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

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

Murder charges for Louisiana man
Murder charges for Louisiana man
A Louisiana man already serving a life sentence for robbery, rape and kidnapping, was charged with three counts of murder in connection with the cold-case deaths of two unidentified women, one of whom was 5 months pregnant. William Chouest would have been eligible for parole in 2017. One of the victims was discovered in Ventura County. The other was found in Kern County.

According to prosecutors, DNA collected from the victims identified Chouest as a suspect in both crimes. The DNA samples collected from the victims and their clothing were tested in 2012, although the homicides happened in 1980. The samples were matched to a sample collected from Chouest while he was incarcerated.

In addition to murder charges, Chouest faces special circumstances, including murder while engaged in rape, murder while engaged in robbery and multiple murders, as well as weapons charges and habitual offender charges. Chouest has pleaded not guilty to the crimes. If convicted, he faces three life sentences without parole, as well as additional time for the weapons offenses.

An experienced Ventura murder attorney


Homicide is the most serious charge you can face in California. Quite literally, your life is at stake. In California, conviction on homicide charges can result in the death penalty, or a life sentence with or without the possibility of parole. You need the assistance of a qualified, experienced Ventura murder attorney like Robert Helfend.

Mr. Helfend has practiced criminal defense exclusively in Ventura County and throughout Southern California for more than 30 years. He is known as an aggressive defense attorney who goes the distance for his clients. He will work directly with you throughout the judicial process to help you create a solid defense strategy.

His first priority will be to get the charges against you reduced or dropped. When that isn’t an option, he will challenge the evidence against you; bring forward expert testimony on your behalf, and work to achieve the best possible outcome for your case, based on your circumstances.

Do not risk your freedom by working with an inexperienced murder 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 homicide case.

Photo Credit: Randy Robertson, via Flickr.com

Insider trading, securities fraud arrests
Insider trading, securities fraud arrests
Two Ventura County men were charged late last fall with securities fraud and conspiracy to commit securities fraud for their roles in an insider trading investment scam that netted the conspirators more than $3M.

Between 2010 and 2013, Steven Fishoff of Westlake Village and Ronald Chernin of Oak Park, along with 2 other men from New Jersey and Florida, used inside information that they had been given in their roles as investment bankers, to execute transactions through trading entities that they secretly controlled.

Ventura County securities fraud attorney


Most investments are governed by the Securities Exchange Commission, and people usually need to be licensed in order to buy and sell securities on behalf of others. The federal government takes securities crimes seriously, so when you’re arrested on securities-related charges, you should take your situation seriously, too. Fraud charges usually arise when a person makes a bad investment or investment decision because someone else knowingly provided bad information about an investment, or about themselves and their ability to invest money on behalf of others.

When you’ve been accused of fraud involving securities, hiring a competent, experienced securities fraud attorney is your best defense strategy . Robert Helfend specializes exclusively in criminal defense in Ventura County and throughout Southern California. He takes cases in both state and federal court, and will work for federal defendants in any federal district court in the nation.

An arrest does not alter your Constitutional rights, but you need an experienced securities fraud attorney to ensure that your rights are respected. Hiring a skilled criminal defense attorney is the best way to ensure that you preserve your rights throughout the judicial process. Federal prosecutors don’t “go away,” so don’t wait to hire a competent federal defense attorney, and don’t attempt to defend 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 securities fraud case.
Photo Credit: Myles Davidson, via FreeImages.com