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

LA Securities Fraud Scam Nets CT Man
LA Securities Fraud Scam Nets CT Man
A Fairfield, CT man pleaded guilty to securities fraud charges in a Newark, NJ federal courtroom. The case centered on representations that James Trolice and a partner made regarding eAgency, a Los Angeles company.

The men told investors that their companies held warrants to purchase valuable stock in eAgency, a mobile security application developer. They sold shares of their own companies to investors, who believed they could reap a significant return.

Although the companies initially held warrants in eAgency, the men vastly misrepresented the amount and value of the warrants. Eventually, the men defrauded investors of more than $5 million. The men used investor funds for personal expenses and to finance gambling trips.

Trolice faces a potential sentence of 20 years in prison and a $5M fine when he is sentenced in July. He also faces a 10-year sentence and a $250,000 fine for his guilty plea on one count of transacting in criminal proceeds. His partner in the scheme received a sentence of 6.5 years in federal prison.

Federal securities fraud attorney


Hiring an experienced attorney is important because your attorney’s experience can make a major difference in your case. The best strategy to combat an experienced, aggressive prosecutor is to hire an experienced, aggressive securities fraud attorney. Robert Helfend practices criminal defense exclusively, as he has for more than 30 years. In that time, he has learned what it takes to defend clients facing federal charges.

Mr. Helfend offers exceptional defense, and unparalleled personal service. He manages every case personally, so you always get the most from his extensive experience in criminal defense. When you’re facing federal charges, you need the best, most experienced representation in court.

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: Erdenebileg Bat-Erdene, via Flickr.com

SD Woman Convicted for Oxnard Embezzlement
SD Woman Convicted for Oxnard Embezzlement
A San Diego woman pleaded guilty to an embezzlement scheme involving three Oxnard car dealerships. The woman, who pleaded guilty to three counts of grand theft, admitted to stealing more than $65,000. Prosecutors say the actual amount of the losses exceeded $140,000.

Alexander of Oxnard hired the woman as an accountant in 2012. She began to divert funds from both payroll and petty cash. She used the money to pay off credit card debts. The judge sentenced the woman to 24 months in jail and ordered her to make full restitution. She must also serve 28 months of supervised release following her jail term.

According to prosecutors, a related Arizona car dealership is suing the woman to recover nearly $350,000 that she allegedly stole while working in a similar position there.

Oxnard Embezzlement Lawyer


Workplace crimes are common, and they’re almost always financially motivated. A workplace crime conviction can have a long-lasting impact on your life. If you’re facing a workplace-related criminal charge like embezzlement, lawyer Robert Helfend can take your case.

Mr. Helfend practices criminal defense exclusively, and in his more than 30 years of practice, he has defended thousands of Californians. Mr. Helfend is known as an aggressive defender of his clients rights. His clients love his straightforward, “plain-English” approach to criminal defense.

They also appreciate the personal attention Mr. Helfend gives their cases. He handles each case personally, so his clients work directly with him on their defense. Experience counts for a lot in criminal defense, so be sure your first step in defending yourself is the right one. Choose an experienced criminal defense attorney to represent you in court.

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 embezzlement case.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Brooks, via Flickr.com

Westlake Village Execs Plead Guilty To Embezzlement
Westlake Village Execs Plead Guilty To Embezzlement
A pair of executives at a Westlake Village payment processing firm pleaded guilty to embezzlement charges earlier this month. The former CEO and the SVP of Sales and Marketing at iPayment siphoned more than $5 million from the company.

According to prosecutors, the men set up phony sales offices and instituted a kickback scheme. That allowed them to divert funds from the company for their personal use. The Department of Justice case is just one of two federal actions against the men. The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint against the men. The SEC complaint also named three other executives of the firm, and accused them of participating in the scheme.

The two men face up to five years in federal prison on the embezzlement charges. Federal officials will address the SEC complaint in a separate action.

Westlake Village Embezzlement Attorney


Workplace related crimes will impact you significantly. Not only can you face criminal sanctions, you can also face professional sanctions that will limit or eliminate your ability to work in your chosen field.

Workplace crimes are almost exclusively financial in nature. Most victims of financial crimes simply want to be restored to their previous financial position. They also want to be certain that the individual(s) who targeted them cannot repeat their crimes.

Restitution plays a major role in workplace crime sentencing, but a defendant often can’t make restitution unless he or she is free to work. A skilled, experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney can help ensure that justice – restorative justice – is truly available to the victims of a workplace crime. If you’ve been accused of a workplace crime, hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. An experienced criminal defense attorney like Robert Helfend has practiced criminal defense in Ventura County for more than 30 years. He will work to limit or eliminate charges against you. He will also work to ensure that a conviction or sentence doesn’t negatively impact your ability to fulfill restitution sentence requirements.

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: Alex Proimos, via Flickr.com

Camarillo Grand Theft Suspect Pleads Guilty
Camarillo Grand Theft Suspect Pleads Guilty
A Camarillo man was accused of stealing more than $750,000 from a victim. Recently he pleaded guilty to 5 counts of grand theft, two counts of forgery and 11 counts of money laundering.

