December 13, 2010 |
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for. Telemarketing fraud The FBI wants to help you avoid giving your money to criminals on the telephone. Once you fall victim to telemarketing fraud, you'll almost certainly never get your money back. Before you buy, the FBI recommends that you take these precautions: Don't buy from an unfamiliar company, ask for written material by mail and check out companies on the Web. Websites for the Better Business Bureau, the state attorney general and the National Fraud Information Center are good places to start your search.
October 26, 2010 |
A Downey man accused of operating a Ponzi scheme that targeted Spanish speakers has agreed to plead guilty to federal criminal charges, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office said Monday. Juan Rangel, 46, agreed Friday to plead guilty to charges of mail fraud and money laundering. Federal prosecutors said they would ask a judge to sentence Rangel to 15 years in federal prison. Rangel used advertisements in Spanish-language media to recruit investors to his Commerce company, Financial Plus Investments.
May 19, 2010 |
The owner of a Hermosa Beach loan company has pleaded guilty to a felony mail fraud charge related to a scheme in which she defrauded 90 investors of about $7 million, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office said Wednesday. Mary Elaine Perkins, who owned Carlton Financial Enterprises Inc., entered into the plea agreement Monday, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office. Parker told investors that she would use their money to make short-term, high-interest loans to residential real estate owners who had difficulty obtaining financing.
April 22, 2010 |
Bruce Karatz, who helped turn Westwood-based KB Home into one of the nation's most successful home builders during two decades as its chief executive, was convicted Wednesday on four felony charges related to the manipulation of executive stock options. A federal jury in Los Angeles convicted Karatz of two counts of mail fraud, making false statements in a regulatory filing and lying to the company's accountants. The panel acquitted him of 16 other charges. The jury rejected the government's claim that Karatz intentionally defrauded shareholders by backdating stock option grants from 1999 to 2005 to make them more valuable.
January 21, 2010 |
A Huntington Park man who targeted Spanish-speaking investors with promises of big annual returns starting in 2006 has been found guilty of bilking more than 2,000 victims out of more than $62 million. Milton Retana, a Salvadoran citizen, was convicted Tuesday by a federal jury in Los Angeles on six counts of mail fraud and one count of making false statements to investigators. Retana, 46, faces up to 125 years in federal prison. He is to be sentenced April 26. "There are a lot of these Ponzi schemes going on right now, with a particularly high number of them happening in East Los Angeles targeting Spanish-speaking people," said Jim Bowman, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 15, 2009 |
A onetime assistant sheriff and trusted aide of convicted former Orange County Sheriff Michael S. Carona was sentenced Monday to 27 months in prison for scheming to defraud the public of honest services and filing a false tax return. In a voice husky with emotion, George Jaramillo apologized to the court and said, "I am here to say that I am profoundly sorry for what I have done. While I did not set out to commit crimes, my cavalier and irresponsible mode . . . was criminal." Carona appointed Jaramillo as assistant sheriff in 1999 and fired him in March 2004, after rumors spread that a federal investigation of the Sheriff's Department was underway.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 28, 2009 |
The former president of the union that represents Los Angeles County government workers has agreed to plead guilty to federal fraud and tax charges in connection with an alleged scheme to collect illicit consulting payments from a labor-related nonprofit, officials said Thursday. Alejandro Stephens, a longtime leader of the Service Employees International Union local, signed an agreement to plead guilty to one count of filing a false income tax return and two counts of mail fraud, the U.S. attorney's office said.
March 31, 2009 |
A Glendale man pleaded guilty Monday to fraud charges, admitting that he orchestrated an investment scam that bilked victims out of more than $14 million. Antoine D. Haroutunian raised the money between 2005 and 2008, promising to invest in commercial bridge loans, options and real estate. Instead, he diverted most of the money to himself and associates, said Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office.
September 11, 2008 |
A Santa Ana insurance salesman accused of bilking investors out of tens of millions of dollars and spending it on exotic sports cars and Las Vegas real estate was indicted Wednesday on federal wire fraud, mail fraud and money-laundering charges. The 16-count indictment against James R. Halstead comes a week after a federal judge ordered him to pay investors more than $66 million in damages in civil lawsuits. In lawsuits and criminal proceedings, Halstead, 61, is accused of conspiring with Irvine securities lawyer Jeanne M. Rowzee to solicit millions of dollars from individual investors who ran the gamut from wealthy developers to retirees on fixed incomes.
December 21, 2006 |
The president of a money management firm faces a federal indictment on charges of money laundering and mail and wire fraud in connection with an investment scheme that duped investors out of $4 million, authorities said Wednesday. Kangsan Kim had been previously indicted on 10 counts of mail fraud and five counts of wire fraud, but a federal grand jury in Los Angeles returned a superseding indictment on Wednesday adding 11 counts of money laundering, the Internal Revenue Service said.