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.

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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

Antitrust indictment without borders
Antitrust indictment without borders
The Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice is five-for-five in its efforts to prosecute foreign nationals for antitrust actions committed in the United States. In the most recent case, the DOJ successfully arrested and extradited an Israeli citizen in Bulgaria.

The DOJ charged the executive with defrauding the Foreign Military Financing program. He allegedly falsified bid documents to disguise evidence of bid rigging. The program provides funds to foreign governments to allow them to purchase military goods and services.

Interpol agents arrested the executive under a Red Notice, which is like an international arrest warrant. Following his return to Connecticut in October 2016, a federal judge detained the man for trial.

Last month, the defendant pled guilty to felony four counts. They include including mail fraud, wire fraud and major fraud against the US government. In addition to falsifying bid documents, the executive also falsely certified statements regarding the payment of commissions and the use of non-US content and services in the contract. The next hearing in the case will take place in June 2017.

Federal antitrust attorney


Although federal white collar prosecutions are down overall, the government never rests when it comes to prosecuting financial fraud against the government. Because federal contracting almost invariably features high-dollar contracts, prosecutors take special interest it prosecuting contract fraud. That’s why you need an experienced federal antitrust attorney like Robert Helfend if you’re facing antitrust charges.

Robert Helfend has more than 30 years of experience in federal criminal defense, and will work tirelessly to create an effective defense strategy. Although most federal prosecutions don’t involve international extradition, these cases demonstrate the influence that the US government can exercise.

Don’t risk 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 antitrust case.

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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

New Trial Request in Antitrust Conviction
New Trial Request in Antitrust Conviction
Three defendants convicted on federal antitrust charges related to a public foreclosure auction scheme requested new trials. According to the request, the defendants say pretrial motions unfairly limited their defense. Additionally, prosecutors referred to banks and homeowners as “victims.” The judge previously instructed prosecutors not to use the term.

Federal prosecutors accused he three defendants of Sherman Act violations and conspiring with other investors to lower action prices. According to federal prosecutors, the defendants conspired to purchase foreclosed properties at below-market prices. Following the county auction, the buyers held a second, private auction among themselves to determine who got the property.

The defendants’ first trial resulted in a hung jury. A new judge presided over the second trial, but allowed some instructions from the first trial to stand. At the center of the defendants’ request are the carryover instructions, which they say the prosecutors ignored.

Additionally, the government permitted conspirators who agreed to testify against the defendants to keep the properties they’d purchased at the second auctions. They argue that had the jury known that the cooperators benefited, the verdict may have been different.

The defendants will be sentenced on April 5. The judge has indicated that he will rule on the request for a new trial prior to the sentencing hearing.

Ventura Antitrust Lawyer


Antitrust trials are long because the subject matter is complex. They often rely on the testimony of experts, so it’s critical to bring together subject matter experts who can testify on your behalf. You need an experienced antitrust lawyer who can create an effective defense.

The conviction rate in federal prosecutions is extremely high. That’s because the government doesn’t try cases it doesn’t believe it can win. You need an attorney who will fight aggressively on your behalf. This ensures you can get the best possible outcome under the circumstances.

Don’t rely on an inexperienced attorney, and don’t assume there’s nothing you can do to help yourself. 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: Karen Neoh, via Flickr.com

Antitrust Conviction for Bid-Rigging
Antitrust Conviction for Bid Rigging
In February, a federal jury handed down an antitrust conviction for a real estate investor accused of bid rigging. The jury found Thomas Joyce guilty on a single charge, after prosecutors dropped two counts of mail fraud against him.

According to prosecutors, Joyce and others conspired to buy foreclosed properties at lower-than-market prices. The conspirators also paid off other prospective bidders to eliminate competition at auctions.

Once Contra Costa County auctioned the properties, the conspirators held a second, private auction. The second auction determined the sale price of the property. It also determined the amount of the payoff for the suppressed bids. Joyce is one of more than 5 dozen people to plead guilty or be found guilty of antitrust violations related to foreclosure auctions. According to prosecutors, they have pending indictments on several other individuals in foreclosure related actions.

