Identity Theft Cases Down At IRS
Identity Theft Cases Down At IRS
The Internal Revenue Service says that it reduced identity theft related to fraudulent tax returns by nearly half since 2014. According to the agency, investigators prevented thieves from filing almost 1 million fake tax returns in the most recent tax year.

Agency records show that fraudulent filings peaked in 2014, when scammers successfully filed more than three-quarters of a million phony returns. The IRS now flags major discrepancies in taxpayer filings from year to year to help identify potentially fraudulent returns. Preparers must also do more to properly identify filers before submitting their returns. The agency also moved the deadline for employers to file wage data with the IRS. With more timely wage data in hand, the agency can spot problematic returns more easily.

Identity thieves favor the Earned Income Credit, so the agency made changes to its process for handling EIC claims. This year, filers claiming the EIC saw their refunds delayed until at least mid-February. The delay provided more time for the agency to identify both fraudulent filings and identity theft among low income wage earners. The agency also aims to prevent fraudulent filers from misappropriating a filer’s identity.

Ventura Identity Theft Lawyer


Identity theft is always taken seriously, but the federal government actively pursues people who file fraudulent tax returns. If you’re facing an identity theft prosecution, you need the assistance of an experienced identity theft attorney like Robert Helfend.

Mr. Helfend has practiced criminal defense in Ventura County for more than 30 years. He knows what it takes to defend his clients successfully. If you’re facing criminal charges, make the right choice for yourself by hiring an experienced, aggressive criminal defense attorney.

Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County identity theft case.

Photo Credit: Michael Seery, via FreeImages.com

Domestic Violence Conviction for MMA Fighter
Domestic Violence Conviction for MMA Fighter
A Las Vegas jury convicted a mixed martial arts fighter of domestic violence and a host of other felony charges. War Machine fled Las Vegas in 2014 to avoid prosecution. He changed his legal name from Jonathan Koppenhaver, but has not fought professionally since 2013.

Simi Valley Police arrested the man and returned him to Nevada to face charges. The jury convicted him on 29 of 24 charges. They could not reach a verdict on the most serious charge – attempted murder. Prosecutors in Las Vegas say that War Machine beat and sexually assaulted his former girlfriend on several occasions. He also assaulted the woman’s companion, whom she had been dating for a couple of months.

The female victim in the case suffered a broken nose, facial injuries, injuries to her leg and a lacerated liver. She also testified that the defendant threatened her with a knife. She escaped to a neighbor’s house during the assault. The male victim testified that he suffered a broken nose, a dislocated shoulder, bite marks and bruising.

The defendant’s attorney attributed Koppenhaver’s violent behavior to brain injuries suffered during MMA fights, his significant steroid abuse and potentially improper use of prescription stimulants and anti-depressants. Koppenhaver could be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole when he returns to court in June.

Simi Valley Domestic Violence Attorney


This case illustrates how a domestic abuse case can spiral quickly out of control. If you’re facing a domestic violence charge, you need the assistance of an aggressive, experienced domestic violence attorney like Robert Helfend.

Mr. Helfend has practiced criminal defense in Ventura County and throughout Southern California for more than 30 years, and knows what it takes to successfully defend his clients.

Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County domestic violence case.

Photo Credit: Peter Gordon, via FreeImages.com

DUI Suspect Arrested After Crashing House
DUI Suspect Arrested After Crashing House
Police in Oxnard arrested a DUI suspect after he crashed his car into a home. The collision injured an 8-year-old girl and collapsed her bedroom.

The crash occurred at 3:08 AM. Police responded to the scene and arrested the driver on suspicion of drunk driving. The suspect attempted to leave the scene before police arrived, but a neighbor held the man at the accident site. The girl suffered minor injuries in the accident. Two other children were sleeping in the room at the time of the collision, but received no injuries.

Oxnard DUI lawyer


If you’re arrested for a DUI in Ventura County, you need the assistance of an experienced DUI lawyer like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend practices criminal defense and takes cases in Ventura County and throughout Southern California. With more than 30 years of courtroom defense experience, Mr. Helfend will provide aggressive, effective criminal defense.

An intoxicated driving charge is serious because a conviction can significantly impact your life. Although prosecutors charge most drunk driving suspects with misdemeanors, under the right circumstances, you could face one or more felony counts.

