June 5, 2008
A Newport Beach man who used a fake investment program to scam 21 people out of thousands was told by a United States District Judge Wednesday to pay them back. John Carl Willy, 64, was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in federal prison by Judge Cormac J. Carney in Santa Ana after Willy pleaded guilty to the Ponzi scheme that promised rates of at least 10% per quarter to its victims. Willy was also ordered to pay $4,192,929 in restitution to the victims of his scheme, attorneys said. Willy had original ly pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud and one of money laundering in January.
June 29, 2001
The U.S. attorney's office on Thursday indicted three men -- two of them from Costa Mesa -- on charges of running a $2.6-million investment scam that allegedly used investor funds to buy automobile loans, officials said. Paul Jerome Booth, 73, and James Cunningham, 44, both of Costa Mesa, along with 50-year-old Donald Lee Roat of Waldport, Ore., allegedly spent investors' money on themselves, officials said. Booth and Cunningham formed CBN Financial Resources Corp.
May 14, 2010
. CORRECTION: Halstead was sentenced to 121 months, not years. A Tustin man was sentenced to more than 10 years in federal prison Wednesday for scamming more than 140 people, including a Newport Beach man, out of more than $20 million through a fraudulent investment business. James Halstead, 63, was sentenced to 121 months in prison and ordered to pay $14.5 million in restitution to his victims. Promising 25% to 35% quarterly returns, Halstead and Orange County attorney Jeanne Rowzee, 50, told victims they were investing in private entities and money market programs.
September 11, 2012
The president of a Santa Fe Springs company pleaded guilty Monday to illegally distributing human growth hormone, federal authorities said. David Ji, 50, admitted that his company had distributed a Chinese manufactured drug that contained somatropin -- a human growth hormone product not approved for distribution in the United States. Ji, a businessman from Irvine, pleaded guilty to one felony count of distributing prescription drugs in interstate commerce without a proper license, according to the U.S. attorney's office.
February 18, 2014
A Newport Beach contractor was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in federal prison for underreporting his income by about $2 million. Over a five-year period, Jeremy Scott Levine, 42, gypped the government out of about $300,000 in tax revenue, according to a news release from the Internal Revenue Service. U.S. District Judge Margaret M. Morrow ordered Levine — who owns Newport-based JSL Construction and Landscaping — to pay an $80,000 fine to the federal government in addition to $300,000 in restitution to the IRS. Levine admitted cashing customers' checks without reporting the income on his personal or corporate tax returns between 2006 and 2010.
April 4, 2007
Four in family are arrested in fraud case Four family members were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of tax and real estate fraud involving two Newport Beach rental properties. In an investigation by the IRS's Criminal Investigation Division and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Safieh Fard of Escondido; her sister, Sedigheh Bahramian of Irvine; and one of Fard's sons, Mohsen Kikalaye of Irvine surrendered to federal authorities in Santa Ana on Tuesday morning, according to IRS officials.
May 21, 2010
After he gets out of prison in two years, a Newport Beach man recently convicted for his part in an international drug-trafficking ring will serve five years’ probation and be prohibited from getting any job with access to a wireless device, court records show. Nathaniel Garrard Lineham, 41, was convicted in February of being the electronics man who distributed encrypted cell phones for a drug ring that stretched from Canada to Southern California, Chicago and Seattle. In 2008, authorities indicted 18 people as part of “Operation Candystore,” a two-year federal investigation into a trading operation that sent cocaine to Canada in exchange for methamphetamines and Ecstasy.
June 15, 2011
A man accused of stealing a nearly $1.4 million tax return check from billionaire Irvine Co. Chairman Donald Bren pleaded guilty Monday to one count of bank fraud. Federal prosecutors say Moundir Kamil, a 41-year-old convicted bank robber, obtained Bren's Social Security number, date of birth and other personal information and opened an account in Bren's name in February 2010 at an East West Bank branch in Cerritos. Bren, a 79-year-old real estate tycoon, is listed as Forbes' 64th richest person in the world and has an estimated net worth of $12 billion.
May 29, 2003
Deepa Bharath Two local men face charges of possessing child pornography after a targeted sweep by federal agents in Orange County last week, officials said. Samuel Lane, 68, of Costa Mesa pleaded guilty to ordering videotapes containing child pornography over the mail, Assistant U.S. Atty. Richard Lee said. An arrest warrant is also out for 56-year-old Richard Darrell Lewis of Newport Beach, who "is believed to be hospitalized," Lee said.
August 31, 2007
Hai Nguyen, the 24-year-old Garden Grove man arrested last month on suspicion of stabbing a sea lion in Newport Beach, was charged Thursday with violating the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act. Charges of a misdemeanor count were filed Thursday morning in United States District Court, accusing Nguyen of illegally taking and attempting to kill a marine mammal. “These mammals are protected under federal law and unfortunately, this is not the first time that we’ve had to file charges against fishermen who have attacked and sometimes killed sea lions and seals,” said Thom Mrozek, a U.S. Attorney’s office spokesman.