August 18, 2009
Seven years in federal prison apparently wasn’t enough for one Newport Beach man to learn his lesson, as he was sentenced to an additional two for committing the same crime again days after his release. Harold Goldstein, 64, was sentenced to two years in prison Monday for impersonating a lawyer. In February 2003, Goldstein was convicted of falsely declaring under oath he was an attorney licensed in California, fraudulently sending out solicitation letters to inmates offering legal services and stealing the identify of a Northern California lawyer.
May 15, 2002
A Corona del Mar man was sentenced Tuesday to seven years in federal prison for running a large Ponzi scheme that defrauded about 350 victims of nearly $8.7 million. Steven Hevell, 38, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Alicemarie H. Stotler, who also ordered that Hevell pay about $8.6 million in restitution. The victims were defrauded by a high-technology investment scheme that Hevell operated between 1994 and 1997. Hevell pleaded guilty in February to three counts of mail fraud.
April 23, 2009
A 37-year-old man from Orange has been convicted of shining a laser at two jet planes approaching John Wayne Airport last year. He’s the first in the nation to be convicted in a jury trial, according to federal prosecutors. Dana Christian Welch was convicted Wednesday of two felonies. He faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison for each count. Welch intentionally aimed the hand-held laser at two Boeing 7-series jets May 21, according to prosecutors. The United Airlines jet had more than 180 passengers and crew members on it and the Alaska Airlines plane had more than 80 aboard.
November 15, 2007
A Newport Beach man accused in a Ponzi scheme has agreed to plead guilty to charges of federal fraud and money laundering, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. John Carl Willy, 64, is accused of running a phony investment business, promising investors a return of 10% a quarter or more. The charges filed Monday include two counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering. Willy has agreed to plead guilty to all three counts, prosecutors said. The maximum sentence for those counts is 50 years in federal prison.
June 14, 2007
Authorities have arrested the man they suspect is the "Goofy Hat Bandit," believed responsible for robbing nearly 40 banks throughout the Southland, including one in Costa Mesa in September. William Vance Turner, 56, was arrested in a parking lot Wednesday morning near his Ladera Heights residence, the FBI said. He was suspected of holding up the Citibank branch on Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. Turner was in violation of his parole when he was caught Wednesday morning, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.
February 11, 2004
Man gets 15 years in fraud case A 36-year-old Costa Mesa man who operated a fake church and several similar entities locally for about eight years was sentenced on Monday to 15 years in federal prison. In November, Timothy Lyons was convicted of pocketing about $11 million supposedly solicited for veterans, homeless children, firefighters and AIDS victims, officials said. A federal jury, after a two-week trial, found Lyons and his friend Gabriel Sanchez, also 36, each guilty of 44 counts of money laundering and mail fraud.
November 3, 2006
An Ontario man agreed to plead guilty Thursday to making fake bomb threats at John Wayne and Long Beach airports in October 2005, according to federal prosecutors. In the plea agreement, which was filed in a U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, Jason Morris, 30, admitted to calling both airports, prosecutors said. On Oct. 25, 2005, Morris said he called John Wayne Airport saying, "There's a plane leaving tonight with two bombs on it; a lot of people will die, and it's all in your hands," according to a news release from prosecutors.
January 12, 2010
A San Clemente man who operated a Ponzi scheme out of his Newport Beach-based company was sentenced to 13 years and three months in federal prison, federal officials announced Tuesday. John Anthony Miller, 52, was sentenced Monday after pleading guilty last year to mail fraud, bribery, passport fraud and identity fraud charges related to the Ponzi scheme he operated through his companies, JAM Jr. Enterprises and Forte Financial Partners. From 2000 through 2008, Miller ripped off more than 130 people out of more than $21 million, officials said.
October 31, 2011
A Costa Mesa man was convicted of identity theft and other federal offenses in a credit card scheme targeting Vietnamese people, authorities said Monday. Hung Van Tieu, 62, was convicted of two counts of credit card fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy after a three-day trial last week, according to a news release from the Department of Justice. Authorities said Tieu would call credit cards impersonating the cardholder and request a new card be sent to the cardholder's home.
September 15, 2011
A Costa Mesa man is facing a federal prison sentence for using a fake Arizona ID to buy guns in that state and then bring them back to California. Christopher Mathwig, 38, pleaded guilty this week in an Arizona federal court to using false statements to buy 40 guns. He's scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 28 in Phoenix. According to his Tustin-based attorney, Bill Elliott, Mathwig, an avid hunter, was trying to go around California's gun laws that require guns bought in one state be transported by one federally licensed gun dealer to another in California for pickup.