In addition to working through the criminal process, drivers accused of drunk driving will also face a DMV process. Administrative sanctions include an automatic suspension of your driver’s license. They differ from those that can be applied in a criminal court.

Aside from license suspension, you can also face jail time, fines, fees, driver retraining requirements, expensive ignition interlock requirements, increased insurance costs and additional suspensions or restrictions on your driver’s license. Because a drunk driving arrest is a criminal matter, you need (and want) the assistance of a true criminal defense professional.

Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County DUI case.

Photo Credit: Todd Dwyer, via FreeImages.com. The image shown does not reflect the accident described in this post.

Oxnard Murder Suspects Arrested
Oxnard Murder Suspects Arrested
Two men suspected of participating in an Oxnard murder last December face charges following their arrest. An FBI team served a federal search warrant and took one suspect into custody in Farmington, NM. Oxnard police arrested the other suspect locally.

The Oxnard man faces charges of being an accessory after the fact, and received a $110,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court again on May 31. Ventura County authorities seek to extradite the New Mexico suspect to murder face charges. At the time of the murder, the suspect lived in Oxnard, but relocated to New Mexico immediately afterward.

Police discovered the victim, Giovanni Vega, in the 200 block of Vineyard Avenue last December. Nearby residents reported hearing gunshots, so the police department dispatched an officer to investigate. The officer did not notice anything unusual. About six hours later, a caller asked police to perform a welfare check on an individual in the same area. At that time, they determined the victim died from a gunshot wound.

Oxnard Murder Attorney


Although California hasn’t executed a prisoner in more than a decade, the death penalty is still a very real threat. If you’re accused of committing a homicide, or participating in one, you face some very specific legal challenges. Therefore, you need the help of a very experienced murder attorney like Robert Helfend.

Mr. Helfend has nearly 35 years of courtroom defense experience, and takes homicide cases in Ventura County. You risk losing your freedom permanently, so an experienced, aggressive criminal defense attorney can help you build a solid defense. Don’t bet your freedom on an inexperienced attorney.

Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County murder case.
Photo Credit: The West End, via Flickr.com

Antitrust Charges Against Oakland Contractors
Antitrust Charges Against Oakland Contractors
Several Oakland area contractors pleaded not guilty last month to antitrust violations, including bid rigging on federal contracts. The two-year investigation produced guilty pleas from a State Senator and a former San Francisco School Board member. Prosecutors also won a racketeering conviction against the leader of a San Francisco street gang.

Prosecutors accuse the contractors of colluding on bids in order to direct federal contract work to a particular bidder. They also claim the contractors accepted bribes as part of the arrangement. An undercover FBI agent posed as an Atlanta “bidder” at the center of the scheme. The agent claimed he wanted to get in on federal building contracts in California. To do that, he paid local contractors bribes to induce them to submit high bids.

Authorities also charged the son of a local Oakland City Council member in the scheme. Prosecutors say he accepted payments in exchange for help on receiving federal building contract work. Seven men face federal charges as part of a second major wave of prosecutions related to the case. All seven pleaded not guilty to the antitrust charges.

California Antitrust Lawyer


Federal prosecutors devote a staggering amount of resources to high profile prosecutions. They only try cases when they have a high degree of confidence in the outcome. Therefore, the federal conviction rate is extremely high. Currently it exceeds 90%. That’s why you need an experienced federal antitrust lawyer who can defend you in court.

Robert Helfend is an aggressive, experienced antitrust lawyer with more than 30 years of criminal defense experience. He knows what it takes to provide effective defense in a federal criminal case.

Don’t rely on an inexperienced attorney and don’t assume that there’s nothing you can do if you’re facing a federal antitrust prosecution. Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County antitrust case.

Photo Credit: llnl.gov

Securities fraud arrest for UT man
Securities fraud arrest for UT man
Federal authorities arrested a Utah man in connection with a $65 million securities fraud scam. The scheme targeted investors in western states including Utah and California. The man faces charges of conspiracy, misrepresentations in the sale of investment opportunities. He also faces charges of theft from an elder and employing an artifice or scheme to defraud.