The defendant, who worked at the Camarillo Airport, helped the victim purchase airport hangar leases. After negotiating the purchase of the leases for the victim, the defendant forged the buyer’s signature on two leases. He then transferred to other people over a period of 18 months. Following the transfer, the defendant misled the victim for more than seven years regarding the lease ownership.

The suspect received rents for hangar space of nearly $780,000 over seven years. During that time, he did not turn over any of the money to the original leaseholder. The defendant will be sentenced in October for his role in the fraud. He could receive a sentence of as much as 22 years in prison.

This is not the defendant’s first brush with the law. In 2010, he received a 6 month jail term and fines of more than $300,000 following a state tax evasion conviction. He failed to pay income tax on nearly $2 million in personal income over 9 years. He also failed to file state tax returns and pay corporate income tax on nearly $10 million in sales between 2000 and 2008.

Camarillo grand theft lawyer


If you’re facing theft charges, hire an experienced, competent and aggressive criminal defense attorney like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has practiced criminal defense for more than 30 years in Ventura County and throughout Southern California. He is an aggressive, prepared and respected criminal defense attorney, and is well regarded among his peers.

Don’t rely on an inexperienced criminal defense attorney when your freedom is at stake. 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 theft/securities fraud case.

Photo Credit: volvodadfast, via FreeImages.com

Embezzlement Charge for Simi Valley Director
Embezzlement Charge for Simi Valley Director
After a months-long investigation, the former executive director of the Simi Valley Community Foundation finally faces charges of embezzlement. Joanne Abruzzese, 58, of Simi Valley faces multiple grand theft charges and a single forgery charge.

Prosecutors say that Abruzzese began working for the foundation in 2012. She used the Simi Valley Community Foundation’s checkbook to pay her mortgage. Because checks from the Foundation require two signatures, Abruzzese regularly forged the second signature. Foundation records show that she misused more than $55,000 over a period of two years.

Following her arrest, she was charged and released on a bail of $10,000. She will appear in court again in March. Investigators say that Abruzzese acted alone to steal funds from the foundation. Foundation officers filed an initial complaint with authorities because they discovered accounting irregularities.

The Simi Valley Community Foundation acts as an umbrella organization for a number of charitable organizations in Simi Valley. Initially, the group intended to bring together administrative services for the charities and provide office space in a single location. Due to Abrruzzese’s arrest, many residents now doubt the future of that plan. The Foundation has not yet made a decision about the future of its Under One Roof initiative.

Simi Valley Embezzlement Lawyer


If you face embezzlement, fraud or grand theft charges, your first move should be to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney. Robert Helfend practices criminal defense exclusively in Ventura County and throughout Southern California. With more than 30 years of experience, he manages each case personally. Because he manages each case personally, your defense will not be handed off to a less experienced attorney.

Mr. Helfend is an aggressive criminal defense attorney who actively fights for his clients’ rights and freedoms. Don’t rely on an inexperienced criminal defense attorney and don’t wait to begin your defense.

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 embezzlement case.

Photo Credit: Janeen, via Flickr.com

Embezzlement charge for celebrity manager
Embezzlement charge for celebrity manager
A former business manager for celebrities, including singer Alanis Morrissette, admitted to charges of embezzlement and filing false tax returns. Jonathan Schwartz, 48, formerly of Agoura Hills, worked for GSO Business Management in Sherman Oaks.

According to court papers, Schwartz admitted that he embezzled more than $6.5 million from clients of the agency, including Morrissette, whose losses constituted the majority of the stolen funds. Initially, Schwartz said that he invested the money in a marijuana growing operation, but acknowledged in the court filing that the statement was false.

In addition, Schwartz admitted to misappropriating about $1 million from another client, and nearly three-quarters of a million dollars from a third client. Initially he attributed those withdrawals to “home renovation” expenses, but later admitted to forging the clients’ signatures on checks. In addition, Schwartz pleaded guilty to wire fraud and tax fraud, and owes the IRS $1.7 million in unpaid taxes on the stolen funds. As part of the plea agreement, Schwartz is likely to receive between 4 and 6 years in federal prison

Federal embezzlement attorney


Federal prosecutors are rarely satisfied with a single charge. Federal laws involving financial crimes often include tax evasion charges on top of whatever other matters they seek to address in court. If you’ve been arrested for embezzlement, wire fraud or other financial crime, you need the assistance of an experienced embezzlement attorney like Robert Helfend.

Mr. Helfend has practiced criminal defense for more than 30 years, and takes cases in both federal and state courts. He knows what it takes to confront federal allegations of embezzlement and fraud, and will fight aggressively on your behalf in court.

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: Rikki’s Refuge Other, via Flickr.com

Embezzlement Investigation in Camarillo
Embezzlement Investigation in Camarillo
The Ventura County District Attorney’s office is investigating a potential embezzlement conspiracy that involves the former CEO of the Camarillo Health Care District and the group’s attorney.