California antitrust attorney


Antitrust charges are complex, and often difficult to defend against. Federal prosecutions are also difficult to win. Currently, federal prosecutors have a conviction rate that exceeds 90%. That doesn’t mean you should give up or give in. It means that you need an experienced federal criminal defense attorney like Robert Helfend to defend you in court.

Mr. Helfend has more than 30 years of experience as a criminal defense attorney. He takes cases in both federal and state courts. He will fight aggressively for your rights, and will work toward the best possible resolution of your case. Mr. Helfend handles each case personally, so your case receives his full and complete attention. That’s not something you’ll receive from a larger, less personal law firm that relies on less experienced attorneys to try cases.

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: Jimmy Emerson, DVM , via Flickr.com

Securities Fraud Plea Leads To SEC Inquiry
Securities Fraud Plea Leads To SEC Inquiry
A recent guilty plea to charges of securities fraud by LA financier Jason Galanis triggered an SEC investigation into the Banc of California. CEO Steven Sugarman resigned last month as the bank’s executive officer after the bank acknowledged it was under investigation.

Galanis pleaded guilty last summer to securities fraud charges, for his role in falsely inflating a company’s stock price. Once other investors had poured money into the company, Galanis sold his holdings in the company. He then transferred the gains to other companies. Those companies had ties to Banc of California board members, and Jason Sugarman, the brother of Steven Sugarman.

Jason Sugarman is a part owner of the MLS Los Angeles Football Club. The club sold the naming rights to its stadium to Banc of California for more than $100 million. Team officials say that they do not intend to withdraw from the naming-rights deal. The bank will not confirm its continued participation.

Analysts speculate that the investigation may focus on a statement issued by the bank last fall. The statement said the Board of Directors hired an independent law firm to investigate Jason Galanis’ connections to the bank. Last month, the bank acknowledged that the first law firm was actually hired by bank management executives. They also acknowledged that the firm had ties to the bank and to Steven Sugarman. The Board of Directors later hired an outside law firm with no previous ties to the bank or to its executives.

Ventura securities fraud attorney


Securities fraud cases – and financial fraud cases in general – can be very complex. Often, allegations of impropriety tread a fine line, and actions that may seem illegal are not. A qualified, experienced criminal defense attorney can hire expert witnesses to help the judge or jury understand the finest points of a securities fraud case.

Robert Helfend is a securities fraud attorney who has practiced criminal defense for more than 30 years in Ventura County and throughout Southern California. He knows what it takes and can bring together the resources needed to defend clients against serious financial fraud charges.

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: Pictures of Money, via Flickr.com

Identity Theft Suspects Arrested in Ventura
Identity Theft Suspects Arrested in Ventura
Six people were arrested in Ventura for a variety of offenses, including identity theft, domestic violence, drug offenses and gang-related activities. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) made arrests as part of a larger immigration sweep operation.

The entire operation netted arrests of 161 people in Southern California. According to ICE, more than 90% of those arrested have previous criminal convictions. The agency reported that those arrested came from 13 different countries. The majority of those arrested came from Mexico. Other arrestees were from Central and South America, Africa, Australia, Asia and the Caribbean.

The operation primarily targeted foreign nationals with criminal convictions and gang affiliations. It also targeted people who re-entered the country after deportation or disregarded an order to leave the country. ICE conducted the entire operation. According to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, ICE officials did not inform them of the operation.

Ventura Identity Theft Lawyer


If prosecutors charge you with identity theft, you need the assistance of an experienced criminal defense attorney like Robert Helfend. Both the state and federal courts prosecute identity theft. Depending upon your circumstances, you may be charged in either court. Additionally, prosecutors can charge you with a misdemeanor or a felony. The distinction is important because felony convictions in California can have significant consequences.

Federal authorities take an interest in identity related crimes because they are a “gateway” to more serious offenses. While some identity crimes support illegal immigration, others simply facilitate illegal monetary gain.

If you’re facing theft charges involving identity in either federal or state court, don’t attempt to defend yourself. Since Mr. Helfend handles each case personally, he will work directly with you on your defense. Don’t rely on an inexperienced criminal defense attorney to protect your freedom. Work with an attorney who will fight aggressively for your rights and freedoms.

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: Diane Herr, via FreeImages.com