The man, who owned an investment firm known as Total Wealth Management, engaged in the sale of securities without proper licensure. He worked with at least two other individuals, including a California man. The US Securities and Exchange Commission sued the man in 2015, in an attempt to disrupt the scheme.

Investigators say that the man used client funds to pay SEC fines and legal fees. He also misappropriated client funds by disguising the fraud as administrative fees. Further, investigators found that the man accepted kickbacks from investments. They also discovered that many of the firm’s preferred investment vehicles were either bankrupt or close to it. In addition, the man had direct or indirect connections to many of the preferred investments.

The man regularly solicited new investors through a weekly radio program that focused on investments. In addition, investigators found that he regularly promised unprecedented returns on investments, or claimed to have made substantial gains, even during economic low periods.

California securities fraud lawyer


Federal prosecutors vigorously pursue people accused of financial crimes. The federal conviction rate is exceptionally high. That’s why you need an experienced securities fraud lawyer, if you’re accused of financial crimes. Those crimes may include securities fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud, investment fraud, theft and other similar crimes.

Robert Helfend practices law in the Los Angeles area, but takes federal securities fraud cases anywhere in the United States. Securities fraud cases are complex, so you need an aggressive, prepared and experienced lawyer who is not afraid to take on a zealous federal prosecutor.

Don’t assume that there’s nothing you can do to defend yourself, and don’t take a plea without consulting an experienced attorney first.

Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County securities fraud case.

Photo Credit: Nazir Amin, via Flickr.com

Westlake Village Embezzlement Leads to 6-year sentence
Westlake Village Embezzlement Leads to 6-year sentence
Alanis Morrisette’s former business manager received a six-year federal sentence for embezzlement , wire fraud and tax crimes. Jonathan Schwartz, of Agoura Hills, stole nearly $5 million from the singer. He also stole more than $2 million from other clients of the GSO Business Management investment firm.

Morrisette was the only identified victim in the case. The firm represented other high profile clients, including Tom Petty, Katy Perry and 50 Cent. According to prosecutors, Schwartz began embezzling client funds in 2010, in part to pay for a gambling addiction, drugs and to fund a lavish lifestyle. As a partner in the firm, Schwartz earned a salary of $1.2 million.

A new financial manager that Morrisette hired discovered the scheme in 2014. While investigating the management of Morrisette’s funds, investigators also discovered losses in other client accounts. Schwartz made a great effort to disguise the losses in Morrisette’s account, which delayed the discovery of the scheme.

Federal judge Dolly Gee said that she believed Schwartz deserved a longer sentence, but federal guidelines called for a six-year term. She also ordered Schwartz to repay $8.6 million in restitution to his victims. Bernard Gudvi, who founded the investment firm, said that the firm expects to lose $20 million as the result of the scam, and that the firm laid off a dozen employees in the wake of the discovery. Schwartz’s actions also severely tarnished firm’s reputation.

Westlake Village Embezzlement Attorney


Embezzlement can be a devastating crime, both for the victim and the perpetrator. That’s why it’s important to hire an experienced, aggressive embezzlement attorney when you’ve been accused of a workplace crime. Embezzlement victims are often angry, but at the end of the day, they want restitution over retribution.

An experienced criminal defense attorney like Robert Helfend knows that a convicted defendant can’t make effective restitution unless he or she is working. Limiting a person’s ability to work limits their ability to provide restitution to the victims.

Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County embezzlement case.

Photo Credit: 401(k) 2012, via Flickr.com

Fraud Sentence for Oxnard Tax Preparer
Fraud Sentence for Oxnard Tax Preparer
A federal judge sentenced an Oxnard tax preparer and former teacher to prison for fraud. Rodrigo Lozano received a 10-year sentence for filing more than $56 million in fraudulent income tax returns.

Lozano, 61, of Oxnard applied for and received thousands of individual taxpayer identification numbers, which undocumented immigrants can use to file tax returns. Federal investigators say that Lozano filed more than 13,000 fraudulent tax returns over a two-year period beginning in 2011.

Lozano and other conspirators fabricated identification documents, which they used to request ITIN numbers. They combined the numbers with fictitious W-2 forms, and fabricated dependents to maximize child-related tax deductions.

