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3 agents receive jail time for life insurance scheme

On Jan. 8, it was reported that three California-based insurance agents were sentenced to prison after they were convicted on charges associated with a fraudulent life insurance scheme. All three of the insurance agents were convicted on wire fraud and identity theft charges in early 2017.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the three insurance agents paid recruiters to find participants who would undergo medical exams in exchange for about $100. The insurance agents then used the personal information from the tests to submit applications for life insurance without the participants' knowledge or consent. It appeared that the individuals also had participants take fake surveys of a medical exam company. The information obtained from the surveys was also used to apply for life insurance.

Make a solid plan for handling your federal criminal case

Facing federal criminal charges is a very serious matter. You have to make a plan for how you will handle your defense. As unpleasant as it might be, you also need to think about what you will do if you are convicted or even if you are planning to take a plea deal.

There are some very specific points to think about that apply to federal cases. Knowing these may help as you plan for your case.

City officials sentenced for embezzlement scheme

California residents may want to know more about a corruption scheme involving city officials in Riverside County that reportedly cost almost $43 million in taxpayer money. This effort to steal Beaumont City money needed for transportation funding took place over more than two decades. Four people involved in the scheme were sentenced on Dec. 19.

All the men sentenced on the 19th pleaded guilty and are barred from ever holding a public office in California. The men were not given jail time but were sentenced to electronic monitoring and probation, and they were ordered to pay back more than $11 million combined in restitution.

Federal sexual crimes

Through laws and legislation, states aim to protect members of the public from individuals who commit sex offenses. California residents should be aware of what qualifies as a sex offense.

Individuals who have been convicted of specific sex offenses are considered to be sex offenders. Sexual assault, lewd and lascivious acts, molestation of a child, infamous crimes against nature are just some examples of sex offenses.

Man sentenced to prison for running Ponzi scheme

On Nov. 3, a California man was sentenced to 34 years in prison for operating a real estate Ponzi scheme. The 58-year-old eluded capture for two years before being convicted in January 2016.

According to authorities, the defendant stole approximately $3 million from 11 victims between 2004 and 2010. He did this by soliciting people to invest in his loan company, Villa Capital Inc., which was based in Irvine. The victims were told they would be funding mortgage loans for people who wanted non-bank lenders. They were also told that the mortgages would provide a quick return on their investment. However, the defendant stole funds when some of the mortgages fell through. He also gave some investors false documentation that led them to believe their loans were secured through collateral. To cover his tracks, he issued small payments to the investors for a while. However, he ceased all payments when the real estate market crashed.

Do the police need a warrant for your phone?

The police are investigating you and they believe you may have committed a felony. They would like to take a look at your cellphone for more information about the case.

So far, you have refused to unlock it and share that data with them, as is your right. Do they need to get a warrant to open the phone and view your personal information? This could include things like:

  • A history of all of the calls you made or received.
  • The contents of your text messages.
  • Your contacts list.
  • Information regarding where you went and when, often collected by modern smartphones through various apps.
  • The pictures and videos stored on the phone.
  • Any voicemail messages that you saved.
  • All of your emails and social media messages.

2 sentenced to prison for siphoning funds from high school

Two California residents, a mother and her daughter, were sentenced to four years on Nov. 10 after they were convicted on embezzlement charges. According to reports, the mother was an account clerk at the high school in Alhambra when she and her daughter embezzled the money from the school's student government over a five-year period.

Prosecutors said that the 62-year-old woman was working as an account clerk for the student body at Mark Keppel High School while the 31-year-old daughter was working as the school's volunteer cheerleading coach. The pair were accused of siphoning money from the school account between 2007 and 2012. They allegedly concealed the thefts by destroying or manipulating banking and accounting records.

2 accused of embezzling money from city

On Oct. 24, it was reported that a California woman and her sister were accused of embezzling approximately $80,000 from the city of Rancho Mirage. It was believed that woman used her position as a city employee to siphon the funds for more than two years.

The 50-year-old Indio woman was the senior manager in the Building and Safety Code Compliance Division. As part of her duties, she was allowed to authorize expenses associated with code enforcement work. She, along with her 40-year-old sister, allegedly opened an account for a company that then charged the city for work that was never performed. The invoices for the deposits were alleged to be falsified as a result.

Tax season is a few months away: Ensure accuracy in your return

Nothing is for certain except for death and paying taxes. Or, at least that's how the saying goes. For some people, having to pay taxes is an opportunity to try and get over on the government. Doing this is illegal.

Tax fraud is a serious matter that can land you in prison. It is important to note that there are differences between being negligent when you file your taxes and filing a fraudulent return.

Woman sentenced to 63 months for embezzlement

A 34-year-old California woman was sentenced to 63 months in federal prison on Oct. 16 after she was convicted of embezzling more than $1.5 million from multiple clients. The woman was the owner and operator of a company that provided financial assistance, including tax, bookkeeping and accounting services for her clients.

The woman obtained money from clients by getting small business owners to give her control of their accounts. She allegedly convinced the clients to make checks payable to "Income Tax Payments" and falsely promised that the money would be used towards the clients' past and future tax obligations. She reportedly stole a total of $1,538,771 from clients based all over the country.

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