmate account so you can buy things you need in prison.
  • Decide to stay out of trouble: Getting into trouble while you are behind bars can make your time unpleasant. Your goal should be staying out of trouble, so plan on being very low profile while you are there so that you aren't pulled into situations that can lead to problems.
  • Take up a hobby: Some inmates have a hobby to keep them busy. Think about drawing, reading and writing since you will likely have options to do all of these activities while you are there.
  • Determine how you will communicate: Phone calls from prison to home can be costly. Before you go in, determine how you will communicate. Some inmates opt to make a phone call daily or write letters for a more comprehensive plan. Talk to your loved ones so you can determine what plan they feel will work.
  • Find out about programs: Many prisons offer special programs. Taking a look at the ones that are available throughout the entire prison system gives you an idea of what might be possible at the facility you go to after your conviction. These programs are a good way to keep yourself busy while you are there.

California woman sentenced for embezzling union funds

A 61-year-old woman has been sentenced to two years in a federal prison for embezzling $490,338 in union funds. The sentence was handed down on Feb. 4 according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California. In October, the Citrus Heights resident admitted that she had stolen the money from the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Union while employed as the treasurer of the organization's Local 2428.

According to federal prosecutors, the money was stolen between 2008 and 2014. The woman, who had control of bank accounts and check signing privileges, is said to have taken the money by authorizing the union's payroll services provider to make payments to her on a weekly basis. She then concealed her activities by preparing financial documents and reports that did not reflect the union's true expenditures.

19 indicted in massive "birth tourism" scheme

A Department of Homeland Security investigation based in California has led to the indictment of 19 people accused of taking part in a "birth tourism" scam aimed at Chinese residents. The scheme was designed to aid Chinese parents obtain birthright citizenship in the United States for their children.

The three ringleaders of the scheme and 16 other individuals were charged with federal crimes related to their birth tourism outfits that charged tens of thousands of dollars for the chance at obtaining American citizenship for Chinese children. According to the indictment, the scheme operated a maternity house that allowed pregnant Chinese women to give birth in the United States. The women involved were alleged to have lied on their visa applications about their reason for coming to the United States, and many stayed after their visa expired.

Hawthorne man accused of murdering family

California residents might be aware of a case going on in Los Angeles, where a man allegedly drove his family off a pier in order to collect insurance benefits. The defendant has denied all accusations and has pleadednot guilty to the federal charges levied against him, some of which are mail and wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering.

Before the incident, the defendant, a 44-year-old male originally from Egypt, had bought multiple accidental death insurance policies covering himself, his domestic partner at the time along with his three children. The total payout of the policies was more than $6 million, and the defendant had to take approximately $6,000 out of his $30,000 annual salary so as to pay fothese policies.

What happens during a trial and sentencing?

People receiving criminal charges might have to face a jury of their peers. This is a stressful situation because you don't know the outcome, but you do realize that your life is hanging in the balance.

While knowing what to expect might not take all the stress out of the equation, it can help you to prepare. Remember, you must work on your defense prior to the date of your trial. Using a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants defense is likely going to work against you in a federal case. The Assistant United States Attorney has vast resources to plan their side of the case, so consider this when you work on your side. 

Federal drug crimes come with harsh penalties

One of the most serious drug crimes you can face in the federal criminal justice system is for drug trafficking. This is only one of the possible drug charges. Anyone who is involved in the illegal drug trade should be aware of what it means to face federal drug charges.

A person facing federal charges for drugs is usually looking at longer sentences and harsher penalties than a person who is facing state charges for a similar crime. Several factors impact a criminal case, so you should think about these when you are planning your defense. There are small differences in some charges that can make the difference between more serious charges and ones that are less serious.

Former charter school CEO guilty of misappropriating funds

A 57-year-old woman plead guilty to misappropriating and embezzling $2.5 million in public education funds. The woman was the founder of the Celebrity Educational Group, which was a network of charter schools in Los Angeles, California. She worked as its CEO until April 2015. Most of the money was used to buy a sound stage in Ohio among other purchases. A portion of the funds were provided by the Department of Education.

The woman also used several credit cards issued to Celebrity Educational Group to buy items for herself. Those items included airfare to see Barack Obama's inauguration and customized bicycles. According to the plea agreement reached in the case, she did not reimburse any of the money spent using the group's credit cards. The defendant is expected to be sentenced in May, and she could spend up to five years in prison.

Former musical director of the Arsenio Hall Show facing charges

According to news sources, a former musical director with the Arsenio Hall Show was charged in federal court in California with embezzling more than $750,000 from an organization that was meant to benefit children. The alleged embezzlement reportedly occurred in 2016.

The man was the musical director of the band that performed on the Arsenio Hall Show. He was supposed to use the money to hire celebrity performers for a charity concert to benefit a nonprofit organization that raises funds and awareness to help children around the world who are displaced by war.

California church officials say nuns embezzled $500,000

On December 10, officials from a California church announced that two nuns had embezzled $500,000. Reportedly, the two used a bank account that the school where they worked had opened in 1997 but no longer used. One of the nuns, who was the school principal, had the bookkeeper process the checks. However, she then deposited them in the account and endorsed them as a convent instead of with the name of the school. The other nun was a teacher at the school.

The nuns spent the money gambling in Las Vegas. The embezzlement allegedly went on for about a decade. When the principal retired, the school did a routine audit and discovered it. According to the monsignor, one reason the embezzling was not discovered sooner was because the school had never been in the red.

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