The Internal Revenue Service flagged the documents as false, but Lozano ordered his employees to file the phony returns anyway. He operated out of a number of locations in Oxnard.

In addition to the prison sentence, the judge ordered Lozano to repay $23 million in fraudulent refunds.

Oxnard Fraud Lawyer


Federal charges of any kind are serious, and sentences can be very lengthy. If you’re facing federal fraud charges, your best defense strategy is to work with an experienced federal fraud lawyer. Robert Helfend has more than 30 years of courtroom defense experience. He takes state and federal fraud cases in Ventura County and throughout Southern California. He will take federal criminal defense cases in any federal circuit.

Don’t rely on inexperienced attorneys to defend you, especially in a federal courtroom. You need an experienced federal criminal defense attorney who knows what it takes to win in federal court. When your freedom is at stake, only the best criminal defense counsel will do.

Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura fraud/drug possession case.

Photo Credit: 401(k) 2012, via Flickr.com

Thousand Oaks Identity Theft Arrest Busts Gas Theft Ring
Thousand Oaks Arrest Busts Gas Theft Ring
Thousand Oaks police arrested a Van Nuys man for mail theft and identity theft. As a result of the identity theft arrest, they also discovered a connection to a Los Angeles-based gasoline theft operation.

A witness reported seeing the driver of a commercial truck stealing mail from a Thousand Oaks mailbox. Police located the driver of the truck and arrested him following their investigation. They searched the vehicle and discovered stolen mail, multiple gift cards and drug paraphernalia.

Thousand Oaks police impounded the truck. A further inspection of the vehicle revealed four makeshift diesel fuel tanks inside the bed of the truck. The tanks could each hold 200 gallons of fuel.

Police believe the man erased the magnetic stripes on the gift cards, then recoded them with stolen credit card information. He used the duplicate credit cards to pay for the fuel, then later resold the fuel to gas stations at a discounted price. Officers also found incriminating surveillance video footage showing the man stealing mail, and frequenting neighborhoods where residents reported mail thefts.

Prosecutors charged the man with one felony identity theft count and five misdemeanors, including mail theft and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Thousand Oaks Identity Theft Attorney


If you’re arrested for identity theft in Thousand Oaks, your first call should be to an experienced identity theft attorney like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend practices criminal defense exclusively in Ventura County and throughout Southern California. He takes identity theft cases defense in Thousand Oaks.

His first priority will be to get the felony charges against you reduced or dropped altogether. This is an important step because felony convictions can result in longer sentences or even lifetime incarceration, thanks to the state’s Three Strikes Law. If that’s not realistic, he will work to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.

Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County identity theft/murder case.

Photo Credit: Ines Hegedus-Garcia, via Flickr.com

Domestic Violence Restraining Order Nets Oxnard Man
Domestic Violence Restraining Order Nets Oxnard Man
Camarillo police arrested an Oxnard man and charged him with violating a domestic violence restraining order. Police investigated the man after receiving a complaint from the subject’s ex-wife that he had violated a restraining order.

They investigated the complaint and found that the man had likely violated the court order as many as six times in a six-week period in multiple Ventura County jurisdictions. During those encounters, police said that the man threatened his former wife.

Prosecutors charged him with felony stalking and four misdemeanor counts of violating the restraining order. He will appear in Ventura County Superior Court again on May 8.

Oxnard Domestic Violence Lawyer


Domestic abuse cases can be complicated. In addition to charges that may arise from a particular incident, you may become the subject of a restraining order. Given the specifics of your circumstances, adhering to the terms of a restraining order is essential. It also underscores the need to work with an experienced domestic violence lawyer like Robert Helfend.

Prosecutors in California can file domestic abuse and stalking charges as felonies or misdemeanors. The distinction is important because felony convictions put you at an ongoing risk of long-term incarceration, thanks to California’s Three Strikes Law. It also provides your lawyer with the opportunity to reduce charges against you. This can mean the difference between getting on with your life and incarceration.

An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you work through the adjudication process. You want the right results. Sometimes, the only way to achieve that is with the help of an aggressive criminal defense attorney.

Don’t work with an inexperienced attorney, especially when your freedom is on the line.

Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County domestic violence case.

Photo Credit: Pietromassimo Pasqui, via Flickr.com