According to the District Attorney’s office, the pair is being investigated for potentially inflating legal fees charged to the Camarillo Health Care District. Former CEO Jane Rozanski and Sacramento attorney Ralph Ferguson allegedly maintained a clandestine romantic relationship over a period of nine years, during which Ferguson provided legal services to the CHCD. If true, the conspiracy could have resulted in taxpayer-paid overcharges to the agency of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

In a separate civil suit, the CHCD seeks to recover more than $400,000 from Rozanski in what it characterizes as “false, inflated and unnecessary legal bills” that she approved over a 3.5-year period. An arbitrator has already directed Ferguson to repay nearly $175,000 in legal fees related to the district’s adult healthcare center. Ferguson is appealing the arbitrator’s ruling. An arbitrator is also expected to hear the suit against Rozanski.

Camarillo Embezzlement Lawyer


Workplace related crimes can have a devastating effect on your personal reputation and your long-term financial health. Even if the accusations are never proven, the mere implication that you’ve embezzled funds or defrauded your employer can be chilling. That’s why you need the assistance of a skilled embezzlement lawyer like Robert Helfend.

Mr. Helfend has more than 30 years of experience as a criminal defense attorney, and has developed a reputation for being an aggressive defender of his clients rights. Mr. Helfend handles every case personally, so you will always have the full benefit of his extensive courtroom experience.

Don’t face serious charges alone, and don’t rely on an inexperienced 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 embezzlement case.

Photo Credit: cybrgrl, via Flickr.com

Ojai Fraud Case Delayed
Ojai Fraud Case Delayed
The preliminary hearing for an Ojai medical marijuana cooperative owner has been suspended, and will resume in March. Jeffrey Kroll, 65, who owns the Shangri La Medical Marijuana Cooperative, may face charges of fraud relating to an elder, manufacturing concentrated cannabis, failing to file income tax returns, child endangerment and money laundering.

Kroll and the Shangri La Medical Marijuana Cooperative have been the ongoing focus of law enforcement officials in Ojai. They allege that Kroll diverted funds from the cooperative to his own personal accounts and other business entities, and bought marijuana from other cooperatives to resell to Shangri La Cooperative members. According to Kroll, the cooperative had about 700 members before it was shut down in April 2016.

Before the hearing was suspended, prosecutors offered testimony from an accountant who prepared a tax return for Kroll in 2013. She testified that she notified Kroll that it appeared as though he was commingling funds from the cooperative with his own personal finances. Detectives who investigated the case also testified that Kroll laundered money from the cooperative through other non-related businesses. The hearing will continue in March.

Ojai Fraud Attorney


If you’ve been accused of fraud in Ojai, you need to the assistance of an experienced fraud attorney like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has more than 30 years of experience in criminal defense exclusively, and takes cases in Ojai and throughout Southern California.

He has specific experience in medical marijuana defense, and will fight aggressively for your rights in court. Much about California’s approach to drug laws has changed, but that may not stop overzealous prosecutors or federal officials from attempting to prosecute you or shutter your legal medical marijuana business.

Don’t hire an inexperienced criminal defense attorney, and don’t give up in the face of pressure from local law enforcement.

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 fraud case.

Photo Credit: Neeta Lind, via Flickr.com

Embezzlement Charges for Hospital Administrator
Embezzlement Charges for Hospital Administrator
A former hospital administrator in Santa Barbara County was charged with embezzlement after she allegedly misappropriated more than $200,000 from the Medical Staff Association at Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara.

Prosecutors say that Pamela Cochran-Escalante is a former medical staff services supervisor who forged signatures and altered the association’s general ledger entries to disguise the theft. Cochrane-Escalante pleaded not-guilty to the charges in court in October.

She was released on her own recognizance pending trial, but the Court ordered her not to incur debt while awaiting trial. The embezzlement was discovered when Cochrane-Escalante unexpectedly retired immediately prior to an IRS audit of the organization’s books.

Ventura Embezzlement Attorney


Embezzlement can occur anywhere and anytime. Financial crimes –especially those that involve large dollar figures – grab headlines easily, but they’re rare. Most often, they’re the product of lax financial procedures. Sometimes these lax procedures can make these situations seem worse than they are.

If you’ve been accused of a financial or workplace crime like embezzlement, it’s essential that you contact an experienced embezzlement attorney like Robert Helfend immediately. Mr. Helfend has practiced law in Ventura County and throughout Southern California for more than 30 years. He has established a reputation for aggressive criminal defense, and he will be with you at every step of the judicial process against you.

He handles each client’s case personally, so your case will not be handed over to a less experienced criminal defense attorney. You will have the benefit of Mr. Helfend’s extensive criminal defense experience at each stage of the process. He will work aggressively to get the charges against you reduced or dropped, and will work toward productive resolutions that allow you to minimize or eliminate jail time.

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: Kevin Dooley, via Flickr.com