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.
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.
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.
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.
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 authorities say that the Modesto Hells Angels president and two others were taken into custody on multiple drug charges. Another person faces charges, but police are not sure where he is. Specifically, they were charged with possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine as well as conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. According to authorities, the president's wife delivered drugs to various people in Ceres while a prospect was tasked with finding drugs and delivering them to the club president.
A former California attorney who was disbarred in 2017 and is accused of defrauding his clients out of more than $4 million has entered into a plea agreement. The 36-year-old former litigator pleaded guilty to a single count of felony wire fraud in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on June 6 and is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 12. He faces a maximum prison term of 20 years.
A Sacramento-area registered nurse was charged by federal agents on April 5 with selling thousands of opioid pills on what is known as the darknet. The 46-year-old woman faces narcotics distribution and conspiracy charges.
Lawyer Michael Avenatti is famous to many people in California for his representation of high-profile figures in the entertainment industry. He became nationally known after representing adult film star Stormy Daniels in her legal action against President Donald Trump over payments made to conceal an affair. However, Avenatti is now facing criminal charges after being arrested for allegedly attempting to extort $25 million from sneaker manufacturer Nike. Avenatti publicly tweeted and spoke about the potential to reveal information about Nike's involvement in an alleged high school basketball bribery case.
A 58-year-old man in California pleaded guilty on March 12 to federal charges related to racketeering, money laundering, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to defraud the United States in connection with the college admissions scandal. The scandal has engulfed a number of wealthy parents, including real estate developers, investors and actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, who reportedly paid the man to help ensure that their children were admitted to such colleges as Georgetown University and Yale.